The Pineapple and a new workshop

I was reminded today by a friend that I have been remiss in my blogging. I am sorry for that. Therefore to catch up-

Last Saturday Robin and I were at the Society of Floral Painters(SFP), AGM and lunch. It was a very good meeting and lunch finishing off with an interesting talk by Roy Lancaster. It is the first such meeting I have been to and I gained a lot from it – as well as meeting lots of other botanical and floral painters.

The SFP have their next exhibition in Chichester Oxmarket arts Centre 20 May – 7 June. Look at my website for details.

But since Saturday I have been continuing with the Pineapple picture – when time has allowed. I am adding a few more pictures at the end of this blog.

Tomorrow I am having a new two-day workshop here in Bosham. The topic is ‘Twigs and things’. It will be very interesting to see what people bring with them. I hope to be able to post some pictures after the workshop.

The next workshop is Friday 27 February – Sunday 1 March and the topic is Hellebores – floating. This means one has the opportunity to paint the flowers face up, showing their beautiful and colourful detail. There are a very few vacant places, so do contact me or look at my website (details above) for more information.

The pineapple-







Another Pineapple in watercolour

It is now several years since I painted my last pineapple and I have been asked to paint another one. I started the drawing before I went to Norway and today have got back to it having caught up (sort of) with other outstanding tasks that accumulated whilst I was away.

The trouble is, we had to eat the last pineapple before we went away! So what do I do? It was delicious by the way.

When you buy a pineapple, it has been cut and removed from the parent plant. This of course is obvious, but what is less understood is that it will not become riper after it has been cut. As far as I understand the pineapples are cut at their ripest. Some buyers prefer to buy them green and if the golden yellow colour is wanted they are sprayed about a week prior to harvest with a plant growth regulator. If you want to check this up read

The pineapples that I have bought are mainly from Costa Rica and I think are the cultivar “smooth cayenne”.

I normally take pictures of my subject first so that I have an idea of what it originally looked like, so that when it dies or rots too much, I can replace it with a fresher specimen. In this instance my original drawing and placing of segments will be different to any other pineapple I get. But, I can use segments in the new pineapple, making sure that they are in a similar position and lit in a similar way to the original specimen. Thus I can continue to paint from life – which for a botanical artist is far the best thing to do.

My initial work:

Initial pineapple drawing.

Note the tramlines in a Fibonacci spiral. I observe the lines, draw the crossing tramlines and at each intersection place a segment. Once a tracing has been made, I do a very rough shading on the original sketch to indicate the form of the fruit.

The tracing of the original drawing.

I traced over onto a Fabriano Classico HP 640gsm paper in a manner that I have previously described in one of my blogs. This leaves no indentations from the pencil and is easily removed before painting.



I used a watercolour pencil to lightly outline my segments in an area of the pineapple I can manage initially. When I begin to paint, this colour will be absorbed into the painting avoiding lines. I don’t do too many at once in case I really need to change any of the segments in a later pineapple.


Winter prep trip to Norway

In case anyone thinks I have forgotten all about the important subject of Botanical Art – I haven’t!

But, for the last few days Robin and I have been in Norway preparing for the botanical art course there 28 June until 5 July. But at the moment it is deliciously cold there.

We have been checking a few things out, buying more wool for yet another Norwegian jumper and stripping some beautiful old stairs.

My daughter has a house in Tønsberg, a few kilometers down the coast from Åsgårdstrand. Her stairs have a very lovely shape to them which is identical to ones in the house where she grew up. In those days I stripped, sanded and varnished those stairs to bring forth their natural beauty. She wanted to do the same thing with her own stairs and we agreed to help her. We got as far as stripping!

Yesterday we took the day off and went for a drive to The End of the World. Verdens Ende. This is a beautiful NAtional Park area on the southern tip of an island called Tjøme. If you want to look at a map, find Tønsberg, follow a few kilometres south onto an island called Nøtterøy, And the main road leads to Tjøme and the Verdens Ende.

The pictures are from that area before the snow came. That arrived as we left Norway today.





To finish off that lovely day, cards on a soft surface!


Happy New Year!

This is a rather delayed New Year greeting, but as soon as our Christmas Guests left I went down with a ‘large’. I think I am recovering!

The holiday period has not given me much time to paint, but I have now managed to finish off the Bear’s Britches in Pen and Ink. The only problem now is that I am looking for a suitable title. All the titles I have thought of so far seem only to be understood by me.

The Acanthus has quite a history in that it is well known and used a lot in Greek and Roman designs. It is a very stately and elegant plant. The one in our garden is very tall, and quite beautiful particularly as the flowers open down the stem. But get too near and it pricks you. Yes, it is an extremely prickly plant and certainly looks after itself. It is even more prickly in its dried state as I have been drawing it. Does this give anyone any ideas for a meaningful title?

Now I am in the process of marking more assignments and clearing up the shed to start another picture. I always have to go through this process. Once a picture is finished, the shed has to be cleared of all the debris accumulated from the making of it, so that I can start off with new thoughts and feelings about the next picture. I know what it is going to be, but first out with the old!

It is very fitting isn’t it? Out with the old year and artwork and in with 2015 and a new picture and its challenges.

Detail from the initial sketch
Detail from the initial sketch
The start of the initial sketch
The start of the initial sketch
The tracing
The tracing
Mummy, daddy and baby bears.
Mummy, daddy and baby bears.