Friday, March 7, 2014

Wildflower Class

I'm taking a weekend class at the Art Institute at Arizona Sonora Desert Museum. The wildflowers are in luscious bloom and the class is an exploration of drawing and painting wildflowers.

Here's my first drawing, a pen and ink rendering of a portion of a Parry's Penstemon, a desert plant that blossoms in March. Tall and graceful, the desert penstemons seem to be almost everywhere on the grounds at the Museum. They have tubular shaped blossoms on top of a tall stem. Blossoms can be pink to red. [Edit of 3/10/2014: This plant is probably a salvia, not a penstemon. The plants seem so much alike, but others in the class, those far more botanical that I am, called it a salvia.]

This drawing uses color pencil in layers, a technique that I have admired but not tried until today.

After the color pencil work, I traced the sketch and began again. This time I used watercolor to interpret the leaves and blossoms. I'm pretty pleased with the results. Both of these pieces are done on 9" x 12" paper, one in a sketchbook and the second, on watercolor paper.

We were able to sketch potted plants on tables at an inside classroom. Tomorrow we will work outside on the grounds of the Museum which is like a botanical garden, zoo, and park, all wrapped up in one special place.

I'm always amazed at what can be learned from a subject when you really observe something in order to sketch or paint. Wildflowers are no different and there is lots to learn from close observation and excellent teaching.

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