Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A flower for Penelope

Prismacolor colored pencil and graphite on Strathmore Toned Tan sketch paper
(click to enlarge)

This week's topic on Illustration Friday is "Tribute", in honor of its founder, Penelope Dullaghan, who has recently moved on to pursue other projects. Before I launch into my own tribute to Penelope and IF, I'll explain my little sketch:

When my husband and I moved to California many years ago, we were invited to dinner at the home of a family friend. Along one side of their house, they had a profusion of different varieties of fuchsia on display, and I fell in love. I haven't had any in my own garden for years, so when we recently replanted a flower bed, we decided to add some fuchsias. At the nursery, I was instantly drawn in by their names. I love it when plants are named as a tribute to a famous person. I chose two, almost as much for their names as for their beauty. One is Fuchsia "Winston Churchill" (which I love because I'm an admitted Anglophile) and the other is the one I've sketched here. With its red "hat" and white "beard", how could I resist Fuchsia "Santa Claus"?! Such a lively little blossom; the whole time I was sketching it, I kept thinking of the Flower Fairy illustrations by Cicely Mary Barker. You can see her charming Fuchsia fairy here.

Now for my tribute to Penelope Dullaghan:

One of the reasons that I started blogging a few years ago was so that I could participate in Illustration Friday. For a long time, I was a very consistent contributor—I rarely missed a week! Early on, one of my drawings was even selected to be IF's "Pick of the Week" which gave me lots of exposure and encouragement. But most importantly, I got to know many fellow artists that also participated  in IF regularly. (Once I realized that if I commented on a drawing, that person often commented back, the communication floodgates were opened!) I consider a number of these people to be friends: I still visit their blogs regularly, chat with some on Facebook, and a few of us even check up on one another when we haven't posted in a while. For these reasons, I send my heartfelt thanks to Penelope for her devotion to this website that gave rise to such a wonderful supportive community.

Having said that, my recent IF entries have been few and far between. I've had a busy spring and wasn't at my drawing board as much as I'd have liked, but things are a bit quieter now, and I'm hoping to spend more time doing these quicker sketches when I'm not working on a more detailed piece. I will also be visiting blogs, making some new friends, and checking up on the old ones! So, in the spirit of the IF community that Penelope nurtured, feel free to leave a comment and say hello!


  1. Sarah! What a beauty--and what a wonderful tribute to Penelope! I'm so glad to read that you will be sketching and blogging more. I've missed you. When I started up my blog a couple of years ago, I think your blog is one of the very first I followed--and how could I not--I fell in love with your work. My brain always lights up when I see you have posted!
    Here's to blog friends! :)

  2. Amazing

  3. This is a very sweet post, and I enjoyed it so much! I like reading about the subjects that one chooses for their artwork. Every artist seems to have a wealth of knowledge about their favorite subjects. Your tribute to your IF friends is so nice too, and finally the painting... I love how you did that on the toned paper, and the vibrancy that you achieved! I also really love the mangos in the other post, those are amazing Sarah!

  4. Hello!! What a lovely and delicate sketch of this fuchsia. Its dainty and it almost looks as if the flower is dancing.

    I enjoyed reading the background on the IF group. I've never joined it, but I've heard about it. Like you I've found it fun to visit and comment on other blogs and I enjoy when I receive comments myself. Thanks for stopping by today and leaving me a comment!!

  5. Hello Sarah, thanks for visiting my blog. Your pencil work is really quite something! - and like Claire above, I also enjoyed reading about your experiences from IF.

    Many thanks to you and to Penelope.



  6. I didn't know fuchsias were named after people, but especially Santa Claus? Hysterical -- and a beautiful drawing. I always enjoy your posts, and I think we all owe something to Penelope for giving us a place to make blog buddies. The experience has enriched my life, as has "talking" with you and seeing your work. I'm glad you're planning on posting more often. Keep drawing!

  7. What a gorgeous flower tribute Sarah. I love fuschias too and Winston Churchill along with Happy Wedding Day are my 2 favourite varieties. I so agree with how IF introduced people from all over the world who could not possibly have met any other way. I am not even an artist but consider several artists I have met through IF as good blogging friends. I love seeing your art here and enjoy my visits ;0)

  8. Glad to see your post for 'tribute'. Precious rendering and wonderful sentiments. I'm certainly not the only one that owes a debt to Penelope and the connections that have been made through Illustration Friday.

  9. I am relatively new to IF, so it was wonderful to read your tribute post to Penelope. I came through via Elizabeth Rose's post (Hi, Elizabeth!)

  10. Thank you for your lovely comment.
    I am pleased that others can share and enjoy seeing things which they do not have. You must be excited and looking forward to your trip. If you venture to the Lake District perhaps we might get the chance to meet.
    I loved your sea urchin drawing, I have drawn them in the past.
    All your subjects are beautifully captured, your drawings are wonderful and as always, a pleasure to see.

  11. I *totally* empathize, as I never seem to post as much to IF as I'd like. The fuchsia is lovely -- an inspiration, even, as I have an entire pad of toned paper that keeps nudging at me to use it...