Yesterday’s blog was written at the end of a busy day – or at least in the middle of the night. I should have waited until I had been refreshed by a night’s sleep! My husband read it a short while ago and tried very diplomatically to tell me, that not all of it had read too well. I have therefore adjusted it to tell you that my ‘photographs’ were not good, but that the artwork was good. If you read last night’s version, please read it again.
I thought I might add a couple of pictures of lichen. If anyone knows what they are exactly, please let me know.
The next botanical art workshop will be Friday to Sunday, 26 – 28 February. The title is White Snowdrops against dark Hellebores. Now it is anyones guess if either will still be flowering by then. They are both flowering well in the garden now (much too early) and the Magnolia soulangeana buds are bursting! I did a very quick tiny picture a couple of days ago, of Leucojum aestivum – commonly known as ‘Summer snowflake’!!!!There are loads out at the moment.
Whether the Hellebores and Snowdrops are flowering or not, there will still be loads to paint. Or why don’t you grab the opportunity to work on something in which you know you can improve? There are a few places available, so get in touch soon.
In reality the workshop became textures , bark, lichen and leaves!
In the end, I felt it had been a very unusual workshop because four of the five students were coloured pencil artists and only one was a watercolour artist. Three of the CP students wanted to do graphite only instead of colour, to improve their tonal value skills as well as the use of graphite. The watercolour student wanted to improve ‘green’ skills. They were definitely students who knew what they wanted to do! Their intention was to improve various aspects of their skills in botanical art and it was such a pleasure – and honour to help them.
On the first day we focused a lot on preparation. This time we didn’t actually talk very much about composition, but we went through the first stages of drawing and making a rough tonal value reference drawing.
As well as the different drawing techniques, we also looked at light and shade forming a solid object, and mixing greens. Unfortunately not all of the photographs turned out too well, but I think you will appreciate some of the results anyway.
Of course the various types of lichen we had collected between us was worthy of more detailed investigation, so out came all the magnifying glasses and lenses that we could muster. The specimens were hugely intriguing and the colours definitely became accentuated when you see them in detail.
I was particularly pleased with the results and I am just sorry that the photograph of the CP picture did not do it justice. I’m afraid the light was failing when I took the picture, but the tiny detail of the lichen was actually very well done – and exhausting to do. It will obviously take time to finish that piece even though it is small. I hope that the artist will not lose patience with it and complete it at some point so that it can be shown again on the blog. I think the other photographs of the work have turned out reasonably well.
I’m afraid I still have no new painting at the moment as I am writing, writing, writing – with of course a load of research in the middle. There is a lot going into this new online course I am doing, but I am really happy that several people have agreed to allow me to show their work as well.
I feel it is so important to let people know that there are so many styles of botanical art and so many ways of getting to where you want to go with it. Other artists have been really helpful in this and some have even offered to write bits about what they think is important in the style of work they do, to go into the course.
Anyway, Robin and I were checking dates in our diaries the other day and as I want to go to the ASBA conference in Pittsburgh this year, I have had to make a change to one of the workshops in October. This is the link: Botanical art workshops 2016
What have I been doing of late? You probably think that I haven’t been doing anything at all – but I have been working on my new online botanical art course. Poor Robin, he hardly sees me these days!
For those of you living in the UK you know that the weather has been very mild – and very wet. I live on the south coast and although we haven’t suffered the same floods as further north, it has been wet. All the plants in the garden are in turmoil. Everything is sodden and the cats leave muddy paw prints everywhere – they get the blame as they can’t answer back! A lot of the daffodils have finished flowering and if we get some cold weather now, goodness knows what will happen to those in bud.
We spent Christmas in Norway and had a really super time with my daughter (the hostess) and my son. We even got some lovely snow there – which was refreshing. we enjoyed some very special Norwegian food such as Lutefisk, had a Norwegian Christmas Eve supper of delicious cod and an English Christmas Day meal of Roast pork with all the trimmings. My children are fantastic cooks; they obviously felt they had to learn as I am such a bad cook.
We came back home before the new year to see the Hellebores, Daffodils and Snowdrops in full flower! Starting on the watercolour module of my online botanical art course, I therefore had plenty of subjects to paint from. I chose the Hellebore after picking off a live caterpillar! Several of the flowers had their stamens chewed right off. I’ve pulled this picture off the video, so it isn’t too clear. I wish I had taken a picture of the caterpillar too.
From painting the Hellebore I have done a whole series of videos for the course right from : Stretching light to medium weight watercolour paper (I hope you find it useful), sketch to line drawing, colour matching, tracing over to art paper, tonal value reference study to actually painting the picture. All of the videos are on Youtube, but only the one about stretching paper is available to the public. The rest will only be available to students doing the course, although I am considering doing a very fast one showing the painting. I still have a load of writing to do yet, so I will see how it goes.
I may not be keeping up too well with my own artwork, but I am keeping my hand in when doing the videos.