Friday, April 11, 2014

Field Sketch Friday - Mayapple

At long last, spring weather has arrived!

Last Friday, I made my way to a special area on Spring Island called the Trillium Garden.  It's an amazing piece of property where spotted trillium, atamasco lilies, bloodroot and mayapples, Podophyllum peltatum, naturally decorate the landscape. This year, as part of my job, I will be illustrating the plants found here and creating a map of the area.  My illustrations will be used to create outdoor signage and a brochure about the area.

I must say my field sketch looks more botanical than sketchy.  It took 10 minutes for the pencil sketch and I was finished with the watercolor portion in 35 minutes.  I'm not a fast painter by any means.  I paint a bit, wait for that to dry, look off into the wilds and relish in the moment, and then pick up the brush again.  I was in the zone for sure.  How could you not be sitting amongst the atamasco lillies with the soft breeze filling the air with their lily scent?? 

This is a squirrel's eyes view of a mayapple.  Yup, I was on the ground for this one.  Not an easy thing in the lowcountry given the chiggers and ticks!  I have an old vinyl table cloth that I carry with me to lay on the ground.  I spray it with Off.  My pants are tucked into my socks and my shirt into my pants.  I spray Off around the tops of my socks and waist band.  It's called war......

This piece is not finished yet.  I want to add a 'crow's eye view of the mayapple to the page.
You'd never know that this plant even had a flower when standing above it.  They have 2 wonderfully shaped, large leaves. I took photos so I may finish this indoors, as I brushed one tick off of my arm (they fall from the trees) while painting this. I then found another under my shirt when I returned to the office! 

I love sketching and painting plein air - even with the challenge of bugs.  I don't always have the time to complete a piece, but if I can at least sketch it live, and then add color from a reference photo, I still feel the magic of the plein air moment as I work within my original pencil marks.

Did you know:
• Native Americans had many uses for the mayapple.  However, only the very ripe fruit is safe to eat.  All other parts of the plant are poisonous. The ripe, egg shaped fruit will be yellow and kind of wrinkly.
• Other 'local' names for the mayapple include: wild lemon, hog apple, Indian apple, duck’s foot, umbrella leaf, and wild mandrake though it is not related to the old world mandrake, Mandragora officinarum.

6 comments:

  1. How lovely! And thanks for sharing your real inspiration (sans bugs! ha ha).

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    1. Thank you, Rhonda! Yes.... bugs can make you inventive :)

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  2. Love the angle of the leaves in this illustration. Gorgeous!

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  3. Oh I love these we had them in the Woods garden growing up and they were in the woods on my Grandparents farm. It is yes again, snowing here today . . .79 yesterday falling to 25 tonight. Away with it we are done . . .we want sun . . I think Bloodroot is my favorite early spring wildflower.

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  4. Carol, glad the mayapple brought you back in time :) I must say the bloodroot I found around Hemlock Lake in NY is soooo much bigger than the bloodroot here.

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