The colder months of the year are the best time to sit and sketch in a warm glasshouse. Walking through the 12m high glasshouses at RHS Garden Wisley, I came across an amazing Aloe (Aloe arborescens) in full flower. The grey-green rosettes tumbled over the rocky floor, with their flame orange flowers rising above the foliage. No wonder it’s called The Torch Aloe. I had to make this plant the subject of a print!
I drew a simple pencil and watercolour sketch of seven of the flowering rosettes.
I really enjoy working with big blocks like this one – there’s a special kind of peacefulness to be found in steadily cutting each rosette and flower.
Mixing colours at the studio was a joy: a grey-green and a vibrant orange. I rolled this beautiful colour blend on to the wood block carving, from foliage to flowers.
It’s so exciting to pull the first print from a new wood block… I printed the first five of a limited edition of 45.
‘Flowering Aloe’, woodcut print, 2019
The flowering Aloe in the glasshouse was a well-tended and striking plant. In this print I’ve tried to capture both its substance and delicacy. You can see the woodgrain showing in parts of the rosettes – a beautiful quality of wood block prints. Enjoy!
Find out more about the glasshouses at RHS Wisley here.