It is getting on to winter, but there still are roses in my garden, some hanging on in sheer desperation, or so it seems. The climbers on my rose arch have few flowers now, as it almost freezes at night. The rose-bushes have plenty of rose hips and are letting go of their leaves. I could make jam out of them, but not this year. I am painting on twice the scale, from A5 on to A4 (210mmx297mm). There is always a compromise when painting leaves. In any case, starting with the light colour is sensible and leaving out white for the highlights. In stead of walnut brown, I use the Van Dycke brown earth, which has more opacity.
Last month I visited the University Botanical Garden and found lots of shells(!, in the gravel), herbs and dried pods of flowers. I collected a few and have enough work to last me some time, if I want to paint all of them. I am thinking of drawing just one enlarged flower of petal instead of a branch of bunch of flowers. Anyway, from the botanical garden is the leek (kraallook) and some unknown pods. I started to use earth pigment for these and I like it. The leek got a touch of gold brown, burned sienna and mauve. The dried rose is from a bouquet and I used red and magenta for it. And the aster novi-belgii(herfstaster); lots of tiny flowers and petals. Instead of the usual olive green, I used chroom dark green and some permanent green. Naples yellow, mangan violet and purple magenta for the petals.
Snowberry or sneeuwbes is like a weed. Our municipality plants it along public roads. One cycles or walks past without noticing the beauty of this shrub. White berries and tiny rose-red flowers. I used my usual olive greens and cadmium yellow for the leaves, an earth color for the branches and magenta in different shades for the flowers. The berries got a lick of gray and green around.
My yearly fortnight cycling in the beautiful forests in East Germany. It is very beautiful, with many wild plants, mushroom etc. etc. I picked some chanterelles (Pfifferlinge) under the oak trees but I daren’t eat them as I am not an experienced mushroompicker. The oak leaves have beautiful colours and holes that look like lace; only the veins are left in some part. I used earth pigment for the base, as well as orange, Prussian blue, neutral, green, walnutbrown, sepia and sienna natur. The chanterelles got Indian yellow, translucent orange, translucent yellow and a touch of walnut brown.
I walk every day along some beautiful huge rosa poppies. I thought to draw them, but by the time I picked them they were dry. But this adds a certain charm as well to these flowers. The colours are a challenge. For the seedpods I underpainted with a light yellow brill. and for the greenish/blue and other touches I started with a mix of cobalt green dark/neutral. I added walnutbrown, prussian blue and chroom dark green. I remained in these colors and for the dry leave added burnt sienna, sienna natur and olive green.
I pick straying objects on my travels; dry some flowers, leaves, or find the snail shells in my garden etc. For these I have different styles/shapes of boxes…it can be a mess. So, with the Worldcup football, there were biscuitboxes in the style of our country sold: flat, rectangular, orange, footballs……in fact the perfect size and shape for my artifacts. (and now I have more than a dozen packets of biscuits in my cellar…..). Each variety gets it’s own box: snails, stones, twigs, leaves etc etc.
In april and may I went to Indonesia for a month. I visited a rubber plantation, cacaotrees, the Toba lake with its beautiful Batak houses and ended up in Ubud(Bali), where I drew an orange flower; a climber. I try to keep the plants/flowers in good shape, but when I pressed them in my specially made travel herbarium, the plants moulded. Also I tried to keep the plants in airtight sacs, but that takes too much space in the suitcase. As I sketch in a small book, app.13×20 cm, I cannot use much water in my watercolors and I have to pay attention to the different stades of coloring: from light to darker colors and a full day of rest between two sessions, and of course the brushes. And I am making a small sketch book with experiments in color. I’ll post some pics of my travel herbarium, experiment and brushes later on.