Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Treetop Walkway, Water Lilies and Kaleidoscopes

At the weekend Ian and I visited the Treetop Walkway at Kew Gardens with his sister Sioux and her family. Sioux was apologising for me having a Busmans Holiday but actually during the week I have very little chance to walk around the site and hadn't yet seen the walkway. At 18m tall not quite the 38 m I experienced a few years ago in South Western Australia in the 'Valley of the Giants' but nevertheless an interesting experience and different perspective. The walkway is apparently designed using the Fibonacci series. I don't have the same urge to visit the new Shirley Sherwood Gallery. While botanical art is very useful as a scientific tool , as an art form it leaves me cold ( much like Germaine Greer in her recent article ). As a botanist who paints this is seen as heresy! It's always assumed that I must like drawing plants but my scribbly art style is the opposite of what is required and while I can make a decent attempt for work purposes, I don't particularly enjoy it. I'm glad that Rob suggested we see the Giant Water Lilies(Victoria amazonica). I like the way the structure of the waterlily house (built about the same time as the Palm House) is reflected in the water, a reminder that Decimus Burton used the structure of a water lily leaf as inspiration for the glasshouse.
Also in the water lily house were baskets of the carnivorous pitcher plants Nepenthes. I was showing nephew James how they catch insects in the liquid that accumulates in the pitcher ( in so doing managing to tip some of the liquid into my face , much to Sioux's amusement) We also teased some leaves of sensitive plant Mimosa and then dragged James to 'Climber and Creepers' so I could have a play!
I've been busily hand quilting one of my FoQ entries with brief interludes doing some of the exercises in lesson 3 of the Studio Journals course. This includes looking at negative and positive space - I manipulated several photos using 'desaturate' and various 'Sketch' filters in Photoshop. I'm rather pleased with these ducks ( I rotated the image and 'inverted' the colour then pasted into 1 layer ).
We were also introduced to the delights of free online kaleidoscope software . This example is from a watercolour sketch - I have lots more on my Flickr site. It's a delightful 'toy' and interesting to see how patterns and shapes become distorted but I can't really see me using this particular technique in my textile work. Mind you I haven't worked out yet what I'm doing for my July TIF challenge........

1 comment:

hippopip said...

Great to read and see photos of Kew I must make a visit, The kaleidoscopes left me cold too, but your duck image is delightful,well done, I am off to try it in paintshop now