Herbarium inspiration

A few weeks ago I attended an online workshop given by the talented Jean Mackay courtesy of the Winslow Art Centre. She demonstrated how to access the vast international collection of herbarium and insectarium collections available through a central website, and then how she uses the digital images of these specimens for inspiration in her nature journal. This was particularly appealing to me at this time of year — the depth of winter in Ontario.

The first result was this sketch. Simply a colourful composition based on a few specimens and my imagination. A pleasant way to spend a winter afternoon. Thank you Jean for the inspiration and guidance!

January exhuberance

I received a joyful, lively, colourful bouquet for my birthday (thanks sweetheart). It was so exuberant it was hard to know where to start! But eventually I did, here’s the result.

My cat Harrley wanted to get in on the action.
He’s only sniffing the palette, not licking it!

Island treats

I received a tantalizing assortment of goodies from my dear friends on Salt Spring Island for Christmas. They looked so lovely piled up that I had to sketch them. All the while smokey wafts of hot peppers filled my nostrils and glints of sugar sparkled on the candied peel. Now that the sketch is done, I can get cooking and tasting.

Flower Power

I needed a boost to start the year, and I got one thanks to Karen Abend’s online challenge to draw a flower each day for 5 days. A photo reference and suggested approach was provided each day. It worked to get me drawing again, and I also learned a few things: draw the same thing a few times, try different materials, don’t fret. (Some of these drawings appear at the end of this post).

I also realized how much I prefer drawing from life, rather than a photo. Thankfully my amaryllis was still in bloom, so I drew it, then I drew it again, then, with great trepidation, added colour.

Day 1 challenge: draw directly with ink.
I found my own black and white photo of a rose from many decades ago and drew it using a dark brown ArtGraf tailor chalk which I had just purchased.
What a challenging flower to try and draw! This was the third attempt.