Fiery plant

The inspiration for this drawing came from a brilliant orange flower I found growing wild on a headland near the ocean. It was not large, but dramatic all the same. The basic drawing is a loose rendition of the form, then the coloured pencil came in to develop the sinuous forms, and take the image into another story of it its own. It was asking for an explosion of colour, and as usual small creatures started to appear within the leaf and petal forms.

The part I enjoy is taking the base form off on a journey with the marks made by the pencils, in directions quite unexpected. Each mark suggests the next one, and so it grows. I did another drawing of the plant, and am working on it now, and instead of going with the reds and oranges, this one is more in tones of purple and blue. Who knows if they will become companion pieces. Time will tell.

Below is the initial drawing in Liquid Pencil, followed by a detail of early marks, then details of the competed drawing.

The paper is 64 x 47 cm, Yupo, with Liquid Pencil and Caran d’Ache Luminance coloured pencils.

The initial drawing

Author: anna warren portfolio

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

18 thoughts

  1. Wow! This is very exciting work, Anna! It seems like the image is super charged and will fly off the page at any moment. Looking forward to seeing your version in blues and purples, and it would be interesting to see each side-by-side. Will the cool colors calm down the intense excitement of this image? I’m not familiar with Liquid Pencil and will have to learn more. (Are they water soluble graphite?)

    Sent from my iPad



    1. Thanks Barb, that’s a great interpretation of this drawing! I wanted to get the sense of it having a life beyond a static plant that is anchored to the ground. Liquid Pencil is actually a graphite paste, I mix it with water and make the initial drawing with a brush, working quickly and loosely. I use Yupo as my support, which is a synthetic paper, and the Liquid Pencil pools and granulates on it in an unpredictable way.


  2. I am thinking ‘the dawn of creation’ when I look at your progress. From bare earth (the beginning) to the gradual awakening of small creatures, light and colour. In fact my mind goes back to “The Magician’s Nephew” when Aslan breathes life into what is the beginning of Narnia.
    The finished piece is a dance of elegant energy. It quite loves itself and is dancing with happiness. (In fact it is dancing ‘en pointe’.)
    It will be interesting to see the second drawing/painting; where it takes you, or, where you take it.
    The piece gives off energy opposite to that flat feeling you mention post-exhibition.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, that is good you feel the energy! It has that feeling to me too, maybe it will restore my post-exhibition lack of it. These drawings do awake gradually, I never know where they will end up, the life is steadily breathed in with every pencil mark. The explosions of marks bursting from the end of the petals came towards the end, it felt too static and contained before they appeared. I think the blue one is going to be calmer, not just because of the colour but the form too. I have a long way to go on it, but am hoping to have it done by next week to put into an exhibition. We will see how that goes!


  3. Always so interesting to see how your artwork evolves Anna. This one has life upon life, one is feeding on the next and taking on a new life (direction). There is a vibrant energy emerging from every limb. I look forward to seeing the sister cool palette rendering. I really appreciate that you share the rendering’s development on IG. Seeing the foundation and embellishments with insights to tools is so helpful and engaging.


    1. The evolution is always a surprise and (usually!) a pleasure to me too Cathe. I was not at all sure how this one would turn out, which is probably why I let whimsy take over and the extra explosions of movement appeared! For me sharing the stages on IG is useful too, it means I step back a little to contemplate the next step. The cooler palette one seems to be warming up a bit, so it will be interesting to see how they sit together when it is done. Always lovely to hear from you x

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this, Anna! It makes me think of a volcano. What I love about your work is that it seems based on something in nature and also quite abstract at the same time. I also photograph my work as I go along. It is always interesting to see my own process.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Nancy – I can see the volcano, you’re right! It is quite handy to photograph the work as I go, it helps me remember where it it all began. I post the steps on Instagram, I don’t know if you use it, but I find it really useful.


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