Strelitzia seedhead – large


The dry Strelitzia seedhead offers me lots of opportunities to explore its wonderful intricate and messy form. This drawing follows on from the smaller one I did recently (see here for images). I have used a different angle, more front on, and enlarged it by about 2, maybe 3, times. The drawing is relatively faithful to the actual object, but I couldn’t resist exaggerating some of the tendrils and dried petals, they were asking to be taken on a journey. I love the abstract qualities of this seedhead, and the eccentricity of it. The glossy black seeds are embedded in bright orange fluff, the only colour apart form the tones of brown.

The decision to add colour was made at the beginning, but its something I still feel unsure of – there are hints of brown in some of the shadows, but the main colour is in the fluff surrounding the seeds. Now I am wondering whether this was a good idea, I think it was, but maybe the colour should be more intense … what I don’t want is for it to look gimmicky, the colour should be a natural addition, not something that is noticeable for its oddity. I will be interested to hear opinions on this! Below is a photo of the drawing on my desk before I added the colour, and a detail while the drawing was coming together.

I used 2B and 8B graphite pencils and a 2B 2mm clutch pencil, which I can sharpen to a needle sharp point. The image is about 32 cm wide and 38 cm deep.





Author: anna warren portfolio

I draw, I paint, I am a printmaker. Always searching for the interesting detail in the world around me.

33 thoughts

  1. Adding the colour was just what this needed! Anymore would over-egg the drawing, but it highlights a key piece of information. Can’t say much on intensity, mainly because you can never tell colour accurately on a screen. Looks about right, I wouldn’t push it much further intensity wise. Lovely image Anna!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t think there was a wrong decision to be made here. The drawing looks marvellous with the colour and without. It certainly doesn’t look gimmicky – and my very first thought when the drawing came up on my screen – the FIRST thought – was how much I liked the seeds-and-orange. I must say, you are a master of placing a thing on a page too, you have such a strong sense of design. I’m glad you show us the third image too so we can appreciate the fine details and the continual freshness of your drawing. To me your drawing conveys the joy you found in the subject.


    1. You know, it hadn’t occurred to me that either with or without the colour could be right, yet in most other things I often feel ANY decision is the right one, because it is the one that somehow bubbles to the top. So, that does make me feel relieved! In another drawing I am working on there is quite a lot of colour on top of graphite, and I enjoyed the interesting results that came from that, which is probably where this decision came from. And yes, I did find joy in this, I’m very happy it comes through!


  3. You’ve so many positive replies, I almost feel silly leaving another. Lovely work and the colour thing? Yes, for me, comparing the B&W to the tiny addition of colour, the colour seems to add a little touch of magic.

    Liked by 1 person

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