I started by drawing the fushia from different angles with pencil in my sketchbook then colouring it with wet on wet watercolour (top left). I tried to keep the images quite loose. Next I tried wet on wet watercolor without drawing any pencil lines first (top right). I liked the flow and movement of these images better. I then drew outlines of the fushia, using different angles to get interesting shapes (bottom left). I did the same on the next page (bottom right) but without looking down at the page so much. These images were much more confident funnily enough- the images on the bottom left have hesitant marks and some of the lines are a bit shaky where I was conscious of what I was doing. I am finding that I like the shapes that come from not looking too much at the page and just concentrating on the lines of the object, they seem more ‘honest’ if that’s the right word to use?
Next I looked at the Rudbeckia flower. It was looking a little wilted and eaten but I liked how that made the edges of the petals different (wabi-sabi!). I followed the same process as before, line drawing first followed by wet on wet watercolor (top left) then wet on wet without any pencil outline (top right). I did some pen drawings, some looking at the page some without (bottom left) and then I concentrated on the spiral of tiny buds in the centre of the flower. They are in a sort of fibonacci pattern which I found hard to draw.
I found the chard (chard as in the vegetable not burnt!) leaf the most interesting to draw and the most challenging. Again I started by doing a very loose pencil drawing and then wet on wet watercolour. This piece didn’t go very well- I couldn’t match the green of the leaf and the wet on wet was just creating a mess rather than the nice flow and blend I had managed to achieve with the other paintings. I moved onto a detailed pencil drawing as I really wanted to capture the texture and bumpiness of the leaf. The drawing took a good couple of hours but I was really pleased with how it turned out. I think I have managed to capture the texture. I then did a speedy pen drawing, trying not to look to much at the page again.
The next day I was able to buy a bunch of flowers. I chose the bunch I did because of the cabbage rose, I liked the colour of it and the veins and texture. I used big sheets of lining paper for this next stage as I wanted to draw big. I drew a rough sketch of the flowers and then used the wet on wet watercolour. I then did a wet on wet painting without the pencil lines and painting only 3 of the flowers together. I was not pleased with the results of either of these paintings. I thought they came out quite wishy washy- I think the paper may have been a factor as it seemed to suck up the colour of the paint.
The pink and the green together on the cabbage rose and one of the other flowers was really standing out to me, I loved the contrast of the two colours together. I did a loose pencil sketch of the cabbage rose and then did wet on wet watercolour (top right). At this stage it sort of lost all its definition so I waited for it to dry and went back in, highlighting the veins and the slightly bumpy texture. I don’t think the end result is very good. The definition is gone and you can’t tell what it is, although I do like the colours together. I went on to draw a single leaf from the cabbage rose in pen and then decided to add water colour (top middle). I liked the contrast between the black pen and the watercolour paint so I also drew the other flower like it (bottom line, 2nd in) and one of the daisies (not sure it is a daisy, bottom row far right). I also painted one of the white flowers and did some outlines of some of the leaves. I hammered the colour out of the leaves to leave imprints on the page. I liked the effect that gave.
By this stage I was feeling a little disheartened by the watercolour. It is a very hard medium to work with and I was getting a bit frustrated that some of the paintings were not turning out very well. I went back to the brief and looked at how I could bring some pattern, repetition and different orientation to the drawings. I went back to the pen drawings of the fuchsias I had done and two of the images stood out to me (bottom left). I traced the first image onto deli paper and then rotated the paper and traced it again upside down, matching the petals so that the tips touched each other. I continued down the page like this so that I had an alternating pattern. I really liked this effect and The negative space between the flowers where they joined. Also because of the angle that the fuchsia was drawn at originally, you couldn’t really tell what it was. I decided to add in the other image of the fuchsia but I found I couldn’t make it fit nicely as a repeating pattern matched in with the other image (top left). Still, I liked the overall result and coloured the images in with whispers brush markers (top middle). I wanted to expand on this pattern but it had taken ages to trace all the images so I decided to do a lino cut (bottom right) of the image. This way I could experiment with layout and colour (top right, bottom middle). I loved the way the print came out and it took it another step further from recognising what the image actually was.
I decided to do lino cuts of the chard leaf and the cabbage rose leaf. I really wanted to continue trying to capture that bumpy texture of the chard leaf and the green and pinky mauve of the cabbage rose contrasted well with the fuschia and the chard leaf. I had drawn the chard leaf to actual size in my sketchbook so I photocopied it and reduced the scale until I had a size I felt I could work with sufficiently, without losing any detail in the carving. I used dye based mini Ink pads so that I could get the varied colours. I am extremely pleased with how these have turned out. You can almost feel the texture of the chard leaf and the cabbage leaf print just flows. There is a crispness to the prints which is in total contrast to the watercolours and the separate images join together really well to create a pattern, especially the chard leaf.
I then spent some time mixing up the prints but I wasn’t as happy with these results. They didn’t go as well together as I had hoped, I couldn’t get them to fit into a pattern that worked, but it was fun experimenting with them. I printed the images onto some calico and I am going to try various embroidery stitches to fill them in.