|What a production!|
The botanical illustration assignment comprises more than an artistic portrayal of a plant. We are asked to show a very accurate depiction of size, form and colour - along with dissections ... "....remember to treat the plant as if it were newly discovered, so that you are laying out its parts as an aid to identification as well as creating something beautiful to look at" (SBA assignment criteria).
|Use secateurs to remove unnecessary leaves etc|
|Cut cleanly through the centre|
This was my first plant dissection and I was a little unsure. I found the sharpest knife I could and proceeded to cut swiftly and firmly through the flower head to expose hundreds of flowers ...
The flower head was not looking healthy but the dissection had all the information needed to show the anatomy of the flowers. The protea is different to typical flowers in that what you see is not the flower, but a flowerhead or inflorescence, made up of many individual flowers. What look like the 'petals' of the protea 'flower' are modified leaves called involucral bracts.
|Observing and documenting florets|
Each flower or floret comprises different parts including a single free perianth segment, a style, and three fused perianth segments.
It was fascinating to delve inside the flower head and understand more about the anatomy and pollination of the Protea. It would take a marathon blog entry to describe here what I have learnt but I wanted to show how much more there is to a a botanical illustration.
|Look inside the flower ... fascinatng!|
|Working out composition|
I now have all the relevant information and studies so I can work on my composition - this is the hardest assignment so far because there are so many elements to it. There is a lot to explain within the artwork so that the viewer has a clearer picture of the anatomy of this amazing and complex flower.
So for now it's time to transfer the composition onto the watercolour paper ... using my new home made lightbox! Anything to make life easier as this work gets more complicated! Au revoir ...