Archives for posts with tag: pressed botanicals

Back at the turn of this new century, I made a big series of large works on canvas that incorporated metal washers. For me, they have passed the test of time so I decided to miniaturize the concept and incorporate my current resin-coated works on wood panel – some with pressed plants and – gasp – some without.

I’ll be showing these this season in a number of venues including the Artist’s Cooperative Gallery of Westerly, the Memorial Day weekend VIRTU Art Festival in Westerly, the Providence Artisan’s Market at Lippett Park, and later in the season at the Wickford Art Festival, the Warren Art Festival, the Strawberry Festival in Newport and more. I also have month-long exhibits scheduled at the Green Marble Coffee Shop in Mystic in June and at the Yellow House Coffee Shop in Stonington in July. Hoping to see lots of old friends.IMG_2264IMG_2270IMG_2278

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At the VIRTU Art Festival in Westerly, Rhode Island, last week, my little 4 x 4 landscape was the first to go so I felt emboldened to try my hand at an 8 x 8. The real botanicals in this piece are all in the immediate foreground. I used feathergrass against the white of the reflection in the water, added just the tip of a ginkgo leaf on the lower right, and a few individual sections of a Japanese maple leaf just for some added drama and color. As it turns out, feathergrass tends to lift a little on the first application of resin making it hard to reach a glass-like finish in less than three coats, so I had to wait a full 4 days to see the finished product. I think it was worth it though. Next in line for the resin bath is a farm scene in which I use only my ferns at the edges of a field.

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While I plan to continue designing lots of fun graphic images for my pressed botanicals in 2014, I am also enjoying working with watercolors. This simple background of water drops on a pink and coral wash provides the support for one of my favorite plants for pressing – Mexican feathergrass. I have a second one in the wings and some thoughts of painting insects to hover above the a feathergrass meadow. Stay tuned. Meanwhile, I popped this one into my Etsy shop this morning. Happy New Year to all my friends and followers.

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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.

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This is my version of an arrangement of bud vases. Even this late in the season I have a nice supply of new growth, and therefore tiny leaves in my garden.

The race is on to harvest enough before the first frost.

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A friend of mine pinned a photo of a fabulous and unusual quilt which reminded me of a Gustav Klimt painting and inspired me to work on a graphic that suggests fire in the night. The ornamental grass Pennisetum Frosted Explosion seemed like a natural for the foreground. Graphics rule here but I added a bit of bright green paint to the grass to increase the contrast just a bit.

I’ll be showing at the Providence Water Fire in three weeks. If this piece has sold before that I’ll work on a variation for Water Fire because it’s perfect for the occasion. Meanwhile I’ve tucked it into my Etsy shop where I’ve now added some giclee prints of smaller pieces after getting a lot of requests.

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This year my husband’s asparagus crop was — er–modest. By that I mean we got about one stalk a week for about six weeks and goodbye. Now though, we have a virtual three-foot-wide asparagus-top jungle that is too pretty to ignore. The clippings I harvested only took about a week to process with a pressing between sheets of lightly weighted newsprint. For bold highlights in this composition I used a snippet of sensitive fern and the tip of a whole frond at the center. Nasturtiums make the best moons so why look for anything else?

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This is the first of a series of small works that will highlight tiny foliage. I started with miniature ivy but plan to move on to raspberry, scented geranium shoots and other shapely miniatures. This will be a month-long project since most of these have yet to be harvested. I look forward to see them hung in a tight grouping of nine.

Meanwhile I’ll work on some graphics to highlight some large, dramatic and graceful sensitive ferns I have waiting in the hopper.

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Two young and still tightly formed stalks of Mexican feather grass appear to tower over a little forest of fern ‘trees’ and the whole scene might be glimpsed through a window bordered by stained glass.

Back to the drawing board for my next piece. No harvesting today — rain in Stonington.

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My friends in and around Stonington can see some of my pieces at Frills Gallery in Watch Hill. (It’s the white building with a front porch as you first enter town) This is a companion piece to one I made recently. The colors have changed and I’ve used different plants — fringed Bleeding Heart for the ‘tall trees’ and ferns and a Foam Flower leaf for the underbrush. A crazy little Bellflower hugs the beach.