Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Illustration Friday: Gesture


Giving flowers is a gesture of caring—whether it's romantic love, remembrance, or just an attempt to bring a little sunshine into someone's day.  Flowers from a florist can be dandy, but some of my favorites have been the handfuls of blossoms plucked from the backyard and proudly presented to me by one of my kids.

This time, I did the plucking—these delphiniums (or larkspur, a name I like better) are from a pot on my front porch. They're the July birth flower, and are symbolic of an open heart, according to the Victorians. As any fan of the Bront√ęs or Jane Austen knows, the Victorians felt that it was improper to express strong emotions verbally, which led to the popularity of a whole coded language of flowers, also known as floriographyWhile a bellflower meant "I'm thinking of you", a yellow carnation meant "You disappoint me".
So polite, so proper.

Maybe it's the warm weather, but my last three posts have all been drawings in very cool colors—have you noticed? That's unusual for me: usually those blue and violet pencils are languishing in their jars while the warm colors (and the ever-present greens) are front and center. I also played around with a something I've seen in traditional botanical illustration - combining color with black-and-white drawing. The "plant hunters" of the Victorian era would sometimes color only part of their field drawing...just enough to accurately record the colors and get back in time for tea. So polite, so proper...sigh.

If you're into botanical illustration even the slightest little bit, you must check out this blog from the exhibit at the NY Botanical Garden before it wraps up at the end of this month. There are some really spectacular pieces!

Note to visitors from Illustration Friday: Thanks for stopping by in spite of my messed-up blurry thumbnail on the link viewer...that's what happens when I try to post late at night...

19 comments:

  1. so beautiful and delicate. i love it.

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  2. Your combination of color and B & W works beautifully. And your gorgeous blues really make my brain light up!! NYBG pieces are amazing...thanks for the link.

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  3. Lovely drawing and the whole subject of the language of flowers is so interesting.

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  4. My favorite gesture! Beautifully rendered!

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  5. Gorgeous illustration! Beautiful portrayal of a lovely gesture...

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  6. This drawing is simply lovely!!

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  7. Wow, I really love your rendering, you have such an elegant drawing style. I'll be sure to take a look at your work in the future.

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  8. Wonderful illustration and sentiment. I really like the contrast between the well-rendered flowers and the contour line-drawn hand...super!

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  9. The colour fade looks ever so graceful.
    Was it awkward to let the colour trail off? I like how the stem connected to the blue flowers tucks in behind a greyer stem, it really gives depth.
    Cheers!

    Oh and thanks for the link tip!

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  10. So pretty! and civilized, yes.

    Thanks for the link. I had to buy the book, of course.

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  11. Your use of colour and line is beautiful, and it ties in so well with the botanical style. A very interesting and informative post.

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  12. I've missed you! I'm so glad you're back in the thick of it. Your flowers are, as always, lovely. They have a perfect balance both in design and color. Lovely!

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  13. I much prefer simple or wild flowers, this is a beautiful illustration for 'gesture'.

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  14. I didn't realize that some Victorian drawings were only partially done in color. Interesting. You have used the concept beautifully, Sarah.

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  15. What a gorgeous illustration, Sarah..I love the contrast (of color to line)..you are such a fabulous designer and illustrator! And, I am a Jane Austen fan..floriography..that is a term I have not heard of, but oh, how interesting it is! I shudder to think of what I've "said" to people when bringing flowers. : )

    Always so lovely to visit you!

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