We are in the last stages of preparation for Christmas and now sit down to try and relax before going to bed.
We will be having a Christmas with a difference as we don’t have children or grandchildren with us this year. It is the first time in fact that we will be celebrating by ourselves. We realise how really lucky we are with our family, and will miss their company this year. But even so we will definitely make the most of it by doing our own thing.
Tomorrow, Christmas Eve, we are going for a long hike round a nature reserve called Pagham Harbour, before taking it easy with a nice pub meal. I don’t think I have ever done anything similar before so close to Christmas, so we are really looking forward to it.
What are the rest of our family doing? Two of the ‘children’ are in Norway where Christmas is celebrated on Christmas Eve. Nearer home, one ‘child’ and family moved into their new home at the beginning of this week and they are busy stripping wallpaper. The remaining ‘children’ are missionaries in Ghana and enjoying the warmth.
I have been painting on vellum the last few days, but more about botanical art next time.
In the meantime we wish you a wonderful Christmas and a relaxing New Year.
I had to work hard to finish the Liriope muscari ‘Moneymaker’ in time for handing it in at the beginning of this month. Including the sketches when I first got the plant in 2015, sketchbook drawings, colour matching and composing the picture to my satisfaction, it took 211 hrs.
I remember a comment that someone made not too long ago; when they started painting they thought that as they got better they would be quicker, but it didn’t work out that way. They too were a botanical artist.
I have to say that when I took up painting plants a few years ago, having painted birds in great detail previously, I too thought that I would get quicker as I got more experienced. The trouble is that as one becomes more experienced one knows what to look for and that getting the detail right is imperative. I suppose that this is affected too by my style of painting which is not wet-in-wet. I use a fairly dry technique generally, which allows for the finer detail. Added to which I am my own worst critic!
At last my schedule of botanical art workshops in 2017 is complete and you will find the detail and booking form here: Workshops for 2017
The booking form for the botanical art workshop holiday at Le Manoir in the Dordogne region of France is also ready. You can find this here: Le Manoir 2017. There has been a lot of interest for this workshop holiday, so grab your place as soon as you can. There is a lot packed into the holiday and if you want to take your partner, there will be plenty for them to do too – that is if they want to do anything outside the planned trips! You will be painting at least in the mornings and can choose to do the excursions if you wish.
As a reminder, all levels of experience in botanical art will be welcome because the class sizes are small. Life is about continually developing your skills, therefore to join a workshop, experience is not necessary, just the desire to learn.
You can use coloured pencil, graphite or watercolour on all of the workshops and the holiday – except for the workshop with vellum.
I’m afraid that at the moment i can’t show you the colour calibrated final picture of the Liriope muscari, but I can and will show you the the last two photos I took of it, before its delivery yesterday.
I struggled in places with getting the minute details on the paper that I used for the painting and wished that I had a never ending stock of the Fabriano Artistico. I therefore contacted the company in London that imports and distributes a lot of our art papers, to see if by any chance they had some old stock of these papers.
The company was fantastic and had a really good search in their two places where they store their stock. They did manage to find some Artistico and some old stock Fabriano 5 and when going up to London yesterday for the Chelsea Physic Garden Florilegium Society meeting, we went in and bought what they had found for us.
I am now a happy bunny! But I am still keeping my eyes open for a good paper to recommend to my students. So far, this might well be the Canson Moulin du Roy.
But as one of my artist colleagues pointed out to me yesterday, we can’t rely on having the same paper available to us for ever. So part of our skills as botanical artists also needs to be, in having the ability to paint on anything and still have a magnificent result.
To put your minds at rest, the picture is now finished although I will continue to show you its development day by day. I finished it yesterday and scanned it, today working on matching the colours in Photoshop. Photoshop kept on crashing every time I tried to do a colour proof, therefore that took far longer time than I could afford. If anyone knows how to sort out that little problem for me I will be more than happy for your assistance.
Back to the painting. When I was doing the flower spikes I thought they were difficult as they were so tiny. But painting the strap-like leaves was a different challenge.