Saturday, 25 August 2012

Orchid Photography

I found this photography website with beautiful photographs of British orchids; especially love the varieties of bee orchid. Check out his orchid photos from Cyprus and Italy too; I may have to book a holiday next year!!!

Friday, 17 August 2012

What's in a name

The next SBA exhibition has the theme of 'the Language of Flowers'. It's a term called floriography invented by the Victorians and used to send coded messages to express emotions and feelings using flowers.
 This beautiful daisy chain is the SBA 2013 logo and is by Susan Christopher Coulson; a superb coloured pencil artist.
The exhibition is in April next year so we all have some time to work on this theme. No real ideas yet though!

Floriography is interesting but I'm also interested in the actual Latin or Greek name given to a plant species.
This is the 2 named system using genus and species names, called ' the binomial system of nomenclature ' invented by Carl Linnaeus in 1753.
It's an international way of recognising species; the genus is a family name of related species like 'Veronica' and the specific name can be anything from a species trait like 'hederifolia' - ivy-leaved, to a place name like 'americana'.

My latest sketches are of the wildflowers Centaurea nigra and Centaurium erythraea.
 The history of the genus names Centaurea and Centaurium are from classical Greek legends about the centaur Chiron,  who was an ancient herbalist who used these herbs to cure and treat disease.
Also nigra means black and erythraea means red, for the pink flowers?
Centaurium is used medicinally today, in liver and digestives aids, for arthritis and even a treatment for anorexia.

Other than this not much time for painting at the moment with work pressures but have taken a few insect photos.

 Common blues mating at Ynyslas, making the most of the rare August sunshine.

And a female Beautiful Demoiselle looking gorgeous!

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Orchids and Restharrow

Here are the latest pieces of my Ynyslas painting. The Pyramidal orchids and six spot burnet moth are now completed with some graphite grasses.
The common restharrow -Ononsis repens is a member of the pea/legume family that can be found sprawling through the dune slacks. The underground stems are so tough that they used to delay the passage of horse-drawn ploughs or harrows, hence the name.
Apparently cattle which eat the sticky,hairy leaves give milk tainted with an unpleasant ,goat-like smell. The leaves do have a harsh sweaty smell when crushed.
I painted the little hairs in with white gouache over the darker colours and definitely did not crush the leaves!