Grease Nut (Hernandia bivalvis) (“Grease Nut” refers to the high oil content of the fruit.)
“I could not pass by these fascinating and very colorful fruits of this Australian rainforest tree now on the endangered list. As this particular tree was cultivated in a Brisbane garden it allowed for closer observation in my studio. Its beautifully translucent immature valves (or bracts) hinted of a dark fruit inside their folds, as illustrated in the painting. On this particular sparsely branched tree the fruit appeared as if suspended in a space framed with bright, shiny leaves. The composition options were mulled over for a considerable period and finally emerged as one with a movement that flowed out from the cluster of three fruits on the left of the painting. Unlike the other branches, this branch had to be arranged so as not to appear as attached to the tree in order to accommodate for the extended position of the fruit cluster. Developing an interesting composition in sync with the character of the plant is a most enjoyable interlude in a creative process that then continues to energize me in preparation for the many hours of fine painting required to record the intricacies of botanical structures and textures of fruit, leaves and stems.
Media: Watercolor and color pencil on Arches paper. Three pigments are selected to create a unified palette that sees a full range of color seen as relating to the particular plant.
Original image area: 42x30.5 cm (16.5"x12") .