STORY BEHIND THE ART OF Martha Kemp

 
20th Annual International American Society of Botanical Artists & The Horticultural Society of New York
 
 

Ornamental Gourds, Works 1 and 2

Cucurbita pepo

 

The shapes and color combinations of ornamental gourds have long appealed to me as a potential subject for my own art, but only in the past couple of years have I acted on the attraction.  Despite the often close similarities in color, shape and texture, each and every one is unique: a single color or multicolored, fanciful or other-worldly with ridges or fins like those on a cartoon spaceship, or mind-bogglingly bumpy and lumpy.  In the case of the two drawings on exhibit, there was the contrast between the gourds’ solidity, a sense of weightiness in the dark one, and their graceful attitudes, which in one case included a mass of crisply curled tendrils.
 

I chose to draw on calfskin vellum with graphite pencil mostly as an experiment with my first gourd – the dark one - knowing that it can be difficult to build up enough graphite on the very firm surface of the vellum to develop dark values.  It dulls a pencil point quickly!  The challenge was to try to portray all the layers of pattern, dark green to light green to almost white, while using only shades of grey.  After that, the challenge was to create a sense of volume and roundness with the addition of more graphite over some areas of the entire drawing.  The other gourd had a lighter feel, with lots of color and textural contrasts, and loads of “personality,” not least its happy hairdo! 

 
 
 
 
Read more about this artist’s work: Weird, Wild and Wonderful
  • © 2016 Martha Kemp
    Ornamental Gourd (1)
    Cucurbita pepo
    Graphite pencil on vellum
    6-1/2" x 8-1/2"
  • © 2016 Martha Kemp
    Ornamental Gourd (2)
    Cucurbita pepo
    Graphite pencil on vellum
    8-1/2" x 6-1/2"