So, it has been a busy summer…and a busy start to the school year! I am finally getting around to posting my next two sketchbook exchange entries. I have had the pleasure of drawing in 3 other fabulous artists’ books, and I have the next one on my desk, waiting to be filled.
DRAWING #3 – August 2014
To catch you up: I decided to do my third sketchbook entry on some of the gorgeous botanicals that I see when we go to Myrtle Beach, SC: the crepe myrtle tree and the magnolia tree.
I was very pleased to have been able to cover both of these in the spread, and I kept with my favorite media, ink or ink and colored pencil.
On the upper left, you can see a close-up of the crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia.) This is a close-up of the small, round buds that form before opening up into the frilly, tissue-paper-like blossoms. This particular tree had white blossoms, but we saw many with gorgeous, deep pink blossoms as well. Below the blossom is a sketch of the side and top views of the crepe myrtle seed pods. These dried brown pods contain six segments and look like little stars.
On the right side of the spread, I was able to include some drawings of the beautiful Magnolia grandiflorium that are so prevalent in the southern U.S. The upper right shows a cross-section of the immature magnolia seed pod. What a fun find! This has a soft, fluffy white outer covering with a velvety, dark brown stem. The lower right of the page shows the seed pod as it sits among the glossy, dark green leaves. I love the rusty brown underside of the magnolia leaves and tried my best to capture it with colored pencil.
DRAWING #4 – September 2014
For my next drawing in the sketchbook that arrived in September, I had an easy choice of subject. Upon our return from Myrtle Beach in July, I made a happy discovery in our front flower bed: a pumpkin vine was growing! This was the most inadvertent, yet successful, gardening I have ever done. I had left a large pumpkin to decay in the flower bed last winter (too lazy to get a garbage bag to put it in…) After the hard winter we had, it emerged in the spring, frozen white and starting to decay. The local squirrels had a ball tearing it apart and must have put some seeds in a good spot, since we now have a lovely pumpkin plant there!
I loved seeing the bright, orange/yellow blossoms popping up. They also shrivel beautifully as they shrink, curling into wonderful shapes. Once I saw how the pumpkins begin forming under the shriveling blossom, I decided that would be a great way to show both the fruit (in a stage not typically seen) and blossom. I also included some sketches (in graphite) of the blossoms as they begin to form, with hairy stems and beautiful, structural ribbing. These are on the right-side of the spread.
This particular journal was a bit bigger than the others so I wanted to think of something to include on the opposite page of the spread. I love the large, lobed leaves of the pumpkin plant, especially since that is mostly what you see as it grows. They start out tiny and spread into a wonderful, large green canopy covering the blossoms and fruits. This particular leaf is life-size on the page, but in life would grow to nearly twice this size.
I initially started with a graphite drawing, but decided to switch to pen using a stippling technique that allows for delicate gradations of shading. Stippling is wonderfully meditative, but it does take some time. As I was a bit behind on my timing to finish the book, I left the leaf half-completed which works well since this is a sketchbook, after all, and not a finished piece.
Finally, I added the curling tendril at the top of the page, connecting the spread. These tendrils are found all over underneath the pumpkin leaf canopy, extending from blossoms to stems and wrapping around all of the parts of the plant.
I am so excited that we are about halfway through the exchange now! I look forward to working on my next entry so stay tuned!