What isn’t happening in botanical art at the moment?

Yesterday (Thursday) was the first of a three-day workshop. Most of the day was spent on composition and drawing. Whilst the weather was OK we used the time to choose flowers from the garden to paint. We were only going to concentrate on floating flower heads.

As many will know, the colours in the garden do no clash. You can put all sorts together and it still looks beautiful. Nature is a wonderful thing. Therefore putting together colours that are not normally considered to be conducive with each other really works well. Hopefully you will see some of the results.

Normally just the morning is spent composing and drawing ready to commence painting. However, the students this time became very involved in the technicalities of composition and they realised that their final painting will only be as good as there drawing. There compositions were finished by the end of the first day and they were ready to start day two.

At the start of today, the students had some good drawings to start painting and carefully they began to lay in colour. After a lot of concentration and hard work, they made some headway by the end of the day – but whether or not they will finish their compositions by the end of tomorrow is anyone’s guess. We shall see.

Anyway, a good time has been had by all so far – including me. They are a fun, hard working bunch of people.

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Demonstrating colour pencil in botanical art at Oxmarket, Chichester, tomorrow

I have mentioned before that at the moment the Society of Floral Painters (SFP) has their annual floral painting exhibition in the Oxmarket Centre for Arts in Chichester. Tomorrow I will be there demonstrating the use of coloured pencil. I will be there from 11:00 until 16:30 – except for lunch.

Do come and see what I am doing. I will have a similar picture in Watercolour as an interesting comparison. The flower is the Iris that I have been doing for just over a week in between all the other mad things I’ve been doing. This is how it looks now.

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In between botanical art demonstrations.

Following my botanical art demonstration at Westminster Central Hall during the SBA exhibition, I have hardly done any painting until today.

We had a few days good weather last week, so I did some much needed weeding in the garden. My husband and I also sorted what vegetables were to go into our new raised beds in the kitchen garden (he did the work). And I spent one day colour matching on Photoshop two pictures that I have just had framed. One is of Hellebore heads and the other was the large Hydrangea head in black and white.

I also had to mount some prints in preparation for the Society of Floral Painters (SFP) exhibition in Chichester handing in was on Monday and I was on one of the two assessment teams.

The arrangement of teams was quite impressive. The SFP is Floral and not necessarily botanical. I am strictly botanical, and as a counter balance, one artists paints very loosely and the third member is in between. In this way we got quite a good selection of paintings.

Once all the pictures had gone through the selection process, we were again divided into teams to hang the pictures. My husband had been a runner during the morning session and was also now hanging the pictures. In the end the SFP committee thought they would to adopt him!

Hanging the pictures lasted two days with the opening on Tuesday evening. Do go and visit the Oxmarket Art Centre in Chichester. It is a good exhibition and there is something there to suit all artistic tastes, as long as it is in relation to the kingdom of plants.

I am demonstrating coloured pencil and botanical art this first Sunday between 11:00 and 16:30. Do come and watch and ask questions if there is something you would like to know. I will be demonstrating again the following Sunday 1 June, but this time watercolour. Other artists will be demonstrating other techniques whilst the exhibition is on. Have a look at my website http://www.gaynorsflora.com/page12.htm for the address, dates and times of the exhibition.

On Wednesday my husband and I drove up to London to collect pictures following the SBA exhibition at Westminster and to attend the AGM meeting. One of the topics was the exhibition that the SBA are providing pictures for at Palmengarten, Frankfurt in October. We are both heavily involved with collecting the pictures from across the UK and getting them to Frankfurt. But more about that at a later stage. But we managed to start the collection of paintings during the AGM. We are off to a good start.

Today was my usual weekly class and since then I have been painting.

Do you remember the Irises that I did in watercolour and then demonstrated in coloured pencil at Westminster? I have continued with that today and will be using the same to demonstrate on Sunday. I think I have been doing myself a disservice in trying to keep it true to the watercolour as it is quite different to the iris I am now painting from. I’m tying myself up in knots.

This is it so far. The completed watercolour one first followed by the very incomplete coloured pencil one.

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Today at the SBA exhibition at Westminster

It has been a long day but a very good one.

We took the 2hour train journey up to London today in time to start demonstrating when the exhibition opened at 11:00. I had hardly time to get out my equipment – let alone sit down, before keen botanical artists arrived to watch me demonstrating.

As planned, I took out the Watercolour of the Irises to use as my subject for the coloured pencil demonstration. Luckily I had managed to get a bunch of Irises in the way through Victoria Railway Station that was exactly the same colour as the original irises. I now had both the irises as a suitable botanical subject and the completed watercolour painting,

At any one time there were quite a few people sitting or standing to take in the demo. The actual demo went very slowly as everyone had so many questions about the technique. This meant that apart from a lot of talking, I also showed people how to do several different techniques associated with coloured pencil. I am told that they found this interesting and useful.

Apart from anything else, I hope that I have encouraged those who had some interest in botanical art, to try it; or those who have only used watercolour to have a go with coloured pencil.

I met several people who had been to the RHS botanical art exhibition in April and who had seen me and/or the crab apple exhibit. In some instances the exhibit seems to have encouraged people to come to watch the demo today. I hope it was worth it. It definitely was for me as I met so many lovely people.

My husband took the following picture this afternoon when there were fewer people watching.

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This second picture shows two of my pictures hung at the exhibition in the black and white section. They are of course in pen & ink. Additionally you will find two further coloured pencil pictures exhibited.

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Tomorrow I will be teaching a class in the morning and marking assignments from the London Art College after this is finished. I doubt that I will have time to do any painting for myself, so the coloured pencil irises will have to wait. A shame as I have the right colour ones for the moment!

Demonstration at SBA exhibition, Westminster

Yesterday was the last day of the Chichester Open Studios art trail. We had many interested visitors and several of you who read this blog. Thank you for coming so far. It was lovely seeing all of you, and an honour.

After finishing yesterday we obviously had to clear everything up. Take the pictures and screens down and pack everything away for the next show. This will be at the Stansted Garden Show in June; more about that another time.

But, today I have been hastily finishing off the picture of Irises in Watercolour, so that I can trace off a similar image to use for the coloured pencil demo tomorrow. I have made some adjustments to the tracing I used and I will tell you why at the demonstration – if you are interested.

A hint might be in the following pictures. Yesterday you saw the start of the picture with only two Irises of the three intended. I was waiting for the third flower to open properly before I drew it.

It will be good to see you in London tomorrow.

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Open studio in Bosham

The Chichester open studios art trail started its second and last weekend, today. The weather as hoped for, was very good although it has blown quite hard. The wind has not kept people at bay and we had a lot of very interested visitors.

We got a few visitors who chanced on our set-up and as always I took this as an opportunity to get them interested in botanical art. However, it seems that most of our visitors had highlighted coming to see my work.

For the first weekend I decided to paint irises in watercolour as I had spent so long using colour pencils on the crab apples. Our visitors were very interested in the progression through drawing and first layers of colour. I continued with the painting during the week as the irises rapidly died. How to finish the painting without the flowers?

I bought some new irises, but they were redder than the original ones. Today I have continued the painting using the new irises for their form and size, but I had to bear in mind the colour palette I needed to use.

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I will be continuing my demonstration on the irises for whoever is interested on the last day of open studios tomorrow.

Chichester open studios art trail last weekend

Yesterday I was in London at the SBA annual exhibition opening. It is well worth seeing and there is a lot of good botanical art. You will need plenty of time, but luckily you can stop now and again and get a cup of tea – or coffee, in the cafe in Westminster Central Hall.

Tomorrow is the start of the last weekend with Open Studios art trail . I understand that the weather here will be really good tomorrow after all. We have been hearing all week that it was going to be especially bad tomorrow, but it looks as though this will happen overnight.

Luckily, if there is any rain there is no problem coming in to see me with wet clothes and shoes and it would be an opportunity to dry out. However, I can imagine that at some venues they might struggle.

I look forward to seeing you either tomorrow or Sunday. My watercolour picture is coming on leaps and bounds. I think I might use the ‘template’ for my coloured pencil demonstration on Tuesday at the SBA exhibition. It would be a good comparison between the two media.

I am showing you some pictures of my gallery this weekend. It is only a glimpse, but you will be able to see the pictures properly when you come. I’m sorry that all those of you who live abroad will not be able to make it.

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Society of Botanical Artists (SBA) at Westminster

First the RHS exhibition, then Chichester Open Studios – which is on again this coming weekend, and the SBA exhibition at Westminster Central Hall. Next week I will be talking about the Society of Floral Painters (SFP) annual exhibition being held in Chichester.

Normally the SBA exhibition is in April and it is a little easier for a Botanical artists to plan things. But this year, the SBA were only able to book their normal annual exhibition space in Westminster from tomorrow onwards. The private preview and opening of the exhibition is to be tomorrow between 11:00 and 19:00.

The official opening and prize-giving will be by Dr Nigel Dunnett, Professor of Planting Design at the University of Sheffield at 15:30. Although this is a little late, if you would like a formal digital invitation, please contact me  this evening through this blog and I will send one immediately.

The annual exhibition in Westminster is an open exhibition and is also to encourage those who paint botanical art to take part with a view to becoming members. Membership is dependent upon having a full quota of pictures being accepted for the exhibition, three years running. But, far from being a mountain to climb, seeing the pictures at the exhibition motivates many artists and helps to concentrate their minds on this particular challenge.

The exhibition usually has a lot of very beautiful botanical art. I remember the first time I went to the exhibition, I was enthralled! I don’t know how better to express what I felt. It is worth a visit if you are in London or want to take a trip up to the capital. I am going to the opening tomorrow.

I have four pictures that will be exhibited this year. Two are in pen ink and two in coloured pencil. I will be interested to see how the pen & ink pictures will be accepted as I have not exhibited anything similar previously. Additionally I will be demonstrating coloured pencil all day on Tuesday 13th May next week. Do come and see and hopefully get a feel for how I use the medium. Maybe I can tempt you to want to try using coloured pencil in your botanical art.

 

The SBA Annual Open Exhibition
The SBA Annual Open Exhibition

Chichester Art Trail

The Chichester Art Trail happens every May and generally includes Bank holiday Monday in the first weekend. That is what has happened this year too and we are again open to the public.

Essentially the criteria for this art trail is that you open your studio to the public so that everyone can see you at work. Unfortunately this doesn’t always happen. And, in fact I am told that very few people are actually working at their art. Therefore , it seems that people are very pleased when they arrive at our ‘venue’ (sounds a pretentious word doesn’t it?). That’s why I call the shed the shed – because it is and was a shed. Actually, it was a loose box, so a shed is an upgrade. But as ever I am off on a tangent.

We have had a steady trickle of people since Friday evening. We, and the other artists in Bosham, had a Pimms preview evening for people who live in Bosham.  It was quite tough getting everything ready in time, but it was fun once we got there. The people of Bosham did as requested and either turned up on their bikes or ‘Shank’s pony’. For those who are not English, this means ones own two legs.

The first day – Saturday- went well enough once everyone had got their weekend shopping out of the way. The weather has been absolutely supper. The sun has been shining and it is very pleasant. This means I have been able to sit working in the shed with the door open ready for visitors. Yesterday went very well. In fact the first Sunday is usually the best day of the two weekends. With any luck, in writing this the statement will prove me wrong.

In Bosham there are 15 artists in 11 locations – which tells you that those who share are not able to show their own working environment. As one can’t go any further than the sea when getting to see us (we are about 200 metres from the inlet), we are the last one on the Bosham part of the trail.  This means that many drop off the trail before getting to us as there is so much of interest on the way – that is unless they have specifically chosen our place.  However, we still get a few who want to see as many artists as they can and that gives me a real opportunity to get people interested in botanical art.

Our set-up is that we have a gallery of my pictures in the conservatory (where I normally have workshops). My husband mans this area as he loves talking to the people that come. I am working in the shed so that people can see what I do and ask as many questions as they want to. Mulling over the questions I have had, perhaps I have chosen the wrong medium that I am using in the shed. I chose to do some purple irises in watercolour as I haven’t used that medium in a whole painting for some time.

The conservatory (Gallery for the day)contains the RHS Silver Gilt medal Crab apple series, which is in coloured pencil and attracts a lot of attention, but also some of the Magnolia x soulangeana series in watercolour that I did as an RHS exhibit in 2011. Visitors are astounded when my husband tells them that the crab apple series is in coloured pencil and therefore they are asking about the coloured pencils all the time. There seems to be less of a thrill about watercolour, although a fair amount of interest as to how I achieved the iridescent purple of the Irises.

Visitors do love to see the artists working environment and ask questions about how they do things. That is why it is a shame to hear that very few make themselves available to do this.

Before I finish this blog, there are two things I must mention. The open studios art trail is open next Saturday and Sunday between 10:30 and 17:30. You can find my address on my website: http://www.gaynorsflora.com . Additionally, I have places on my next workshop ‘A page of flower heads from the garden’ – May 29th – 31st. Now I am going to show one or two pictures of my working environment and on another occasion I will show you what I have been working on this weekend and the ‘gallery’ in the conservatory where

My workspace - in the 'shed'
My workspace – in the ‘shed’
The shed!
The shed!
At work.
At work.

I have the workshops.