Friday in Pittsburgh

I don’t really know what ‘Homecoming’ means in the American University town environment, but I am sure the city put all this entertainment on just for us!

Today has been – what can I say – spectacular.

Last night I wrote to each of the other three Society of Botanical artists (SBA) (the UK version of the American one – ASBA), who had their paintings accepted at the Hunt this year. I sent each one a photo of their work hanging in situ. I have also asked if I can include their pictures and names on this blog. I have to admit, not all replied to my last request, so I have jumped the gun a little. But, their work is now in a prestigious place for all to see. Before I mention their names and show their pictures, I have a comment.

The Hunt have their international exhibition every three years only and, about 41 artists have work selected. To have four of us from the same organisation have our work selected, says something positive about the organisation. I know that the SBA has done a lot towards my development as a botanical artist.

The other three are:
Charlotte Linder

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Gael Sellwood

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Roberta Mattioli

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You have already seen my work in yesterday’s blog.

But, talking about prestigious, we were allowed a special viewing of pictures we wanted to see from the Hunt collection. First and foremost is the fact that our pictures are in the same collection as Rory McEwen! I can’t believe that. I saw two of his works – without glass between the picture and me. His work is perfect. I also saw work by Ehret, Redoute and several other fantastic artists.i was also amazed at the number of paintings on vellum. I think that the pressure I have got from friends here, means that I now have to bite the bullet and try using it.

I will stop going on about all the pictures I saw as I might bore everyone else to tears. It was a huge highlight though, and I feel as though I am floating with the excitement of it.

This afternoon was the talk given by five of the artists whose pictures were accepted. I was one of the five. It wasn’t bad at all as everyone was so interested. It was incredible to see that each of us had a singularity of purpose towards our botanical art and that some of us had fairly similar habits. Although there was a lot that divided us. At least my husband now knows that I am not unusually weird – it goes with the territory!
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I was at a talk this evening, but as it ran late and I had a prior appointment, I had to leave early at 19:30. We again met my friend from nursing school and went out for a lovely meal. She explained to us a little about how food is ordered and shared out in America. It made much more sense. We had tried to eat two different things the night before, leaving a lot of it and still feeling too stuffed.

Towards the end of the meal, there were some huge explosions. We knew that something had been going on outside as there seemed to be a lot of prep for some festivities and loads of students were out and about. Everyone rushed out ( the waitresses didn’t try and get us back in as we hadn’t paid our.bill yet), and we watched an incredible (a lot) fireworks display. Most of it came from one side of the campus with short breaks allowing short,sharp bursts from the opposite direction. The sharp bursts were directed up the side of the Cathedral for Learning. This is an impressive building looming very high upwards. It looks like a cathedral but seemed never to have been intended for other than learning. The fireworks lasted over 30 mins and I am not exaggerating. They could be felt reverberating through you.

After they had finished we went back into the restaurant to pay the bill. At no time had the waitress come out after us. Very trusting.

We had a lovely time with my friend and I thanked her for putting on such a display for us!

To finish off. On the way back to the hotel, we saw a ‘sight’ crossing the road. There must have been about 30 pairs of legs crossing the road. They were LEGS. The type that stretch from ground to armpit – on hiiiiiigh heels. I have to say that I gawped as well as my husband. They were an impressive sight. Sorry, no pictures!

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