Plane Tree Leaf
483 x 356 mm. (19 x 14 in.)
Edwards almost always paints her watercolours on smooth, prepared vellum. As she recounts of her working methods, ‘I get my vellum from William Cowley Parchment and Vellum Works who also mount and stretch the skins on board to my specific dimensions. A white gesso ground is applied which smoothes the surface but inevitably because it is a natural skin there remains an irregularity of texture and pigment. In the past I have made my own boards but it is very time-consuming and expensive if things go wrong…So far there have been no problems with splitting or cracking. I think I decided to “anchor” them because I found the wavy edges rather distracting…I use Winsor & Newton or Rowney & Schminke watercolours, depending on pigment. I choose vellum rather than paper because I have always found paper too absorbent and difficult to rectify. I use ophthalmic surgical blades to remove paint from vellum where necessary.’
Drawn in 2015, the present sheet depicts a leaf from a plane tree (Platanus). Native to the Northern Hemisphere (in North America, Europe and Asia), these tall trees are characterized by large, deciduous leaves. The three main species of plane trees are the American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis), the Oriental plane (Platanus orientalis) and the London plane (Platanus x acerifolia), which is a hybrid of the previous two and is almost always found in urban areas.