Stansted Park Garden Show – stand AD25

You are all invited to come to Stansted Park Garden Show. This a yearly show situated near Chichester. For those who love their gardens, this is the place.

I have a stand in the Art and Design Marquee – and I’m terrified! Not that there is anything to be terrified about.

I believe that I am the only botanical artist there although there will be a plenty of general art and design. But there will be plants and lots of them.

Summer still does not seem to have reached us yet. Chilly and cloudy with the occasional sun burst. But I am told from several sources in Norway that they have summer proper! I can’t wait for the workshop there in four weeks time.

In the meantime, I have again spent most of the day on the organisation, information, form design etc. for the SBA exhibition at Palmengarten. I think that so far I must have spent a week solid on this. The emails come in fast and furious following sending out an email to all members asking if they intend to submit. The response so far has been really good and today I got the instructions and forms finished off and sent to those thinking about exhibiting.

I managed to start painting at 17:00. Not much of the day left. My husband had got some more Irises for me to work on the Coloured pencil picture, so I did a little on that. By the way, I intend to work on the irises in coloured pencil and the Mandeville in watercolour, at the Stansted show. But it will be different days spent on each. I haven’t decided which days yet.

This is how far I have got with the Irises. I’m afraid the lighting was not very good for the photo, but it’s better than nothing.


Tomorrow will be the last weekly botanical art class until September. After which I will be packing things together to take to Stansted for setting up on Thursday.

Open studio in Bosham

The Chichester open studios art trail started its second and last weekend, today. The weather as hoped for, was very good although it has blown quite hard. The wind has not kept people at bay and we had a lot of very interested visitors.

We got a few visitors who chanced on our set-up and as always I took this as an opportunity to get them interested in botanical art. However, it seems that most of our visitors had highlighted coming to see my work.

For the first weekend I decided to paint irises in watercolour as I had spent so long using colour pencils on the crab apples. Our visitors were very interested in the progression through drawing and first layers of colour. I continued with the painting during the week as the irises rapidly died. How to finish the painting without the flowers?

I bought some new irises, but they were redder than the original ones. Today I have continued the painting using the new irises for their form and size, but I had to bear in mind the colour palette I needed to use.




I will be continuing my demonstration on the irises for whoever is interested on the last day of open studios tomorrow.

Chichester open studios art trail last weekend

Yesterday I was in London at the SBA annual exhibition opening. It is well worth seeing and there is a lot of good botanical art. You will need plenty of time, but luckily you can stop now and again and get a cup of tea – or coffee, in the cafe in Westminster Central Hall.

Tomorrow is the start of the last weekend with Open Studios art trail . I understand that the weather here will be really good tomorrow after all. We have been hearing all week that it was going to be especially bad tomorrow, but it looks as though this will happen overnight.

Luckily, if there is any rain there is no problem coming in to see me with wet clothes and shoes and it would be an opportunity to dry out. However, I can imagine that at some venues they might struggle.

I look forward to seeing you either tomorrow or Sunday. My watercolour picture is coming on leaps and bounds. I think I might use the ‘template’ for my coloured pencil demonstration on Tuesday at the SBA exhibition. It would be a good comparison between the two media.

I am showing you some pictures of my gallery this weekend. It is only a glimpse, but you will be able to see the pictures properly when you come. I’m sorry that all those of you who live abroad will not be able to make it.





Society of Botanical Artists (SBA) at Westminster

First the RHS exhibition, then Chichester Open Studios – which is on again this coming weekend, and the SBA exhibition at Westminster Central Hall. Next week I will be talking about the Society of Floral Painters (SFP) annual exhibition being held in Chichester.

Normally the SBA exhibition is in April and it is a little easier for a Botanical artists to plan things. But this year, the SBA were only able to book their normal annual exhibition space in Westminster from tomorrow onwards. The private preview and opening of the exhibition is to be tomorrow between 11:00 and 19:00.

The official opening and prize-giving will be by Dr Nigel Dunnett, Professor of Planting Design at the University of Sheffield at 15:30. Although this is a little late, if you would like a formal digital invitation, please contact me  this evening through this blog and I will send one immediately.

The annual exhibition in Westminster is an open exhibition and is also to encourage those who paint botanical art to take part with a view to becoming members. Membership is dependent upon having a full quota of pictures being accepted for the exhibition, three years running. But, far from being a mountain to climb, seeing the pictures at the exhibition motivates many artists and helps to concentrate their minds on this particular challenge.

The exhibition usually has a lot of very beautiful botanical art. I remember the first time I went to the exhibition, I was enthralled! I don’t know how better to express what I felt. It is worth a visit if you are in London or want to take a trip up to the capital. I am going to the opening tomorrow.

I have four pictures that will be exhibited this year. Two are in pen ink and two in coloured pencil. I will be interested to see how the pen & ink pictures will be accepted as I have not exhibited anything similar previously. Additionally I will be demonstrating coloured pencil all day on Tuesday 13th May next week. Do come and see and hopefully get a feel for how I use the medium. Maybe I can tempt you to want to try using coloured pencil in your botanical art.


The SBA Annual Open Exhibition
The SBA Annual Open Exhibition

Chichester Art Trail

The Chichester Art Trail happens every May and generally includes Bank holiday Monday in the first weekend. That is what has happened this year too and we are again open to the public.

Essentially the criteria for this art trail is that you open your studio to the public so that everyone can see you at work. Unfortunately this doesn’t always happen. And, in fact I am told that very few people are actually working at their art. Therefore , it seems that people are very pleased when they arrive at our ‘venue’ (sounds a pretentious word doesn’t it?). That’s why I call the shed the shed – because it is and was a shed. Actually, it was a loose box, so a shed is an upgrade. But as ever I am off on a tangent.

We have had a steady trickle of people since Friday evening. We, and the other artists in Bosham, had a Pimms preview evening for people who live in Bosham.  It was quite tough getting everything ready in time, but it was fun once we got there. The people of Bosham did as requested and either turned up on their bikes or ‘Shank’s pony’. For those who are not English, this means ones own two legs.

The first day – Saturday- went well enough once everyone had got their weekend shopping out of the way. The weather has been absolutely supper. The sun has been shining and it is very pleasant. This means I have been able to sit working in the shed with the door open ready for visitors. Yesterday went very well. In fact the first Sunday is usually the best day of the two weekends. With any luck, in writing this the statement will prove me wrong.

In Bosham there are 15 artists in 11 locations – which tells you that those who share are not able to show their own working environment. As one can’t go any further than the sea when getting to see us (we are about 200 metres from the inlet), we are the last one on the Bosham part of the trail.  This means that many drop off the trail before getting to us as there is so much of interest on the way – that is unless they have specifically chosen our place.  However, we still get a few who want to see as many artists as they can and that gives me a real opportunity to get people interested in botanical art.

Our set-up is that we have a gallery of my pictures in the conservatory (where I normally have workshops). My husband mans this area as he loves talking to the people that come. I am working in the shed so that people can see what I do and ask as many questions as they want to. Mulling over the questions I have had, perhaps I have chosen the wrong medium that I am using in the shed. I chose to do some purple irises in watercolour as I haven’t used that medium in a whole painting for some time.

The conservatory (Gallery for the day)contains the RHS Silver Gilt medal Crab apple series, which is in coloured pencil and attracts a lot of attention, but also some of the Magnolia x soulangeana series in watercolour that I did as an RHS exhibit in 2011. Visitors are astounded when my husband tells them that the crab apple series is in coloured pencil and therefore they are asking about the coloured pencils all the time. There seems to be less of a thrill about watercolour, although a fair amount of interest as to how I achieved the iridescent purple of the Irises.

Visitors do love to see the artists working environment and ask questions about how they do things. That is why it is a shame to hear that very few make themselves available to do this.

Before I finish this blog, there are two things I must mention. The open studios art trail is open next Saturday and Sunday between 10:30 and 17:30. You can find my address on my website: . Additionally, I have places on my next workshop ‘A page of flower heads from the garden’ – May 29th – 31st. Now I am going to show one or two pictures of my working environment and on another occasion I will show you what I have been working on this weekend and the ‘gallery’ in the conservatory where

My workspace - in the 'shed'
My workspace – in the ‘shed’
The shed!
The shed!
At work.
At work.

I have the workshops.

Open studios and open invite

Very briefly I will mention the workshop at Goodnestone Park Gardens. As always they are lovely hosts and we had a large airy room to do the workshop.

The workshop went well and again there were some lovely students who worked really hard. I noticed that by the end of the first day they wondered what their results would be like, but at the end of the two days all were happy with their work and felt they had learnt something new.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take any photos to embellish this page, so you will have to imagine deep red Peonies, clematis and Wisteria. None of which are simple plants.

At the moment there is a mess all round me. This weekend we are taking part in the Chichester Art trail. Essentially, it is open studios. Here in Bosham there is quite an enclave of artists, so many people choose to spend one day in this area. Bosham is a lovely place anyway and we do have a lot of visitors generally. This is an extra good excuse to visit the area.

As usual we are setting up a gallery in the house, but I will also be working in the studio. This usually attracts many questions and people who were not initially interested in botanical art, have succumbed. I don’t think I have talked them into the ground, but many have obviously become interested in a subject they knew little about before.

Anyway, I don’t think you want any pictures of this mess until it’s been sorted out and pictures hung where they are meant to be. If you have the opportunity, I do hope you will plan a trip to Bosham either this weekend (which includes the Monday bank holiday) , and next Saturday and Sunday, it will be 10:30-17:30 each day.

In the village there will be loads of signs and balloons marking the spot. I am number 14, so you just need to follow the signs.

See you here!

The day after the night before (RHS botanical art exhibition)

Last night I slept like a log. I stayed in bed this morning and even had breakfast there. Lazy! My face is a little less swollen, but more purple!

Today has obviously been used to clear up a bit. I tried to stay out of the shed but had to prepare a couple of paintings to be exhibited at the Oxmarket Centre of Arts in Chichester for the next couple of weeks. This is a sort of preview to the Chichester Art trail at the beginning of May in which I am taking part. If you are able do visit the Oxmarket, do. But even better if you are able to come to my Open studios the first two weekends in May.

But, there is no peace for the wicked and I will be having a workshop on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. I went to the garden centre to pick up some plants in preparation for this. What an incredible assortment at the moment. I am sure everyone will find something that they will be thrilled to paint.

Anyway, I am going to show you one or two of the RHS exhibits over the next few blogs – except for when I send pictures of the workshop. I won’t be able to show you something of every exhibit as not everyone gave permission for me to show their picture on the blog.

I expect that you are wondering whose exhibit I am going to show now. It is Bee orchids by Louise Lane. Louise got a Gold for her exhibit. In addition to her final pictures she also included her initial sketches showing exactly where they were done.




16 days until the RHS botanical art exhibition set up.

I have spent the day Photoshopping the Crab apple pictures and there is another glimpse at the end of this blog.

But this evening I was at a meeting with my Bosham artist colleagues. The Chichester open Studios art trail is during the first two weekends in May, this will include the bank holiday Monday.

In the beautiful village of Bosham lives a whole enclave of artists using different media. We are going to start the art trail a little early on Friday 2 May with a preview at each of the artist’s studios. This will be between. 17:00 to 20:00.

Hopefully, people living in the vicinity will get the opportunity to see what is on display in a relaxing environment. More about this soon.

Tomorrow and for a further two days, I will be teaching the workshop ‘From sketch to drawing – learn to draw botanical images’.

So many have problems with their initial drawings and plans for their botanical paintings. Unfortunately, it is often the case that one finds out by having experienced it, that the final painting will only be as good as the line drawing. Those on the workshop have already understood this and hope to improve their drawing skills.

But, this is another part of Malus Evereste.


Busy, busy two.

We have just had two very successful weekends with the Summer exhibition and open studio.

As this is not part of an overall open studio event, just something we have decided to do for the last four years during the summer break(!), we don’t expect loads of visitors – only those particularly interested in botanical art. Our expectations were met on that score, but exceeded in other ways.

I like everyone else has had to keep a tight reign on finances during the downturn and many times I wondered if if I was silly either having an exhibition or keeping one or two classes going. However, people have been faithful, students have continued and customers have kept on coming. I noticed during the last two weekends that things are definitely picking up. We were told so on the news and this was enforced through my customers.

Thank you to all those who came and showed such Interest.

I am now working my socks off to prepare for a fair this coming weekend. It will be at Folkington Manor, on the A27 between Lewes and Eastbourne. Just follow this link to get information about what it is and where: Folkington Manor Antiques & Fine art Fair. There seems a lot of interesting things going on there, so that it should be a fun family day out. I hope to see you there. Please make yourself known to me when passing. I am in the Flint barns where the Auctioneer Michael Hogben will be giving free evaluations.

Next week we are taking some pictures up to Patchings for the UK Coloured Pencil Society annual exhibition. If you are interested in coloured pencils, then go and have a look at the exhibition between 1 September and 6 October. I hope you are interested as I have done a lot of things on this blog in relation to coloured pencil.

3 September I will be doing a demonstration in using coloured pencil with botanical art, for the Midhurst Art Society. It would be fantastic to get more people interested in both using coloured pencil as an art medium and botanical art and illustration in particular.

I love what I do and I feel so blessed that I have been given this gift and that I can practice it and have the ability to teach and enthuse others (or so it seems).

However, where is the painting?

I am also writing some tutorials (again coloured pencil in botanical art), for the London Art College where I am a tutor. Up until now they have only used watercolour for botanical art, but once I have got the tutorials finished this opens up the opportunity for those who want to use CP. Yes, I also have assignments to mark and I find this fascinating. People put such a lot of effort into improving their skills. it’s amazing being part of it.

So where is the painting?

Not long until I go to the US for the opening of the 14th international exhibition of Botanical art and illustration at the Hunt Institute of botanical documentation, Pittsburgh. My picture Magnolia x soulangeana: Maturing Blooms is part of the exhibition until December, when it will go on a three-year tour of the US until the next International exhibition.

Whilst in America, the American SBA has their conference at the same time, so I will be taking part in that too. The Hunt and the ASBA paper toy work together on coinciding this event so that participants in either the exhibition or the conference benefit from both. During this, I will be on a panel discussing botanical art and how I do it!

So the painting. Burning the candle at all of its ends, I am now working on the Malus ‘Gorgeous’ for about the fourth time! But, I am doing an entirely new composition. I have decided that the ‘Gorgeous’ ones I had already done, didn’t go with the other ones as a series. Hopefully I will get the series finished so that I can exhibit with the RHS next year.

I think this is enough for now. I’m sorry that there is so much reading and no pretty pictures this time. I’m afraid I had too much to say.