Strawberry Cycle

Mary titled this painting Strawberry Cycle because of the completeness of the life stages shown, from flower to fruit to ripening, and the leaves in their youth and old age. 
The composition also flows in a wonderfully circular motion.
I showed a detail of this piece in an earlier post, while it was still in progress. It took a long time to complete but the result is clearly worth the effort. 

A careful, sensitive painting... you can't see them very well in this picture but there are tiny hairs delicately painted along the leaf stems and on the strawberries.

Here it is in progress...
I refer to this stage as the "awkward teenage stage"... when things aren't quite as defined and elegant as we'd like them to be. It can be difficult to tolerate as a painter, and the tendency is to push forward too quickly to "make it look nice" but this is where patience pays off. 

With patience and persistence, it all comes right in the end, as you can see by the finished painting above. This is why I always introduce botanical illustration as "slow painting"...