A relaxing weekend

I may be away from home for a few days, but they do say that a change is as good as a rest!

Robin normally does the food at my workshops (lunches). They have always been greatly appreciated but we felt it was time he learnt to cook, so he is on a cookery course at Ashburton on the edge of Dartmoor. The journey here yesterday was horrendous, particularly as it is of course a bank holiday weekend!

Early this morning the weather was beautiful and the sun shone. Robin went off to the Ashburton Cookery School and I went into the little town to buy a hat. I needed one if I was going to do any botanical art work.  Behind the place that we are staying is  a steep slope with a garden cut into it. At the top is a patio with table and chairs and even a little summer house. It is a beautiful little sun trap.

But back to buying my hat. This is what I saw in the shop where I bought it – in fact, it was following him(or her), that lead me to the hats!



With my new wide brimmed hat I now had an opportunity to paint, or knit, or read or fall asleep. I had brought with me the Bearded Iris that I was drawing in graphite at the SFP demonstration on Thursday. I could if I wanted to, do a little more on it if I chose to. As it was a graphite picture, I could actually do it whilst sitting in the garden – so that’s what I did.

This is it so far.


Botanical art and 50th Nurses reunion

I knew that May was going to be a jam packed month, but…….  I’m still trying to breath sensibly!

It started with Open Studios for two weekends, sandwiching my weekly botanical art shop and a workshop at Goodnestone Park in Kent. Once that was all cleared up, it was preparation for the nurses reunion. 

I never got as far as to finish an individual picture for all the girls meeting again (with some husbands – 26 of us), but I did manage eight, so gave a copy of each of them to the 17 girls( yes we are). The flowers included, Hellebore, Snowflake, Gorse, Primrose, Canary Bird Rose, Bluebell, Periwinkle and Aqualegia. 
People started arriving on Thursday, we met for supper on Friday, then from Saturday afternoon we hosted everything from home!!!. Afternoon tea, a super dinner provided by local caterers ( I couldn’t do it), and then Sunday brunch as people waved goodbye until the next reunion. I gave the caterers earplugs (which I don’t think they used), although I really felt sorry for the people downstairs in the pub where we had our Friday meal. Our neighbours sensibly went out for the evening on Saturday.




Monday morning, 09:30 sharp, we were at the Oxmarket in Chichester. It was the Society of Floral Painters (SFP) hanging in day. Robin was a runner and I was on the selection panel. I have to say that we have some really lovely work in this year. We spent all Monday and Tuesday selecting and hanging the artwork. You can come and see it until 6 June, except for Mindays, although it will be open this bank holiday Monday.

This isn’t meant to be a diary, but there is a lot going on at the moment.

Yesterday I had my normal class in the morning and then we went into London to bust Chelsea, with a small stop on the way at the Chelsea Physic garden. I have to say that was the best bit. It’s so peaceful there.  We go home late last night, up early again today and the day was spent demonstrating for me at the Oxmarket and Robin was stewarding.

Once we got home this evening I marked a couple of London Art College assignments and tomorrow we are off to Devon. Robin is going on a cookery course and I’m going to sleep!  

First Iris workshop at Goodnestone Park

I don’t want to create any false impressions. The botanical art workshop on Irises was my first one on the subject this year. I will be having another one at the end of the month in Bosham.

As many people know there are several forms of Iris, a rough division can be bearded or non- bearded. The ones you can buy in the supermarket are frequently non-bearded, whereas bearded ( the fluffy bit at the top of the petals that hang down [describing non-botanically]), can often be bought in florists or seen in gardens at this time of year. The petals of the bearded iris often appear more papery than the other sort.

I took a few bunches of the IrisĀ sanguinea with me to Goodnestone Park where the workshop was held. I used these to encourage the students to study the flower and pick it to pieces so that they had a better understanding of how it was formed. For those who hadn’t done botanical art before, they were a little disconcerted and afraid that I expected them to do botanicalĀ illustration. However, they soon found out that this was not my intention and by the end of the workshop understood why I had got them to study the flower so much to begin with.

Goodnestone Park has a lovely walled garden and we are given the opportunity to pick suitable specimens of flowers to paint. Several chose beautiful stately bearded irises, whilst others chose to paint from the ones I had brought with me.

As is usual in my workshops, I spend time helping the students to get a good drawing of their specimens, as the final picture will only be as good as the drawing used to start it. I am told that this was felt to be a useful exercise in itself. But firstly, here are some pictures of the workshop.

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Now the results of the two day workshop. I think that having studied the flower so well in advance, the students were surprised at how good the results were, particularly with such a complicated flower.

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Finally, tomorrow, Sunday, is the last day of the Chichester Open Studio trail. We have had many lovely visitors and we would like to say thank you to everyone who has been to see us. It was complicated going away or the last couple of days to take the workshop in Kent, but I enjoyed it. If you have the opportunity to come and see me at work in my shed tomorrow, please do come.

In the midst of Chichester Open Studios 2015

Thursday and Friday last week was spent with tidying, clearing, cleaning and picture preparation. I even cleaned out the shed! But at least it now looks fairly respectable.

This weekend including tomorrow and next weekend is the Chichester Open Studio event. My shed is open to the public – thus the cleaning, and the conservatory hung as an exhibition.

I won’t say more except that it has been very good for us so far, with loads of interested visitors. Apparently the ones that came had highlighted our venue and made a beeline, or had been here before and wanted to see more of my work. For whatever reason I am very happy so far. The interest has been really good and people who have been to the house have been generous in their comments.

If you are in a reasonable distance of our home, do come and see us, tomorrow Monday, or next Saturday and Sunday. Our address is elsewhere in this blog.

Periwinkle flower
Periwinkle flower
Periwinkle line drawing.
Periwinkle line drawing.








Now a few pictures from our back garden today with a lot of early blooming plants, the shed and a couple of pictures from inside the ‘exhibition ‘space.


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