Part of Kristine’s herbal ally art challenge was to try different mediums. Yesterday I sketched plants and coloured them using crayons. Today I gathered a bunch of violet flowers and leaves for another jar of infused vinegar, along with nettle tops, sorrel, jack-in-the-hedge, marjoram and a little rosemary for nettle and stilton soup.
The hour I was in the garden coincided with the sun emerging through the deep cloud cover, so I sat and sketched a violet flower, both full facing and a side view. It was remarkable how much detail could be seen in the delicate flower. The pale green sepals could only be seen from the side view and if you only viewed the flower from this angle (which is the most common view when looking at the plant) you could easily miss, what to me is the most amazing part of the whole flower.
The flower consists of five petals, leading down to the orange stigma in the centre. Each petal is similar but different. They are have a deep, violet pigment for two third of the length which then becomes white as it nears the stigma. It is only when you turn the flower upside down that you notice the largest petal has purple streaks of colour leading down to the stigma in the middle of the flower.
Recent technological advances in infra-red photography have shown how most flowers have “landing lights/lines” to show the bees where to reach the pollen, but it looks as if the violet flower has its own flight path painted onto this one petal!
Once back indoors, I took the plunge to try painting my sketches with watercolours. The crayons I’d been using said they could be used for water colours, but I didn’t understand how until discussing it with my friend last night. He explained what I should do, so today I experimented.
It was surprisingly easy to paint over the shading with a damp brush and gave the sketches a softer, more even look.
I am incredibly grateful to the kind words of praise and encouragement given me by commentators here on my blog and on Facebook. It is so exciting to be dabbling in a world I never thought I could enter.