Sunday, January 19, 2020

Botanical art field kit for greenhouse work

I have loved field gear since I was a kid, and that did not change once I became a botanical artist. If anything, doing field work for botanical art opened a whole new world to gear. But there is a balance that you have to strike between carrying gadgets into the field and and unwieldiness (or wieldiness, as the case may be). Doing my work on the cotton project in greenhouses is no different--especially when sometimes my subjects can only be reached at the top of a ladder:

So for this project, I've really had to pare my equipment down to just what I can carry up a ladder safely, and in one or two trips. That includes the sketchbook, a pencil box with dividers, mechanical pencil, eraser, and paint brush, a small container of water, small paint box, and small mixing tray. Oh, and I also carry an old fashioned transistor radio; I don't like using ear buds for some reason, but I do like listening to the local classical station while I work. (The music keeps me relaxed while I am concentrating and helps me work longer.)

And here are some images from the top of my perch:

This is Gossypium raimondii; it blooms very rarely in a greenhouse, so I have been scrambling over the past couple of weeks to draw as many specimens as a I can. Each flower blooms for only a day, so when I am notified that one of the buds has opened, I drop everything and go draw it:

The greenhouse struts make a nice shelf for the radio. The music helps to drown out the greenhouse fan, which is noisy and puts me on edge:

Balancing precariously on a ladder mysteriously speeds up the amount of time I spend on my field sketches. But by this time, I have drawn these flowers enough that I am looking for very specific morphologies to note:

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Early morning in the studio

Most mornings I wake up naturally between 4:30 and 5. I make myself a cup of tea, do my physical therapy exercises for my hips, and then climb the stairs to the studio to work on a painting or write a letter. Some mornings I am struck anew just how much I love being able to do these things, in this space.

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