And no, it’s nothing to do with the internet, but a reminder that a deadline is fast approaching and it’s going to be down to the wire. I’m participating in Round 2 of the Northern California Chapter of the American Society of Botanical Artists, abbreviated NCalSBA and I’m working on my title page and first ‘sketch.’ I put sketch in quotes because I think of a sketch as something that takes minutes to an hour or 2 at the most and these little illustrations have taken on a life of their own and I’ve been working on this one for well over a week. I need to mail this to the next artist on the list around the 25th and here it is the 21st and I’ve still got one huge leaf to render after I finish the little one I’m working on now:
Note how I got all excited by the spotted petals of this flower. I went on the internet to research “spotted cyclamen” and couldn’t find any speckled or spotted varieties of cyclamen except one photo of a “rare spotted cyclamen” photographed on the plains of Galilee. A deeper dive revealed that dark purple spots on petals in cyclamens is a sign of a fungal infection called Botrytis blight. Sigh. Not so rare. Botrytis blight is a very common plant pathogen that attacks all sorts of ornamental flowers but I think it usually shows up as brown spots. These purple spots are actually quite pretty and the plants and flowers looked healthy, but closer inspection showed holes at the center of some of the spots. That’s a dead giveaway. Farmer Gary recognized it as blight immediately from afar, of course.
For any pencil artists in the audience, and really more as a reminder to myself, I discovered a few useful new pencil colors on this project as I was trying to replicate the colors of the stems and leaves. Cyclamen stems are a very interesting mix of reds and greens and the leaves are a dull green that was easily replicated with a few of my standard greens (Polychromos 174 and 165) and I have backups for those colors in my stock, but those lighter areas of dull green were a little more challenging. I found Polychromos 189/Cinnamon and Tombow Irojiten LG-6/Mist Green were quite helpful (you can see them on the table) and I’m well on my way. I just have to buckle down and draw!