My first study uses graphite pencils for the texture study, ink pencils then add to the light and dark giving impact to the textures for the flower, finally watercolour for the background, which was not my area of focus. I love the cut-down, impressionist effect that comes from here. I felt attracted by this study, but it definitely felt like a stepping stone, something that would be returned to at a later phase of exploration to be refined and developed.
I then turned to pencil studies of the textures, and worked to unpick the shapes. I found I returned to some of the initial markmaking exercises to try to find a way of identifying the textures.
Later on, after doing most of the studies, I still felt I had not found the textures properly, and I returned to pencilwork again. Then suddenly I felt I discovered the integral shapes of the seedhead. It was like a Eureka Moment!
My first serious attempt, after the initial study with graphites and inktense pencils, was to use gouache. The colours appeared solid and bold, and the effect would be a strong one.
After lining my page with colour squares with gouache, I then wanted to use inks again, and to work with mixing shades, finding blocks in the sketch. My second study then is more impressionist and diffused. I actually really enjoyed just sharing out the light and glow onto the pages, although I am embarrassed by the points of browns in the seed area, which are unhelpful. If I was to do this again, I would not attempt to show any texture at all, and just keep with the diffusion of colour.
I had a little struggle (as always!) with how to reflect the shapes in this image. I am still not comfortable with collage, but after a bit of trial and error I opted to use origami paper to work with. I am not sure I really got to grips with the shapes however, as in the original photo, and in my sketches, there is more definition and demarcation in the shapes than appeared with my torn papers. I think it gave an impression rather than a true form. I found my papers also very naive in colour, so that they also stopped the shape developing. I even ended up covering the whole sketch up with netting,ostensibly to give the effect of the sun and atmosphere. Really, it was because I found my cutouts so crude.
So, after this I felt still dissatisfied at not really showing shapes to the level I was happy with, and I got out my pencils again. I took out the colour, and looked at outlines. Suddenly I was able to see how shape and background was being used , and the possible ways of interpreting through shape and positive/negative. Eventually!