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 Iris 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 botanical 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.

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