Grass Ribbons

The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself. -- Henry Miller


Grass. This ubiquitous plant is everywhere in the world and it is a wonderful example of how adaptable some plants can be. Go and pick a handful of grass in your garden or on a walk, look on the verge of a path. How many varieties can you can see?

There are over ten thousand different kinds of ‘true grasses’ today. We are far more dependent on grass for our survival than one might realise. All the grains we eat are technically grass. Whiskey and beer are actually created from grass, and sugarcane has a multitude of byproducts. Grass’s role in the food chain is crucial. Think of animals feeding on grass and grains, this plant group is vital for the food chain, a very important plant all things considered.

With this in mind, have a look at the humble sprigs of grass in your hand. Put them out on a sheet of paper and observe the lines. Do you see the flowing ribbon like structures? This true survivor is one of the oldest plants on the planet, and it is beautiful and unique.

Sketchbook Project

Today's project is to be done only in your sketchbook, not on the watercolour block. It is about observation, colour, painting technique and mark making.

Tools used are the sword brush or triangular brush. Watercolours used are veridian green, Azo yellow, Burnt Sienna and pthalo blue.


Look closely with new eyes at something that is visible to most of us on a daily basis and is in plentiful supply. It is good to be mindful of what is around us, so easily overlooked, and to allow it to stimulate our visual senses.

Look at the simple structures and paint flowing lines by mixing the watercolour in ways to create a variety of greens painted in different thicknesses to replicate the way blades of grass bend and fold over, similar to ribbons. Fill some pages with lines inspired by what you see, with twists and curls to create a three dimensional effect. The technique of using one brush to create thicker and thinner lines is also an important aspect of this project.

Please post work in the group’s Facebook page. If posted elsewhere on social media please tag #exploreshapes and #explorecolour

© 2020 Esté MacLeod

© 2020 Explore Colour