Hedgerow produce botanical art workshop in Bosham.

Once again a good workshop (I think), with lovely people (I know). There were some struggles on the way and changes of subject once everything was put on the table and the garden checked out. There was even a change of medium too, giving unexpected results.

Here are some of the photos taken during the process and at the end.

Other results;

The chef, with a few fluid ingredients at the ready.
The chef, with a few fluid ingredients at the ready.

Happy students

And finally a picture taken last night by one of the students.

The lunar eclipse

The next workshop is pen and ink 30-31 October. Do get in touch if you want to take part.

Botanical art workshops; recent past, present and near future.

I am so pleased about what I am seeing developing in my workshops. At the end of August I had the Strawberry and Cream workshop ( really kitchen garden produce) and I published the pictures that were in progress from that workshop. Two of the students have sent in their finished products and although one seems very pale, the colour was actually spot on. Unfortunately the picture was a little unclear, but I think you get a good idea of the end results.


Juicy Pear - Coloured pencil
Juicy Pear – Coloured pencil










Purple peas from the garden. Watercolour
Purple peas from the garden. Watercolour










During the week I had a botanical workshop at Goodnestone Park Gardens. The weather didn’t start off very promising as I drove through the worst rainstorm the night before. It was almost a wonder I got there – but once we’re hooked on botanical art…… But on Thursday morning I was met by a lively group of people all raring to go.

Three of them hadn’t done botanical art before, but liked plants, or wanted to do something a little more detailed. Even I have to admit that I was amazed by the results. I hope that some of them will send me photos of their finished work so that I can post that too – although a couple of the pieces were actually completed.


Half of of them used coloured pencil and the other half watercolour. I’m not going to put any titles to the pictures, but just post them. The pictures themselves were Sloes, Magnolia Grandiflora, Tree Peoni, Rose hips. You will see several examples of similar subjects.

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This coming weekend there will be another workshop, so watch this space. I haven’t forgotten about the Fuchsia microphylla and will give you an update in the next few days.

Fuchsia microphylla progress report and BT broadband hassle!

I am getting so fed up with BT broadband, phone and TV. I cannot believe that they sell us a service like this and we have to pay as we signed a contract with them. I don’t know how many times the server fell out today, starting whilst responding to emails before 08:00 this morning. The hub seems to be going orange on and off all day and the phone is an old fashioned crackling line; a repeating problem!

Grumble over – until it goes again when I try to send this blog!

I have been concentrating on my Fuchsia microphylla picture (its gone again! – Broadband I mean.) for the last few days. I left you with some composition plans I had for redoing the picture. During the open studio event early August, I decided to change it and that meant starting all over again. The detail I had originally painted was too low on the page, and I felt that in fact the paper colour was a little too creamy. This meant that the pink that I saw in the flower, couldn’t be replicated on the paper I was using. The off-white of Fabriano Artistico extra white, affected the pink, warming it up too much. I therefore needed to paint the picture on Fabriano Classico 5, which I think is about the whitest watercolour paper. I of course tested out the colours before tracing my chosen design on to the paper.

I still intend to keep you in suspense about which composition I chose. Although I have had a lot of people looking at my blog both on WordPress and Facebook, so far no-one has got back to me with suggestions as to which one I did choose!

I am going to show you the various elements in my composition right before putting the picture together.

Fuchsia microphylla side branch - magnified x 2
Fuchsia microphylla side branch – magnified x 2
Fuchsia microphylla longitudinal section of flower, magnified x 4
Fuchsia microphylla longitudinal section of flower, magnified x 4

Notice how two of the stamens hang down and three curl up. This is completely different to the standard Fuchsias you may be familiar with, where the stamens hang quite a long way below the  skirt of the flower. There are a total of eight stamens attached round the base of the sepals before they split up into four sections; looking like an outer whorl of petals. There is one style with four stigma. Therefore it is very appropriate that there are four ovaries in the fruit.

Fuchsia microphylla cross-section of fruit. Magnified x 3
Fuchsia microphylla cross-section of fruit. Magnified x 3
Fuchsia microphylla longitudinal section of fruit, magnified x 3
Fuchsia microphylla longitudinal section of fruit, magnified x 3

Funnily enough, although quite small – just under 1 cm when ripe, the fruit really stain.

When the plant is seen close to, the colours are so intense, which is very obvious in the final picture – causing additional compositional problems! Watch this space.

Fuchsia microphylla progress; and composition.

The last time that I mentioned anything about this botanical art piece in progress, was August 3, during my Open Studio event in Bosham. You saw the start of the picture and I will reintroduce it here.

Fuchsia microphylla painting started
Fuchsia microphylla painting started

I got as far as this:

Fuchsia Microphylla botanical art progression - change point!
Fuchsia Microphylla botanical art progression – change point!

When, with the help of a very good friend who is a brilliant mentor, I decided I needed to change the composition. As he said, I hadn’t put enough thought and work into the composition before I had started and therefore I was likely to come a cropper. I agreed with with him.

Following this discussion, I decided to prepare all my dissections and other parts to be introduced into the composition, in detail. Until this time, I had only prepared the main part in detail and put a rough sketch where I was going to have the other sections; this included a ‘line’ that represented a branch! Therefore I had to get down to the hard work that I needed to do; my detailed line drawings ready to trace over.

The microscope then came into function and this helped me change my mind completely about the sort of dissections I needed for the picture. Here is what I saw:

Fuchsia micrphylla stamens
Fuchsia micrphylla stamens

The flower has eight stamens. Four are tucked up and four hang down, with the hanging down ones ripening first. Had I done a typical dissection showing a separate stamen and separate style and stigma, no-one would have realised how it was all placed in the funnel formed by the semi-fused sepals. The solution to this problem was to do one longitudinal dissection of the flower, showing the stamens, style and stigma in situ. All I have to do is the drawing and painting show that it shows clearly!

We are still back at problem number one; composition. How are the elements to be placed and what size will they be. If you remember the plant has tiny leaves and flowers. The main section is painted at twice the normal size, although I will include a graphite line drawing actual size. But how big do the dissected flower and fruit have to be to be seen clearly?

I completed all my line drawings, traced them onto tracing paper in the manner I have previously written about in this blog, and I cut each traced element to arrange around the paper. These are all the compositional trials I made. Which one do you think I chose?

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As a final for this blog, I still have a couple of places left for the next workshop in Bosham; Hedgerow produce, 25 – 27 September. If you are interested have a look at the the page on this website, Tuition –> Workshops. You will be very welcome.