Recording wild plants by drawing and painting in watercolour is something I have been doing since I was a teenager.
The most important part of the process for me is to convey the life and habit of the plant, something which birdwatchers refer to as the ‘gizz’ of the species. To do this one needs to look at and closely observe the plant where it is growing in the wild, for example the Campanula patula was scrambling through brambles in a small piece of woodland.
It is important to then check in a Flora (I use The New Flora of the British Isles by Clive Stace) to make sure that the habitat you have observed is typical. The next stage is to have the plant material in the hand and to again make close observations of the various parts of the plant before beginning the drawing.
I draw directly onto watercolour paper and compose the picture as I go along something which I have learned to do over many years of drawing. Sometimes the composition is dictated by the nature of the plant.
I am recording rare native Sorbus trees for a project at the University of Bristol Botanic Garden and in each case I have to very carefully observe and draw the backs and the fronts of the leaves as well as the flowers and fruits as each species is different but very similar.
I am on number nineteen.