Friday, January 5, 2018

Sketching a Banana Plant

My finished two page visual journal spread about banana plants. 
I’ve been working on this off and on for a few days, interrupted by life, weather, etc. See my Flickr account for high resolution and zoom able scan. (In case you want to read all the commentary.)
A pause while sketching. Work in progress.
Notes from the South Pacific Studio:
At first I thought I heard the pattering sound of raindrops on the windows. In actuality it was the sound of palm leaves rustling in the Tradewinds. As I watched the wind ruffling the palms, my attention was drawn to the variation among the banana leaves.
Comparing neighborhood banana leaves

I love learning new things and the best way for me to "see" something better is to sketch it. Since there are banana plants literally all around our son’s house, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to compare the living specimens in detail.

I started out with the plant next door with a new crop of bananas growing from the flower. Although the flower I sketched from this plant was wonderful to draw and paint, it was too far gone to eat. The next sketch was of a section of the stalk. I was amazed at the variety of colors and textures to be explored.

A wild banana plant lives at the back corner of the house. After I looked these fresh green leaves over, I realized that they have a red stripe down the back. Many of the older leaves were shredded into fringe in the wind and rain storm last week. You can tell how windy it has been by the amount of “fringe” there is on the leaves. (Note to self: If I  ever buy a banana plant from the nursery, don’t bring it home in the open back of a pick up truck)

I learned that besides the fruit, you can also eat the inside core of the stalk and the banana flower. More research on the internet revealed that there is quite a cleaning process as well as an acidic soak required to get rid of the bitter taste of the stalk and flower.
A diagram of the edible parts of a banana flower


  1. Sounds like you learned a lot about the banana plant. I enjoyed seeing your sketches of this study.

    1. Thanks, Joan. I really enjoyed sketching this plant and taking the time to learn more about it.