Monday, May 31, 2010

Swamp lily

Swamp lily, originally uploaded by Elizabeth Smith.

I’m not always able to get out in the field to draw, so when I’m outside I try to take reference photos of interesting subjects for those times. Swamp lily is one of those reference photos. There is something prehistoric about them – perhaps it is the thick stems and leaves, maybe the spidery blooms.

Rather than try to capture a botanical likeness, I wanted to convey my feelings about this plant in an expressive way. The shapes are recognizable, but also left somewhat ambiguous. Sharp edges contrast with softer edges. I felt there should be mystery, and poetry, and gaps left for the viewer to complete.

I used watercolor pencils over a light pencil drawing, and sponged away some of the color towards the bottom for a soft look, adding more color and darks around the centers of the blooms to bring them into a sharper focus.

You can click on the image above to view it larger on my Flickr photostream.