Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Studio Cat

Fond of little cats though I am,
and appreciating our tabby's company, now that he must comply with our municipality's new cat bylaw (no more outdoor roaming or else risk a fine) his quest for new amusements poses a challenge.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Pansies, Petals and Primulas

For my watercolour classes this week I bought little pots of primulas, one each of white, yellow and pink blossoms. After some general and specific recommendations for colours and composition the real drawing and painting began (two of my quick demo paintings in progress above) and I made a discovery about the primulas. They had six or seven petals, every single of them, confounding a rule that I have been presenting to my classes as a reliable and unvarying truth:

Whenever we are painting flowers I point out the difference between monocots and dicots, a handy thing I learned in first year biology. The number of petals in spring bulb flowers is usually a multiple of three and the leaves have stripey, parallel veining. These two features are typical of monocotolydenous (one seed leaf) plants. Dicotyledonous (two seed leaf) plants have leaves with reticulated veining and their flowers usually have petals in multiples of four or five (and it is all well described at this page.) "Usually", and up until this lesson, unvaryingly, but these flowers hadn't heard of the phenomenon or read the text books and instead flaunted their pretty seven-petalled heads at me. "Paint what you see" is a good rule too and the one to follow when theories don't seem to fit.

Last year's pansies were much more obedient!
The important thing is to keep painting, whether following familiar trails or breaking a new path.

"Under the snow are next year's flowers, and always ahead are the happy hours."