Monday, 16 February 2009

From Solstice to Succulents!

A leap of several weeks and a drastic climate change from wintry snow to the temperature of the desert!

I have the exciting task of designing and creating a mural for the Cactus House at the University of Durham Botanic Garden.

Adjacent to beautiful wooded areas just south of Durham City, the Botanic Garden is a glorious place to be at all times of year. There is atmosphere, aesthetic beauty, botanical interest and a very nice cafe serving a plethora of culinary delights!

The Cactus House is situated in one of several glasshouses and is home to a fascinating collection of cacti and other succulents.
The mural is to be situated against the glass 'wall' which you can see straight ahead on the above photograph. This should make the cacti stand out instead of being a little 'lost' against the mixture of metal struts and items visible through the glass.

The actual painting work will be done in the adjacent glasshouse room - you can just see the tops of the white panels in the distance behind the creepers.

Here we have a mockup of the blank panels.

Above is a tonal 'sketch' of the proposed design. It is intended to complement the real cacti situated in the foreground and to draw the eye gently back into the distance.
The scene will feature a cloudless sky and sparse plant life as a contrast to other habitats, such as rainforest. This will provide a useful reference and demonstration to school and other groups visiting the Botanic Garden.

Four plywood panels have been smoothly primed with acrylic gesso and are now ready for me to apply the first stages of the composition.

Here the preliminary sketch I created on paper has been superimposed over the photo to show where the various cacti will be painted. Some of the species have since been changed to give more variety of shape and form.
Watch this space! 

Ingrid Sylvestre 

Durham artist Ingrid Sylvestre, mural artist, North East painter & artist, Durham City, North East England UK.

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