The flowers are here

The flowers are here

The flowers are here! So I will be out painting them, sneezing and alive.

Miko did not realize we could just move all the art stuff outside. She was adamant that we make the new set up permanent.

Spring sun breaks are the perfect time to get outside and paint: they don't last long, and the light is magic. I've been continuing my project of using up my sketchbooks, and took two that each had just a few pages left outside with me this week to study the sprouts and blooms.

Miko helped me pick out these two little irises to sketch.

Even though this adventure was just in my backyard, I like to pack pretty light when I go to sketch outside. I find that once I'm out there, my kit seems to feel exponentially more complicated than it did inside, with pens and pastels rolling away, little cups of water tipping and paper towels taking off in the wind.

So this time I opted to use a water brush and paper towel, a handful of oil and wax pastels, colored pencils and markers, and a few acrylic gouache tubes with my cardboard + freezer paper palette. I'm okay with a really limited palette because I am not all that interested in matching color, but rather the creative puzzle of using the supplies I have on hand to somehow capture the bit of life I'm looking at.

Here, for example, I used a green oil pastel, a red colored pencil and a peach Posca marker (that leaked all over the place and so I smudged it in with my finger) to explore the lush and rippling openness of the iris.

Drawing both flowers is a version of drawing something twice. This allows me to experiment with switching up the roles of the different supplies (pastel outline in one, marker in the other), to play with how flexible our perception is: the flowers still seem like they're two versions of the same thing, instead of reading as a green flower next to an orange one.

camas is in the asparagus family - can you see the resemblance?

I was delighted to notice a patch of half-open camas. My palette was leaning toward more electric spring colors, so I adapted again to make the sketches below. I began with making a simple contour of the camas shape, and then filled in the space with its friends: blades of grass in hot pink, dandelion in fairly true-to-life colors and some other leaf clusters.