Many years ago I set myself the task of drawing all of the Chicagoland plants I could find, using the Swink &Wilhelm book as my guide. I have clambered through some pretty rough terrain and found treasures. It has been a proper treasure hunt! I'm glad I found as many plants as I did early on, as my knees have pretty much put a limit on my wanderings now. When I find a plant, I take its photo from several angles and make some field sketches. I've learned to be sure to get a photo of the basal leaf, nodes, hairs, etc. Then I head back to my studio and begin work drawing the plant in pen and ink. My purpose in this exercise was to explore and celebrate the amazing diversity of forms to be found in our plants here in the Chicago region. It delights me to see them arranged side-by-side in my portfolios. What fun it has been!
At first I wanted it to be only pen and ink, because that made the differences of form really sing out. Now I am revisiting my old friends with an eye to painting them in color. For this one, I wanted to suggest the gestalt of the plant, rather than render it in scientific accuracy.