In a couple of weeks I’m going to start a class at Gage Academy on botanical drawing. Plants are not a primary drawing interest of mine (whenever we sketch at Swansons Nursery, I tend to sketch everything but the plants). But I’ve taken enough classes now to know that focused drawing practice of any subject matter is informative for and can be applied to any other subject matter. A study of rendering volume, light logic, values, perspective – the principles are all the same, whether the subject is human bodies, cars, buildings, excavators or pears.
An important aspect of the class I signed up for is that we are using real (indoor) plants to draw from – not photos. I understand the value of learning from photos, and much of the year around here, drawing landscapes from life is nearly impossible. But I know I learn best by practicing from life. I’m looking forward to it, especially during all the cold, gray days ahead.
I thought I’d start getting my head in gear by sketching pinecones. As I studied the light on each of those “petals” (maybe the class will help me to become more articulate and knowledgeable about plant terms . . . I know they aren’t called petals on a pinecone!), I realized that the light logic is exactly the same as it is on all the pears and apples I routinely sketch – it’s just much more complex. And the shadows are tinier.