Thursday, March 19, 2015

Trying to Draw an Active Tulip

By Claudia Burns

I forced 5 of the lovely tulips as part of the kind gift of spring flowering bulbs given to me last fall by my art class after the death of my brother.  I had never done this before so wanted to try it out. 

I planted the bulbs in a pot and kept them in the garage until about a month ago when I brought them in as they were starting to sprout.  They have grown well and bloomed beautifully and I will replant the bulbs in the garden this spring.

Photo 1
My plan was to draw and paint one of the tulips but as I was doing other art projects for our recent classes, the tulips did not get drawn.  They opened more and more widely each day in a sunny but cool window and then closed at night.  Yesterday I decided to get at it and because the blooms were already fully open with petals increasingly opening towards horizontal rather than vertical.  I decided I would draw the inner parts, the pistil, stamens, and the attachments of the petals inside.  For reference, I took several photos of the flower in direct sunshine without a flash.  As you can see in Photo 1, the petals are quite open and the internal structures easily visible.

Photo 2
Photo 2 was done with a flash and macro lens to focus on the stamens and pistils (what I planned on drawing). 

Photo 3

I moved the pot to my art room upstairs where the light was much less intense, bright but not sunny.  Low and behold, the flowers, including my chosen bloom, started gradually closing (photo 3).  This was about 20 minutes after photos 1 and 2.  

Over the next hour, the bloom kept closing to its final resting position (Photos 4 then 5).  

In one of the other blooms, which was also, closing I directly observed the actual movement of the petals.  
Photo 4

I wound up sketching the flower in positions 4 and 5 (from life, not photos).  My original plans were stymied by the tulip itself, which had its own intentions.  Certainly makes life difficult for the aspiring artist. 

Photo 5
I was quite amazed at how rapidly this closing occurred.  The fact that the light levels in my art room were not at all dark but obviously a great deal darker than the sunny window that the plants were in originally. 

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