Mid-Winter can be a tough time for botanical artists to find inspiration!
Looking for a project to get rid of those winter blues and to keep you drawing everyday?
Try forcing bulbs and drawing and painting them daily!
Here is my work in progress.
Any spring or fall bulbs will work. However, keep in mind that taller growing flowers may eventually need support. I prefer using glass beads in a glass container, but you can use a regular pot and soil or pebbles and stones. The glass beads make it possible to keep the entire affair clean and easy to care for. Also, the beads allow you to observe the bulb growth both above and below. Keep enough water in the beads/stones so that the bulbs always have "wet feet." If using soil bury the bulbs only half way and keep the soil moist, but not soaked. Be care to avoid submerging or soaking the bulbs completely, they may rot instead of bloom in those conditions. Note the photo where the bulbs are buried only enough to support them (just less than half the entire bulb).
There are two ways you can approach this project. The first is to use each daily drawing or painting as an opportunity to explore a single subject in a variety of media or techniques. If this appeals to you, then I suggest you purchase and prep a variety of papers for different wet and dry media that have a variety of textured finishes.
The second approach to this project can be seen above. Here I have chosen this time to document the growth process through a single medium (hard lead drawing pencil with watercolor, a favorite of mine) in a single sketchbook. I was particularly excited to find this Japanese made folded sketchbook shown here. My plan is to display the finish work on a table top, like a Japanese screen.
One word of caution, I am finding that the Japanese paper, although wonderful, gets saturated easily and I have to give washed areas additional dry time before I can go back into the work and add detail.
Whatever approach you take do consider the ultimate sizes and composition for displaying your works as a single group. Your growth process artistically is being documented along with the growth of the flowers, embrace it, celebrate it and bloom together!
Here is an older unfinished work I began last year of a daffodil bulb. I really like this piece and plan to complete it as a single work. It is done in 4H drawing pencil on 90lbs. Hot Press Arches watercolor paper (very smooth finish that allows you to capture great deal of detail). I will be sure to post again once I have added color. Remember you can use the pencil to add value with watercolor as lone as you use a hard lead that will not be so loose as to mix with the paint and muddy the colors.
Questions? Write me!