View Full Version : Cacti and succulent series: Aeonium Swartkop

Katherine T
08-14-2007, 05:48 AM

This is another in the cacti and succulent series which I developed this June while doing a project about Georgia O'Keeffe on my blog - which is why all the images in the series tend towards a macro perspective.

The drawing is 30cm x 20cm and was completed using coloured pencil on Arches Hot Press. The drawing is based on a close crop of a florette.

I visited the new Glasshouse at RHS Wisley (http://www.rhs.org.uk/WhatsOn/Gardens/wisley/theglasshouse/index.htm) yesterday and had great fun in the dry temperate zone collecting all the plant labels for all the cacti and succulents which I photographed during my travels in the southwestern states of the USA last summer (I've got lots of photos all needing 'proper names'! :rolleyes:) plus other places where I've photographed cacti and succulents in the past. I've always been fascinated by their structures - and then really became absorbed by them the more and more I've seen them growing in their natural state.

I'm beginning to get a much better grasp of which are which - and went looking for an example of Aeonium Zwartkop (http://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/plants/plant_finder/plant_pages/11029.shtml) yesterday and found some excellent specimens which nicely demonstrate the way they grow. I think their colour was maybe affected by the fact that yesterday there was lots of cloud yesterday and no sunlight in the glasshouse.


I'm going to say a bit more about Wisley and the Glasshouse in the gardens thread (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=437102) I started.

08-14-2007, 09:13 AM
This is a really nice Cactus. Some of them have such fascinating colours. :clap: :thumbsup:

Val. :wave:

Katherine T
08-14-2007, 11:16 AM
Val - it's actually a succulent which can behave like a branching shrub.

I'm still finding it quite difficult to get my head round the difference between cacti and succulents - since both store water - but just know I'm going to encounter a botanist soon who will be explain the difference. Could it be something as simple as succulents don't have spiky bits? Or maybe just that they have leaves?

This is what Wikipedia says:

succulents (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/succulent)
cactus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cactus)and finishes the summary for succulents with the really helpful words........
Virtually all cacti are succulents, but many succulents are not cacti.

08-14-2007, 12:17 PM
Oh this is really pretty, I love the warm and cool tones very much.

08-14-2007, 01:45 PM
Quite beautiful Katherine.

Mikki Petersen
08-14-2007, 01:56 PM
This is an astonishingly beautiful series. I'm looking forward to each entry.


Katherine T
08-14-2007, 02:56 PM
Thanks people - I was overtaken by cacti and succulents in June - they were all produced in that month. However I have to say I'd been thinking about them for some time and puzzling how to tackle them. It was doing the Georgia O'Keeffe Project and learning about notan and realising the potential that a macro view has which made all the difference

...and I've decided it's vegetables next! The only problem I've got is where to start - it's either going to be cabbages or globe artichokes. But more of that anon.

08-14-2007, 03:08 PM
We have been doing a lot of macro views of florals in the Watercolor Forum. I really like getting "up close and personal" the way a macro composition lets you do.

This is a beautiful view of this bloom. The glowing center gradating out to a shadowy purple is wonderfully done.


Katherine T
08-14-2007, 03:15 PM
Thanks Sylvia. Being a dry media artist I very rarely visit the watercolour forum - but I do know a lot of wonderful work is done there.

My macros in the past tended to be flowers only and whole blooms. However I've now started to crop in even closer where the structure is interesting and to tackle other botanical subject matter. What I really like is the potential for thing to become almost abstract - so that you get a juxtaposition of reality and abstract design at one and the same time. I'll maybe post one of those next.

Charlie's Mum
08-14-2007, 04:29 PM
Another lovely drawing Katherine.
Apart from the view/comp., this is really quite a large size for CPs isn't it? It would take me forever! :lol:
I didn't realise other forums/fora were not so conversant with the macro approach - we get quite a large number in Acrylics! :D

Katherine T
08-14-2007, 04:37 PM
Well it might be a large size for some but it's not for me. There's quite a few different ways of doing CP. My friend Wendy is currently doing CP macros which are 16" x 20".

Can you point me in the direction of what you think are some good examples of acrylic macros which go beyond the "trad" perspective of single bloom?

08-15-2007, 05:20 PM
I really like your colour selection and blending (I'm sure the blending isn't easy in CP!) This really glows!


08-16-2007, 06:00 AM
This is AMAZING...... and just as beautiful as the real one in a pot enjoying todays train in my garden ! I diverted to the gardens thread......what a great Idea..... will add some soon :) And what a stunning painting of Wollerton Hall you have over there :)

Laura D
08-16-2007, 06:26 PM
The glow you've got is lovely. Do you ever have a hard time getting wax bloom when you blend?

08-16-2007, 07:09 PM
I think this is one of my favorites of yours that I've seen so far. I've come back to look again - I find the crisp edges to be fantastic. The sense of depth and foreshortening right below the central body are just excellent.