First day botanical art workshop by Oslo Fjord

The sun shone in my window at 05:00 this morning – bright and powerful. I went back to sleep!

After a lovely breakfast in the Thon Hotel Åsgårdstrand, we started the workshop by choosing specimens to paint.

I had been very lucky to get some Norwegian plants from the mountains in Telemark as described yesterday. I had also got some standard flowers from the local garden centre, but nothing exotic from warmer climates. In addition to this, some of the students had been out and picked some flowers (with permission) round the hotel.

The plants chosen to paint were Multe or Cloudberry, pansies, Dianthus and the lovely Hydrangea Paniculata. Some people will be using watercolour, and some coloured pencil. It already looks very promising. So far graphite drawings have been done and traced ready to start painting tomorrow. Although one person has already completed one small picture.

The first picture is from my bedroom at 07:00 this morning. The remainder are from the room we are using to paint. Please make particular note of the final picture which is a view from our painting room.










Meeting the Norwegian Botanical art holiday group

At last we have arrived. I met up with seven students later on this afternoon. Unfortunately the eighth student was unable to come as planned and will be missed.

People haven’t come all the way to Norway only to have a holiday, but they have also come because of the workshop in botanical art. The weather for them is improving and that helps. Each of the ‘foreign’ students has commented on the beauty of Åsgårdstrand and the surrounding countryside, so I hope they will become almost as fond of Norway as I am.

During the day I have selected potential subjects from a nearby garden centre, but best of all are the plants collected in Telemark for the course. Hopefully you will see a little of them during the week, but I am very grateful to the lady who collected them for us. Takk skal du har Dagny!

These are a couple of pictures taken from my bedroom at 22:30 this evening. Sorry they are slightly unclear, I obviously didn’t keep still enough.



The Norwegian Botanical art workshop holiday about to start

I am in Norway, in my daughters house, in the lovely town of Tønsberg. I have at last got this far.

I have been chasing my tail for over a week and you can be allowed to feel really sorry for my husband who has borne the brunt of it. Every day , I thought today I would paint – but no. What has happened?

Apart from putting everything together and packing for this workshop, I have marked assignments and spent hours on preparation for the Palmengarten exhibition in Germany.

But worst of all, one of our cats – in fact my daughter’s cat on permanent loan to us, suddenly became seriously ill and nearly died. We have spent a lot of time at the vets and he was hospitalised and on drips to give him some fluids. But, we were allowed to bring him home on Wednesday and we can safely say he has definitely used up one of his nine lives. We now have a lovely cat sitter looking after the animals whilst we are away.

We travelled to Norway yesterday and tomorrow will be trying to find some suitable plants in preparation for everyone’s arrival tomorrow afternoon. I will also be meeting a lady from the Botany Society who has taken a trip up into the mountains to get some special Norwegian Flora for us.

Today was rather cloudy and colder than it has been. In fact my daughter tells me today was the coldest day since March! I have been going on about the beautiful warm weather they have had here. But my tall, strawberry blond daughter is beautifully brown- so it must be true.

Hopefully I will get a few minutes each day to keep you updated about the workshop holiday.

Photos from the small picture of a dead rose head in watercolour. Try as I might I didn’t get a chance to finish it before I left. The other picture is showing a little bit of the chaos in sorting for the Norwegian workshop.



Culmination of the botanical art Rose workshop

Three lovely days with lovely people. And what’s more there was improvement and each grew in confidence about their abilities. Some used watercolour and others coloured pencil.

One person hadn’t been on one of the workshops before and in fact hadn’t used the medium for a number of years, or even done any botanical painting. I was impressed about how quickly the technique was picked up and the result was very good.

The roses didn’t always behave as intended. We had some cloud and a lot of sun. And, blow me down but the flowers opened up and followed the sun! We drowned them in a bucket of water each night, but there was one sort that didn’t even benefit too much from that. One rose was picked on the first day and we noticed that there was only one tight bud left that was unlikely to open up until the end of the week!

That night the one rose disintegrated entirely! The student painting it felt a little despondent, but we looked up the garden and there, in front of us was an absolutely splendid open bud. The petals were rich and velvety and we couldn’t believe our eyes. The flower lasted that day and long enough for her to complete it. Luckily, there were plenty of leaves available.


Pictures from the workshop:


Botanical art workshop
Botanical art workshop
A good start and the perfume was heavenly
Three are definitely not a crowd!
Three are definitely not a crowd!
A hard earned picture using two roses. What a result!
A hard earned picture using two roses. What a result!
Rose Deep Secret - and very tired. Goodnight!
Rose Deep Secret – and very tired. Goodnight!
But they wanted to keep on going!
But they wanted to keep on going!
Dainty Bess. My favourite rose.
Dainty Bess. My favourite rose.

Botanical art workshop starting tomorrow

Tomorrow morning I will be having another botanical art workshop. The subject is roses.

People often think it is very difficult to paint beautiful roses, but think about how the petals are attached in the flower head. Use that knowledge to create a proper line drawing and tonal drawing, then add the colour.

I am glad to say that as the weather has been a little cooler the last few days – and cloudy, there are still quite a few roses of differing levels of difficulty ready to be plucked to have their portraits drawn. It will be interesting to see which roses the students will choose. Watch this space to see the progression of some of the work.

Today I have spent most of the day on work in relation to the SBA exhibition in Palmengarten, Frankfurt in October. There is a lot of preparation in organising the collection and exhibiting of work from across the whole of the UK, Ireland, USA, New Zealand, France, Germany and Japan at Palmengarten. But it will be a fantastic exhibition with so many SBA members taking part.

I had hoped, to finish the Irises painting in coloured pencil yesterday, but think I have completed it today. I don’t feel the colours come out so well from a photograph, but will be better and easier to show online once I get time to match them on Photoshop.


Final day at Stansted and more

I am so tired. Happy, but tired.

Today we had fantastic weather and loads of visitors. For me there continued to be a constant stream of botanical art interested people. So many to explain to about botanical art and illustration.

I wrote this on Sunday and then fell asleep! It was an interesting and rewarding three days which might even have benefits in relation to future work. I also managed to get a little done on the Irises picture in coloured pencil.

This week has been catching up on paperwork, gardening and more painting as I couldn’t bend any more. But now at least we can see the flowers for the weeds and overgrown Forget-me- nots.

Next week I have a three-day workshop called ‘How difficult can Roses be?’. The roses in the garden are now in full bloom smelling beautifully and ready to be painted. Luckily we have all sorts which will allow people of varying abilities and experience to get a good result.

But it is now only two weeks until my husband and I travel to Norway in preparation for the workshop there.

The irises so far.


2nd day at Stansted Park Garden Show

And the heavens opened!

We knew that today(well yesterday now), the weather had been forecast as very bad – although the forecast was changeable. We knew that during the night there might be downpours and several times during the day.

We woke up to a wet nose wanting food ( one of the cats). We noticed it was wet outside, but nothing undue. We were about to leave the house to get to Stansted House when the heavens opened and it poured.

Keep calm and collected as there is nothing that can be done about nature other than dress for the occasion. I donned a sweater, long raincoat and long wellies – as well as my jeans of course. We got to Stansted just as the rain was stopping ( about 1/2 hr after we left.home). We were greeted by a man singing wishful and happy, sunny songs.

By 11:00 the sun was breaking through and the sky rapidly became blue with the odd puffy white cloud. That was the weather state for the rest of the day. Beautiful!

We had a lot of very interested visitors to the stand and discussions ranged from the type of coloured pencil I was using, to the potential for taking part in a new project. Some exciting conversations!

A picture taken during today:


One more day to go. Do come and enjoy the atmosphere.

First day at Stansted Park Garden Show

What a lovely day. The weather was super- the sun shone all day, it was warm but not hot and there was a slight breeze.

The stand we have is just inside the Art and design marquis, so we had the benefit of fresh air coming in. I can imagine it might not have been so pleasant on a cooler day, but lovely just now.

As soon as the gates opened to the show, people streamed in and there seemed to be a constant flow of interested visitors during the whole day.

I had decided to demonstrate botanical art using coloured pencil. This worked out well and was obviously the right choice as it attracted quite a few people to the stand. I had loads of questions and this also meant that they looked a little more closely at the pictures than they might have done. I also found out that Irises are in fact a flower that is much appreciated.

This evening has been spent with stocking up again and now a very slightly earlier night than usual.



Stansted garden Show – setting up day

A long day!

Thankfully the weather has been gorgeous. Driving the short way to Stansted (15 minutes), we felt so blessed living in such a beautiful part of the country – especially when the weather is so nice. Apparently it will be just as nice tomorrow and, Saturday may not be as bad as first forecast.

Now why am I focusing so much on the weather? One reason is because I am British and we do that. The second reason is because my pictures are now in a big marquis waiting to be shown to the publics. The third reason is the visiting public. Where would we be without them and why would they visit the show if the weather was awful?

Actually, in the UK, people don’t necessarily stay away because of bad weather and they certainly do come if it means a chance to see unusual plants for their gardens. But it certainly makes the experience more fun if the sun is shining – which it seems there is a good chance for it to do so.

I haven’t got too much to comment about the work put in today, other than that there seem to be an awful lot of very nice people working to put the show together at Stansted. They are extremely effective and I take my hats off to them. Additionally there are a lot of very nice and happy stand holders there. I am looking forward to the opening of the show tomorrow.

This our packed car parked in our drive this morning. I did manage to squeeze into the front seat.



Do come to see us. Tomorrow I will be working on my botanical painting of the Irises in coloured pencil.