Some leaf and flower studies

Last night, an art friend mentioned the book Botanical Illustration by Siriol Sherlock, and I pulled out my copy and read a little before going to bed.

Big mistake.

I turned fitfully and dreamed of impossible leaves and flowers and woke up in about two hours, probably due to Ripley snoring. But once awake, I couldn’t get those illustrations out of my mind. So I toddled down to my studio and studied some of the instructions, and then used some of my own reference photos to practice what I read on a scrap of watercolor paper. Modeling shiny surfaces wet in wet is going to take a lot of practice before I get any measure of comfort.

Do you ever get that way with an art project – where it grabs you and won’t let you go until you practice something or try something out?


  1. Jennafer
    April 5, 2006

    Yes, I know what you mean about being “grabbed”. Beautiful attempts at shiny. That is a great book. One of the “classics”. Judith Milne also has a couple
    about watercolor for flowers and wild flowers. Also, about another post where you mentioned needing another bigger brush. I just found a Niji water
    brush with a flat brush head. It’s about a half inch wide or so. I’m going to try it out tonight.

  2. Tami
    April 5, 2006

    When I popped open your blog, I thought, “wow, nice job on the shine on the camillia leaves.”, then I read the post and realized they were practice work. Yes, I have been grabbed by an image that has forced
    it’s way to the front and demanded to be recognized.

  3. Jean Mikulla
    April 5, 2006

    Karen,I think that your leaves turned out pretty well considering you got out of bed and deceided th work on leaves. Sometimes I find that I need to nudge my brain before it starts to work in artist mode. But in case you deceide to continue with leaves, there is a book put out by the Society of Botanical Artists, called “The Art of Botanical Painting” by Margaret Stevens. It has leaf studies that were done by one of their members and the study is beautiful enough to hand as art. The book havs lots of ideas for mixing greens, painting white,painting fruit, colored pencil,and gouache, althoughtnthe main focus is watercolor. What is nice is you get the perspective of several artists, not just one. Amazon has the book. Jean

    The Art of Botanical Painting by Margaret Stevens (Hardcover – Nov 30, 2005)
    Books: See all 187 items
    Buy new: $29.95 $18.87 Used & new from $18.87 Usually ships in 24 hours

  4. Lin
    April 5, 2006

    OH MY!!! GORGEOUS!! And how I WISH my own work on my plants looked 1/3 as good! GREAT job, Karen — from shine to depth to color!!!

  5. Kathleen Marie
    April 6, 2006

    Great idea to study the whole highlight issue. These turned out lovely for a night-time attempt. :)

    Sorry you couldn’t sleep, but you got to conduct an art experiment… so it’s all good, no?

  6. Linda
    April 6, 2006

    Karen, the Sherlock book is one of my new favorites (after checking out at the library and then renewing for the max allowable number of times.
    I’m also keeping my eye out for the Margaret Stevens book, which sounds wonderful.
    Anyway — beautiful job with the shine on these leaves. I have a really hard time doing that, too — it seems to be a cas of less is more, doesn’t it!?!

  7. Toni
    April 6, 2006

    I know just what you mean.
    And then sometimes my studies turn out better than my good piece. Go figure. Beautiful job here Karen

  1. Linda O Neil - Linda O Neil I Googled for something completely different, but found your page...and have to say thanks. nice read.

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