On the cover. We commissioned a painting from Gerhard Marx for the cover of this month's issue of the Journal, for which the artist, who is also a first-rate nurseryman, provided an article (page 308). Paintings such as this are fascinating on many levels. Gerhard explains that "when painting succulents, it is important to first fully understand the three-dimensional structure of the plant. For example, in the case of Euphorbia gymnocalycioides, the striking spiral arrangement of the tubercles needs to be understood and slightly emphasized. Our eyes are a bit lazy, and an artist must always simplify to some extent and emphasize essential features.
Once the drawing is done, the coloring is a process of a gradual building up of transparent layers, from the lightest colors to the darkest. In a watercolor rendering of this kind I use a rather dry brush, which enables a more detailed surface texture. It is almost like using the watercolor brush the same way one would use a color pencil or thin pastel.
When painting succulents one realizes just how incredibly fascinating they are in terms of form, texture and color. For example, during the painting of this specimen, not once was any green used in the coloring process of a plant that is generally being perceived as green!"