Sunday, 25 January 2009

Autumn Leaf

I like autumn leaves and each time I go for a walk I collect a few. With so many to choose from, what influences my choices? Sometimes it is the curling shape that attracts me to pick it up, sometimes it is the colours or patterns or the way the stem bends. I like to find unusual leaves, skeleton leaves or the dock leaf eaten by beetles and then resembles a piece of lace.
I see images that I want to capture in my drawings. Even if I do not actually do the drawing of the collected leaf it was not wasted, because I would just look, study the shapes, the colours, the tiny details and store it in my memory. Sometimes just looking is enough, seeing the object and closely observing, learning and understanding something about that leaf or shell or acorn or feather or whatever.
They are all different, all unique, with their different shapes, sizes, colours and patterns. That is what I love about natural objects, so much to see, so much to inspire, the same but different. There is such beauty in these simple objects.
This sycamore leaf was collected in Autumn, the colours were changing to softer greens and orche yellows. The detail of the small brown cuts and tears, bruised and fragile after falling from the tree, and tossed in the wind. Gradually this leaf will become more and more damaged, eventually becoming small fragments of dust. So in the drawing I capture a moment in time.
It is worked in Derwent coloursoft pencils, on A3 sized paper.

Saturday, 24 January 2009


I have just completed this drawing for the challenge to draw a clementine.
It is the first time that I have ever drawn from a photograph on my computer screen, so I did find it challenging. I worked from the large image as I am a detail person. It was really interesting to do and I did enjoy the experience. I only started it Friday night and it needs to be posted today, so I would probably have liked to spent a bit longer on it, but time is running out.
It is my first time take taking part in Virtual Sketch Date, so looking forward to seeing everyone elses work, all with the same picture only each doing it their way.
It is drawn using a 0.5mm Pentel mechanical pencil, on white watercolour paper. It is about five hours of drawing. I am happy with the outcome and it made me draw something new.

Friday, 23 January 2009

One of my favourite shells .....edm 207

I have lots of shells which I have collected over many years. If I was on holiday I would bring them home off the beach. In my suitcase all the shoes would be packed full of tissue wrapped specimens. Then many were bought from shell shops. When I was first married our bathroom window was full of my shells. Our bathroom now has mainly starfish and a few shells on display. A large glass container in the kitchen window is crammed full of my beach finds. I still can't resist buying new shells, they have such wonderful colours, shapes and patterns. I buy them to draw but never quite get around to doing it. I know where all my shells come from.
I have a chocolate box full of shells found on my 50th birthday, the chocolates were a present and we were in Madeira at the time. Then I found a shop with cabinets full of unusual shells for sale. I kept going back to see them all.
The shell I have posted for the edm challenge was bought from out of the cabinets and then painted while I was at Madeira. I love it for the maroon colours, one of my favourites. I love it for its simplicity and yet it is so beautifully patterned. And of course for the memories that this little shell brings flooding back.
It is painted in watercolour paints. Hope you like it too.

Thursday, 15 January 2009


Since I was a child we have always called these sycamore seeds helicopters. They twirl around as they fall through the sky. The ones I usually collect are from the sycamore tree but I realise they are part of the maple family. They come in many different sizes, shapes and variations. Usually they are a double helicopter, sometimes I can find three together. They generally grow in clumps on the tree and fall in pairs which split to give the single seed.
I have many detailed drawings of them in different stages of their life, as they become thinner and very delicate and a sort of skeleton like the leaves. And on my artcard where I put 30 helicopters with three red berries found together in the snowdrop orchard in January. I brought them home, placed them on my paper to look at and thought they would make a great drawing.

Friday, 9 January 2009

Skeleton leaves

It is really cold and frosty here. There is nothing left in the hedgerows and verges except a few pale bleached seedheads and lots of empty snail shells. It is the time of year when all the leaves are thin like tissue paper and slowly breaking down into small fragments.
There amongst the heaps of dead leaves I can find the beautiful skeleton leaves. They are stripped back to their tiny veins, the very thin delicate lace patterns of their structure now revealed. I collect them, carefully untangle them and press them to keep them like antique treasures, each one so precious.
As I draw the patterns I admire the beauty and think myself so lucky to have found this natural work of art. It is drawn in pencil, with a very sharp point, on A4 size paper. Press to see it larger.

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Curling Leaf

A New Year, so I bought a new sketch book, with some ideas whizzing around in my head. I have been planning a drawing project for this coming year.
Meanwhile I have been brushing up on my drawing skills, by drawing acorns and oak leaves. I love using pencil, a sharpened point and a piece of paper, just observing and recording something I found. A moment in time captured, then months later you find that drawing, it evokes a memory of a walk, a place, a day out in the countryside.

This curling leaf is a favourite drawing of mine. I like the crisp shape and the way it curls around. We had been out for a walk and I had collected some leaves. I sat that evening drawing them. I loved the shadows cast from the curling leaf by the electric lamp. I think they make the drawing so much more interesting, the elegant shapes of the leaf and the delicate shadows.
I am going to do more pencil drawings in 2009 as I really enjoy using a pencil. Press the picture to see it close up.
Happy New Year to everyone.