When I was walking to BART last week I ran into Fletch who had just finished shooting photos of an amazing Proteus a few blocks from my house. I must have walked by this stunning plant a hundred times and never noticed it until he pointed it out to me. I couldn’t stop to sketch that morning but finally got back there this afternoon.
I got as close as I could without trespassing and sketched with my Micron Pigma .01 pen, trying to capture the many different forms the blossoms take along the way to fully blooming. Then I used my mini gouache palette and a tiny brush to paint the details. Gouache seemed like a perfect medium for doing this kind of detailed botanical sketching.
I also took a bunch of photos of these amazing and diverse flowers. Here are a couple of them:
Note to self: Find proteus at a nursery and plant them! But first I want to do some larger botanical illustrations from my photos (or from life if I can convince the woman who owns the plant to allow me to take some cuttings). Fletch told me she reluctantly allowed him to take one.
And here’s a bit of etymological (word origin) trivia about theProteus:
The Proteus got its name because of its amazing diversity of form: It was named after the Greek sea god, Proteus, who was able to change his appearance at will. From this comes the adjective “protean,” which means “versatile”, “mutable”, “capable of assuming many forms.” “Protean” has positive connotations of flexibility, versatility and adaptability.