First hanging day Palmengarten

I think that this evening we all look rather tired, but first of all the British hanging contingent want to thank the SBA member who treated us to a drink. We are all very grateful and overwhelmed by her very unexpected generosity.


But many will wonder how the day has gone. Here are a few of the pictures taken. Susan Christopher Coulson headed up the decision making hanging party, with Sandra Wall Armitage.


The rest of us were ‘hanging dogsbodies’. Our husbands, Ian, Ken and Robin; Sue Henon and a DLDC (distance learning course) student, Miriam Pampas; Jonas & Peter (both from Palmengarten); Pam Henderson (SBA); Renate Tessmar-Leonardy (friend of Palmengarten and lover of Camellias) and her husband (lover of Fuchsias) and of course Karin Wittstock from Palmengarten who was involved with the Palmengarten/ SBA initiative from the word go.

We have not quite finished placing all the pictures yet, but had to stop today for fear of falling off ladders!








Delivery of botanical art pictures to Palmengarten

Today has been an extremely busy day for all concerned.

Robin and I drove the van to Palmengarten, entering by a now familiar back gate. The rest of the British hanging team for today walked from our hotel and met us at the Palm House where the exhibition is to take place.





Luckily we were able to park the van directly outside the Palm House and we were welcomed by the able bodied German contingent. Now the work really began. Everyone helped to offload the van, checking each package off the list as they went.

Once the main bulk of the pictures were unloaded, two husbands from the group took the van to Dieburg about 3/4 hour outside Frankfurt. They collected the remaining pictures that had been sent directly to Sue Henon, our SBA member living in Germany, and returned to Frankfurt with these.

In the meantime, the rest of us busily unpacked the pictures, making a huge mound of packing materials to dispose of.




We have started placing the pictures, but more about this tomorrow.

Botanical artworks from the UK to Frankfurt

I had a little bit of a problem sorting photos out for yesterday’s blog, but some will recognise Jackie Gethin as the collector of half the picture collection. She and her husband also kindly gave us abed for the night in Kent as well as a lovely supper. After the van had been packed (to the hilt), we had a lovely evening playing Scrabble with a difference.

We got off just before 05:00 this morning, had our first cup of coffee on the Channel shuttle and ate breakfast in Verne, Belgium four hours after having got up. The temperature had been warm at 04:00 in the morning when we got up, but with the clear blue skies ( and some strong gusts of wind), it peaked at 26 degrees this afternoon. Today is 18 October! Fantastic.

We have taken some photos on the way to give you a glimpse of the journey the SBA members pictures have taken. My husband Robin drove, and I sat shotgun with my knitting ( my daughter will be pleased to note).




Difficult to get the photos in the right order at this time of night. A long day!


The Rhine



The driver and companion stretching legs by the Rhine.

We eventually arrived in Frankfurt at about 18:00 and met some more of the ‘hanging team’, Susan Christopher Coulson and her husband, plus Sandra Armitage.

More hopefully tomorrow.

Botanical art trip to Palmengarten, Frankfurt

It’s now Saturday at 23:00 and we are due to get up at 04:00 to drive to the Channel tunnel train leaving around 06:00. There is no wifi at the moment, so can’t even connect to get the pictures taken earlier today. However, as soon as a connection is made I will get this blog off. It’s amazing how dependent we have become on modern technology!

First thing this morning we were rushing around finding all sorts of extra equipment for hanging the SBA members pictures once we get that far. It was incredibly warm and felt like summer as I rushed thinly fled from house to shed (some call it a studio- but it’s a shed) and back again. Our journey to Kent was uneventful apart from the usual hold-up with road works.

Another SBA member had been the delivery point for most of the other half of exhibits and kindly offered us supper and a bed for the night once she had also helped with the reorganising and loading of her store of pictures.

She like I were amazed at the empty spaces we had once the collection was loaded onto the van. The van was packed fully. I’m glad that there weren’t more pictures.

Hopefully I can access the pictures I took today- tomorrow.




And the Bears Britches




Day before the journey to Frankfurt’s Palmengarten

My last blog mentioned that the botanical art exhibition at Palmengarten is now less than a week away. Each day that comes I think that I might get a little painting in before we go – but no such luck. I will show you a couple more pictures from the pen and ink drawing of Bear’s britches progression though.

I thought I had all the paperwork for Palmengarten clear in relevant folders etc, but then the cat jumped up onto the keyboard and knocked my tea all over the paperwork and the printing paper. That took a couple of hours to reprint it all as well as clear up the mess.

But today, my husband Robin got up early, gave me a cup of tea in bed and then took the train to Portsmouth to collect a van for our trip to Frankfurt. It is quite a large van, but he thinks we will be comfortable enough during the long journey, although it doesn’t seem to have all the mod cons one might expect/ wish for.

So we checked all the paintings etc against the spreadsheet I had done and loaded everything onto the van. Robin fastened everything securely and one of the cats, Fudge, inspected the lot to see that we had done it properly. His black and white brother (guess what his name is) inspected the suddenly empty spare bedrooms. They will be having a strict cat-sitter for the duration!

A good night’s sleep tonight and tomorrow we will be on our way to Kent to pick up the other half of paintings.




The bear’s britches (Acanthus)




SBA to Frankfurt Botanical gardens, Palmengarten

There has been little time to do the pen & ink drawing of the Bears Britches as I have been organising the co-ordinated exhibition between Palmengarten and the Society of Botanical Artists; or at least everything from the UK side of things. Additionally I have had to keep on top of marking assignments as the botanical art tutor for the London Art College.

So, the Bears britches has been done at stolen moments of time.

Last weekend however, The London Art College had their annual meeting of tutors just outside Bristol. It was a very nice break away from everything that had to be done, and being able to talk with the other tutors at the college. A very welcome recharge of batteries before the final Palmengarten onslaught.

The exhibition at Palmengarten starts with the official opening and private view next Thursday evening, 23 October. There will be 205 exhibits from SBA members around the world, from as far flung places as New Zealand, Japan the USA, France and of course the UK.

This is the third time that The Palmengarten Gardens and the SBA has liaised in this way. The first time was in 2010, then 2012 and now the largest exhibition will be this year. The exhibition will be open to the public from Friday 24 October until 23 November 2014 and I think will be well worth a visit.

Some of you may well have picked up from earlier blogs that I have been working on this, together with Sue another SBA member in Germany. It is thanks to her that the exhibition is happening in the first place, so our members have a lot to thank her for.

I intend to write a blog as the actual preparation is happening. I have received half of the exhibits in our home over the last few weeks. The remaining half have been collected in Kent. My husband Robin is collecting a van on Friday and with this we will make our way to Germany, collecting the rest of the pictures on the way, arriving on Sunday evening.

I will be glad once we are on our way as setting up is the fun bit – other people are then involved and the load will be shared rather than mostly on the shoulders of Sue and I.

The first couple of pictures are from our guest room. It will be lovely to have it cleared for a short while!



Now a couple pictures from the progression of the Bears britches.




The Dipladenia: Anything missing?

In between marking assignments and receiving pictures for the SBA exhibition at Palmengarten, the botanical gardens in Frankfurt, I have been painting.

Last time I suggested you find the part in the picture where I had made a mistake, but had rectified it.

Now I have three photos of the final work on the picture – I think!

Dipladenia picture: What is needed to balance the composition?
Dipladenia picture: What is needed to balance the composition?
Dipladenia picture: Notice the difference? Does it work?
Dipladenia picture: Notice the difference? Does it work?
Dipladenia picture: Is it finished?
Dipladenia picture: Is it finished?
Part of my shed. The table looks as though a bomb has hit it, therefore hidden!
Part of my shed. The table looks as though a bomb has hit it, therefore hidden!

What to do with the plants now as it is poisonous. It nearly took the life of one of our cats and is very much a temptation to play with – as well as being very beautiful and exotic looking for our colder climate.

Dipladenia progression

I have to be honest that the photos I am sending out in my blog are ones taken during work done over the last couple of weeks.  I suppose that rather than show you them as I am doing them, I am still hesitant as to where the painting will go and if I will get over my fear of doing it badly yet again!

I am still spending quite a bit of time on the Palmengarten exhibition organisation which means that some days I have virtually no time to paint.  Additionally I mark the assignments for the two botanical art courses at the London Art College. It all takes time off the actual painting. But, I am enjoying seeing the assignments that come in and the development of the students.

Do have a look at the London Art College website if you are interested in doing botanical painting either in watercolour or coloured pencil. Obviously getting hands-on tuition is the best, but sometimes distances preclude this and the distance learning is a good option.


Now a couple more photos from the Dipladenia picture.

Dipladenia flower pair with bud and a flower having lots its fused, tubular petals.
Dipladenia flower pair with bud and a flower having lost its fused, tubular petals.
Dipladenia flower shrivelling & two buds.
Dipladenia flower shrivelling & two buds.

Dipladenia – again

I am now on my 6th attempt – I think. I’m losing count.

It is a while since I last wrote a blog and since then I have been trying to get my head around my temporary(!) lack of skills. I had decided to paint a Dipladenia plant for the Botanical art exhibition at Palmengarten, Frankfurt in October. The title of the exhibition is Poisonous and Medicinal plants.

Prior to going to Norway I had sketched out and gently started the picture. For those who may not know, the Dipladenia is as poisonous as Poinsettia. But it grows long tendrils and these are a temptation to a playful cat. Unfortunately I didn’t know how poisonous the plant was and I now know that when the cat suddenly became seriously ill before we went away, that in fact he had been poisoned by the plant.The trouble is it also seems to have had a negative affect on my painting skills.

The plant is now in the shed – well away from playful cats, and will be given away once the picture is finished. I will not give up.

This time I have reduced the design and have painted most of the flowers first. I suppose that is asking for trouble as I seem to get a blockage when I get to the leaves. I know what I want to do, but somehow there is a disconnect between my head and the messages sent to my hand and skills with the brush, pigment and water!

I am taking some photos as I go along.

Dipladenia flower 1
Dipladenia flower 1

First layer of the dipladenia flower. Note what looks like a heavy dark tracing. It is in fact not heavy and is traced in the method I have demonstrated in an earlier blog. Because no sharp tool, even a pencil is used to do the tracing, the graphite is easily lifted off completely with a putty rubber, leaving NO indent.

Dipladenia flower 2
Dipladenia flower 2

The layers of watercolour are almost complete.