Tuesday, 4 February 2014

A Special Acorn

 Acorn sketches and colours
One of my series of Quercus paintings includes a study of a sprouting acorn with a sapling that has its first set of leaves.  The fieldwork for this painting was started a few years ago now, and I still have the detailed sketch with some photos as back up reference material.
As I was drifting off to sleep one night last week, my mind was wandering thinking about the composition of this painting.  I thought how nice it would be to include some other illustrations of sprouting acorns at various stages.  So the plan was to head over to the other side of our housing estate and go looking for sprouting acorns beneath the large Oak trees.
I am sure the neighbours think I am mad anyway, always seeing me come back with specimens in hand !
I awoke the next morning and started the daily chores, going through our back garden to the dustbins at the back of our house.  As I went through the garden gate I looked down and there on the step was an acorn with a small piece of young root, or radicle as it is known, poking out of the hard shell.  It would not warrant a second glance to most people, but you guessed it - I was thrilled !  It must have been dropped by the local Jays, who roost in trees nearby.
After a bit of a clean up and being stored in a bag in the fridge, I set to and did a few sketches of it.  I placed it back in the bag with a piece of damp tissue in it and let it be, leaving it on my studio windowsill.
As you can see from my sketch I noticed a tiny split where the root leaves the acorn and wondered if this was where the new shoot (plumule) would emerge from.
When I looked at it today, there it was with a tiny shoot emerging.

The plumule will grow straight up towards light.
There also seems to be a root nodule forming on the young tap root.
Then I had to get my thinking cap on and work out how to keep it growing.  I looked back through an activity book from my nursery nursing days and there was an example of how you can grow a bean in a jar.  So I am giving it a go, in the hope that I will be able to add a few more sprouting acorns to my painting.

The jar is filled with damp kitchen roll
Lined up with the other new plants emerging
Looking forward to this one emerging.  It is an Amaryllis called 'Apple blossom'
and more bulbs...........
lots of painting subjects on the way, the sketchbook will be busy !


  1. I remember growing things in jars at school. This is wonderful and I will keep my fingers crossed that it will keep growing. Looking forward to seeing the final painting.

  2. Thanks Jarnie. It's definitely growing, the tiny shoot is heading upwards !


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