My father had a real talent for drawing; I was always envious of his abilities. I considered my own talents to be limited. In fact, I once drew an old grist mill as an illustration to accompany an article I had written for my organization's newsletter, and someone (who did not know that I had drawn the the mill illustration) commented, "I wonder whose kid drew that picture?" If that wouldn't put the kibosh on any artistic aspirations I don't know what would.
However, since I've inherited half my father's genes, I've often wondered if I could improve my drawing skills with some coaching and practice. Plus, with retirement looming, Kali questions me constantly about how I'm going to fill my time after I stop working.
So, when a retired high school art teacher offered to teach a three-evening introductory botanical illustration class for my organization, my program planner and I readily agreed to put it on the schedule, and I signed up. Last evening was our first class.
The instructor asked the students to find a relatively simple leaf as a subject. Then, we retreated from the oppressive heat and humidity to an air conditioned conference room and set about with plain, old Staples-brand No. 2 pencils to draw the leaf. The instructor told the students it was perfectly acceptable to trace the leaf, but I decided to try to draw it freehand. Once we had the basic form and venation on paper, we took fine-pointed markers and inked the outline. Then, the instructor asked us to highlight features of the leaf in stippling.
My representation of a sourwood leaf (Oxydendrum arboreum) and my subject head this post. Kali said that she liked my drawing, but didn't think it was a very accurate representation of the subject. I'm not completely satisfied either (I'm a bit disappointed with the stippling, in particular), but I don't think I've tried to draw anything since my grist mill fiasco.
Next week, we add color with watercolors, and the third week we'll attempt a scratchboard project. I'll post my results of each.