Sometimes you don’t have to look far for sketching inspiration. One day earlier in the summer, when strolling around the Metchosin Farmers’ Market, I came across a big bucket of garlic scapes, surrounded by hand packaged herbs and young zucchini.
When I saw the beautiful, looping, snakes of stems and unopened flower buds of the hard-neck garlic, I had to sketch them, so purchased four, then moved on to discover more sketching possibilities at the other stalls.
After a few minutes of gazing at rows of golden honey, home-made wine and plump vegetables, I glanced over my shoulder, only to see my husband, looking a bit like a green Medusa, carting a twisting, twirling mass of about 30 garlic scapes that he had bought! Our purchases demonstrated how perfectly different we are.
When I was ready to start sketching garlic scapes, I inserted a white board behind the vase to help me see the stems clearly. The meandering mass was complicated, so I removed all but four from the pot, making it easier to see the negative spaces inside the loops.
I drew with an old china marker pencil as it glides over the paper smoothly, a plus when trying to quickly capture the roller-coaster loops of the plant. A china marker tends to smudge and needs to be treated gingerly.
To create the green of the scapes, I first tried mixing cobalt blue and aureolin yellow, then viridian and aureolin yellow but it didn’t quite look right. My final attempt of Windsor blue and aureolin yellow was closer to the actual color of the stems.
Staring at beautiful things, like garlic scapes, is relaxing and encourages me to be inquisitive, to notice the small things and to be grateful. I kept them in the house for a few days until the garlic aroma was too overwhelming. We finally cooked some with butter and made pesto with the rest. Yum, yum.