Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Monday, 1 June 2015

My illustration for June Gardens Illustrated


I'm getting used to the monthly rhythm of commissions for Gardens Illustrated magazine . . . July's illustration is finished and has been sent to the Art Director and Frank's copy for August has arrived. The subject for May's linocut had been a gift - English wildflowers in SpringEach month I settle down with a large mug of tea and read Frank's words that have arrived by email - here's a behind the scenes look at how I do the linocuts, so I won't repeat that but I will show you my thoughts and working sketches as I put together this month's illustration.

For June's Garden's Illustrated, Frank's article is set in his new garden in California. I received no notes from the editor (ominous?) it was left down to me to choose something to depict. I jotted down a Californian place name and the two latin plant names that Frank had referred to – all three were meaningless to me, this time a lot more research would be needed!



I realised I had seen Quercus agrifolia, the Coast Live Oaks, on a Californian road trip; unknowingly we had also driven very close to the Matilija Canyon, the view from Frank's Californian garden. I began to relax, in my mind's eye I could start to imagine the scene.



A gnarled Coast Live Oak tree and some branches of rampant Pepper Tree make a good backdrop but I needed a focus for the composition . . . more research found a couple of bird species that are common in the area, I remembered seeing Scrub Jays – they are bold and characterful, and the little White Breasted Nuthatch apparently loves the coastal Oak forests – perfect! The smudge of colour is where I'm matching the mixed ink for the linocut to the colour of my rough - a dusky pink that reminded me of the evening light on the mountains in California.


But the article is basically just about Frank pruning a tree – so in the end I decided I had to include Frank in the illustration too . . . with a respectful nod to two favourite works by Eric Ravilious and Clare Leighton.

This is the colour sketch, with my notes to show David, the Art Director, what I planned to do . . .



June's Gardens Illustrated magazine has arrived through my letterbox, here's the page in the published magazine next to the original linocut . . .


. . . and as with all my illustrations for Gardens Illustrated, I will be producing an edition of prints for sale early in 2016 (and a little later, cards too).

Frank Ronan's copy for August's 'The Writer's Plot' is on my desk, at the weekend I bought some of the plants he's writing about so I can draw them from life, you'll see them in August's Garden's Illustrated. 


Celia
xx

21 comments:

  1. Another fab work of art Celia!

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    1. Thank you guys! I think you'd love a garden in California.

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  2. I'm so glad it wasn't an ominous as you first feared. I love how he's up in the tree, I bet the view is fabulous.

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    1. Thanks Su, yes it came together after lots of thought. It's an amusing read too.

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  3. I just love your work and wait excitedly for each new one for the magazine.
    Liz

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    1. Thank you, next month's was a different kind of challenge altogether.

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  4. Matilija poppies?
    I do enjoy sharing these creative journeys of yours.

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    1. I had to google them, Californian Tree Poppies! I had no idea they were also called Matilija Poppies. I I had Frank's garden I'd definitely grow those - just think how magnificent they would look against the distant purple-pink rocks of the distant canyon.

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    1. Thank you Sarah, I'm really enjoying illustrating Frank's column, this one is a very amusing read.

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  6. Wonderful to follow your design process Celia. And such great results.

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    1. Thank you Gina, I admit to being flummoxed by this one when I first got the copy but it's turned out to be my favourite so far.

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  7. Beautiful, what a joy to do work like that for publication.

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    1. I think it may be my favourite job.

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  8. So beautiful, Celia, and so interesting to see the whole creative process from start to finish. They will make fabulous cards, etc. x

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  9. Celia, I am so glad to have purchased Gardens Illustrated Issue 221 last week. I made a point of showing your illustration to the folks at Barnes & Noble and letting them know it's the reason I buy the magazine.

    Your artistry and Frank Ronan's writing make a fine match. It's fun to see this post with the preview of what will appear when the June issue gets here...particularly when you tell us about how the image comes into being. Lovely all the way! xo

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    1. Thank you Frances, it's a bit surreal to think of my illustrations in magazines scattered over the globe.

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  10. I found this fascinating Celia. It is a real privilege to have an insight into how your illustrations emerge. Thank you.

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    1. I'm pleased you found it interesting, to me it's just what I do and I forget that people rarely think how an illustration got to appear on the page.

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  11. I am thoroughly enjoying seeing your working processes and loving the outcome.

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