Indoor drawing and gardening

Just before Christmas 2018, our neighbour arrived at our door with an orchid. He was going away, and didn’t want to discard the plant. He told us he didn’t need to have it back, and we shouldn’t worry if it died. It came from M&S. We took it in.

We are not great gardeners. We just left it and it grew. Our neighbour returned from his holiday and said no, he did not want it back. And it kept on growing. Now it is a flourishing plant with several stems and multiple leaves. It lives in a tiny flower pot, with hardly any soil.

It threw out various extra stems and strange root-like protuberances, which seemed to be seeking new lands. I’ve been meaning to see if it would propagate. So last week I carefully embedded these extra stems in soil, as you see.

When I say “embedded in soil”, I am not strictly accurate. We live in a flat in a tower block, and there is no soil up here. So the orchid is rooted in coffee grounds.

If anyone knows anything about orchids, and can provide advice, I would be glad to hear it. This seems to be a particularly robust specimen, and produces flowers all the time. It is a delight.

Here is work in progress on the drawing.

I’m drawing in a large Saunders Waterford sketchbook. I originally bought it for urban sketching, but it was too heavy to carry about. I also found the huge pages, 11″ by 10″, meant I did huge pictures, which took a long time, standing outdoors in the cold. The paper is also more absorbent than I am used to, which means that my washes don’t go very far and I have to keep refilling the brush. So now, being at home, I am using it to make sketches in the flat, where I can sit down and be warm.

This sketch took about 2 hours, including hanging up the laundry while paint dried (another advantage of working indoors).

Colours: Prussian Blue (DS), Perylene Maroon (DS), Mars Yellow (DS), Burnt Umber (Jacksons).

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