Thursday, July 9, 2009

Von Siebold Project

At the moment I'm working hard on a drawing for the Von Siebold Exhibition which will be held in Het Von Sieboldhuis in Leiden. It's an exhibition about the plants Von Siebold brought from Japan to Europe. Drawings from that era will hang next to botanical drawings made by artists from the Dutch Society of Botanical Artists. During this exhibition there will also be a special walk around the Hortus Botanicus in Leiden where a lot of his plants were planted when Von Siebold returned to Europe.

Hydrangea serrata 'Preziosa'

The artists from the society got a long list of plants in the Hortus. We all could pick one or two plants to draw. I picked the Hydrangea. It's a shrub I think I would never draw for fun. Too much flowers I guess. But this is a nice oppertunity to try something different. So I thought...
This Hydrangea is so difficult and it's a huge struggle. The sketching was easy and fast. I drew 3 twigs with flowers. The next stage was to make a good composition on the paper. The size of the image is the same for all artists (about 32 x 40 cm).

Hydrangea composition

I tried out a little flower first to choose the right colours. That was ok. Now I'm working on my first big flowerhead on the bottom left. It is more blue than the little practice flower I did before. And after a few flowers the colours looked too dirty for me.

Hydrangea project progress

Now I'm trying a different approach: colours first, shadows later. I hope it will work.
Sorry for the bad pictures, I can't scan this and have to use my little camera and Photoshop. I will scan the end result though :)

Hydrangea 3

If it will finish and not end up in the dustbin.


  1. Sigrid, to someone who is NOT a botanical artist, just one who enjoys sketching flowers, this looks wonderful. The process is fascinating, thanks for sharing with us...I hope it stops fighting you! I know how frustrating that is...

  2. Oh, Sigrid, I feel for you! But they're looking pretty marvelous anyway. :)

    I know what you mean about doing the shadows first and having them not look right; mine always look duller and less lively. It's been a good exercise for me, though, because I learn a lot about the values that work.

    Your work reflects your preciseness and commitment to beauty!

  3. Thanks Ladies. I need some encouragement once in a while. Sometimes I get the feeling people don't believe me when I say I find it very difficult and frustrating. They only see the final thing and never think about the process.
    It helps to be reminded I'm not the only artist that struggles.

  4. Oh, I know! I've had no end of people say "I wish *I* could be an artist and didn't have to work for a must be so RELAXING." I just want to pinch their little heads off!

  5. Looks good to me....good luck, if luck has anything to do with it.


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