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"Follow your passion ".. "Donovan Bailey

Updated: Feb 12

I chose to paint the passiflora caerulea or passion flower as part of the advanced botanical painting course I'm studying with Dianne Sutherland . I'd already added a few drawings to the sketchbook in September, including the flowers and buds and the fruit , in various stages from the green fruit , to green & orange, then deep orange and fully ripe bursting with juicy red seeds, as seen in the dissection ( bottom right ) Although looking quite exotic, this plant is fully hardy in the UK and in fact the foliage was romping across two trees in January 2021, still with a lot of buds, although not flowers as they only open in warm sunny weather. Some of the older leaves were a little weathered and I depicted them exactly as I found them.

Once I had drawn my composition Dianne helpfully pointed out that botanically, although fruit and flowers occur on the plant simultaneously, yet not from the same leaf node , since the passion flowers just last for one day, and the fruit arises from the centre of the same fertilised flower some weeks later. So given a bit of artistic licence, my painting shows the progression of flowers and fruit, over time. Dianne also suggested I bend the main stem so my 3 fruits did not look quite so regimentally aligned in a row, as in the sketchbook. The flowers of this variety of passiflora are actually pale green and only show up as almost white against the dark green of the leaves or the brickwork of our coach-house where it is growing over a sunny south facing corner. I particularly enjoyed painting the tendrils which grow in all sorts of interesting and graceful shapes including some quite tight spirals. Also the main stem of the plant corkscrews completely around from time to time. A few of the preliminary studies in the sketchbook follow.


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