A last look at the beautiful fall colors until next year.
The magnolias are blooming and the air is smelling sweet.
“Are you green and growing, or ripe and rotting?” Ray Kroc (from Brainyquote)
Many painters rely on Hooker’s Green for the precise replication of the trees of the forest and the grass of the fields but its origins are with the botanical artist renowned for his fruit depictions, William Hooker (1779-1832). Hooker began mixing colors to get the precise bluish green of apples and other fruits of a green variety. He shared his green mixture with his contemporary, John Sell Cotman, noted watercolorist and namesake of the Cotman brand of watercolors. Hooker’s Green has continued to be a mainstay in the paintbox of watercolorists and botanical painters to this day though oil painters enjoy its use, as well.
William Hooker was a botanical artist working for the Horticultural Society of London, when he developed his green, mixing Prussian Blue and gamboge. Gamboge proved to be fugitive in the mix leading latter artists to prefer the substitution of Aureolin or Yellow Oxide. For those artists who prefer to mix their own Hooker’s Green, the Prussian Blue is frequently exchanged for Phthalo Blue and mixed with Aureolin or Yellow Oxide for better similarity with the tube version. Hooker’s Green is a transparent green making it a great choice in the layers of washes and glazes of botanical painting.
William Hooker, botanical artist of the Horticultural Society of London is frequently confused with William Jackson Hooker (1785-1865), botanist and former director of Great Britain’s famed Kew Gardens. Though the two William Hookers were both noted in the world of botany around the same time period, they are not related. William Jackson Hooker was a professor of botany before taking the position of director of Kew Gardens. William Hooker, studied scientific illustration under Francis Bauer before serving as official illustrator to the Horticultural Society of London, (now the Royal Horticultural Society).
Painting fruits, trees, leaves, and grasses is a breeze when adding Hooker’s Green in some form to your palette. Hooker’s Green is the green of growing things. Whether mixing your own or using the tube variety, today’s versions of Hooker’s Green have a better light-fastness than the original. However, when discussing the inventor of this particular paint color, be sure not to mix up your Hookers. Not all Hookers are the same.
For more on botanical gardens and botanical painting follow these links:
Step out of the busy stressful everyday life for a drive through Percy Warner Park in the Fall. Feed the Soul. Prime the pump with inspiration. The one-way road winds around a hill to the top then down again. The dense trees of the forest surrounding the road are changing and putting on their fall colors. Breathe in the cool autumn air. Smell the scents of the woods. Enjoy!
“Its not what you look at that matters, its what you see.”—Henry David Thoreau (from Creatingminds.org)
Taking the time to simply observe surroundings can lead to some delightful surprises. Artist’s visual skills will see the pattern or the image in unusual places every time. Designs in frost on the window, patterns in park benches, faces in trees, objects in clouds, an artist will spot the art in all quickly. Mere mortals miss what is plain to the artist.
Pbase.com sponsors The Tree Gallery where artists and photographers can submit unusual tree art, naturally occurring or touched by the artist’s hand. The trees in the gallery are amazing. One fascinating photo is an example of the phenomenon of art made my Mother Nature. “Riverside Cottonwood” by Steve Grooms is particularly bittersweet. He discovered the tree roots of a cottonwood tree recently exposed by floodwaters and finds the art in the roots. He takes the photograph that shares this unusual sight with others. A year later the tree topples over into the Mississippi River. The artist captured the vision before Mother Nature took over and it was lost forever.
The website Patternity focuses on seeing pattern all around in everyday places. The caption on the website reads, “seeing pattern everywhere—from the mundane to the magnificent.” Take a look at the photographs on Patternity to see how surrounded we are by pattern. Suddenly, a stack of chairs takes on a different feeling. A row of windows becomes a pattern to an artist’s eye. Patterns are all around us on a daily basis.
“This is part of what I mean about looking at the world with wonderment,” state authors Andy and Ali of the website ctrl-alt-travel. A look at the website reveals many instances of finding the art in the mundane. A shot of the knots in a rope, spikes in the street, park benches, art is everywhere if we take the time to look.
When in need of inspiration, observing surroundings for odd little patterns and designs is a fun game to play. Waiting in line? Play “spot the art.” Left on hold? Play “spot the art.” You never know what you might find. There are always wonderful new discoveries out there waiting to be spotted.
The tree heart is in a row of trees lining the drive to the Ocala Museum of Art, Ocala, Florida. The other shot is the “knee” of a cypress tree.