Student: "Plants are boring"
Teacher: "No, your art is boring"
Two quick demos, maybe 20-minutes each, both done while out on the semesterly greenhouse expedition: trusty Sharpie & ball-point pen and touch o' wash + tiny post-tweak Photoshop.
Emphasis on contour line in preparation for the upcoming Organic Composition critique: midground is established by the panel border, foreground element created by the breaking of said border with a bit of overlapping foreshortening, and lastly the background plane is enhanced with a contrasting underlays of silhouettes + wash gradation.
After the above exchange from the post's opening quote I had a mini-rant on how quite honestly I personally find the company of plants infinitely more satisfying and rewarding than many a conversation with human beings. Daresay I've learned an awful lot from studying simple, unassuming vegetation - the lesson for today was to slow down and pay attention. Never mind learning to draw - this is an art even further beyond the abilities of most people these days. This isn't anything necessarily meditative, just a possible component in maintaining sanity amidst the often overwhelming demands pushed upon us during the course of any given day.
Learning to look a little at, and linger on, all those overlooked and ignored things that most folks step over or on while en route to their Very Serious and Important Duties. And all too often the impatient expectations of a student will want their image to somehow magically appear completed right before them like downloading an mp3 file or microwaving dinner. Neither can compare to experiencing live music or savoring the self-made meal, and investing time and effort: hence a little observational skill on top of any talent will make for a much more satisfying oasis of introspection.
Case in point: when all is said and more importantly done, given the fact today was a emotional and hectic day, regardless of the relatively unrefined result, I got a chance to demonstrate, to my satisfaction, well, there you go.
Posted above is an Aster + Ficus carica (Chicago Hardy); below is Gelsemium semperviren (Carolina Jasmine).