Leafing out and remaining cobalt carbonate true

first try with a leaf---scrapped

decided simple leaf better for this messy artist--just a little more work left

still not finished--took so long leaf fell off

my edges need sharpening--lifting with a damp stiff bristle brush

pencil lines so light had to gray scale

Artist Michele Petherwick asked me to join her in taking a one day botanical illustration workshop. Her work is beautifully realistic and richly composed.  Michele is a scientific illustrator and taking this workshop gets her out of her own home studio.  There's always something to gain working with other artists in a learning situation.  I, on other hand, have never taken any sort of painting workshop.  My only instruction in the world of painting came in the required art courses in college. This would definitely take me out of my comfort zone! I am a beginner when it comes to 2-D---a mere dabbler. 

The workshop was held at the U.C. Berkeley Botanical Gardens.  Absolutely inspirational.  The day was sunny.  The perennials in full bloom.  Artist Catherine Watters gave the workshop. Her instruction was clear and insightful.  I came away with a better understanding of the step by step layering of colors and the precision required in measuring the subject matter.

I thought clay taught me patience!  I wanted to pull out a blow dryer so I didn't have to wait for each wash to dry!  But I waited. And finally it paid off.  I was able to dry brush peacefully so involved with the minute that the minutes flew.  Wow, I thought.  I have always respected the skill and talent needed to produce such intimate, detailed scientific illustration, but the patience....

I love it.  It intrigues me.

I still love clay, though. I won't give up my clay job any time soon.  I remain cobalt carbonate true. 


  1. Charlene - that class sounds delightful! Your paintings look great. It is a good thing to get out of your studio sometimes and do something different.
    I became 'intrigued' with 2-d last January and have side tracked away from clay. I took no art classes in college, so it was all new to me! I l still love clay and my wheel is still in my studio - just not sure when I'll return.

  2. What a wonderful class, the detail in the pear is superb. Getting objects to look three dimensional when they are in 2D is a real challenge for me. You have given me a challenge. I bring in leaves and press them in clay, but next time I may try bringing one in and painting it, that would be good practice for me. I've been to those botanical gardens in Berkeley when I used to live in the Bay Area and they are wonderful. I also love the arboreteum and tea gardens in SF.

  3. Judy-Yes, it did me good to get out! I can be such a hermit sometimes. Clay is calling though.

    Linda--Did you ever visit the Filoli Gardens outside of Woodside/Palo Alto? I am planning to visit all nearby the gardens next month. A botanical odyssey of sorts. I can only draw for a short time so I have cut up cold pressed 140 lb. paper in small rectangles. Small and simple. Like test tiles! Tiny leaf portraits........


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