Foxglove Fairy - work-in-progress 8

Trust me, I’m an Artist! (The Foxglove Fairy pat 2)

Back to the Foxglove Fairy from the previous post… Here is the blue underpainting finished. At this point the painting looks fine, and you will think I am ok at painting, but after this everything will go a bit strange for a while as I start to add the colour. Trust me: I’m an artist… On go the first layers of colour. In fact you may not notice the very first colour I added, which was white, where the inside of the foxgloves flowers are spotty. Next I filled in the colours of the fairy. …and the purple and greens…

Work in progress on the Foxglove Fairy: close-up of the fairy in blue underpainting

A Poison Flower Fairy: Digitalis Purpurea, the Foxglove

Here’s another one to add to my alternative flower fairies – the highly poisonous Foxglove… When I started with the recent fairies of deadly plants I called them The Poison Flower Fairies, but of course many things medicinal are also highly poisonous in the wrong dosage, and the Foxglove Fairy should be more appropriately named a Medicinal Flower Fairy. It’s too late now… The amazingly useful properties of Foxgloves, or more precisely Digitalin, the mix of toxic molecules extracted from it, was discovered by a certain Dr William Withering (1741 – 1799), and although my fairy does not look anything…

Title page from William Withering's book on Foxgloves. Image courtesy Missouri Botanical Garden, http://www.botanicus.org

Foxgloves, ‘naughtie humours’, and xanthopsia

At last, my foxgloves have come into flower! I have been waiting since the middle of last summer, when I first thought up the idea of painting the Poison Flower Fairies. Digitalis Purpurea, to give them their scientific name (regardless of the fact that many of them are not in fact purple), are famously poisonous, famously useful in medicine, and were gone and over for the year, before I thought of this little painting series. So were the opium poppies. So I have had to wait a full cycle for the next year’s flowers. Meanwhile I have had plenty of…