Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The liking of all things odd - galls !

I'm afraid not much painting has been taking place lately.  My botanical art course at Peter Symonds ACE in Winchester is going well and until the end of term I am also covering for another tutor on two other days - Watercolour and drawing for beginners and intermediates.  So I have had to thnk outside of my 'botanical box', never the less themes from the natural world are creeping in!  Today will be Autumnal subjects and mixed media, using torn natural paper and leaf skeletons, as well as some artificial gold leaf !

As some of you know, I am inclined to paint brown, dried and battered natural objects.  I seem to get drawn to these (excuse the pun !). 

Whilst tidying up my laptop the other day I came across a folder of images that had supposedly been lost for two years.  It was very exciting to find them again and there were numerous photos that my husband and I had both taken.  Amongst the images were some of galls that I found on an Oak tree when I was completing a hedgerow survey in my days as an Ecologist.  The painting urge began to stir and now I cannot wait to get pencil and brush to paper.

Central middle - Hedgehog gall Andricus lucidus
Central top - Andricus aries
Right - Marble gall Andricus kollari

But what is a gall ?

The best definition I could find comes from the book British Plant Galls - Identification of galls on plants and fungi, published by the Field Studies Council.

'A gall involves an intimate association between two organisms which is largely parasitic, the gall causer being the paprasite and the organism whose tissues form the gall being the host.  Normally most advantage passes to the gall causer.  The following definition is generally accepted, though it is narrower than some:

A gall is an abnormal growth produced by a plant or other host under the influence of another organism.  It involves enlargement and/or proliferation of host cells and provides both shelter and food or nutrients for the invading organism'.

So when time allows hopefully a painting will start to evolve using these images for reference.  In the meantime, here is a painting I did of a Knopper gall Andricus quercuscalicis  growing on an acorn.