I spent the afternoon sketching my Helleborus 'Ivory Prince' in it's late bud stage. It is still in it's ugly plastic pot on my back porch. I snagged it from my daughters nursery last Thanksgiving. I had felt some guilt about not planting it before winter, but now I have the advantage of bringing it inside on a 35 degree day.
How often as gardeners do we get a close up of this stage of the plant? I parted the older foliage on this one and peaked inside. What a wonder~ the buds are softly tinged with velvety mauve, and are hugged by tiny, protective, and perfectly formed leaves. The Ivory buds are lightly washed in a pale green. The stems are a deep red. It is perfect for a watercolor study. In this initial sketch I accented the color with colored pencil, in case I don't get to paint it right away. I can always refer back to this sketch later. Doing the sketch before painting it I can look at shading and values ahead of time and work out the kinks.
Because Helleborus, also known as Lenten Rose bloom so early, often in the snow, we don't always see the blooms at all, finding only the beautiful sepals when we venture out in warmer weather. That is what is so great about this perennial favorite. The sepals are still beautiful months later as they form seed pods.
I often don't really get intimate with the beauty of a plant until I sketch it. This forces me to really look at how the fruiting parts of a plant really form, It is an opportunity to see just how the bud or flower is attached to the stem, how the angle of the bloom hangs, and just how the flower petal evolves from the sepal. In other words...It's true anatomy.
This variety of Helleborus has a beautiful blue green leaf color with silver vein's.
I will continue to sketch this plant as it's buds open and change color. the challenge for me is to paint this 'Ivory Prince' and it's beautiful and subtle colors
as well as nature does......