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the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn
White Tree Peony
2020 version

Currently I have (at least) 3 sketchbooks and 3 pads of (roughly) 6x9 watercolour paper all going simultaneously. The latter is because one of the facts of life about watercolours is that sometimes, you need a second one to use while waiting for the first one to dry. Yesterday's sketchbook I actually started with the Peony Garden of 2017, but in 2018 my dear glass student gave me a fabulous leather bound sketchbook, decorated with a horse motif and bound with wonderful, textured paper, itself possibly also handmade.

In 2019, she outdid herself by not only giving me a handmade sketchbook, but one she'd made her very own self. —So of course I had to start drawing in these treasures!

Tree peony blossom, painted (& photographed, with some image editing) 24may2020 Paper is roughly 6.5 x 9.5 inches; watercolours.

The paper has a lovely texture and felt like quality to it that's very interesting to me, though probably not the sort of thing a traditional botanical illustrator (who would favour smooth, hot-press paper) would choose.

Although I think this picture is more successful the quick sketches I featured yesterday, it's still not anything like the level that, say, Billie Shotwell Billy Showell churns out. You can see that my scrubbing/overworking/mess in that leaf directly below the petal is not a pretty sight, so I decided since the drawing was already damaged that I might as well play with it, adding geometric flax and curvilinear henna floral elements to dress things up. After that I was actually fairly happy with it.

Reference photo, taken 24may2020, lumix LX-100. f5.6, 1/800sec, -0.3ev, unaltered

Aint technology wonderful? Though photos don't perfectly capture the magical quality of these beautiful flowers, you get a better idea, and they certainly show up the distortions (even when shot at a slightly different angle—I find it pretty difficult, actually, to perfectly match what my eye and what the camera see, because of differing angles of view).

update 10sep2020: corrected spelling of Billy Showell's name; 22may22 added peony tag