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Topic: Botanical watercolors - (Lots o' Pics)  (Read 4804 times)
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« on: May 08, 2010 09:19:56 AM »

I really love natural history illustrations: they were meant to be purely descriptive but before the invention of mechanical photo documentation you HAD to have artists to visually describe the natural world. Through them they ended up being not only descriptive but beautiful works of art. I envy artist/naturalists like Ernst Haeckel or the remarkable Maria Sibylla Merian ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maria_Sibylla_Merian ) who lived in a time when this kind of career was possible!

These are some watercolors of interesting flora I did that were inspired by the love of describing and understanding an organism and the appreciation of its visual aesthetic. Apart from the first they are all plants I grew at home:)

Amorphophallus bulbifer - Fruit - Asia - Aroid/Arum family

Haworthia venosa ssp tesselatta - succulent - South Africa

Passiflora coriaceae - bat wing passion flower - South America
pen and ink, and watercolor

x Miltassia -Orchid hybrid cross between Miltonia and Brassia

Paphiopedilum hybrid - Lady Slipper Orchid
pen and ink, and watercolor

Phalaenopsis hybrid - Moon orchid 
pen and ink, and watercolor

« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2010 01:29:47 PM »

WOW kick ass paintings!!!! Shocked  they look like you took a photo of them for final presentation, if you can scan your artwork (if it can fit in the scanner) you can get the best image display for your artwork for on line, prints or promotional use.
I love watercolor its one of the hardest mediums to work with good gob!. Cool
« Last Edit: May 08, 2010 01:30:54 PM by bonesaw » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2010 06:19:54 PM »

I especially like the Haworthia.


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« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2010 08:54:37 PM »


that Haworthia is amazing! my favourites the orchid hybrid though. beautiful.

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« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2010 09:40:18 AM »

wow thanks!

I love watercolor - it's like a cross between sketching and painting. Much less hooplah than getting all my gear for painting in oils or acrylic.
It's also fun to use in combination with the glossy black of pen and ink.

It can be a real pain though translating real life colors into the transparent quality of watercolor. The Miltassia was kinda getting to the point where the areas in shadow were getting muddy - it has lots of little brown spots each circled in white on a purple petal. Lots of little details in a small area...

bonesaw - thanks! coming from you that's quite the compliment!
I actually tried to take pics in bright daylight because my scanner makes the colors look funny. There is some secret scanning technique that I have yet to acquire. I've always had a hard time getting good pics of artwork - they never end up looking like they do in front of me. Maybe I should get them professionally scanned by a lab.


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« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2010 12:31:27 PM »

beautiful work! Side note, I highly suggest looking up Karl Blossfeldt. He photographed plants and his work is simply amazing. If you like black and white photos you'll love him.
« Reply #6 on: May 18, 2010 04:38:11 PM »

thanks! I love Karl Blossfeldt although he was primarilly interested in the design aspects of his subject matter rather than their biology. It's interesting to note that photography was first seen as a purely descriptive tool and only later as a form of artistic expression (with the help of photographers like Blossfeldt) which is the reverse of drawing and painting. It took a long time before illustrations in botanical texts, for example, were used to illustrate the subject matter rather than as a purely decorative element. You'd think it would be obvious that a text about a certain medicinal plant would be accompanied by a detailed illustration of what the plant looked like but for a long time it simply didn't happen. Smiley


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« Reply #7 on: May 21, 2010 05:48:44 AM »

the haworthia is my fave.  these are all just wonderful.  you have a great gift and skill!  thanks for the delicious peek.

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« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2010 01:13:20 PM »

Wot?  WOT?? *No one* else has claimed the Amorphophallus bulbifer as a favorite? EVERYBODY with a preference is going for Haworthia? Fine, then! He's all mine!  AHA HA HA HA HA!!!ahem...

I even had to wist it. I love it when reality out-weirds fiction, but that plant is totally cheating! It put on its Halloween costume when it saw you coming, right? Right? ...No?

Okay, for real: painting anything that bizarre is pretty difficult, because people will always assume that anything exaggerated is going to be an "artistic interpretation," artistic license, lack of skill, poor paint colors, etc. When you paint strange things from life, you're fighting that twitch inside people's heads, too. It takes serious skill to get past that. When I first looked at the AB thumbnail, I wasn't sure if it was glass, or oil painting, or mixed media, or what. I didn't really get that it was a watercolor until I read the post, and it's so good that I believed you, even though that is a seriously strange thing!

I keep wishing that "mushroom designer" were a valid career choice, but I'm not sure my designs would be convincing enough for anyone to buy them. Wink Yours, though, I'm sure would look real! It's like they say: "One you can fake sincerity, you can do anything."
« Reply #9 on: September 09, 2010 10:12:24 AM »

That Haworthia is amazing!!!!

« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2010 09:24:03 AM »

Wow these are just breath taking, you're amazingly talented. I love the first piece, the colours are so beautiful.
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