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Upper Bidwell Wildflowers (for Desi)

I began this painting last year, after the loss of a dear friend. The flowers and insects are all found in Upper Bidwell Park, a beautiful oak woodland with winding streams and big grassy meadows, near my her home in Chico. The actual process of painting mostly took place on Friday afternoons during my daughter's naptime (and while I listened to many a podcast). I made a video to show the piece from start to finish—many of the photos are terrible (you can probably tell at which point I finally broke down and bought a new iPhone), but one of these days I'll work out a better way to photograph in-progress paintings.

Upper Bidwell Wildflowers (for Desi) from Erin Hunter on Vimeo.



Second draft sketch

It took a little while, but I finished a second draft of this sketch last night. I spent some time making sure that things were more or less life-sized, as well as adding more detail to each of the flowers/insects. Now I'll give it a rest for a day or two before coming back and deciding whether it needs anything else (more flowers, leaves or bees!). After that, it will be time to transfer the drawing to watercolor paper so I can begin painting!


First draft sketch for a new painting

I've been working on a large painting for quite a while now, and while I like how it's turning out, I've been wanting to take a break and work on something else for a bit. After mulling over ideas for a few days, I sat down yesterday and today to work on a small sketch for a new painting of wildflowers, butterflies and bees. I like to do a small, thumbnail-like sketch first (my graphic design background showing through), so this sketch is about half the size of what the final will be. My next step will be to enlarge the sketch so that the elements are about life-sized, then to trace it onto a new sheet of paper where I can make adjustments to the layout, add detail, etc. I'll post a new entry when I finish a second draft!


Wildflower sketches

I don't have any new paintings to show this month, but I've actually done some real drawing recently! During the annual Monterey CNPS Wildflower Show at the Pacific Grove Museum of Natural History in April, I was able to sit and do some sketching (alongside my fellow artists Jack Laws and Jon Wolf). While the wildflower show features all kinds of rare and endemic species, I chose two favorites to draw this year: flannelbush and California buckeye. The buckeye, with its fragrant spike of flowers, is one that I've wanted to draw for ages, but tackling all those little blossoms seemed overwhelming in the field. Sitting at a table with two other sketchers was a much more pleasant way to do it!

The flannelbush, on the other hand, was not nearly as complex, but I've just never gotten around to drawing it. I love seeing this plant in bright-gold bloom in the center divide on Highway 1 between Monterey and Carmel—it makes time on the road that much nicer.

Each year I try to sketch a couple of new plants at the wildflower show; I like to have sketches from life in my drawer of unfinished drawings, even if I don't use them in a finished piece right away. My goal is to build a catalog of California native plant drawings, to be used in future paintings. It may take me a while to build up my library, but it's a fun side project to work on!


Cobalt milkweed beetles

Finally, almost three years later, I've finished this painting! I decided to make a little slideshow to show it from start to finish.

Cobalt milkweed beetles and California milkweed from Erin Hunter on Vimeo.