Thursday, 7 November 2013

The Pop-up Botanical Art Studio

So nowadays we get pop-up cafes, pop-up galleries and pop-up shops or pop-up anything really. Life has become nomadic, ever 'on the move'. Forget your diary? No worries, we have an app for that. Forget your i-pod? No worries, everything is synced.  Businesses take advantage of niches, of disused spaces and holes. With this in mind, I have jumped on the band waggon and am calling my Kew studio my 'pop-up studio'. So what's been happening in the pop-up studio I hear you ask? Well I am still busy painting the third Tulip painting in a collection I have made of Tulips. Why are you doing this? - I hear you ponder... Well, I am doing this mainly to practice my techniques. I am trying to master my watercolours and these Tulips are so very different from leaves, and from Cos, that they are a welcome break from what happens in 'The Studio'... I also find them technically challenging with all their changes in colour, their highlights, reflected light and their shadows.

Tulip 'Reduced to Clear' - work in progress
Oddly, when I stared this collection of paintings I just jumped in and did them, because they were something I found to be rather beautiful on that sunny day I spent in Chelsea Physic Garden in May 2012. And it wasn't until after getting under way with two of the pieces that I noticed I had made a bit of a mistake on them. The first one - 'Buy One Get One Free' I really didn't think about the composition and dived in. Only to notice that I had painted two flowers on one stem. Putting the other stem in would have ruined it and I rather liked the oddness of it. Botanical surrealism - or call it what you will. I have therefore titled it 'Buy One Get One Free' because I love supermarket gimmicks.

Close up on 'Buy One Get One Free' - place where the two flowers meet
The second painting 'Buy Three for the Price of Two', where there are three in a row, is still not finished... this doesn't have any mistakes (yet).
 

Tulips 'Buy Three for the Price of Two' - work in progress

The one I am currently working on is called 'Reduced to Clear'. Again - getting way too enthralled in the heat of the sun I didn't realise that what I was sketching was a mutant... too many petals on this bad boy! So yes - bad stock and thus it is 'Reduced to Clear'.

'Tulip 'Reduced to Clear' - work in progress

Whilst painting the Tulips and the Lettuce there is one question that has really stuck in my mind and that is how I much am I consciously painting in the reflected light? With the lettuce it isn't too tricky, but with the Tulips it is. A lot of the reflected light is blue, green or pale indigo. Quite remarkable really - it makes the whole thing almost look like a rainbow when you add it in with the predominant colours of yellow, orange and red. I have been doing a bit of reading on reflected light and I found these articles in case any one is interested. I don't subscribe to any magazines or own any how to books, so I am really learning as I am going...
  
Subtleties of Light by Jane Jones
 
Understanding how Reflected light works by Christopher Schink 

On another note - a nice bit of reading about some rare watercolours depicting English varieties of fruit trees at the Ashmolean Museum can be found here.  I particularly like the bit about the astrological signs on the sheets - very unusual and something I'd love to do with my own work being an advocate of astrology. 

 Painting of the Great Roman Hazel Nut with a red squirrel and frog below

 
"Little astrological signs can be detected on some of the pictures. A cherry which ripened on June 10 has the sign for Gemini beside it. A Morocco plum which ripened on July 15 is accompanied by the sign of Mercury. Astrology was important to the pictures’ owner."
 

2 comments:

  1. Great post! Another great resource on light in art is James Gurney!

    http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great post, love the names of your tulips :D

    ReplyDelete