Last week I got quite excited by the shape of Star Anise!
Fun with shapes!
I decided that I would paint some on an 18” square, which I could use as a cushion cover, or cut up if I hated it(!). This would also be a good trial piece for a larger scarf.
I decided to go with quite a free approach to the outliner this time, so didn’t do myself a pattern beforehand and just “went for it” and drew directly on the silk with the outliner. I thought that the background would be more fun if it was patterned rather than plain, so I extended some of the points of the seed pods into long lines so they would intersect and give me a nice geometric pattern.
Because of these lines, I decided to call this piece “Star Crossed Anise”, a reference to Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, which I was reading a little while ago. It’s amazing how a plan comes together!
I decided to stick with brown for the seed pods.
I love the different shades of brown, but it was a dull afternoon and I wanted something to spice it up! Thankfully I’d run a one of my Beginners Courses that day, so had some paint left in the palettes – time for a rainbow extravaganza!
Next time I will draw my long lines a bit slower (and possibly use my special ruler technique … more on that another time!) as although they looked fine on initial inspection, a couple of them weren’t quite strong enough to hold back the paints when I started in with the texture techniques … something to bear in mind for future paintings!
I will definitely be doing some more work inspired by star anise, as I love the shapes!
Hope you’ve enjoyed seeing a little bit of my process. Happy creating!
About Star Anise
Illicium verum (star anise)
Star Anise is an evergreen tree and produces an essential oil containing anethole, which is used for flavouring drinks and confectionery and also in Chinese traditional medicine.
It is thought most likely to be native to southern China and northeast Vietnam and has been cultivated since about 2,000 BC.
Star anise fruits are harvested just before ripening, when the essential oil content is high, and used to produce a spice which is similar in flavour to aniseed. Star anise is widely used in Chinese, Indian, Malaysian and Indonesian cuisines and is one ingredient of Chinese five spice.
It is also cultivated as an aromatic ornamental in tropical climates, on account of its small, scented flowers and fragrant leaves.
Experienced silk painter, glass fuser, teacher, enthusiastic and inspirational.