Busy, busy two.

We have just had two very successful weekends with the Summer exhibition and open studio.

As this is not part of an overall open studio event, just something we have decided to do for the last four years during the summer break(!), we don’t expect loads of visitors – only those particularly interested in botanical art. Our expectations were met on that score, but exceeded in other ways.

I like everyone else has had to keep a tight reign on finances during the downturn and many times I wondered if if I was silly either having an exhibition or keeping one or two classes going. However, people have been faithful, students have continued and customers have kept on coming. I noticed during the last two weekends that things are definitely picking up. We were told so on the news and this was enforced through my customers.

Thank you to all those who came and showed such Interest.

I am now working my socks off to prepare for a fair this coming weekend. It will be at Folkington Manor, on the A27 between Lewes and Eastbourne. Just follow this link to get information about what it is and where: Folkington Manor Antiques & Fine art Fair. There seems a lot of interesting things going on there, so that it should be a fun family day out. I hope to see you there. Please make yourself known to me when passing. I am in the Flint barns where the Auctioneer Michael Hogben will be giving free evaluations.

Next week we are taking some pictures up to Patchings for the UK Coloured Pencil Society annual exhibition. If you are interested in coloured pencils, then go and have a look at the exhibition between 1 September and 6 October. I hope you are interested as I have done a lot of things on this blog in relation to coloured pencil.

3 September I will be doing a demonstration in using coloured pencil with botanical art, for the Midhurst Art Society. It would be fantastic to get more people interested in both using coloured pencil as an art medium and botanical art and illustration in particular.

I love what I do and I feel so blessed that I have been given this gift and that I can practice it and have the ability to teach and enthuse others (or so it seems).

However, where is the painting?

I am also writing some tutorials (again coloured pencil in botanical art), for the London Art College where I am a tutor. Up until now they have only used watercolour for botanical art, but once I have got the tutorials finished this opens up the opportunity for those who want to use CP. Yes, I also have assignments to mark and I find this fascinating. People put such a lot of effort into improving their skills. it’s amazing being part of it.

So where is the painting?

Not long until I go to the US for the opening of the 14th international exhibition of Botanical art and illustration at the Hunt Institute of botanical documentation, Pittsburgh. My picture Magnolia x soulangeana: Maturing Blooms is part of the exhibition until December, when it will go on a three-year tour of the US until the next International exhibition.

Whilst in America, the American SBA has their conference at the same time, so I will be taking part in that too. The Hunt and the ASBA paper toy work together on coinciding this event so that participants in either the exhibition or the conference benefit from both. During this, I will be on a panel discussing botanical art and how I do it!

So the painting. Burning the candle at all of its ends, I am now working on the Malus ‘Gorgeous’ for about the fourth time! But, I am doing an entirely new composition. I have decided that the ‘Gorgeous’ ones I had already done, didn’t go with the other ones as a series. Hopefully I will get the series finished so that I can exhibit with the RHS next year.

I think this is enough for now. I’m sorry that there is so much reading and no pretty pictures this time. I’m afraid I had too much to say.

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Busy, busy – one!

The Antonia Rose
The Antonia Rose

Where to begin?

Since I came home after the fantastic course with Sarah Simblet I have been catching up in between family visits.

Some of our children stayed on and off with us throughout June and will be returning next week with other members of the family. All in all we will be eleven of us. They will be keeping out of my hair until Monday as I have a three-day workshop this coming weekend.

This workshop is well supported and the topic will be ‘Summer fruits’. However several of those taking part will be painting Roses. I suppose this is a form of lateral thinking. I had a think about any fruits that we have in the garden at the moment. There is in fact very little as we are between flushes of the usual varieties. The Raspberries and Strawberries are finished until a new lot arrive and it is too early for Blackberries, although they are now beginning to turn a beautiful black.

Normally Cobnuts look really beautiful to paint at this time of year with their curly green skirts and pixie hats. There isn’t a single one on our tree this year. The Rowan tree has a lot of fruit on it and it is ripening fast. The apples are still very small and of all the crab apple trees in the garden there is only one that is showing any hint of warmth in colour. Actually, thank goodness for that as I have been doing so many other things other than continuing the Crab apple series of paintings recently.

One of my students who will be painting roses during this coming workshop, will be continuing a picture she has been doing for the last three weeks. She has had several days with one-to-one tuition as the subject is very special. Her father was a Nurseryman and developed a rose which he named Antonia – the name of his first grandchild. As far as they are aware there are only three examples of the rose left and this is the reason she wanted to paint it. Not only that, she is using coloured pencil.

To demonstrate various relevant techniques to aid my student, I started painting the rose myself and have decided to use it as a step-by-step tutorial.

I don’t think that I have mentioned before that I am the Botanical Art Tutor for the London Art College. It is a very good organisation who provide art courses in various mediums and with many topics via the Internet or per correspondence. My predecessor wrote a fair amount of the course as it stands today, but it focuses on watercolour as well as a little graphite and pen&ink. I am now in the process of writing some tutorials for coloured pencil botanical artists to add to what is there already. Therefore in time we will have very good tuition to help botanical artists with their watercolour and coloured pencil studies.

The above

is my finished Antonia Rose which I will be using for the step-by-step studies with the London Art College. I hope you like it.