Extended Time With Plants

 My Perpetual Plant Journal elicits and nurtures a totally separate facet of my artwork. It gives me the opportunity to slow down, to take the time to draw carefully first in pencil (though I don't always do so), to work less energetically with my watercolors and to spend precious, extended time with plants.

It also provides a great opportunity to design around text as well as practice various Arts and Craft fonts that I am deeply inspired by. It helps if I remember the letter or number that I'm writing and if I don't try to erase my guidelines too soon.

I knew that I would be in Maui during two of my Perpetual Plant Journal weeks. I penciled in the text for those two week's double spreads in my Stillman and Birn, Zeta Sketchbook before leaving for Maui. I'm still working on the first year of this Perpetual Journal which is why I'm still creating each week's text.

This year, for some reason, there are fewer exotic plants in bloom. It has been a challenge to find a comfortable place to sit to sketch and paint those plants. During last week's entry I was blasted by the sun and eaten alive by tiny stinging ants while sitting on a jagged boulder of lava rock. This week, I found what I thought would be a perfect spot to paint a Red Ginger plant. It was in a secluded, pond garden. There were slate steps that I sat on along a path that was seldom traveled. However, I had to sit and twist a bit to have a clear view of the blossom I wished to paint.

The edge of the slate step dug into my leg, parts of my body numbed and I was far more miserable than I had imagined I would be. The hand towel did little to soften the slate edge.

It was all worthwhile. I would do it again in a heartbeat.


I began with a very careful pencil sketch that wove through the pre-drawn, pre-inked lettering. Then I moved into the watercolor. Once again, it dried too quickly. I kept focused on the rhythm of patterns in the blossom. The movement, the flow of the blossom was a priority in that nature is always in balance and alive. I wanted that to be reflected and expressed in my journal, in spite of the sharp edge of the slate digging into my leg.
Sketching and painting is an opportunity to connect with the world around us in an extraordinary way. For me, it isn't about creating great art, it's about expressing the amazing experience of being alive in this world.
I continue, daily, to hone my skills so that I can share my love of being alive and the joy of expressing my experiences through art!

Are there a few skills you would like to hone? Drawing? Watercolor techniques? Color Mixing? Using Color Schemes? The more skills you have honed, the more you enjoy the experience of sketching and drawing.  

Check out the different courses I've created for you to enjoy your sketching and painting even more than you already do.  Feel free to contact me if you have questions or would like suggestions as to which classes might be the best for you.

Free art demos on Youtube 

Mini-courses on Skillshare 

More in-depth courses on ExploreWithChrisCarter.com

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Chris Carter - Artist

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