Archives for posts with tag: botanical art

IMG_1565

Yesterday was a perfect spring day in southern New England, so my husband and I paid a visit to our favorite garden center – The Farmer’s Daughter in South Kingston, Rhode Island. This collection of spiky papyrus, ruffled coleus, scented geranium and abutilon will spend the summer in a great planter on my deck and supply me with terrific foliage for my pressed botanicals. Meanwhile, in the garden, my ferns, miniature ivy, yellow archangel, and fringed bleeding heart have all come to life and are ready for a judicious harvest.

Meanwhile, work continues on my new project – pressed botanicals on acrylic backgrounds. For these I use wood panels as supports, and encase the finished work in two or three coats of two-part resin. This one features a single feathery Japanese maple leaf and awaits its second coat of resin. Out with the gas mask…

IMG_1569

Advertisements

IMG_1489_crop

This is the second time I have added a touch of acrylic paint to my printed graphic in order to add depth and contour. Just the sky is left untouched. To bring it to life I added just the top of a pressed ginkgo leaf and a carnation petal as foreground and to lend perspective, I also added some fern ‘trees’ in graduated sizes.

With the start of the show season just weeks away (my first show will be Craftopia at Hope Artistes Village in Pawtucket, Rhode Island on Sunday, April 27) Meanwhile, this one is the latest addition to my Etsy shop.

IMG_1480_crop

My daughter, Emma and her boyfriend, Nick recently brought me some lovely flowers including some brightly colored carnations. I thought they were perfect for a trial run with my new microwave flower press — a gift from my other daughter, Shelley. The press yielded great results right out of the gate and will allow me to use more flowers in my work. ! I’m sure I will find inspiration for many designs with these pretty petals but this one was irresistible.

This piece is also a departure in that it combines computer graphics with acrylic painting for the background. I used a deep brownish yellow printed foreground to support painted grasses. The plants other than carnations are fern and ginkgo. As always, I varied the size of the fronds to create depth of field.

IMG_1367_crop

IMG_1363_crop

Until now I’ve created backgrounds for my real pressed botanicals on computer. To compliment that body of work, I recently began adding a series of acrylic paintings with similar subjects.

My last two pieces combine both disciplines. Instead of computer graphics, I have created bacgrounds on original watercolors. So far, I’m having fun with the process. I popped these two into my Etsy shop tonight and will show them next week in Stonington at the Velvet Mill.

IMG_1333_crop

It occurs to me that while I often make mention of projects in the works and talk about process, I have never posted a photo of an unfinished piece until now

Today I am working on a companion piece to the scented geranium and fig leaf pairing I posted earlier in the week.

I prefer to begin these paintings by blocking in the negative spaces. Although I did so in this case as well, my plan was to show the geranium, this time, in summer colors rather than in the soft tans it turns to in the pressing process. The variety in my garden is variegated with light yellow to white ruffled edges and I needed to see it on canvas before settling on a final background color. The dark raw umber that I chose after blocking in the leaf will serve well to bring out its contrasting colors.

As the work goes along, I will add layers of pigment gradually reducing the degree of transparency you see both in the background and foreground at this early stage. It seems fitting that the background be the color of the rich soil this plant grows in. When I turn my attention to the space left for the ginko leaf, the background color will now dictate the shades of chartreuse that I choose to represent the spring colors of that lovely tree.

015_crop

IMG_1330_crop

As winter sets in, I’m going back and forth between creating new graphics for my sizeable harvest of ivy, ginkgo, and dozens of other plants, and using those same leaves as inspiration for a new series of acrylic paintings that mirrors my pressed botanical compositions. I love the freedom of choosing color schemes and degree of detail in the paintngs. I’ll bring about ten of them to the Velvet Mill in Stonington on December 28 and January 4th. Hope to see some familiar faces there. Others will pop up on Etsy soon or on request.

IMG_1270_crop

In between working on my pressed botanicals, I have decided that my winter project will be a return to some painting. In years past I have concentrated on landscapes and portraits, but now I plan to stay with my botanical theme. Don’t know yet how the series will develop. The image above is 18 x 20 and features ginkgo — one of my favorite leaves. I’d almost forgotten how quickly the process of painting makes me lose track of time. That’s a good thing unless it’s 2:00 AM on a work day.

Looking forward to meeting friends at the Yellow House on the 24th.

IMG_1264_cropIMG_1241_crop

With nearly 30 original pieces now on display at the Yellow House in Stonington Borough, the pressure is on to make some work for my next commitment in Providence on November 17. The first ginko of the year is ready to go with lots more in the wings so I worked on this combination in muted tones and added just a bit of pastel to highlight the lovely natural ribbing in the ginko leaf.

IMG_1091_crop

Lots of people ask me questions about how I protect the color of my leaves.

The first thing I point out is that many of the leaves I used in my botanicals have already changed colors by the time the pressing process is complete. Still more, like the andromeda in the example above are harvested at various times during the season specifically to achieve variety within my collection from a single plant.

While many leaves stay close to their harvested colors during the drying process, others do not. Chartreuse sweet potato vine, for example dries to a chocolate brown with clearly visible darker brown veining. Scented geranium dries to a variety of shades from light tan to dark taupe. My first principle,then, is to embrace these changes.

Still, some plants are more likely to continue to change after mounting than others. While such changes do not detract from the beauty of the compositions in my mind, I still take steps to preserve my original colors. First, after mounting leaves on my graphics, I paint them with a specialized dried material preservative that includes UVA and UVB protenction. Next, I spray each finished composition with an acrylic finish before matting and framing. This also contains a layer of UV protection and prevents fading of the botanicals as well as the underlying graphics.

These steps, along with the use of acid-free papers, adhesives, and matting ensures that the compositions retain their beauty for many years.

IMG_1171
IMG_1166_crop
IMG_1188_crop

Now that the outdoor artisan’s, markets have closed for the season, I’m turning my attention to replenishing my inventory and showing my work in more traditional ways. First will be the popular Yellow House coffee shop and restaurant in my home town of Stonington, Connecticut. I’ll be showing there throughout November. For anyone unfamiliar with our little village, it is a perfect place to spend an autumn afternoon with a stroll along Water Street past the shops and restaurants and down to DuBois Beach at the Point. The water views are almost 360 there and there is plenty to keep you busy. The Yellow house has been a favorite of ours for breakfast and lunch since my grownup kids were little. Gargain hunters with discerning tastes shouldn’t miss FUN! It’s filled with little luxuries you never knew were such necessities!

While we haven’t had a killing frost yet in Stonington, the growing season is definitely over. As always, I missed a few harvesting opportunities, but took in a very good supply of ferns, ivies, ginko, sweet potato vine and grasses. I’ll be spending next week managing my hydrangeas and gearing up for a few holiday shows including the November 17th version of the upscale Providence Flea which has just moved indoors.

Winter will also give me a chance to return to brush and canvas — this time to compliment my real botanicals. Can’t wait to get started in earnest!