Orchids – A Gift Ink Sketch

I made an extra gift for Mother’s Day this year.  A good family friend gave my mother some beautiful white orchids earlier in the week, and I decided to draw up a little piece as a present.  My mother is really enthusiastic about orchids, caring and cultivating them in her beautiful garden, next to her house.

In true recent lab fashion, I gave myself little time, leaving a couple of hours to get ready and meet the family.  I did practice sketches the night before, and based them reference photos I took.  The two-dimensional nature of the photos didn’t help.  The center of the flowers looked like faces!  Must have had Alice in Wonderland in mind.  The  faces haunted me so much that I let Twitter know.

One of the great artists I follow was so nice she told me about her own experience. Beautiful work!  She assured me I had to sketch them live because of their complex inner structures.  She was totally right!  I promptly went back to the flowers, avoided my mother’s prying eyes, and sketched.  The truth was evident!  I was very happy with the results.  Thanks, Jennifer ! (Follow @JenniferLMeyer on Twitter).

Mother’s Day morning, everyone sleeping late, I drew the final sketch.  Using one of the reference pictures to compose, I kept the pencil light, and cleaned it up.  I did the outlines with a micron-like fine point ink pen.  It looked fine, but I had to fuss with it, and got some extra wide outlines in the end.  Still acceptable.

Since I didn’t have the brush pens colors I wanted, I tried pastel sticks.  Mistake.  Control of the pastels escaped me.  Erasers took care of that mess.  The “tooth” of the sketch paper I used made it difficult, but not impossible.  Plan B consisted of using color pencils I had in an artist’s kit I had not used yet.  Good to have these things handy, you know.  It took some testing to realize the two color pencil sets were set apart by their hardness (they were not marked).  I did not have time to mess with the unused water colors, so after testing the colors I needed, I rendered the soft tones enough to my liking.  I had not used color pencils since high school, but the fact that these were pencils made them easy to handle.

So here’s the final piece.  As always, it was fun to hit the production line in a hurry again, while exploring and discovering what I can do with what I have.  It did look finished, even if the outlines made it look a bit like a cartoon, or comic piece, especially when the topic really lends itself to realistic rendering.  Best of all, my Mother liked it very much.  She did make me feel like a little kid at that moment, but hey, you’re always a little kid in your mom’s eyes.

Feel free to comment, and thanks for visiting!  Have a great art time!

Published in: Uncategorized on May 11, 2010 at 12:04 am  Comments (6)  

6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Wow Jose. This is beautiful work. Tip o’ the hat. You are in the zone!!

    • Thanks!!!! I’m getting there.. just have to practice more and more, and learn from all of you guys. Best schooling online! Working on the next ones. Thanks for the visit!

  2. Awesome, I can see some real structure there. Form is one of the primary keys to all drawing, once you get that down there’s almost nothing you can’t do. Keep it up!!

    • Thanks Mark! This was a lesson to me… so used to doodling two-dimensional things in a hurry, especially from flat images. Its a treat to sketch anything live. And its a trip to dive into form and structure. I knew orchids were complex, but I’d never “walked” inside of one. (stretching it there a bit … :))
      Thanks for visiting!!!

  3. Looking very good my friend! I love how you put it, “walking inside” the orchid. A detailed study of anything one draws is just like that, taking a trip through and over the form, mapping it out and deciphering it’s complexities. It is quite clear that your trip was well worth it! the face of the phalaenopsis is so cool! put your finger in the center, just under the lil “eyes” and a little sticky pad will adhere to you fingernail and the eyes will pop out with it! I know… I spent way to much time with plants :o) You are really making progress Jose. What you learn through every “trip through the orchid” will stay with you informing every thing you draw in the future. Bravo buddy!

    • Thank you Sam! Spoken like one that really knows. I’d like to try that experiment with the sticky pad, but I’m afraid the owner won’t like that… I will let her know about it, if she doesn’t know already.
      Yep… nothing like live sketching… drawing from memory is fun, and lets your creative side fly, but drawing with the real thing in front of is another story… exploring is right.
      THanks again for visiting!

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