Review: 02/11/21: I have done some digging, so that I am able to create a botanical label for this plant, and its name is Echinopsis candicans. It is native to Argentina and is of least concern to conservationists, with a stable population.
The above image shows my completed watercolour illustration of a cactus flower from Kew. Overall, I am very pleased with the illustration, especially the petals, but there is much I can improve on. I am not too disheartened by this however, as this was my first attempt at watercolour botanical illustration, and although there is much room for improvement, there is also much in it which I can be proud of, as it was a real challenge for me to work in a completely new way.
The centre of the flower is probably the area I am least happy with, due to the lack of accuracy and detail that I was able to incorporate into the illustration. The stamen and central parts of the flower were incredibly delicate and extremely difficult for me to represent in watercolour – in spite of the new (much finer) brushes that I purchased and used here. One big thing that I learnt from trying to paint this central section last, was that in fact I should have built it slowly up at the same time I built the detail in the petals up – as it would have allowed for the laying of base colours, which I could have then added the details on top of afterwards, maybe using a white acrylic or similar.
I found the experience of using the watercolours for the illustration much more difficult than one and ink – in part I think, due to the lessened control that you have when you use watercolours – although my second pen and ink drawing was significantly better than my first, having studied professional pen and ink illustrations. I am hoping, therefore, that my experience will be similar with my watercolour illustrations, and that practice will make perfect. I also now have the book Botanical Illustration from Life by Isic Güner, which I am hoping will further aid my progress.
(The reference image and drawing side-by-side)