Imagined Garden

Imagined Garden - student project

I think I figured out why I like to do botanical illustrations so much.  It’s because gardens and flowers are hard to come by in the desert southwest.  In fact, I was a little jealous as I watched the class videos filmed in a botanical garden.  I miss having access to a resource like that.

That being said, my biggest challenge was to find references that I wanted to sketch.  There’s a park that the kids and I enjoy visiting.  It is full of trees and hills and grass, and it reminds me a little of home.  For this project I never did have the chance to visit the park by myself, which means that I did not have an opportunity to actually sketch.  It was more of an observational trip.  When I came home, I found some time to sketch a scene from my imagination.  It included trees and bird of paradise bushes, which would not necessarily appear together in real life.  But hey, it’s *my* imagination and *my* garden, so why not put them together.

Initially I started with watercolor, painting in some background:

Imagined Garden - image 1 - student project


I wasn’t ready to tackle the gouache just yet, so I continued to build up some details with the watercolor:

Imagined Garden - image 2 - student project


From here, I dove into the gouache.  The last time I used gouache for painting anything was in a color theory class I took.  We used gouache to create value scales of various colors.  It’s been over a decade since the class, so I’d forgotten some of the properties of the paint.  I must say that I didn’t really care for it after doing watercolor for so long now.  Sure, it was nice to paint over the watercolor and have it actually cover it up, but I was having a hard time finding the right water to paint ratio.  And then there was the clean up.  Ugh.  It is harder to get gouache off the brushes and off the palette.  I don’t have a lot of time to paint, so quick clean up is vital.  All that being said, I still like the result.  I had fun experimenting with making marks, and filling up the space.

Imagined Garden - image 3 - student project

Lisa Goss
Artist & owner of Flory Avenue Designs