Art by JLM

Strangely Succulent watercolour doodle (original | embellished prints)

Strangely Succulent watercolour doodle (original | embellished prints)

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My love for strange and peculiar things started young, and one lifelong obsession is weird plants. I've been a cacti and other succulent collector since I was about 7, when my Nana gave me cuttings from her collection. Recently, we took a walk in the Succulent Garden of Wellington Botanic Gardens - a chance to bask in the winter sun and admire the view! This observational watercolour doodle was inspired by this visit, along with some of my beloved favourites from my windowsill. (If you recall, the game is to observe 9 related things, create 3x3 watercolour swatches with a limited palette, then paint the things).

Go behind the scenes and find out about my cactus obsession in this blog (complete with dorky photos of me as a teenager!).

Do you have fond childhood memories, too, of a loving grandparent feeding your obsessions?

 In "Strangely Succulent," you'll find from top to bottom, left to right:

  • Opuntia (prickly pear) pads and fruit. I couldn't resist a touch of gold to bring out the prickles arising from the bristly glochids.
  • Agave with the loveliest fringe of contrasting spines. Each leaf is embedded with a shadow of the prickles from the leaf above.
  • Crassula Aeonium atropurpureum with its stunning bright yellow inflorescence contrasting against its purple leaves.
  • Sedum morganianum or Donkey tail.
  • A close-up of the Opuntia fruits, also touched with gold.
  • "Chain of hearts" Ceropegia woodii is another favourite from my childhood, with its heart-shaped leaves and curious tuberous growths along the vine.
  • I try to include a bird in these studies, and we were fortunate to see a Korimako/Bellbird feasting on orange aloe flowers. The bright winter's light brought out the usually-subtle purple undertones around his face. The flowers are enhanced with a touch of pearlescent orange paint too.
  • "String of Pearls" Senecio rowleyanus, like perfect peas cascading down the wall. Nana had this growing in her kitchen.
  • "Chain of hearts" Ceropegia woodii close-up of a single flower - tiny but exquisite with such fine detail.

I used a few more pigments than I usually would in one of these studies, but my main focus was on sultry perylene violet and perylene green, which are the perfect colour match for so many botanical subjects, and they mix to a lovely grey. I also used my favourite serpentine, along with rich green gold, quinacridone rose, pyrrol orange, and some secret sauce of dioxazine violet.

The original is available along with limited-edition A5-size hand-embellished prints. The original was painted on Fabriano Artistico soft-press 300gsm watercolour paper and is 16x23cm, hand-signed, and comes with a certificate of authenticity. The A5 (15x21cm) prints are on archival fine-art paper, hand-signed, and embellished with gold watercolour paints and a pigment pen. The edition length is 30, and they also come with a certificate of authenticity.

I use the same grid for laying out all my observational doodles, so the painted area is the same size across the series. They make cute collections framed and displayed together. The overall size (ie the margin) of the originals may vary slightly depending on the paper I've used, but the prints are all identically sized at A5 (15x21 cm).

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  • Adding gold watercolour paint accents to a watercolour painting of a flower

    Irresistable embellishments

    Many of my original paintings are embellished with pearlescent accents. I also embellish the fine-art prints made from these originals, creating a unique piece of art in the process.

  • A gorgeous rose mounted onto a deep cradle-board and finished with thick impasto brushstrokes.

    Impasto & Encaustic prints

    Fine-art prints mounted onto boards and finished with acrylic impasto or wax encaustic, and other mixed-media elements.

  • gold embellishments on a fine-art print

    Custom embellishments

    Do get in touch if you'd like to discuss a custom-embellished print.

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