Flower shapes: Symbolism & Cultural significance
Lizzie Harper Blog
by Lizzie Harper
1M ago
Flower Shapes: Symbolism and Cultural Significance guest blog by Nina James Summer Flower shapes matter, culturally as well as botanically.  According to the 2016 Generations of Flowers Study 60% of Americans believe a gift of flowers has a special meaning.  This is unlike any other gift.  Many associate different colours with different meanings.   Red roses convey romance, for example.  However, the shape of different flowers carries significant meaning in various cultures around the world. Illustration works to bring delicate shapes and details to life. Understa ..read more
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Trees: Scots pine Pinus sylvestris
Lizzie Harper Blog
by Lizzie Harper
3M ago
Scots Pine Pinus sylvestris   Scots pine is one of a series of blogs I’m writing on common British trees.  You can also see blogs on the Elder, the Yew, the Ash, the Oak, the Holly, the Sycamore, the Rowan, the Hawthorn, the Birch, the Lime, and the Beech. The Scots pine is one of only three native UK conifers, along with the Yew and the Juniper.  It grows wild in heathland and in the Caledonian pine forests of the Scottish Highlands, although only 1% of these remain.  About 7000 years ago it was the commonest tree in Britain but suffered when the climate got wetter and war ..read more
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Researching a wildflower
Lizzie Harper Blog
by Lizzie Harper
4M ago
Researching a wildflower involves gathering information on the anatomy, distinguishing characteristics, family, and appearance of a plant.  The first stage is to know about the plant you are illustrating.  Feel free to use the English name, but do all research using the Latin or scientific name.  This avoids confusion as some plants are called different names depending on where you are, even within countries.  For more on scientific nomenclature, check out my earlier blogs, What’s in a name part 1 and part 2. Researching a wildflower: Botany Most of the flowers I illustrate ..read more
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Striped Patterns in Nature
Lizzie Harper Blog
by Lizzie Harper
4M ago
Stripes Stripes are seen across the animal and plant kingdoms.  Although the first stiped animals you think of may be zebra and tigers, there are lots of striped beetles, snakes, birds, and loads of stripy fish. Stripes for Camouflague Stripes are a brilliant way of providing camouflage.  They break up the edges of an organism, making it harder to see against the background.  A baby tapir, rootling in the scrub of a forest will be almost invisible as patches of sunlight and dark shadow fall on its’ back.  If you see one in a different environment its’ stripes seem startling ..read more
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Watercolour paints: Inside my paint box
Lizzie Harper Blog
by Lizzie Harper
6M ago
Watercolour paint choice is very personal, and everyone will have their own favourite colours.  I have recently been giving the matter more thought as I try to simplify equipment lists for students, and thought I’d share my paint box with you. My paint box in use I also made a guide to the colours I use which was a first.  I have been painting for 30 years and it is only now I have felt inclined to produce a (surprisingly useful) colour chart of the contents of my paint box.  Old dog new tricks, anyone? My paintbox alongside my guide Below is the guide so you can see what stor ..read more
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Trees: Small-leaved lime or Linden
Lizzie Harper Blog
by Lizzie Harper
6M ago
Small-leaved lime Tilia cordata and other Lime or Linden trees   This is one of a series of blogs I’m writing on common British trees.  You can also see blogs on the Elder, the Yew, the Ash, the Oak, the Holly, the Sycamore, the Rowan, the Hawthorn, the Birch and the Beech. There are 10 species of Lime in the UK, with three growing commonly in the wild.  Along with the Small-leaved Lime Tilia cordata, the focus of this blog; there is the Common lime Tilia x europea and the Large-leaved (or Broad-leaved) lime Tilia platyphyllos.   Lime trees are often called Linden tree ..read more
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Variegation: Patterns on leaves
Lizzie Harper Blog
by Lizzie Harper
6M ago
What is Variegation? Many of the patterns you see on plant leaves, especially on garden and house plants, are caused by variegation. Variegated leaves have areas of paler yellow or white on them, and vary widely form species to species, and between individual plants.  Some variegated leaves even have dark red or scarlet areas. So what’s going on to cause these markings? Variegated zonal geranium leaf Mrs Pollock Variegation happens when cells in the leaves end up without plastid pigments, which normally provide the green chlorophyll we see in most leaves.  This occasionally occurs i ..read more
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Potatoes
Lizzie Harper Blog
by Lizzie Harper
8M ago
Potatoes are ubiquitous vegetables, a staple in the west since their introduction from South America in 1590.  They’re bought in shops, planted in gardens, made into crisps and fries; but as well as being a vital food crop, they’re also rather beautiful plants. Varieties of Potato There are hundreds of different potato cultivars.  Some bear potatoes early in the year, others not until autumn.  Some are short and bushy plants, others stand tall with far fewer leaves.  The potatoes themselves vary in colour of flesh and skin, in size, in texture.  Flowers of the potato p ..read more
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Patterns in Nature: A quick overview
Lizzie Harper Blog
by Lizzie Harper
8M ago
Introducing patterns One of the things in nature which is worth taking a really close look at is pattern.  Spots, stripes and splotches decorate loads of living things; from beetles to reef fish, snakes to zebras, orchids to sunflower seeds. Peacock Pavo pair with male tail on display They have always amazed and delighted me, and I’ve recently looked a little further into them. Ladybird Coccinella septempunctata What are patterns for? Patterns serve lots of different functions in nature.  They can provide camouflage, which works for predators as well as for prey.  This is true ..read more
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Sand hill Screwmoss: An illustration challenge
Lizzie Harper Blog
by Lizzie Harper
9M ago
Sand hill Screwmoss Syntrichia ruraliformis ruraliformis is one of the species completed for a recent commission.  There were thirteen species of plant I had to illustrate which were growing on Braunton Burrows sand dunes, and the one that occupied me most was certainly this lovely moss. For an overview of the other species illustrated, please check out my blog on the Wildflowers of Braunton Burrows. Star moss Quite a few mosses look starry when viewed from above.  This is because the leaves at the tip of the shoots curve sharply outwards and downwards.  Often they look very dif ..read more
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