Painting Tiny Details Imbues Awe and Wonder

I really love to illustrate for other people! It makes me happy to please others, to meet their need, to communicate and work with them, knowing I can also learn many things as I draw and paint! 

And working with a neat, clean paint brush while listening to interesting podcasts or beautiful music sure beats many other lines of work! 

I distinctly remember working for a caterer on one occasion a long time ago, picking half-eaten hot dogs off the ground with my bare hands after the party was over. I was then around twenty-four and so glad I could return to my studies in painting!

A few weeks ago, I was excited to begin a private horticulture book that will become a beautiful gift for someone's spouse. 

I researched the plants below, drew them with first a pencil, then ink. After this, I erased the pencil lines and used a watercolor wash to give them color and shape. 



This is a Hayscented Fern (Dennstaedtia punctilobula), above. 5x7 illustration, 2014, pen & ink with watercolor. Private Collection.

I learned a great deal drawing this fern. As most know, a fern itself is shaped like a triangle. I noticed while drawing that each branch off the main stem also goes to a point, making an elongated triangle. Then, each little leaf off the side branch is ALSO a triangle, little evergreen tree shapes that go to a point. I "knew" this before, but let me tell you, when you take two hours to draw little itsy bitsy triangles, you really know it!

The colors used were just three. I try to remember to document colors of every painting for future reference and sometimes forget to copy them in my little notebook. I believe the colors were Aur./Perm. Bl./S.L. - abbreviations which to me stand for Aureolin (yellow), Permanent Blue, and Scarlet Lake (orange red). 

Because ferns are generally grown under the cover of trees, they would have some shadows on them, and so I varied the yellow-green with blue-green to keep the eye moving.

Below is the Linden Tree, Leaf and Flower Bud. Or in Latin, Tilia. Again, I was amazed by the tiny details that make this tree so beautiful. 

Notice the heart-shaped leaf!





Then I worked on a familiar flower, the Common Daylily
(Hemerocallis fulva). I used a cool yellow this time, Windsor Lemon, and also Scarlet Lake and Antwerp Blue. The petals are very crinkled around the edges:

.


I've studied flower parts in the past, but forgotten the names. Here they are for those interested, an illustration I found on line thanks to "extension.org":

 



The next illustration tried my eyesight. The tiny filaments of the Neon Flash Spirea (Spiraea japonica 'Neon Flash') were hard to depict! Again, I used only three colors for the entire piece - just Aureolin, Antwerp Blue, and Opera (pink):



And lastly, I drew three stages of the Sensitive Fern (Onoclea sensibilis) - young fern, mature fern and then seeds on the fall stem.

My colors were Aur./Cer./Op. - or Aureolin (yellow), Cerulean Blue and Opera (pink). I didn't really like the sedimentation appearance of the Cerulean. Fern leaves appear smooth, so I will probably not use Cerulean for this purpose if I paint ferns again.




Many art exhibitions ask for an "Artist Statement" to share with viewers. I will share mine with you here, because the feeling I gained while doing these illustrations reminded me of it: 
 
It has been my joy and privilege over the past thirty years to paint what is beautiful to me. Accurately depicting the grandeur and intricacy of our world, to show forth our Creator’s infinite variety in design is a challenge! Color and light are healing and also help impress wonder. I’m so glad be able to capture a moment in time for others’ pleasure.” 

Last week I worked a few hours at the library to crop and resize these botanical image scans. I became curious as to why the man opposite me was working on two computers at once, and struck up a conversation with him. A third man joined our conversation and shared how he has been studying Sacred Geometry for a large architectural project. "All of nature is incredibly mathematically precise!" he exclaimed. 

I agree emphatically. Each botanical drawing above was made much more special as I studied and painted them! Our Creator's design is marvelous and wonderful. It brings me such awe, wonder and joy! I highly recommend learning to draw, if you do not already do so for this reason! 

Drawing anything improves how attentively and thoroughly you see the many details in the world.

I wish you a very fine day.

Your painting-friend on the idyllic, glorious coast of Maine,
Elise

For by him (Christ) were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. ~ Colossians 1:16-17
 
 
       For the beauty of the earth, 
 	for the glory of the skies, 
 	for the love which from our birth 
	over and around us lies; 
 	Lord of all, to thee we raise 
	this our hymn of grateful praise. 
        For the beauty of each hour 
	of the day and of the night, 
	hill and vale, and tree and flower, 
	sun and moon, and stars of light; 
	Lord of all, to thee we raise 
	this our hymn of grateful praise.

	For the joy of ear and eye, 
	for the heart and mind's delight, 
	for the mystic harmony, 
	linking sense to sound and sight; 
	Lord of all, to thee we raise 
	this our hymn of grateful praise.

	For the joy of human love, 
	brother, sister, parent, child, 
	friends on earth and friends above, 
	for all gentle thoughts and mild; 
	Lord of all, to thee we raise 
	this our hymn of grateful praise.

	For thy church, that evermore 
	lifteth holy hands above, 
	offering up on every shore 
	her pure sacrifice of love; 
	Lord of all, to thee we raise 
	this our hymn of grateful praise.

	For thyself, best Gift Divine, 
	to the world so freely given, 
	for that great, great love of thine, 
	peace on earth, and joy in heaven:  
	Lord of all, to thee we raise 
	this our hymn of grateful praise.
                         ~ Folliot S. Pierpoint


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