EXPANDING THE ROOTS
by Paula Dabbs
I am still fairly new at botanical illustration so I really appreciate the classes at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens for helping me to "expand my roots." The first botanical illustration I ever did was in Celeste Johnston's Beginning Botanical illustration class and she literally had us start with the roots! I never thought I'd be able to draw all the tiny parts of the poinsettia's roots, but it ended up being one of my favorite drawings.
Poinsettia Roots - graphite on paper
The most recent class I took at the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens was Celeste Johnston's class called "Expanding the Roots." In this class, the students put a contemporary twist on traditional botanical illustration. I chose to illustrate one of my favorite plants, the bird-of-paradise. I wanted to place it in the context of where it grows naturally, so I framed it with aqua blue colors that would suggest a tropical sky and water. I hope the finished painting reminds viewers of sunny days in warm locations!
Strelitzia reginae - colored ink on watercolor paper
I enjoyed playing with the complementary colors of orange and blue and had fun making a little color chart while I worked on the painting.
Complementary Squares - colored ink on watercolor paper