Monday 5 November 2018

Sketching at Mt Coot-Tha Botanic Gardens

It was a sunny morning yesterday at Mt-Coot-Tha. I had previously sketched the Japanese Gardens where the rest of the sketchers were meeting, so I decided to look for something else. I found this striking view of the Tropical Display Dome and a magnificent baobab tree. I started directly on the tree with watercolour - no drawing. The dome was tricky so here I used a light pencil sketch to keep me on track.

Mt Coot- Tha Tropical Dome - watercolour and ink in a Beta Sketchbook

First pass with watercolour and the pencil sketch of the Tropical Dome. 

Once this first wash was dry, I went in with some ink (Pilot Metropolitan Fine nib) to draw in the details of the branches. I wasn’t concerned about keeping to the painted areas, rather worked to redraw new details. 

More progress - ink and watercolour 

Summer in Brisbane, it seems, is here in earnest. It was very hot day and the shade I had been sitting in was disappearing. By the time it came to painting the Dome, I decided this would be achieved much more easily with a table, proper shade and cup of coffee. I moved into the cafe to complete the sketch. I was so wrapped up doing this that I only noticed the rest of the crew when they stood up to take photos! 

It’s strange how our brains translate what we see into manageable symbols. I must have stared at the Tropical Dome for over an hour before I started to paint it. My brain saw ‘diamond’ shapes and painted them accordingly. It was only when I was halfway through painting the Dome that I realised that the ‘diamonds’ were in fact triangles. Talk about painting what you think you see and not what you actually see!

Graphite drawing to re-see the Tropical Dome 

The reality...

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