I love botanical art in any format and love to absorb books showing depictions of all plant matter, scientific illustrations that tell a story about the plant and the biographies of those that bring this work to our attention. However choosing botanical art as my genre was more about painting the plants I love to see - the richly coloured, voluptuous, elegant, exotic subjects I wanted to decorate my walls.
If you had told me I would have depicted the Parrot Bush - Banksia sessilis in one of my artworks I would have asked why on earth? This plant grows in profusion in the hills where I live, is extremely invasive and worst of all ... has hideously sharp leaves which leave anyone who goes near it scratched up and bleeding ... I actually disliked this plant intensely.
|Field studies sketch pages|
However for the field studies assignment there was little flowering - but there was the Parrot Bush emerging everywhere around me ... and reluctantly I gave in, because the choices were few and there was a plentiful supply of this bush. I spent a lot of time sketching and carefully investigating the leaves, stems, seed pods, inflorescence and growth habit to provide an accurate portrayal. Needless to say ... "ouch" was repeated constantly while trying to inspect more closely and no doubt there are spots of my blood on the sketchbook pages!
|First washes going on|
However in time I have grown to admire this plant - it is so hardy, surviving in difficult conditions and is a key source of food for honeyeaters, cockatoos and parrots.
|Adding the gnarly branch|
Once I started painting the Parrot Bush I enjoyed it immensely - away from the sharp spiky leaves and referring to my notes and colour studies I started to see it with new eyes.
|Banksia sessilis - Parrot Bush with dissection|
At the other end of the appreciation scale is a little flower that really appeals to me ... Oxalis glabra - Finger-leaf Oxalis.
Another requirement of the field studies artwork is to show at least one subject in situ in the habitat showing the growth site, including leaf litter, stones, gravel and nuts. I decided graphite would be the best choice to depict these less lively subjects.
|Oxalis glabra - Finger-leaf Oxalis|
I have posted quite a bit about this assignment but it is relative to the amount of background research, study and sketch requirements to complete this style of botanical work. I would love to try this again in Spring ... the Australian native wildflowers are beautiful and so unique ...