Our garden is full of lovely fruits: blueberries, goji berries, black berries, apples and plums. This got me thinking of In Every Moment We Are Still Alive, which I art directed. The typography and gorgeous paper sculpture is by the talented Melissa Deckert.
The book is by the Swedish poet Tom Malmquist and is a mainly autobiographical account of how he copes when his wife dies of Leukaemia and he is left to raise their daughter on his own. His story is very powerful, moving and beautiful and the cover artwork aims to reflect this content. We wanted to capture an important moment in time when his daughter is standing under a cherry tree and the petals delicately falls away.
This weekend I undertook a masterclass in botanical illustration that looked specifically at peaches, plums, pomegranates, figs and cherries.
The tutor showed us example works of artists such as Maria van Huysum, William Hooker and Redoute for inspiration. As well as giving demonstrations and scientific information.
A few bits of information regarding botanical art:
- There are four basic shapes in botanical illustration: sphere, cone, cup and tube/cylinder.
- Botanical illustration is mainly drawn on either white paper, ivory paper or vellum. The type of paper that we were using is called hot press watercolour paper 300gsm.
- There should be a constant light source.
Here is the colour palette we were working from. We were painting the outside of the fruit. However, the fruit is cut open as it is the colour on the inside that actually helps to inform what the first base layer of paint should be. Then the colours our layered up from the lightest to the darkest hue.
I was concentrating on drawing and painting the peach. Starting with a base layer of yellow, then orange, red, purple.
The whole class displayed their work to discuss and see what one another had achieved in the lesson.