Big flowers

Over the last year I have been developing large coloured pencil drawings of semi-imaginary flowers. All are inspired by the wild flowers I draw or take photos of when I am travelling around Australia. Many are very tiny, such as the little native orchids of Western Australia, which can easily be missed unless you know what you are looking for. (See my earlier post for an orchid drawing.)

I have deliberately not been faithful in my renderings of these flowers – I have enlarged them all dramatically, exaggerated their forms and changed their colours, to create something of satisfaction to myself.

The flower above was inspired by a tiny head of flowers which were a pale mauve-blue. I thought these might be blue, but the deep red seemed to take over. I don’t do a lot of planning before I begin – with this one I did a loose pencil drawing to get the essence of the form, then transferred the basic outlines to paper. When I started to work the colour in I borrowed a technique developed by a good friend and wonderful coloured pencil artist, Julie Podstolski, (see here) and rubbed oil pastel into the flower shapes with a stiff paintbrush, just a thin coating, but enough to give the coloured pencils tooth to grip onto.

In this photo (above) I have put the oil pastel on several of the flowers, using different colours in the same tonal range. The ones that look more blue have the beginnings of coloured pencil added on top. Several layers of coloured pencil were then added, to intensify the colour and create the form. With this drawing I began with the basic structure in place, but with the one below, I began with one flower, then added the others as the drawing developed.

This drawing, which I have simply called ‘Blues’ is 50 cm x 70 cm, and the one above, which I have called ‘Spray’ is 65 cm x 70 cm. Both have been drawn using Caran d’Ache Luminance pencils, on 300 gsm Corona hot-pressed watercolour paper.

Author: anna warren portfolio

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

9 thoughts

  1. I just love these, Anna. And aren’t they so opposite to your encaustic paintings?! It is like you have different compartments in your brain which require different outlets. I know that these are NOT pure realism but they could be read that way if you didn’t know it, compared to the pure abstraction of much of your work. But the extremities feed into one another. I can imagine a line with a point at each end : abstraction and realism. Your art practice is like points along the line, sometimes more towards one end and sometimes more towards the other – all interconnected really.
    And … now I know what a pingback is!


    1. The ends of my particular spectrum are quite extreme aren’t they? I often worry that if I am to be accepted as a serious artist I should just stick with one area – preferably the thing I do best, whatever that is! But I do love the variety, and I think the different areas do feed one another in oblique ways. At the moment on my drawing board is a very abstract (but still plant inspired) drawing, and I am planning a new big drawing based on my travel sketches, which will be back in the more realistic arena again. Not to mention the encaustics …

      I should have told you to expect the pingback! I hope lots of people will visit your site for inspiration!


      1. It occurred to me just now to see if you’d replied to my comment above. And you had. So when I read your last comment about pingbacks I checked my stats and yes, on March 9th when you published your post I DID get quite a few views. So it must have been a direct result of your post.

        You don’t want to put yourself into any sort of box with the thought of being accepted as a serious artist. I mean, perish the thought that you should stick to one end or the other of your spectrum. You must follow your heart and that means, in your case, realism, surrealism and abstraction. Look to Gerhard Richter – a serious artist if ever there was one – who spans the whole spectrum just like you do.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Now that is a very nice thought! OK, from now on I won’t worry about the diversity, and channel Gerhard Richter. I guess if I think about it, I could find other examples too .. thank you, I feel much encouraged!


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