It's true, Chaos and Creativity go together.

I need to get going on my?next project, and I'm still looking for ideas. I have a deadline, which might?bring?pressure, panic, despair, and CHAOS. But wait! Chaos and creativity can be a good combination.

If I go into the dark forest, I might come out with a rare find, a new species, a basket of really cool mushrooms. You never know what you will find in the unmapped territories, and you can't get to the good stuff without going there.

So here I go.


A?shot of my worktable early in the brainstorming process. Nice and tidy.

Time for some free association. Woods . . . spring . . . botanical paintings . . . I love botanical paintings . . . I can get out the watercolors and see what happens! Oh, wow, discovery.?Flowers are really, really hard to do well in watercolor . . . ?harder than berries, twigs and dry leaves . . . I need to learn how to do this. . . . I'll look at my books, find some exercises. Flat washes! Give it a try! Wow, flat washes are really, really hard . . . how many will I have to do before I get it right? Ok here's one that's kind of ok, I think it's the 50th one I've done. Uh oh, #51 looks terrible. Also #52.



A few hours later, the work table is somewhat less tidy. My 1" x 1" flat wash experiments are?embarrassingly?untidy.



More hours later,?chaos is howling at the door. All hope of an orderly work table is gone.

The flat washes are still pretty rough. Is there a Plan B? Hmmm, at least I can draw. I'll look at my drawings.

dog and mother sketch_616_site

Maybe it's time for Plan B.

Having a look at recent sketches, these two pages seem promising.?I thought they were failures when I drew them. I even had to paste fresh paper over the baby's face so I could redraw it. And the dog isn't quite right either, but still . . . I might have something here.



Yes. mom and baby and dog all together, I like the feel of that. If only I can work some irises into it? The iris looks like a monster flower compared to the figures, kind of funny! Still free associating here, but on the scent of an idea, ha ha. I bet it turns out to be an etching. Stay tuned. More to come in?the next blog post.

Unless the chaos gets me. (Just kidding.)

watercolor botanical books_site_6816

These wonderful books on Botanical Painting encourage and instruct me.

Titles and authors listed below. To see some amazing work in botanical illustration, follow the link at the end of the list.

The first two are especially good for starters.

Martin, Rose Marie, and Thurston, Meriel. Botanical Illustration Course with the Eden Project, Batsford, London, 2006.

Scott, Mary Ann, with Stevens, Margaret.?Botanical Sketchbook, American Artist Books, 2010.

Stevens, Margaret. The Art of Botanical Painting, Harper Collins, 2005.

Stevens, Margaret. The Botanical Palette, Colour for the Botanical Painter, Harper Collins, 2007.

The American Society of Botanical Artists (online)

I'm starting a new feature:

From time to time, I?will be telling you about?art-related podcasts, such as these:

  1. Two talented contemporary representational painters interview other talented painters/artists on their lives and careers in the Podcast Suggested Donation?(no donation is required.) Tony Curanaj and Ted Minoff are?serious about art and completely irreverent about everything else, so be prepared for both silliness and great conversations.
  2. The National Gallery of Art?has hundreds of videos, audio podcasts, and music programs available on iTunes at no cost. I just downloaded?a great?free video. I have listened to ?many excellent talks by curators of special exhibits while working in my?studio. This is a fantastic resource, and an easy way to learn about art and artists.

Now for this post's installment in the series?How It Looks in a Frame. ?

This etching?fits the theme of today's post: being in the woods, waiting for inspiration. I can't say I am as relaxed as these characters. There is some dreaming going on, though, and that's always a good sign.


Before the Fall,?etching?on paper, 5" w 5.5" h.

To see it without a frame,?click here.

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