|My walking track ....|
Assignment 10 - Working in the Field ... hmmm so it's the middle of winter here in Australia - we are still cleaning up after storms and unusually strong winds ... with trees and branches down everywhere. Now it's time for me to head 'into the field' to find something interesting and beautiful to portray on an artwork ... not one subject, but five! Add to that a significant amount of field studies of various plants including botanical information, colour studies, habitat observation ... and it looks like an assignment to test the most dedicated botanical artist.
Loaded up with my backpack full of pencils, sketchbooks, palettes, water jars and a very good attitude heading out into the freezing cold, wet, windy terrain ... I crouch down to take notes only to be met by a blue tongue lizard, or 'bobtail' as we call them. Harmless - but enough to give you a fright when you almost step on him ... and he was not impressed.
The habitat I have chosen is my local walking track ... lots of trees and shrubs and usually laden with wildflowers and beautiful flowering plants ... however it is the middle of winter now - not so much on offer and left intact after the storms.
Lots of sharp, spiky, fluffy, prickly plants, predominantly green and gold - no wonder they are our country's colours ... but not looking so good for a very colourful composition.
Australian native plants are so unique ... my eyes just don't like the amount of work they will command to illustrate them accurately.
More nuts, balls, fluffy flowers, spiky leaves ...
The wildlife might be more colourful and less challenging to paint ....
After spending quite some time on the track I managed to narrow some choices down - here's a flowering plant with some good colour! The first of my sketch pages - Eucalyptus leucoxylon ... showing growth habit, colour studies and botanical details ready to take back to the studio and try and recreate it on my artwork. It helped to carry a white card and place behind a branch to see the colours more accurately.
I have completed about seven pages of sketchbook studies of different plants - it is a preliminary and very rough sketch page, because it is quite difficult to do the studies in the field ... which I guess is the whole point of getting us to do it, so we reflect on studying botanical subjects in situ and understand what is required to complete a botanical artwork in this way. I also have a number of photographic references to ensure I have captured as much information as possible. I have since gone back to gather even more information on the shrub to ensure accuracy ... the more we do this work the better we get at knowing what we need to document.
|Using sketch book studies to refer to ...|
Now I am finally back in the warmth of the studio with pages and pages of sketchbook studies, ready to try and translate it to the final artwork. Trying to compose a page of five different botanical subjects as accurately as possible from sketches made in the field is quite a feat - fitting them on the page in a pleasing way is the next step. I have done many compositional plans and I'm still not sure how it will work out. Time is short and I have to start somewhere so here goes!