Sunday, December 14, 2014

SBA Assignment #12


This is the last assignment before the three final Portfolio pieces.  
The instructions were to paint a study of mixed flowers and foliage, possibly with berries.  Building on what we learned from the past assignments, specifically assignments 5 and 9 and paying attention to both shapes and colours in order to achieve a good balanced composition.

I always try to find flowers that possibly my tutors in the UK don't see to often.  I am always drawn to the Leonotis leonurus, Lions Tail  and the bright orange seemed festive for the fall holidays.  The orange poppy was in the same color range and I thought that would compliment color scheme I was going for.  Then added a bit of the Sorghum Vougare for a bit of texture.  As usual, it took me the full 2 months to complete the piece.  I really have no idea how some students complete an assignment in just a few weeks.  
I'm a bit slow.

Tutors Comments (abbreviated)
An interesting choice of subjects, but I wonder why you chose plants that are all in the same color range.  
Good perspective but you would have got even more had you chosen something with a different color.  
Lovely composition but just one more poppy would have enhanced the overall look of it.
Labeling is so neat but this time you haven't given the common names.

All the above comments are well taken, and I didn't get too many points taken off my marks.  The instructions don't say anything about using different colored flowers.  Yes, I agree I should have had 3 of each stem but I always seem to run out of time.  As I said, I am a very slow and meticulous artist.  My husband keeps asking me when I am going to learn to go faster.  

I have learned so much with each assignment.  And as a well known artist once told me, you have to put in the time if you want to get better.  Ha, they weren't kidding!

Now, on to my final three pieces of the SBA course.
   1.  Fruit of Vegetable
   2.  Botanical Illustration
   3.  Mixed Flower Study

Thanks for reading my  Blog.........

Lori V.

Oh yes, my final marks for assignment #12


Thursday, October 23, 2014

SBA Assignment #11 Working From Photographs - Greeting Card

Working From Photographs
Assignment #11
For this assignment we were asked to design a greeting card or poster with a few options:
Option 1: A celebration card
Option 2: Flowers in their natural habitat
Option 3: A garden, famous or otherwise
Option 4: A bouquet in toning shades suitable for a birthday card
Option 5: A travel poster
I had thought about creating a poster for Gardens of the World, a privately owned garden open to the public in Thousand Oaks, California USA. While searching for a subject that would catch my eye, I came across a Lace Cap Hydrangea, Hydrangea macrophylla.  I took dozens of photographs and went thru them all when I came home.  One of my shots showed the Lace-top at an angle so it was heart shaped. I then started sketching and came up with a greeting card suitable for Valentines Day, or any other special day that reminded the viewer of LOVE.
I never really thought about the amount of time it would take me to create all those tiny buds on the lacetop.  I stopped counting after about 100 hours and was only completing about one square inch a day.  My eyes were so sore after each 30 minutes, I had to stop and really could only work for about 3 hours a day.  The progress was so slow.
When I submitting my finished artwork to my tutor for marking, I printed out the artwork in card format and mailed it along with the artwork.  I wanted to show my tutor my thoughts for wording placement.
Greeting card with it's wording
All the stressful hours I put into it paid off.  My tutor was very happy with it.
Here are some of her comments:
Your patience has been rewarded with the effort put into capturing all the tiny flower buds, little plump & sepalled cushions.  Perhaps one or two open flowers would have been good showing off the tiny central base of stamens.  Love the shading on the stems and the neat cut edge, not to mention the rosy stems supporting the flowers. 
Final Mark
Wow, still amazed I received such a high mark.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Working in the Field

SBA Assignment #10 Working in the Field

Wildwood Park, Thousand Oaks, California USA

Below is the process I went thru to complete this assignment:

Day 1 
Scouted out a perfect spot for my assignment.  Arrived at Wildwood Park at 7:00 am and started hiking.  Wildwood park is a regional park in Thousand Oaks, California consisting of 1732 acres.  The park features, 2 waterfalls, Indian Cave and miles of hiking and picnic areas. 
I spent 2 hours scouting out a perfect spot for my assignment and snapping photos of every species of native flowers in the area.
 View at the bottom of the falls

Below is a compilation of some of the photos taken while scouting out my flowers to draw.  After going thru all the photos on my computer, I started narrowing down the choices.

Day 2
Started research on all scientific names of plants and flowers.  Some research done on line and the rest with a few books checked out in the local library on native plants of the area and Southern California.
Days, 3,4,5 
Researching, Researching, Researching.  Hard to identify all these plants!
The engineering background in me decided I needed to produce a spreadsheet to aid in keeping all the information organized.
Day 6
Back to Wildwood for more pictures, leaf rubbings, and obtaining more details that I missed the first time. 
Day 7
Working on my sketchbook.  Classifying all the plans in a spreadsheet format.
Listing, Name, both common & scientific
Colour Notes
Growth Habit
Leaf details: Arrangement, shape, venation, margin
Flower detail:  Sepals, Stamen's, Stigma, Stem type, Surroundings

 Day 8
Starting to play with composition so I can pick my 5 plants to draw for the assignment.
I usually sketch out each plant to scale on tracing paper.  This allows me to move things around to decide which plants to use and how to place them on the paper.  At least this is a guide and as I start the final drawing, things change each day as I am finalizing the layout.
All this and I haven't even starting drawing yet!
 Day, 9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20...............
I lost track but this assignment took me until the absolute last day I could post it to my tutor in the UK. 
I went back to Wildwood a few more times, getting details of plants I needed and just kept drawing and drawing.  People ask me how long each assignment takes and after a while I loose track of time, but generally I work for 2-3 hours on and off each day.  Every 45 minutes I make myself stop, otherwise my eyes start screaming at me.  I used to have perfect eyesight before embarking on this journey.
Once I felt I was at the then, I then packed up my assignment along with the required sketchbook pages and the listing of all the dozens of plants I found at Wildwood Park and off to Fed Ex I went.
$100.00 US Dollars later, I posted it 2 Day.    Four days later my tutor notified me that it hadn't arrived yet. (I always send her an email when I have sent it, just so she knows to expect it soon)  After 7 days Fed Ex told me I had the wrong address and so I gave them my tutors phone number in the UK.  After going back and forth, realizing they did have the correct address, it was finally delivered. 
My tutor was kind enough to mark it and post it back to me the same day!
 After another 7 days wait, I arrived home from work and found the package waiting for me on my doorstep.  As always I get so nervous to open it, never knowing what my marks would be like.
So, after looking at the unopened package thru lunch. I ripped it open and to my excitement, I had received my best score.   
A few notes from my tutor:
Amazing!  I love getting work from far-flung places because of the variety of plants depicted that we Brits don't normally get to see.
Although I am not familiar with these plants I have seen one or two in hot houses over here and your colors are accurate. 
Lori, this is not only a really beautifully drawn and colored piece of work but it's really interesting too.  I know it took you a long time and there was a lot of work involved, but it has paid off.
Final Mark
No time to waste, it's on to the next assignment
Working from Photographs
Hope you enjoyed my post, thanks for following them,
Lori V.

Monday, July 28, 2014

SBA Exhibition

SBA - Society of Botanical Artists
2014 Exhibition

Took another trip across the pond to attend the SBA 2nd year Seminar for my Distance Learning Course.  I am so happy I made the trip.  I was able to meet many of the tutors, who answered all my questions about the course.  They clarified all my questions about the upcoming assignments, which was really helpful.  We were able to tour the exhibition of Botanical Art.  So many wonderful paintings.  It was so nice meeting all my facebook artist friends.  Now I can picture a face with those messages. 

Westminster Hall, location of the SBA Exhibition. 
Right across the street from Westminster Abby

The information booth and artwork of the SBA DLDC program. 
A lot of great art by the students, both past and present.
Over 650 botanical works of art hanging on the walls of Westminster Hall

 Di and I doing some sightseeing in London.
 Linda and Susie....... happy graduates of the SBA DLDC9

 Deb and Polly having a very serious talk at the graduation

 Simon and a group of the graduates.  Simon towers above them all


Janie, our tutor for the colour pencil students
Met so many new friends at the SBA Exhibition.  It was a wonderful experience, great friends, artists and tutors.
Looking forward to graduation in 2015

Saturday, May 31, 2014

SBA Assignment Botanical Illustration

Botanical Illustration Assignment #9
Strelitzia reginae
The assignment called for an accurate depiction of size, form and colour, showing a single species with foliage with a dissection shown.
I am lucky enough to have dozens of Strelitzia reginae growing in my garden, which bloom year round in sunny Southern California.  This allowed me to cut new flowers at all stages of growth throughout the 2 months of drawing. 
And yes, it did take me 2 full months, though I am slow :)
The dissection was a new adventure for me, with each one I picked having different number of Sepals and Petals.
Took one of the birds completely apart and layed it all out and numbered each layer.
There are really a lot of layers inside each beak.
One of my sketchbook pages, practicing with colours and techniques.
Discection of Strelitzia sexual organs
Completed Assignment!
Tutors comments abbreviated:
Good tones in the leaf and on the stems.  I would have liked to see a little more depth in the orange petals but it's nothing major.  You can take a bit of artistic license to accentuate the darker areas in order to make the areas in the foreground look closer.
Love the composition.  It's perfect for the plant!
Final Mark

REALLY happy with my marks, love these birds!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

My Travels to England 2014

Dedham, England
Spending a week in Dedham at Dedham Hall is one of my most favorite things to do.  A week filled with friends, working on my botanical art and discovering the surrounding area is just amazing. 
Ann Swan our art tutor is such a great artist and teacher and someone I can call my friend. 
Dedham Hall & Fountain House
Our days start with a brisk walk on the surrounding footpaths in what as known as Constable Country.  John Constable, known for his famous paintings of the mills in the area.
Some of us walkers!
Flatford Mill
Then we all meet in the dining room for a full English Breakfast.  Then off to the studio, and our days are draw, tea, draw, lunch, draw, tea, draw, with a lot of conversation and laughter in between.
Artists hard at work.
Take a bit of a break and meet up again in the dining room for dinner and more conversation and laughter.  After dinner it's off to the lounge for tea and snacks, more conversation and laughter.
A cookie bouquet for Ann's birthday!
By then we are all exhausted from the day, so it's off to bed.  The day repeats for a full week.  It's always so sad to say goodbye to my English friends, I really love it there.
One of the days, Janie and I went sightseeing to Lavenham and out to English Tea.
Thank you Janie for a wonderful afternoon!
Air New Zealand Boeing 777 The Hobbit
Long flight home, but I'll be back next month!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

SBA Assignment #8 Composition - Vegetable Study

Assignment #8 Vegetable Study
The first question you ask is "Why use a Tomato, it's a Fruit"
and yes, you are correct.  The SBA allows us to use a tomato as a fruit or vegetable since it is used as a vegetable in salads.  So, no points lost there!
Solanum lycopersicum
Heirloom Tomato
'Claurina', 'Montenegro', 'Tomawah'
Purchase my three tomatoes at Whole Foods.  Figured out the composition and started drawing as much as I could without having the stems.  The stems and leaves are taken off the fruit before they are shipped to the stores.
Once I got as much drawn as I could I went on a tour of Houwelings Tomatoes. 
One of the largest growers of Heirloom Tomatoes. 
The Mastery Under Glass is located only 20 minutes from my home.
All the tomatoes are grown hydroponically in huge glass greenhouses.  This place is amazing!
You have to suit up in clean suits to enter the facility.
Me and Kyle, our tour director.
Aren't we cute!
Once home with my stems, leaves and tons of photographs, I quickly started my stems. 
Carefully placing them and completing my assignment.
The finished product and yes these Toms are huge!
My tutor commented that "I think you took me quite literally when I mentioned about small subjects in your last assignment.  I am amused!  These are so big - and I've no doubt tasted delicious.
Condensed tutor comments:
Wow!  Big Tomatoes
These tomatoes look touchable - excellent.
Your composition is fine Lori.  The three tomatoes work together really well - but have to admit it would have been lovely to see inside one of them - just because I am interested and, therefore, I expect others would be too.  It would have added even more interest but I can imagine they are very complicated inside and maybe time wasn't on your side. 
Final Mark 9.35
As always, I was nervous about my marks.  One because I only had three subjects and the composition was pretty standard.  Yes, I would have loved to drawn the inside, but time is of the essence and I never seem to have enough.  I am learning with each assignment and am looking forward to our next assignment 'Botanical Illustration'

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Sarah Simblet and The New Sylva

Master Class in Drawing at Cal Lutheran University
in Thousand Oaks,  California
March 12, 2014
I was lucky enough to attend this Master Class with Sarah Simblet.  Sarah is the director of drawing at Oxford's Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art. 
She has published three books:
"Anatomy for the Artist", "The Drawing Book" and "Botany for the Artist.
Her latest endeavor, "The New Sylva", a celebration of trees and forests is an updated version of the book written in the seventeenth century "The Sylva" by John Evelyn.
The New Sylva by Gabriel Hemery & Sarah Simblet
Sarah's first copy of the book for review. 
Really amazing publication for both Arborists and Artists.
The class started out in a classroom at Cal Lutheran University.  Sarah spoke of her making of the book and the 200 Pen and Ink Botanical drawings that make up the book.
She was able to bring along a couple dozen lithographs of her work from the book
and many original sketches of details.
Her work is truly amazing to see in person. 
Sarah explaining the process of two years of drawing trees.
Sarah explaining the process of learning how a tree moves in the wind.
"You have to get to know your tree, circle it, touch it, smell it."
She brought along some of the large offset pages from the printing of the book.
After the classroom portion of the class, we all went outside to pick a tree to sketch. 
Hard to do with all those leaves on the tree.  It's much easier when the tree is bare, but here in California and our warm weather, most of the trees don't loose their trees for long.
More information on Sarah Simblet
The New Sylva can be purchase at Amazon

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden

Botanical Art Guild of Southern California
Took a break from my SBA assignment to go to the
BAGSC quarterly meeting and get together at the
Ranch Santa Ana Botanic Garden in Claremont, California
March 2014
The garden covers 86 acres in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains
and is the largest botanical garden of California Natives
 Our group was fortunate enough to have a 2 hour guided tour of the garden with Eric Garton, one of the directors of the garden.  He was so knowledgeable of all the plants and animals in the garden. 
Beautiful shaded pathways along the way

Dendromecon harfordii   Channel Island tree poppy
Eschscholzia californica  California Poppy
Calliandra eriophylla  Fairy duster
Garra elliptica   silk tassel
Nolina parryi  parry beargrass
Cactus Family of flowers:
Cylindropuntia echinocarpa  silver cholla
Opuntia erinacea var. erinacea  Mojave Prickly-Pear

Echinocerus triglochidiatus Mound Cactus
OK, that was enough fun for the day.  Nice to take a break now and then to spend time with friends and fellow botanical artists.
Now it's back to the drawing board. 
Gotta have my assignment done by Wednesday and posted to my tutor in the UK.
Wish me luck!
Another great day in sunny Southern California!