Botanical art workshop holiday in Norway

We are here!

I had hoped to keep the blog updated in relation to the botanical art workshop holiday in Norway,  but life got in the way.

Before our departure from the UK last week and our perilous journey up into the wilds of Scandinavia, our family arrived from Ghana for the start of their furlough, holiday and part house sitting exercise ( someone to water the cats and feed the plants). You can now take a breath. We had a little lovely journey over the channel and north (getting up at 03:00 to beat the queues instigated by our channel friends across the river). No-one to contact, no-one who could contact us, no undone jobs to be done – I could relax and sleep. Poor Robin drove most of the way. But I did knit a bit in periods.

We arrived in Norway two days later and got a lovely welcome. First job on the agenda was to meet a lovely lady from the Norwegian Botany Society who had collected some plants for us from the mountains in southern Norway. Then, we stocked up on plants from a local garden centre. Student tastes vary, so we were now prepared with Cloudberries, Blueberries, lignognberry, lace cap hydrangea, House leeks, Siberian Iris. But we didn’t have dog roses, wild strawberries, white campion, clover, Scabious, Vetch, these were brought in later by one of the students. The last species to be added to our plant table were some lovely Peonies, thanks to a grass-cutting-husband!
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The workshop holiday started with a lovely meal at the Åsgårdstrand Hotel on the Southeast coast Of Norway, looking out across the beautiful views of the Oslo Fjord. This was Sunday evening with the course itself starting on the Monday morning. Everyone started out bright eyed and bushy tailed early on Monday morning, and as usual we started off with the most important aspects of the botanical painting, choice of subject, studying it, designing a composition and making the initial drawing, A painting is never better than its original drawing, therefore one needs to spend time on this phase.

The third day has been completed and it seems to me that the enthusiasm hasn’t wained. But a break was needed.

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This afternoon a trip was planned and some of the students chose to come with us. We travelled a little way up into the mountains to a Cobalt Mine – once the largest in the world, called Blaafargeværket. The literal translation is Blue Colour Works. We had a lovely wander round the old buildings, but felt that to spend time in the actual mines, was rather a waste of a beautiful day. But we did learn a whole load about the mines’ and area history.

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Edward Munch's 'Three girls on a bridge', painted actually in Åsgårdstrand.
Edward Munch’s ‘Three girls on a bridge’, painted actually in Åsgårdstrand.

Apart from seeing old, restored buildings and fantastic scenery, we also learnt a bit about local history and saw two art exhibitions – all as the temperature was steadily climbing to 30 degrees. Eventually, it was almost a relief to head back to slightly cooler climbs along the coast. We felt our tasty supper this evening was very much well deserved.

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