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Plant of the week 30 May 16: Hibiscus

Hibiscus Black and White drawing by Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

As tropical themes proliferate the summer collections this year I thought I’d concentrate on hibiscus flowers for my plant of the fortnight.

Hibiscus Black and White drawing by Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

According to legend, the hibiscus flower is traditionally worn by Tahitian and Hawaiian girls and is symbolic of relationship status. Apparently if the flower is worn behind the left ear, the woman is married or in a relationship. If the flower is worn on the right, she is single or openly available for love.

Hibiscus Black and White drawing by Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

These flowers look so robust and full of allure with their strong trumpet shape and long stigma. That makes them such fun to draw. Check out my watercolour and ink illustrations on Friday.

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Finished plant of the fortnight: Purple Sweetpea

Plant of the fortnight, watercolour purple sweet pea illustration (c) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

As I mentioned in my last post I was looking forward to being a bit free and easy with my watercolour for this finished sweetpea illustration. And I was;  I applied lots of layers of watery purples, blues and pinks for this colour version so, much so I had to finish it in two sessions as there was no way the black pigment ink would sit on it until the piece was completely dry.

As we’re well into summer I think I’m going to continue with larey looking, brightly coloured blooms for my up-coming plant of the fortnights, so no matter what the actual weather we’ve got something to either amplify the heat or to warm us up.

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Plant of the fortnight 16/05/16 Sweetpea

Sweetpea black and white sketch. Ella Johnston. Plant of the Fortnight ellasplace.co.uk
Sweetpeas are the quintessential summer flower for the UK. Their variety of colours and their delicate paper-like petals are a seasonal favourite in people’s gardens.
Sweetpea black and white sketch. Ella Johnston. Plant of the Fortnight ellasplace.co.uk
It’s not quite sweetpea season yet but once they come I hope to fill little jars and bottles. They look so lovely all grouped together – particularly so when I’m having any outdoor garden gathering.

Not only are they a pleasure to display, they are also a joy to draw. These black and white sketches didn’t take long to do but it’s fun to capture the folds and structure of the individual blooms if you like line drawing (which I do). I can’t wait to go wild with my colour paints when I work up the watercolour versions.
Sweetpea black and white sketch. Ella Johnston. Plant of the Fortnight ellasplace.co.uk

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Plant of the Fortnight 2/05/16: Magnolia

Magnolia black and white sketch. Ella Johnston. Plant of the Fortnight ellasplace.co.uk I bloody loves a magnolia I do. The exquisitely delicate blooms, the shiney dark green leaves, they are simply beautiful. Pink or white I look forward to their arrival, their presence sings spring and they are just so darn pretty.
Magnolia black and white sketch. Ella Johnston. Plant of the Fortnight ellasplace.co.uk

A couple of weeks ago I was walking through our local streets that were littered with magnolia petals. I was sad that they won’t come around until next year so I wanted to draw them to keep them alive as it were.

Magnolia black and white sketch. Ella Johnston. Plant of the Fortnight ellasplace.co.uk
These black and white sketches took minutes to create – the shape of these flowers and leaves are so simple and iconic and can be captured in a mere matter of lines. So quick and easy.

I’m really looking forward to creating some delicate watercolour pieces celebrating this plant. Check in this Friday to see the results.

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Plant of the Fortnight: Iris

Iris Sketch Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

Ever since I was a kid my go-to drawing would be an iris, so I almost resisted the temptation to make it plant of the fortnight. However, through simply playing with these three black and white sketches, I know why I’m obsessed with this flower. They are so ornate and structural and kinda weird at the same time. In colour they are incredible, so drop by on Friday to see my final watercolour version.

Iris Sketch Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

Iris Sketch Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

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Completed Plant of the Fortnight: Thistle

Thistles, Watercolour and Ink, (c) Ella Johnston

After whipping up a set of black and white thistles earlier this week I got carried away and did two final watercolour illustrations and a fabric pattern using this gorgeous flower as my motif.

Thistle, Watercolour and Ink (c) Ella Johnston
I love a thistle and used them a lot when I style photo shoots – I admire their structural quality and blue, green, two-tone colours. I particularly like drawing them though, you can be really expressive with both the watercolour and the pen work as you can probably tell. They also work incredibly well as an indigo and white pattern – I’ve ordered some fabric in this pattern from my  Spoonflower shop so I can make some nice stylish textile bits and pieces.

Thistle Pattern indigo and white (c) Ella Johnston

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Plant of the Fortnight: Thistle

Thistle illustration (c) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk
I have very good associations with the thistle, that’s why I picked them as this fortnight’s plant. They may be prickly but I think they are a great alternative to ‘girly’ flowers and I love the look of them either cut or as beautiful structural blooms in the garden. I enjoyed sketching these quick black and white drawings.

Thistle illustration (c) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

I also like thistles because they remind me of a very special friendship. Many years ago we had some new mates over to ours for dinner and it turned in a very boozy affair. One particular guest left her handbag at ours when she left in the earlier hours of the morning. The following day she turned up to pick the bag up with a full bouquet of white daisies and blue, green thistles and we ended up talking over strong cups of tea (and many crisps and biscuits) way into the evening. A bond was formed and we have been buddies ever since.

Thistle illustration (c) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.ukThistle illustration (c) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk
Thistle illustration (c) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

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New Plant of the Fortnight: Tulip

Tulip watercolour and ink illustration by Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk
Happy Good Friday! Hope you’re enjoying the long weekend. Here’s an Easter flower just for you.

So earlier this week I dashed off some quick black and white tulip drawings. I enjoyed doing these sketches as I do love a tulip, I’ve focused on a particularly ornate blush-coloured bloom for the the final version – don’t you just love its sunsetty petals? Watercolour is great for getting this rich effect mixing orange, yellow and pinky hues. I hope your weekend is just as colourful!

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Plant of the Fortnight: Wood Anemone

Wood Anemone Illustration (c) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk

On Monday I shared some sketchy five minute drawings of some wood anemones, here’s my colour version using watercolour and ink. I’ve also worked up a pretty pattern repeat using the flower and foliage as a motif.

These are really lovely delicate flowers, I love their light, paper-like petals and delicate minty coloured leaves. I’m lucky enough to live near woods and every spring it is full with a delightful carpet of green and white. It’s a wonderful gift every year and gives us a tremendous amount of pleasure.

Wood anemone pattern (c) Ella Johnston ellasplace.co.uk