Graphic botanicals

One of the plants we brought home to New Jersey from my mother’s collection was an heirloom Angelwing Begonia. Mom got her plant as a cutting from one of her mother’s plants, and there seems to be some family lore that suggests Grandma got it from her mother. I think the Angelwing Begonia was first hybridized around 1926, so that could be about right to support the oral tradition. Mom had propagated numerous cuttings of her original plant, and after she died, my brother was trying to make sure everyone knew where they came from, and to send a plant home with each member of the family. Recently I was using this plant as a model for my continuing study of botanical art, sketching with colored pencils. After I sketched the plant, I was playing around with the word “Angelwing” with my brush, and decided I’d like to combine the sketch with the lettering. Here’s the current layout:

If you have thoughts about other ways to combine these two elements, I’d welcome your comments!


Following up on the photo in the previous post, I was playing around today with sketching hosta blooms in my sketchbook. Here’s my sketch, in pencil, ink, and colored pencil (title lettering done with the Pentel brush pen):

I have a ways to go before considering myself a botanical artist. This kind of sketching is a challenge for me, because it requires that you see things in such detail. You start to draw a leaf, thinking of it only as a green oval shape, and then you see that, no, the tip is turned up, and you’re seeing two surfaces at once on the same leaf. You start sketching the petals of the bloom, and you realize that they overlap each other in a very particular order. And when you’re sketching from a photo, as I was doing here, you have to mentally translate from a two-dimensional view of the plant to a three-dimensional model in your mind, and then pick which lines and contours you will draw in order to turn in back into a two-dimensional sketch.

A Cyberscribes (see link at right) acquaintance, Bonnie Noehr, recently posted that she was taking summer courses on botanical drawing. I thought this was intriguing, so I asked her for further information. She’s taking her class in Woodside, California (a little far for someone living in New Jersey), but she sent me this link listing classes in a variety of locations. With our first grandchild due any day now, I’m not sure I’ll get around to the classes this year, but it’s one more idea for the “someday” list.

Bonnie, by the way, is a past winner in the Graceful Envelope contest. You can see her winning envelope here.