Three weeks until the RHS botanical art exhibition

How am I doing? Will I be finished in time?

These of course are the questions I am asking myself and I imagine are the same questions for those who follow the blog.

Preparing for the RHS botanical art show which will happen in London 11 – 12 April, with preview on the evening of the 10th, has taken three years. The work is almost finished. Believe it or not.

I have finished painting each of the six pictures. I have only painted the necessary six and I haven’t painted a 7th as a reserve in case one wasn’t up to scratch ( I was advised to do this – in case). The frames are made and all that remains is working up the digital images for printing plus writing the information to hang with the pictures.

Matching the colours exactly is a hugely time consuming exercise. I prefer to do this myself unless the picture is too big for the equipment I have. As having the correct colours to reflect my subject is important for my painting, I am a perfectionist in matching the colours in Photoshop.

The last bit of work will be to research further the six Malus plants I have painted and write some information about each of them.

Three weeks is not long. The sun is shining, the garden and gardening await and May this year will be very busy with exhibitions. But, the RHS exhibition is the most important having taken three years to prepare.



From Sketch to drawing – Learn to draw botanical images.

This is the title of the next workshop in Bosham, Nr Chichester.

I still have some places on the workshop Tuesday 25 – Thursday 27 March. Would you like to join us?

In every workshop I run, I always set off time to compose and sketch out the picture that is to be painted. As often as not people are reluctant to spend time on the drawing, thinking that it will sort itself out when the paint or coloured pencil goes on. It won’t! your final picture will only be as good as the drawing you use as a ‘master’.

Now you have the opportunity to learn the tricks of drawing your botanical subject easily. Remember that awkward leaf that sticks directly towards you? How difficult do you find drawing it? Just follow the tips I will give you, and reduce the problems you have in the future.

What about drawing a load of petals round a centre part – do they meet when you get round to the other side? Again, find out how to do this. Or a daffodil; getting the trumpet right?

Here are some sketches from my sketchbook and  a couple of final drawings done with graphite.

If you want to join us, go onto my website and contact me via the contact form. Its on

Magnolia x soulangeana seeds
Magnolia x soulangeana seeds
Oriental poppy seed-head sketch & colour matching
Oriental poppy seed-head sketch & colour matching

Daffodils from sketchbookDaffodils from sketchbook

Stinking iris from Sketchbook. sketch & colour matching.
Stinking iris from Sketchbook. sketch & colour matching.
Final Euonymus leaf in graphite on Bristol board
Final Euonymus leaf in graphite on Bristol board

Finishing off Hellebores for 2014

I have talked about Hellebores for such a long time this year as they started off flowering early and I was afraid there wouldn’t be much left by the time the workshop came about. Well as you know, they are still strutting manfully in the garden – even with all this rain.

Before I started painting botanically, I never thought that the winter could produce so much beauty. Now I emphasise these magnificent blooms in the garden.

Before going back to talking about the RHS exhibition and how that is going, and the subject of the next workshop, I thought I would include a few of the Hellebores that I have done. There is only one this year, but as you may now know (for those who follow the blog), some of my pictures can take several weeks to do.





Hellebores workshop success

We had a really enjoyable three- day botanical art workshop from Friday until Sunday. There may have been periods of dark clouds and rain outside, but inside we had plenty of colourful Hellebores and a lot of laughter. You will see shortly if the laughter was of detriment to the painting.

These are a couple of comments I have had already:

“Thank you a three lovely days, I had a great time and managed to paint something, progress indeed”

“Such a lovely 3 days ”

Hellebores are really beautiful flowers. A gardener once told me that they are very promiscuous. Often different coloured Hellebores are planted next to each other in a flower bed and are readily fertilised by each other. However, we still have a variety of different colours from white to very dark red/blue/black.

In the garden, Hellebores are often only seen standing statuesquely but with their heads hanging. In the workshop we had them floating in bowls of water with their lovely centres smiling up at us.

This is some of the work created at the workshop. Would you have liked to join us? The next workshop is at the end of this month. Either check it out on my website, or wait for the next blog.