Quiet work

There’s show, and there’s the quietly impressive stuff that the garden does when I’m not looking…

I’ve grown my first giant sunflowers this year. After a decade of tending them at a community garden, it’s only working from home, with the same view through the day, that I’ve noticed that they turn to face the sun. Drawing them, I take in the change in light, this view with sharp colours, blue shadow and the softening of the leaves in the lunchtime heat.

The courgette plants seem not to be doing much – but in the shade of their leaves, they’ve made this beauty, all sculptural curve and rib, deep greens, fluoro greens and speckle. I try drawing it in detail but bold brushstrokes with an almost dry brush give me more of the spirit of the thing.

Glancing across at the sage to watch the bees, I spot that its soft new green leaves are cradling a fledgling feather. Sage leaves and feathers are soft in entirely-different ways. One needs a delicate, complex approach to colour; the other, little flicks of line.

Here’s to the quiet things that show me, as I draw, the astonishing work of nature.

Ballpen, watercolour, fineliner and highlighter on handed-down watercolour paper.

Rose sketches from this project are available as greeting cards, from the Garden Museum shop in London and at Hackney Wick Underground.

On my Teemill shop, watercolour and line sketches on t-shirts and tote bags.