9 days until set-up of RHS exhibition

We have had a lovely weekend in relation to the weather. The sun has been shining and it has been a lovely temperature. I have been in the shed except for during Sunday lunch yesterday – which was Mothering Sunday.

My neck and shoulders are getting to me and I am a day later than I planned. I have actually finished doing the colour matching except for one or two tweaks.

The garden is beginning to look quite spring-like. Although we had some mild weather when the Magnolia started flowering, we had a cold blast which turned it off white. It is still going strong, but there are a lot of tepals lying on the ground now.

The Camellia have been flowering, but the cold blast sent the white ones brown and the red ones brown-tinged. The tulips are fantastic and you already know that we have plenty of Daffodils and a few Jonquil.

The Malus Evereste has now got tight flower buds on it. Can you imagine that the season is starting all over again?

I showed you the flower of the Malus Red Sentinel last time. Now I will show you the apples.

As with all the crab apple pictures, this too is in coloured pencil.

Malus x robusta ‘Red Sentinel’ blossom



11 days until set-up of RHS exhibition

Time is running away from me! Most of the week that has gone by I was teaching – and enjoying it. But that means that preparation for the RHS exhibit has been left to one side. Today I am back doing the colour matching with Photoshop.

But before I show you a snippet from the next finished picture, I will show you one resulting from last week’s workshop.

I am not sure if it is fortunate or unfortunate, but every time I teach I want to do some of what the students are doing. I always need to demonstrate techniques anyway and I am often left with a half finished small picture – depending upon how many there are in the class. In fact, I often find that I continue to work on what I’ve started into the evening. My poor husband!

If it is a full class, then all my time is spent either demonstrating or going from person to person constantly. If it is a smaller class, I have to make myself look away from what they are doing so that they can actually start getting something wrong (but not too wrong). I find that if I hang over them too much, they don’t get a chance to do this and then they don’t learn. That is why I prefer to have several students at a time rather than a one-to-one. Although, for some people a one-to-one is essential.

These are Jonquil in graphite. It is a very small picture. I have been asked to give a small picture to a charity, so this will be it.

Jonquil flowers - graphite
Jonquil flowers – graphite

But the next RHS picture ready is Malus Red Sentinel. I think that many people have this crab apple in their gardens as it is quite common. When my grandchildren were smaller they called it a ‘tomato tree’. If you have been following this blog, you will know that we now have several ‘tomato trees’.

Make a note of the new leaves on this crab apple. They often have a slight red tinge round the edge when new.  The flowers are fairly simple showing up a pale pink. Although on a bright Spring day against a clear blue sky they look really exotic.

Malus Red Sentinel Blossom - Coloured pencil
Malus Red Sentinel Blossom – Coloured pencil



From Sketching to drawing – learn to draw botanical images workshop.

Today was the last day of the workshop concentrating on sketching and drawing skills – which is a necessity when creating botanical art images.

It was again a super workshop; as regards the participants. My husband always says that such lovely people join us for the workshops. They seemed very interested and commented upon how well they had progressed over the three days.

The first day was used in sketching and drawing simple shapes, from apples, bananas, grapes and cups. In fact it seemed that the forms we are most used to were the most difficult – the upside down cup caused the most problem.



I have a very simple way of teaching the use of perspective in botanical art, so placing elements in space seemed less of an issue.

The second day was spent on working up a daffodil from sketch, through tonal drawing, to completed graphite picture . At least, the completed graphite picture was not done until today.

I deliberately chose daffodils as this gave a greater challenge than many simple flowers. The gardens are full of them too, so it all made sense.


This afternoon, I was told that they hadn’t thought that they would be able to complete the workshop with a reasonable result. In fact, they and I were thrilled with the results. What do you think?



16 days until the RHS botanical art exhibition set up.

I have spent the day Photoshopping the Crab apple pictures and there is another glimpse at the end of this blog.

But this evening I was at a meeting with my Bosham artist colleagues. The Chichester open Studios art trail is during the first two weekends in May, this will include the bank holiday Monday.

In the beautiful village of Bosham lives a whole enclave of artists using different media. We are going to start the art trail a little early on Friday 2 May with a preview at each of the artist’s studios. This will be between. 17:00 to 20:00.

Hopefully, people living in the vicinity will get the opportunity to see what is on display in a relaxing environment. More about this soon.

Tomorrow and for a further two days, I will be teaching the workshop ‘From sketch to drawing – learn to draw botanical images’.

So many have problems with their initial drawings and plans for their botanical paintings. Unfortunately, it is often the case that one finds out by having experienced it, that the final painting will only be as good as the line drawing. Those on the workshop have already understood this and hope to improve their drawing skills.

But, this is another part of Malus Evereste.


Seventeen days before RHS botanical art exhibition set up.

I set to work again as soon as we got home from church today. Although there is plenty of light in the shed I don’t know if it rains or shines. But I do know that on going up to the house for tea refills etc. it was very cold today.

This is a small glimpse of my working environment at the moment – concentrated computering; but with the odd intrusion.


It is not what I enjoy the most. I much prefer coloured pencil painting. But it is one step nearer getting the pictures finished for exhibition at the RHS. Don’t forget the date at the RHS Lindley Hall in London, 11 – 12 April, but with the awards given on the 10th. I hope people are either praying or keeping their fingers crossed for me.

A couple of days ago I showed the blossom for the Malus Evereste. These are the crab apples.

I first saw them during a workshop about three years ago, when a student brought them along to paint. I was very taken with their stripey look, but also that a few of them had an extra ‘lumpy’ skirt on them. They reminded me of a ‘cottage loaf’.


Botanical art demonstration in coloured pencil for the SFP

I tried to prepare for today’s demonstration yesterday evening! I had some interesting assistance.


I decided to show how to do a couple of Magnolia x soulangeana blooms and prepared the outline drawing for today.

Today I had a lovely relaxing day with my husband as we drove to a little village just outside Salisbury where the Society of Floral Painters meeting was being held. A lot of people had turned up both to get advice about their own botanical art work and to watch the demos.

Coloured pencil work is fairly time consuming, so I didn’t get too far with painting the Magnolia, but I enjoyed the time showing the various techniques and answering all the questions fired at me. People there were obviously very interested and it was a very useful exercise – also for me. It is amazing how much one learns oneself when teaching!



After the demo my husband treated me to a delicious lunch. What a lovely break for a few hours from the crab apple series. I did return to it when we eventually got home again.

Another Botanical picture ready for the RHS exhibition

I seem to be spending every free minute on the Photoshop colour matching of the Crab apple botanical art series. But tomorrow I will be doing something else.

The Society of Floral Painters has asked me to do a coloured pencil demonstration at one of their meetings that is open to members and artists hoping to attain full membership in the society. It will be at Pitton Village Hall near. Salisbury, tomorrow between 10:00 – 14:00.

As the Magnolia x soulangeana is still in full flower, I have prepared a drawing to demonstrate this. It will be good to take my head away from the computer for a day.

Would you like to see part of the next picture finished? It is blossom on the Malus Evereste. Note how it differs from Malus Red Jade. The flower is slightly smaller than for the Red Jade, doesn’t have the stripey red on the petals and seems to have regular wrinkles along each petal. Although the Malus Red Jade apple is very small, the flowers are not so small.

It is amazing how different each Malus sort is.


RHS exhibition results 3 weeks today!

In three weeks time, on April 10 about midday I will know if my six botanical art paintings in coloured pencil have passed muster and if they have won a medal.

I’m still hard at working up the colours in Photoshop and In between teaching classes, workshops or marking botanical art assignments for the London Art College. The days are long, but it sounds as though it is going to get colder again and the weeds in the garden might grow slowly for a short while.

The Magnolia is in full and splendid bloom; several weeks early according to pictures taken other years. Each of the crabapple trees have started sprouting. I now have seven different ones.

Would you like another glimpse from the Malus. Red Jade picture? This time it’s the apples. The full picture with dissections is quite interesting, but you will have to come to the RHS exhibition to see it.


Glimpse from a finished crabapple painting

I am on the last steps towards finishing the RHS crabapple paintings. Except for additional research for the Malus Red Jade information labelling, I have finished the actual painting and colour matching for prints. I will give you a glimpse at the end of this blog.

Unfortunately I won’t get much work done on the next painting tomorrow as I am teaching my weekly class in the morning. But as much time as possible is now spent on these botanical paintings.