After a few days of rain, the sun broke through the gray and I was able to get out and spend some time in my backyard this weekend. Most of the time was spent cleaning up debris from some strong winds that broke off weak tree limbs and getting my herb bed ready for some new herbs. I plan on keeping things simple and small this year. I’ve been itching to try my hand at making some hot pepper jelly, so jalapenos are the only thing on my short list that isn’t an herb that I plan on planting. Other than that, I’ll be sticking with my three favorites; peppermint, lemon verbena (or lemon balm if I can’t get any starters for the verbena) and thyme.
After cleaning out my herb bed I took a rest on the grass. What started off as a simple moment of relaxation turned into a mini adventure. I found myself paying way too much attention to the grass as I begun to notice all the tiny plants that I had been trampling and sitting upon. I’ve had a few botany courses, so I can identify flowers, trees and a few plants, but nothing I discovered among this sea of grass was familiar to me except for some clover and dandelions. I’m sure my neighbor, who was out raking her yard, found it a bit peculiar that I was on my hands and knees with small pruners clipping at the grass but I was fascinated. It occurred to me that the plant life in our yards are so common that we never give much thought to what’s going on with it, other than having to cut it and getting rid of pesky weeds so that we can have that manicured look. But as I watch all kinds of tiny insects move and flutter about, I realized that there’s a whole other world going on beneath my feet.
I took a few clippings and made some references photos from them for future sketchs. You can see them below. Other than the clover, if you know the names of any of these plants feel free to comment below. 🙂
The difference between a good artist and a great one is:
The novice will often lay down his tool or brush, then pick up an invisible club on the mind’s table and helplessly smash the easels and jade. Whereas the vintage man no longer hurts himself or anyone and keeps on sculpting light. ~ Hafiz
I wanted to put my head through my drawing table today. Despite the end results and the delight I see on the faces of collectors, being an artist isn’t easy. Some days I just want to throw in the towel. But then I remember there isn’t anything else in life that I’m remotely interested in doing. Nothing else makes my eyes light up or stirs my soul like creating art and seeing others creating art. I’m fascinated with the imagination, artistry and creativity. I’m the type of person who wants to see the concept art and storyboards for a movie more than the actual movie. I want to see and know how things are made not just marvel at the finished results. So this spirit of art and creativity is just in me through and through but it’s not always an easy spirit to live with. Sometimes I wonder why I couldn’t have been someone interested in numbers and went off to become an accountant? Or something a bit more, dare I say…practical. But that just isn’t how I was made, so I guess I’ll just keep sculpting light.
As an artist who is mostly inspired by Nature and all of her creations, I’ve always had a bit of an interest in botanical art. Every now and then I try my hand at doing something botanical. Can’t say I’m all that great at it, especially since I’m doing it using the pointillism technique but I try. From what I’ve seen most botanical art pieces are done using watercolors or ink washes, mediums that just boggle my mind, yet make for some rather vivid and life like visuals. Pointillism is a bit of a departure in regards to techniques used for the art and is more so seen on the textbook scientific end of illustrating plants. Either way, it still makes for some good art.
Here are a few artists who I follow on Instagram that create some rather wonderful works of botanical artistry that are inspiring and delightful. 😀
It’s said that imitation is the highest form of flattery. In the field of creativity, sometimes imitation can get in the way of personal growth and authenticity.
Have you ever looked at another artist’s work and thought “Wow! That’s amazing. I want my work to look like that.” And then set out to try and incorporate that artist’s style and technique into your own work? When we were young we might have done this. But as we grow as an artist it can become a hindrance to the development of your own style and technique. I used to do this a lot in my early years of drawing. Back then I had a number of artists whose work I admired and tried to get my own work to imitate theirs, which can be a good way to practice and learn specific techniques. But the thing about imitating someone else’s work is that if you get into the habit of imitating, it’s easy to slip into becoming really good at just copying without ever really developing a style that’s all your own. It can also have the off handed effect of causing you to compare and devalue your own work. You may find yourself so focused on trying to get your art to look similar to another artist that you completely miss how your own style maybe unfolding or worse, you may get discouraged and feel that your art is no good if you’re not able to adequately replicate the other artist’s style.
There’s nothing wrong with admiring someone else’s work and being inspired to improve upon your own. But as an artist one has to be careful not to fall into the trap of striving to imitate the styles of others that you end up squelching the seeds of uniqueness in your own development