52/52 Botanical & Natural Science Art- Painting #1

by Mindy on January 6, 2012

in Uncategorized

Week #1- Painting # 1- Mr. PURPLE

My first painting finished for 2012 is a Datura, Datura metel. It is in the Family: Solanaceae. some of the common names are Purple Horn-of-Plenty, Jimpson Weed, and Devils Weed. This particular variety is called Mr. Purple! It is native to Southern China.

The plant is considered an ornamental plant. It is poisonous so don't let children or animals ingest it. (Adults too!) It grows in warm, tropical and sub-tropical climates. I had a white version of it when I lived in NJ and every year it died to the ground, spreading seeds and would re-seed and sprout in other locations. I am collecting seeds from this plant too in hopes of it doing the same. We had a frost the other night and the plant is now shriveled. I got to it just in time to get the color correct. Not bad for the beginning of January!

I started with an under tonal drawing in graphite and painted over the graphite drawing in gouache. The painting took a short period of time compared to the drawing and tonal drawing that I did off and on since this past fall.

Several of you have asked me about how I capture my images digitally. I have an old Epson 4180 Perfection scanner. It is about 6 years old or more. It only scans 8.5 x 11 at a time. This painting is 14" x 18" and I scanned it into the computer in 6 pieces. The pieces slightly overlap one another. I then used Adobe Photoshop, PhotoMerge to "stitch" the painting together. I clean up the background and play with the color balance so the final scan is ready for high quality printing. I scan everything in at 300 dpi. It is relatively easy as I have been doing it for 6+ years. I found that the cost of having it done professionally was not cost efficient and I was able to do as good a job…only it takes me longer……. time versus available cash.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend and I look forward to your comments and questions. Please ask away. I love hearing from you!



{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Wrenaissance Art January 6, 2012 at 7:51 pm

Lovely work!
I have a love-hate relationship with the yellow, pink or white Angel Trumpet Daturas. The plant itself is ugly and weedy, but then the blooms appear with their amazing fragrance and all is forgiven! :-)

Wrenaissance Art January 6, 2012 at 7:54 pm

Oops–hit post before asking:
When you scan larger pieces on an 8.5" x 11" scan bed, how do you manage to avoid damaging the watercolor paper yet still flatten the scanned portion completely enough to avoid the dreaded dark spots where the paper is a bit too far from the glass?

Natasza January 6, 2012 at 8:50 pm


Jacqui Pemberton January 7, 2012 at 2:40 am

Just beautiful! It's purple, it's graphite and its gouache over graphite – all the things I love.  And best of all, in no time atall – It's finished!  You are amazing Mindy.  Thank you for sharing your tips on scanning and merging etc – very helpful indeed.  Likewise to Wrenaissance Art, I wonder how you avoid the piece being squashed in the scanner bed – do yo use the lid or a towel to cover perhaps??  I always scan my own work if it fits in the scanner or otherwise I get the camera shop to do it, but I always do the photoshopping myself for best job!  I have not tried merging several pieces together with PS but will give it a whirl.  Thanks Mindy – so what is on for next week??
Jacqui :))

Mindy January 7, 2012 at 9:55 am

Hi Wren and Jacqui~

The top of my scanner comes off and I try to put the corner of the painting in the corner of the scanner with the side and top flush. I then scan with the top on the painting. I move it in increments so that parts of the painting overlap. I save each scan( for a 14 x 18 painting I have 6 images.) I put the images into a folder on my desktop. I then us Photoshop CS5 Automate. With the automate Photomerge command the computer does all the piece work and color corrects. It gets rid of a lot of the darker parts and blends the painting so it actually looks pretty good. I then flatten the image and color correct and clean up. Hope this helps!


Sally Wager January 8, 2012 at 12:54 pm

It looks lovely, I thought the graphite was beautiful in its own right, the color brings it to life.   

Sketchbook Squirrel January 9, 2012 at 3:32 am

Purple is my favourite colour and this is just delicious! 

Jackie Jacobson January 11, 2012 at 1:05 pm

WOW…this one came out beautifully. I really like the composition and the 2 variations of the colors of the leaves. Very unique !!!!

laura Ashton January 12, 2012 at 10:40 am

Hi Mindy
This is lovely!  I used to be a gardener at Butchart Gardens in Victoria Canada.  And in the summer we would bring out all sorts of Datura plants!  I love them.  Of course here they have to be in a heated green house over the winter.  I recall when you did the Leave challenge you mentioned that purple lifts very easily.  This was when you did the Kale leaf and decided to use purple coloured pencil instead.  Is this also true of Gouche?  Or does the opacity of the paint prenvent this?

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