Wednesday, September 03, 2014

My cacti and succulent drawings - in coloured pencils

Coloured pencil drawings of Cacti and succulents for Florum 2014
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
This is my contribution to Florum 2014 - an exhibition celebrating plant life which opens to the public on Saturday.  My drawings in coloured pencils are:
  • top left: Triangulation  - this was exhibited at the Society of Botanical Artists in 2011
  • top right: Sansevaria Surprise - the common names for this plant include many variations on 'tongue' e.g. mother-in-law's tongue, devil's tongue, jinn's tongue, snake tongue plus bow string hemp and snake plant.  It seems to me they were coined by people who had never seen the flowers!
  • Middle left: Grey, green and pink in Yuma - inspired by a coffee stop on my 2006 road trip (see below)
  • Middle right: Echevaria Laui - looks pale grey but actually displays incredibly subtle colours
  • Bottom left: Aloe Polyphylla - it has an amazing spiral pattern
  • Bottom right: Tesselation #2 (Agave Victoriae) - a reworking of one of my original drawings of this plant.
  • Bottom middle: Aloe Karasbergensis - very stripy!

All works are for sale at the exhibition which is open 6th - 13th September (10.00am - 5.00pm) at the Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve.  I'll be stewarding on Sunday if anybody wants to come and visit and meet me! Below are links to my previous reviews of the Florum exhibition

Incidentally after a walk around the reserve yesterday, I can highly recommend it to anybody wanting to draw birdlife, wildlife and wild flowers.  I shall be returning to spend more time there.

I've been drawing cacti and succulents for some time - ever since a 2,000 mile road trip in 2006 from Santee in Southern California to Albuquerque, New Mexico (New Mexico sketches) via Arizona (Arizona sketches).  You can read about my trip in Road Trip #1 - Santee, Southern California to Albuquerque, New Mexico via Tombstone Arizona on

My preference is for a macro view of the plant which focuses on its structure.  Interestingly, when I last exhibited my drawings (at another wildlife reserve - the Mission Trails Regional Park, in San Diego, California) the comment that was most often made by visitors was that people had never really looked at cacti and succulents close up before - but they would in future!  That's enough for me to keep drawing them as I do!

In terms of working in a series or with a theme see my website 12 good reasons to paint in a series

Now I just need to get my website updated!


  1. Great set of drawings Katherine. They present well as a set. Interested to see larger pics of them, especially since you work in colored pencil and prefer seeing evidence of the medium in yours.

    If you ever make it back to Southern California you would enjoy a trip to The Huntington Library (art museum) and the Gardens near Pasadena in San Marino.
    Gardens include Australian to Desert to Jungle, Chinese, Shakespeare among others.

    Google map and you get a feel for the size and land or layout.
    207 acres, 120 landscaped, 14,000 different varieties of plants.
    Your Heaven.

  2. Thanks David. I know all about the Huntington and we email periodically - generally in relation to a botanical art exhibition.

    It's certainly a place I'd like to see for myself.

  3. These are beautiful! It is great to see them as a group.

  4. Love these Katherine, you're right, most people hardly see cacti and succulents, and they are so interesting with such subtle colours. Good luck with the exhibition, hope it goes well.


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