The artwork is finally in the UK with my tutor and I wanted to show the final composition of all the field work and individual studies. The SBA Distance Learning Diploma Course has become such a familiar routine now and it's reassuring to think there will be feedback on the way we approach a botanical artwork as complex as this.
|Very rough composition ideas|
Once back in the studio it's time to make some sense of it all. There are so many components to the final artwork - five plants including flowers or fruit plus one to include undergrowth ... as well as a dissection of one of the plants. I had a fair idea of which five I would choose from the ten full studies done - and it came down to size as well as my personal favourites. One of my original choices was a fabulous Hakea petiolaris but in reality would have taken most of the page on its own. I scribbled a very rough plan and tried to portray my mental image of what the page would look like.
By this point it was too difficult to decide on a final composition until the painting started to take shape with colours and flow ... so I began the top two - starting with the top left Eucalyptus leucoxylon - once I had the basic drawing and washes done I moved on to the Corymbia calophylla as I was anxious to see the fit.
|Starting lower area|
Then on to the lower left part of the page I began the Banksia sessilis.... as you can see I had already deviated from the original plan due to how it was developing
Followed by the Acacia aphylla, bottom right - no room for the snapshot in the centre
|Beginning the habitat study in graphite|
There wasn't a lot of space left and I still had to do the plant with habitat... thankfully the Oxalis glabra is quite dainty! After doing the initial stages I threw caution to the wind and started drawing freehand with the graphite understory ... but then again it is erasable! I wanted to fill the space and chose leaves, stones, gumnuts etc to bring the composition together
I had to think about the dissection and decided (mostly due to excess white spaces) to do two dissections showing longitudinal section of the inflorescence on each one. The top dissection is done at actual size, and the Banksia sessilis was made slightly larger, hence the x 1.25 written next to it. When doing a dissection it is important to show the size portrayed for accuracy of identification.
I also played with the grasses a little to pull it all together, as there was a little too much white paper in the middle of the composition.
|Assignment 10 - Working in the Field|
As many of the SBA students would say, this assignment is exhaustive and I was happy to let it go. I spent a day writing a summary page, collating the long list of species sighted in the habitat, plus gathering the many pages of sketchbook studies to include in the envelope.
Botanical art is such a precise genre, although I am sensing it is important not to be too mechanical about filling the criteria ... and despite all my grumbles I really did enjoy working in the field and hope to do a lot more once the course is completed next year.
All images © Vicki Lee Johnston