Monday, 24 February 2014

Back to my roots (i) .....

Roots seem to be featuring in my artwork and life quite a lot at the moment !  When starting to write this post I was reminded of a pen and ink drawing I did many years ago, and the gnarly old roots at the base of the tree.

The roots I have been focusing on are way more delicate and I suppose can be considered 'virgin' roots, the ones that first appear when new growth springs forth from seeds and fruit.

These Sycamore seeds or samaras, can be annoying little blighters, planting themselves all over the garden and in the pots of bulbs.  Never the less, they proved to be a welcome distraction last week and perfect studies to go in the sketchbook.
This picture shows the tiny filamentous white roots that have the function of food and nutrient uptake.

Sketchbook studies of the Sycamore samaras
The acorn mentioned in a previous post had been growing well in the jar, but finally gave up a short while after this study was completed.  It was interesting to observe the root formation, and even though they were so tiny, the roots had quite a colour variation.
Transparent yellow in a weak wash worked well for the first wash and then two of my new favourite colours were used for the finer detail - Monte Amiata Natural Sienna and Piemontite Genuine, both by Daniel Smith.  The piemontite genuine is a fascinating colour.  When mixed on the palette it looks rather brown, but as you use it the colour transforms into a dusky pink shade with some warmth to it and another quality to it is its granulation.
The acorn studies will be making an appearance in a painting that will certainly take shape this week and be a welcome addition to two other paintings in my Quercus series.
My students have also been exploring roots - root vegetables.  I think at the beginning it seemed to be an uninspiring subject, but they certainly tackled the challenge.
Student's work from the Improvers/Intermediates Course at Peter Symonds College AHED
The next 'Back to my roots' post will follow later on in the week and will explore other aspects of drawing and painting roots in your botanical drawings and/or paintings.
Happy painting !


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