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Homebotanical sketchbookCucurbits and other monsters

Cucurbits and other monsters

I suppose there never is the perfect time to start a blog. So, with no reason other than it’s a sunny Hallowe’en here in Dublin and I have a few pumpkin sketches ready to upload, I’m going to start!
In 2010 I was accepted onto the Society of Botanical ArtistsDistant Learning Diploma Course, and as part of the course, had to keep a botanical sketchbook. I am a bit of a sketchbook junkie and loved this part of the course. I finished the course in 2012 with distinction and had the honour of having my sketchbook work included in the SBA’s recent publication, “The Handbook of Plant Form” by Margaret Stevens and Ernest E Clarke.

This blog is a way for me to revisit some of these old sketches, and link them with sketches and studies from more recent work. The gourd studies were done in preparation for one of my final diploma pieces which had to be a fruit or vegetable painting.

The Gruesome Gourds
I started off by doing some charcoal studies to get a sense of form. I love using charcoal- it’s quicker than graphite and can be very effective.

Then the fun begins- colour studies in my sketchbook. This sketchbook is the one given to us for the purpose of the course, and although I loved the size (A4), the paper wasn’t great with washes and tended to buckle.
I played with frisket to see if I could get the patchy colour whilst retaining the smoothness of the skin. I especially loved this Turk’s Cap squash (Cucurbita maxima), and felt that it would be lovely as an illustration for a fairy tale. One day perhaps! I didn’t finish this, probably because I was under pressure for time to get the diploma piece started!
It was around this time that I also discovered the wonderful mixes that you can get from Perylene maroon, thanks to my fellow artist and friend Jarnie, at Sketchbook Squirrel. I just love that colour…it’s so useful!
Finally a few scribbled thumbnails to get the composition right- you see, not every page is perfect! 
 I thought I’d also include a page of these weird and wonderful hazelnuts (Corylus colurna) that can probably be found in a park near you… that’s if the squirrels haven’t got to them first!

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