April to Early May
The project began with cowslips; early spring flowers that favour chalk soils. Cowslips can be found in several area of the Commons and the best place to locate them is at Hilltop, Kenley.
Armed with my sketchbook, ruler and camera, I began making regular trips to study and record this species in the field. This was my first real experience of drawing out of doors, and it quickly became apparent that weather and dogs were two issues I would have to deal with! Recording colour was also a challenge with the light constantly changing. As this species is abundant in the area, I was given permission to take one specimen to study for the project and this allowed me to make more focussed observations at home.
I wanted to depict the different growth stages of the cowslip in the plate, from early buds emerging from the rosette of basal leaves, to tall flowering stems. The flowers are a strong yellow colour and droop down from the top of the upright stem. After flowering, seed heads develop containing numerous tiny seeds which are spread by the wind and by passing animals. I also chose to depict the two distinctive types of flowers, pin’ and ‘thrum’, which are found in Primulaceae species and aid cross pollination of the flowers.