Workshop and Summer Open Studio

It has been just over two weeks since I last wrote a blog. In the meantime I have almost managed to forget that I had a holiday!

Since I got home I have worked continuously with the organisation of the SBA Exhibition at Palmengarten Botanical Gardens in Frankfurt. But now I have a slight breather.

Actually the breather is necessary as tomorrow I will be running another workshop. It is called ‘Fruit and Veg; Strawberries and cream’. I think I should have stuck to the Veg, or just beans and courgettes. This is from my garden at the moment. No fruit and definitely no strawberries!

Runner beans
Runner beans

Next weekend 9 & 10 August and 16 & 17 August, I will have my Summer Open Studio Event. For details have a look at my website:

But for the last few days I have actually been painting again. I needed a new picture to exhibit at Palmengarten and had drawn a layout for the Mandeville (or Dipladenia)plant. The following two pictures are just a portion of the picture. I have to get going to get it finished in time, but I thought you might like to see how much is done so far. You may remember I started one flower a while ago, but somehow the paper was damaged and I had to start again.

Red is not easy to paint, and the right red even more difficult. By the way, this picture is in watercolour.

Mandeville leaf detail
Mandeville leaf detail
Mandaville in progress
Mandaville in progress

Last day of Norwegian holiday

Imagine, following the week of botanical art where weather and temperature were ideal, we have had a heatwave. It was hot by UK standards at 30 degrees and over for a whole week. But we are in Norway – further north. It apparently has beaten records for the last 70 years!

Today it broke. We have had some sun, but this afternoon it clouded over and we actually had a little rain. With any luck it will pass over night and we will have a nice day for travelling back home tomorrow. But the hot heat is past and today I can think – just a bit as I am still on holiday.

As my brain is still trying to cool down I will just give you some photos taken at Stavern the day before yesterday.





Time for a relaxing beer:

Dreams are made of this:


The Norwegian Heatwave

It has been and is very warm. It is 23:00 now and the coolest it has been for 3 days – 22 degrees C. The temperature has gone over 30 the last two days and has been warm at night. Too warm for me but Robin enjoys it.

Two days ago we went round the Slottsfjell (Castle mountain) Museum in Tønsberg, which included a tour round the tunnels within the hill, dug out by the Nazis during the 2nd World War. It was lovely and cool in the tunnel system and my glasses steamed over when I got out into the daylight again.

Yesterday we visited Bærums Verk outside Oslo. We did a lot of walking up hill and down dale, in the blazing sun. It was a lovely area.


However the evening was best. My family took me for a lovely walk around Føynland, an island off the island of Nøtterøy outside Tønsberg. There lovely pictures were taken about 20:30, including my husband swimming. Can anyone wonder why I love Norway?








Continuing the holiday in beautiful Norway

On Sunday, after a lovely long breakfast with all from the Botanical Art course overlooking the Oslo Fjord, we said our sorrowful fairwells. It was very sad as we had grown quite close as a group during the week.

We had struggled together ( including me in trying to paint a picture too fast), laughed a lot. Listened to each other and got to know one another a whole lot more than we had done initially. Funnily enough we were also satisfied in staying in Åsgårdstrand for the whole Week with just a couple of small excursions. The focus was definitely making the most of the opportunity to paint botanically as much as possible.

The result was as you saw in the last blog. Pretty amazing.

When I went home to my daughter, she and my son were very busy getting food ready for a barbecue with friends I hadn’t seen for very many years. We had a lovely reunion with a lot of catching up to do in addition to eating all the lovely food that had been prepared. I feel very spoilt all round.

Today we took things very easy, had a coffee in Tønsberg, then climbed up Slottsfjellet (The castle’s mountain). Tønsberg is the oldest town in Norway And therefore has a lot of history. I took the next pictures from the top – obviously using the zoom on my camera.



Can you believe the day was finished off with my son cleaning my daughter’s driveway with a high pressure washer. I think he actually enjoyed it!



Last day botanical art workshop holiday overlooking the Oslo Fjord

What a day! Busy, busy and some lovely botanical art finished using both coloured pencil and watercolour.

I have to say that I was amazed at the results. Those who hadn’t painted before and those who hadn’t done botanical art before used the week extremely constructively and beneficially. Some of the results really astounded me. The change was huge. They know which ones they are!

Absolutely all of the finished paintings were very good and every person progressed. All I can say is that I am grateful to those who came – for coming. In achieving so much, they gave me a huge thrill.

The last supper!


Served by Sarah,


In the celebration of:










Some of the plants are not common , so in case you are wondering what they are;
Gentian, Pink Cornus, Magnolia, Harebell, Blåklokke, Hydrangea Paniculata, Rose, Multe (Norwegian) or Cloudberry.

5th day botanical art workshop holiday by Oslo Fjord.

If I start writing a little bit weirdly, it’s because I gave fallen asleep writing this. Today I am tired, but not because of the course itself.

We have had another super day in the Thon Hotel, Åsgårdstrand. Even the well travelled amongst us feel that the hotel is really looking after us well.

This care and attention to detail by the hotel, has meant that we can immerse ourselves in botanical painting. Everyone has worked hard to perfect their individual techniques – and it’s paying off.

The afternoons are meant to be used on doing what we want to do as this is a holiday. However, except for short excursions, the majority have just wanted to work. I have taught and given individual attention in the morning and in the afternoon I am with them in the studio, but can give them help and advice when it’s asked for. In the meantime I paint only in the afternoons And evenings.ikpj

I have been painting a plant that we begged and borrowed in Åsgårdstrand, on the condition that I sent a card of the finished painting. I have been working to achieve this before it dies. The plant is a Cornus and I carried on after supper this evening and until midnight.

Anyway the pictures. I hope you will agree that the improvement is very good.










4th day Botanical art workshop holiday by Oslo Fjord

Again a lovely busy day with some really good results. Practice certainly makes perfect. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of some of the finished paintings today, but promise to do so tomorrow. But I am very thrilled with some of the results so far.

I have promised the others on the workshop holiday to tell you and show you a little of how the Thon Hotel Åsgårdstrand is looking after us. They have been absolutely marvellous and do everything they can to make our stay as comfortable and worthwhile as possible.

You have already seen the room that we are using as a studio, with its view facing east over the Oslo Fjord. You have also seen some of the pictures taken from my room and possibly realise how early the sun is up. The hotel is even making sure that our plants don’t suffer with the early morning sun and warmth, by closing blinds etc. for us.

The food has been amazing and they have even catered at extremely short notice for people with a combination of allergies and still made them feel excited about the flavours in the food they were getting.

There is quite a choice of food right from breakfast through to supper and they make a point of normalising gluten and lactose intolerance as a minimum.

These are pictures of just one coffee break!






When the coffee arrives, the room empties very quickly!

This afternoon we went to a Viking House museum not too far away and got a different perspective on how the Vikings lived and were appreciated.

When we got back, we still were served our tea! and in the same style as these pictures. A choice of a very healthy or a very unhealthy snack – or a combination.

Getting back from a light evening walk with my visiting family at 24:00, I took this at 01:00.


3rd Day Botanical art workshop holiday by the Oslo Fjord

Everyone is getting into the thick of their botanical art pictures. Some have chosen quite small plants which is quite difficult to do. Others are learning new techniques and have been so patient in practising them.

It isn’t often that one gets a whole week to go into such detail and I am very pleased to see such improvement. Some have practiced getting smooth washes, others intricate detail and some have not done botanical art before. I think and hope they might have become smitten.

Today the sun was shining all day and those new to Norway understood about the very special clear light here. Both sea and sky seem extra blue and nature in general seems more sparkling than we are used to in the UK at least.

This afternoon we visited a lady’s garden. We had seen some lovely and unusual specimens in her garden and one student was brave enough to ask to visit her. The lady had a beautiful pink Cornus (Dogwood) in her garden. She promptly cut off a piece and kindly gave it to us to paint.











2nd day botanical art workshop holiday by the Oslo Fjord

Something must be going right as they are already talking about ‘next time’.

Now I’m not sure if they are saying this only because Norway is so beautiful, or if it is because it is a good workshop! They (and I) do love the food.

What I will say is that it is very difficult getting everyone on time to meals during the day, or keeping up their fluid levels with the lovely fresh water readily available. But, we are having a lot of fun and being extremely well looked after by the Hotel.

This holiday is giving the less practised of us, more time to practice painting botanical art. It is also giving the opportunity to paint plants they haven’t painted before. Tomorrow I must take some pictures of some of what has been achieved so far. But in the meantime, some more pictures from today.

The first picture was taken from my bedroom window at 00:30 this morning.