I’ve been working on the fourth illustration in my 12 part series - Seasons of the Cypress. It represents March, featuring an Eastern Screech Owl, Wooly Pipe Vine and Pipe Vine Butterfly.
Getting started was the hardest part. I like to have entire days so that time is never on my mind, allowing the piece to set the pace. With so many projects going on I finally just made a tunnel of time - the thought of Moses parting the Red Sea came to mind. So my first big challenge after that was finding sources for all the earth colors I needed. Yellow is what was missing. This is a good time of year to find yellow flowers but I wasn’t sure if any of them would have the coloring power I needed. I really haven’t sampled enough in the late summer. Off I go to the meadow!
I tried all the flowers I could see with disappointing results. I finally thought to try the humble bitterweed growing out of the gravel road. It's a plant I truly take for granted and look past most of the time.
The second I pushed it into the paper I knew it was the one. I picked a large bouquet, really "seeing" it for the first time. I admired the chevron edges of the petals with their bold color against the delicate, feathery leaves.
Challenge #2 has been the composition itself. After spending a day with a set of stencils and committing to a design, I know that it is not working. To heavy and without flow. I decided I needed a more white in the design and a different shape and posture for the butterfly. I spent a lovely morning researching, sketching and getting a glimpse of the beautiful order in nature.
Illustration #2 went together in a way that felt right - in other words, the design itself told me what to do, so to speak. I put down the reigns and just tried to keep up.
Challenge #3 is on going. I feel it is not quite finished and think I know what to do but haven't had the time to create the space I need to play ideas. Today is the day!