There is something eternal to botanical illustrations, which has always fascinated me. Though Georgia O’Keeffe once said, “I hate flowers – I paint them because they’re cheaper than models and they don’t move”, I personally love flowers and find them challenging to paint, because they vanish so quickly.
To capture the essence of a flower is a delicate undertaking. Catching that short lifespan of pure beauty – which comes into existence for just a moment to share its fragrance, its caress of colour upon our senses – is as breathtaking as if a rare bird were sitting down on our windowsill.
I’ve always found it difficult to paint a series. Fascinated by the work of other botanical illustrators like a Eunike Nugroho or Fiona Strickland, I decided I wanted to do a series of botanical illustrations and clarify my own work flow, in order to allow these illustrations to emerge. Though having studied scientific illustration myself, I needed to find my own procedure.
Research and finding the right models is not my favourite part in illustration. When it comes to flowers, it’s a diligent job to see which model will give a good illustration and decide upon the ideal perspective. Also, as flowers fade quickly, I prefer to work from photos I’ve taken of them.
Once I have the actual sketch, I create a clean drawing and colour it in Photoshop in the shades of the major tone of the final painting. I then print it with an ink jet printer directly onto water colour paper, because the ink will then wash out with the water and allow no lines to disturb the painting.
Then I begin to paint with very fine hues. I usually use Windsor & Newton water colours in pans. Just recently I’ve begun to work with tubed water colour too, which I actually like very much. One of the major factors for a good painting is a high-quality brush.
I had wonderful responses and clearly see once again how working on series gives more response, as it allows a certain development and gives a broader idea of one’s skills.
I’ve had some requests for features and hope that the paintings invite people to visit my website and that they enjoy the many different offerings displayed there.
I’ve learned to choose what blossom works well for illustrating and what sequences lead to the best results. I’ve also learned that every painting brings me one step closer to the refinement I seek to achieve. So it’s all about keeping the focus, keeping the focus, and keeping the focus.
Don’t hesitate to reach out for collaborations I’d love to connect!
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