Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Ten Trees and more Thursdays

I was sitting sketching in the Cactus House last Thursday with a group of sketching friends and a small group of school children walked past. They were so intrigued to see drawing being done out in the open air and as usual they stopped to watch for a while. They wanted to work out what I was looking at exactly and then follow the drawing lines I had made in response. And then... one little girl actually said to me
"I wish I was you!" and with that she walked off with the rest of the class. It made more than just my day but rather my whole week! It made me feel that what I was doing was so worthwhile, not just the artwork itself but the process of doing it where people could watch me, particularly children.

Cactus drawing, Robyn Bauer

This was the actual drawing done just with various dilutions of ink and several pens. Below are some other photos of the day.

Robyn Bauer in the Cactus House

I have gone back to drawing on large sheets again and work on them over several sessions. They do not depict an actual scene but rather several plants from a particular area.

Art group in the Cactus House

The late August weather was still a little unpredictable and we did get a few showers so working under the cover of the cactus house roof suited us perfectly.

Art Group

We had our largest group so far of eleven artists on this particular morning.

Art group

I am still managing to get to the Gardens on most days. I feel that even though six months have passed since I started, I am still happy drawing on location. I had thought that by September I would have started some larger studio paintings but I am finding that I have to actually be in the Gardens to actually do anything. I can't work from photos right now and am not keen on working from cut specimens either. I know most botanical artists work this way and I have done some detailed drawings back in the studio of detritus from the forest floor, but I am seem to need the ambiance of being near live plants to respond in an appropriate way.

Tree 1, phytolacca dioica

After the creative burst of the Collage Workshop preparation I enjoyed doing some small detailed tree drawings on paper prepared with a swish of acrylic.

Tree 2, pinus thunbergii

I decided I would do ten in a little series but ended up doing many more.

Tree 3, araucaria

The drawing above was done in the City Botanic Gardens on a very cold morning. Bunya Pine tree.

Tree 4, butia eriospatha

This palm tree is from Brazil and it did have quite a lean on it toward the light. I included the tap just to left of it to help locate it and also to indicate the strong angle at which it is growing.

Tree 5, euphorbia ingens

I really couldn't go past this impressive succulent which is in the Arid Area not far from the cafeteria. I have drawn it from several angles over the years.

Tree 6, dracena beaucarnea

These Mexican ponytail trees have always intrigued me. I love their weird sculptural forms.

Ponytail tree drawing

It is not always possible to get a shot of the drawing and the tree due to shadows.

Me working

The photo above shows the Ponytail tree drawing in progress.

Tree 7, pandanus

So much variety to capture in tree morphology. When deciding which tree to draw on a particular day I usually just try to find something different from what I did the day before. I don't have a very scientific decision-making process. Another factor is shade. I have learned the hard way to always choose a spot that will stay in the shade over several hours.

Tree 8, Swamp Cypress Bonsai

On Japanese Cultural Day on August 18th, I thought I should choose something with a Japanese theme so I headed to the Bonsai House where I found this beautiful specimen of Swamp Cypress.

Bonsai House

I went back there for the next few days also. Several bonsai experts were volunteering with the gardeners and I learned a few tips about maintaining my own bonsai at home.

Tree 9, Japanese Black Pine Bonsai

The bonsai house attracts a large amount of visitors and listening in to the conversations around me, most of them are very knowledgeable about the specimens and the process.

Artist at work

One of the lovely gardeners stopped by and took a series of photos of me working.

Drawing in the Bonsai House

And finally tree number ten in this little mini series.

Tree 10, ficus macrophylla bonsai

This final drawing depicts my favourite Moreton Bay Fig Tree in bonsai form of tree over rock. I just can't get enough of these trees in any form!


  1. Beautifully portrayed Robyn, Love your work, your passion, your creations! ��

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