People often ask me where I look for inspiration or pull source images from for my illustrations and floral watercolors. Growing up, my mom always kept — and continues to — a beautiful, overflowing garden. As a result, we always had fresh herbs, flowers, fruits and veggies around the house. I think just constantly looking at and absorbing this beauty has made it easy to draw flowers and leaves. When I'm working, I'll still pull up photographs for inspiration, but I think growing up in the garden gives me more confidence and intuition.
My mom's gardening style is very loose. It's a sort of "plant it and see what happens" kind of plan. As things develop, she tweaks and moves things around, readjusting to find the right layout and balance for the plants.
I see that in my own artistic style — it's very loose and organic. I love it when stems and leaves appear to tumble out of a space and on another. I don't like to start my drawings with an exact plan.
There's also so much rich color and shape inspiration to draw from in the garden!
Over the years, I've watched my mom's garden evolve. She's always tending to it — tilling the soil, watering, re-planting. She will sit or move around the garden every day: paying attention to details and caring for each plant — making sure it has enough sunlight, water and room to grow. She knows the biological names of each plant, to look for snails and weeds, and when to clip certain plants back in order to let them grow. It takes a keen eye and a lot of patience to maintain a healthy garden.
The day we visited, my mom showed us a swarm of bees that had recently settled in one of the lemon trees. After some searching, we learned that this was a temporary home for the bees. They were protecting the queen bee while scouts looked for a new home to build a hive. My mom hopes to find a beekeeper to help her relocate them to a new home — perhaps even learn how to keep them in her garden.
We clipped a few things from the garden and I sat at the kitchen table and drew extensions of each clipping in watercolor and pen.