In past years, I created an original painting and had it reproduced on printed greeting cards to mail out as a Christmas card. This year, I was really drawing a blank as far as what to make. I decided to make some original graphite and watercolor drawings from life and from some of the snapshots I took with my phone over the past year. I made these small drawings on scraps of watercolor paper that I had saved from previous projects and I glued them down to blank greeting cards. It was a good way to use some of the supplies I had on hand and to do something a little different. I mailed these originals out to some special friends and relatives. Here is a look at what I made:
This little red camellia was from the Camellia Show at Tower Hill Botanic Garden this past February. I used to love visiting all the themed flower shows at Tower Hill. There were always crowds of people and I used to take the most beautiful photos of the specimens. Camellias come in different colors, but I thought the red ones looked a bit like Christmas.
I took a photo of this poinsettia at the end of February at Magic Wings Butterfly Conservatory in Deerfield, MA. I almost didn’t go that day, but I remember thinking to myself that it might be one of the last opportunities I had to get out of the house with Cate. I was following the coronavirus story in the news and I was anticipating that life was going to drastically change. I am so glad that I decided to visit, and I got to see a lot of interesting butterflies that day. Interestingly, after I made this card, I realized that I was spelling and pronouncing “poinsettia” wrong all these years by adding an extra T.
When I visited Tower Hill in June, I noticed that the place seemed a bit neglected. The volunteers who normally maintain the gardens were not coming in during the lockdown and were not able to keep it in pristine condition like normal. Many of the plants had not been transplanted yet. I found a huge tray of sage plants there and I took a photo from above thinking it might make an interesting wallpaper for my computer. This drawing is a closeup of a few leaves.
Tower Hill reopened in June and I happened to be able to visit on the very first day that they reopened. I went nuts taking photos of all the flowers I could find. Columbine is usually pointed downwards so you don’t see the orientation of the petals like this. I held up the flower when I took my photo so I could see the star shape. The actual flower was a brighter and darker purple, but I added a little red to make it more of a pinkish purple color.
This year I got a lot of photos of poppies, including unusual colors like purple. This poppy was the regular color, but I painted it in a lighter, more toned-down shade of orange red. I took the photo so you can see the inside, which has an interesting look that reminds me of a sea urchin.
This interesting plant was found in a planter at a local ice cream shop. It was exceptionally warm weather for October, and we stopped for ice cream with some friends visiting from Pennsylvania. Later, I inquired with an online plant identification group and found out that this groundcover is called Lamium, aka dead nettle. In southern states it is considered invasive.
I spotted these almost translucent mushrooms at Purgatory Chasm State Park in October. We were with the same friends from Pennsylvania that day. These mushrooms were growing at the base of a large boulder covered with lichen. I had to get down on the ground to take this photo.
I collected these acorns and their corresponding caps in November, and they were kicking around my bedroom for awhile waiting to be drawn. I did a similar sketch in my sketchbook but wanted to try again, which is where this drawing came from. English oak acorns have an elongated shape which I like a lot.
These were some pinecones that I found outdoors around the same time as the acorns above. Pinecones are one of my favorite things to draw slowly. I like to pay attention to the geometry of how the “petals” align with each other to form the perfect 3D shape. I drew these a little bit abstractly in mechanical pencil and then went over them in watercolor. After I did this drawing, I decided I was going to make an entire series of pencil and watercolor drawings instead of my usual ink and watercolor.
My mother bought this pomegranate at Trader Joe’s this past December. Cate and I took the opportunity to sketch it from life as a homeschool art activity before we all cut it up for the seeds. Fresh pomegranate is an unusual and rare treat for us.