Thursday 7 March 2013

Flower of the Month: Daffodil

I am thrilled to give a warm welcome to Susan.   Every month Susan Ernst is providing us with background information on the Flower of the Month and this month there is a tutorial for an art journal page.  Thank you, Susan.

Daffodils – Narcissus species and hybrids

“A house with daffodils in it is a house lit up, whether or no the sun be shining outside. Daffodils in a green bowl – and let it snow if it will.” – A. A. Milne

Daffodils, one of the first flowers of spring, are a large group of perennial plants which grow from bulbs.  Many hundreds of varieties are available today ranging in size from 4 to 20 inches (10-50 cm) tall. Flower size can be anywhere from a half inch to five inches (1-13 cm) in diameter.  Daffodils come in various combinations of pale and bright yellows, white, cream, shades pink, salmon, apricot, orange and green. Flowers are most often single, consisting of the corona (cup or trumpet) and perianth (outer petals), but there are double flower varieties in which the corona is filled with ruffles.  Some varieties are fragrant (most notably the jonquils), while many others have no scent. Stems may hold one large blossom, or clusters of two to six smaller flowers. 

Daffodils were once a symbol of death. The ancient Greeks associated the flower with the myths of Narcissus and Pluto and Proserpina. The ancient Egyptians placed the brown skins of the bulbs over the eyes of the Pharaohs in burial. It was during the Middle Ages that the daffodil became a Christian symbol of Christ’s resurrection and the promise of eternal life. In Victorian times, the Language of Flowers was a popular way to send messages to friends and suitors. The daffodil represented regard and the jonquil stated, “I desire a return of affection.”  The narcissus is also well loved in Asia. In China it is regarded as a sacred flower and symbolizes purity and promise. For the Japanese, the narcissus represents mirth and joyousness. 

You can read lots more about daffodils in the rest of Susan's article which you can download.   Or go to Susan's blog.

Journal Tutorial

Using water soluble pencils and Niji Waterbrushes to create colored pen and ink style drawings.

Copyright free image, black and white photocopy of desired subject or your own drawing
Water soluble pencils (I am using a combination of Derwent Graphitint and Tinted Charcoal pencils and Inktense blocks)
Niji waterbrush   (Added by Bernice: If you don't have one of these or the Ranger one then use a small paintbrush.)
Acrylic inks such as Daler-Rowney  FW

Select a copyright free image (I am using an image from The Graphics Fairy and from Dover Publications’ Decorative Plant and Flower Studies for Artists and Craftsmen ©1982), a black and white photocopy of the subject,  or use your own drawing! With tracing paper and a permanent marker, trace the image.

Transfer the image to your journal page using carbon or transfer paper. Or scribble with pencil on the back of the image.

Dilute some acrylic ink with water. Create an uneven wash over parts of the image to create a permanent background. Using acrylic ink instead of watercolor paint ensures the color will not lift off when applying water later.

Color in the image with the water soluble pencils. Here I am using Derwent Graphitint and Tinted Charcoal pencils.

Fill Niji Waterbrush reservoir with water and go over the colored in areas, dissolving pigment and moving it around to fill image. What is wonderful about this “brush” is that it works much like a brush tipped marker, allowing for greater control than a traditional paint brush.

Using Derwent Inktense blocks like pans of watercolor paint, wet with Niji waterbrush and color in the flower. Inktense pencils can also be used. I don’t have them which is why I didn’t use them.

Allow all to dry. Add an additional layer or two of color and water as needed.

When journal page is completely dry, go over transferred lines with a micron pen to finish the image.

Add titles and writing to the journal pages to complete. I left space to add to the pages as the month progresses.

Thank you so much Susan.  

I'm really looking forward to seeing what you all come up with.