Haven’t had time to update my own website – so here goes!

I have been really bad at keeping on top of my own website because of all the work in relation to ABBA (Association of British Botanical Artists). Therefore this information about my participation in the RHS exhibition next week is not on the right page! Sorry about that, but I am telling you a little more about it now and hope that you will be able to make it.

Following on from the exhibition ‘In Ruskin’s Footsteps’ at Lancaster University, we (ABBA) have a stand this coming week at the RHS Plant and Art Fair, which for Botanical artists is a very important event. It is on 11th & 12th July at the RHS Halls in London. ABBA have a stand with the majority of Botanical artists, in the Lindley Hall. As I said in my last blog, Follow the Banner!

We are exhibiting five of the original pictures from the juried exhibition in Lancaster, giving everyone a further opportunity to study them. One of them is mine – Sea Thrift, painted on vellum. I mentioned that I would be demonstrating at the exhibition and now it is clear which medium I will be using, also which plant I will be painting.

I had intended getting my own exhibit finished for the RHS exhibition next year, but because of the amount of work that has gone into ABBA, I have decided to put this off until 2020.  My topic is ‘Foraging plants of the Norwegian Mountains’.

It became very clear whilst going through the various phases of the Worldwide exhibition preparation, that although the UK is a distinct island it is still part of the European Continent. At one point in our history we were connected without needing to use a tunnel, boat or plane. Our plants bear witness to this in that many of the plants that are native in Northern Europe, are also native in the UK. However, some may not be so common these days.

Image being drawn on vellum

One of my series of plants is the Arctostaphylos  uva—ursi, Common bearberry in English and Melbær in Norwegian. It looks similar to a Crowberry, but is white inside (floury), giving its Norwegian name. When picking Crowberries it is not popular to mix Bearberries in by mistake as they don’t taste quite as nice, although edible. Also it is a stone-fruit and not a berry!

ABBA wants to encourage botanical art in relation to our native flora. As I intend to paint the series on vellum, I will be using this medium on the ABBA stand at the RHS. I have a nice little plant of the Bearberry with the beginnings of small flowers. The image is already transferred to a small piece of vellum which will be ideal to practice on and make decisions about which colours to use.

From my sketchbook.

You might be just able to see that in my sketchbook I have quickly done a rough tonal drawing, indicating where the light is coming from. I have also put in a little blue to indicate where the light of the sky has reflected on the leaves and started indicating the difference between the colour on the front and back of the leaves: but that is in my sketchbook. Which colours I will actually choose to use on the vellum, remembering that colours appear far more intense on vellum as it reflects the colour of the pigment better than on paper, will be the result of this trial piece.

In addition to my demonstrations we will be talking with people to find out what they want from ABBA in the future and whether they – you, want to be part of it. Our focus will be to help anyone, anywhere, interested in botanical art to learn more.

But there is a little icing on the cake: The RHS have agreed to show the Botanical Art Worldwide exhibition slideshow from 25 countries. This will happen in the talks area of the Lindley Hall, between and after the talks. But just in case you want to see it otherwise, we will be showing it on the ABBA stand.

This is the last opportunity to see the Worldwide Slideshow!

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ABBA and busy bees!

Follow this Banner!

You might very well wonder what the connection is particularly if you didn’t read my last blog a month ago! ABBA stands for Association of British Botanical Artists. For some of us working with ABBA during the last year, at times we have been so busy that we felt as though we could buzzzzzzzzz away to something more relaxing. But we stuck with it and had a lovely exhibition at the Peter Scott Gallery, Lancaster University.

That was the start of ABBA, formed to take part in the Botanical Art Worldwide Exhibition where we were one of 25 countries taking part. For my part, I co-ordinated the UK offering.

But, whilst doing this it became very clear that there was a wish for ABBA to develop into an organisation that catered for everyone interested in botanical art. We are now putting things together to develop ABBA. Do come to the RHS Art & Plant Fair at the RHS Lindley & Lawrence Halls in London 11-12th July where we have a stand. You will be able to talk with me and my colleagues about our plans for ABBA’s future. Hopefully we can encourage you to join.

If I get time, I will be having some work there to demonstrate on, but I haven’t decided in which medium. That can be a surprise!

So what has been going on with me since my last blog?

I had a very interesting workshop at the end of May, where we concentrated on colour mixing. This is the sort of workshop that everyone says they want to do, but when it actually happens, life has taken over. But some people did sign up with an attendee from a loooooooong way away.

Although there was the opportunity to work in watercolour, people chose colour pencil. The results were amazing and there were pencils everywhere! In fact, it became so thoroughly interesting that I continued with my weekly class on one colour found to be a real challenge.

See if you can find a solution. I have to say it was slightly easier in watercolour than colour pencil. But a lot of layers are necessary no matter what medium you choose.

Following on from that was the event at the Stansted Park Garden show. We again had a really super show and met a lot of lovely people and the weather was perfect.

I notice that I am listing up events, which is not what my blog has normally been about. I want to show you work that I have been doing, but everything has been done in small bites as we race around the country setting up, taking down and planning.

But I did work some more on my Indian Corn in colour pencil. Luckily the fruit part of the corn doesn’t change too much over time as long as you look after it and keep it away from the light and gnawing bugs. But it is different with the leaves. I do need fresh supplies of those if the colour is to remain vibrant. 

I hope to see you at the RHS in a couple of weeks time. Do let me know if you have read my blog!

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If you want to only follow my blog then please do sign up for it on this page. However, if you would like to get the occasional email from me about workshop availability or general information abut my botanical art news, then you will need to sign up for this separately.

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You can easily unsubscribe at any time.

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UK native plants packed for RHS botanical art exhibition

Packed and ready to go.

Tomorrow two of us are travelling up to London to set up the ABBA table in the RHS Lindley Hall, Vincent Square near Victoria Station. It will be the RHS botanical art show with the best of International botanical artists showing their work. Neither of us are exhibiting our own work this time, but we will be demonstrating different techniques.

The main reason for having the table at the exhibition is to talk about the plans for the Worldwide Botanical art day in May 2018 and to encourage British botanical artists to take part. A new Association of British Botanical Artists (ABBA) formed to do this has put an initial ‘call for entries’ on it

Www.abba2018.wordpress.com

On  Friday and Saturday this week, I have chosen to demonstrate a sketch book or study page in graphite and watercolour from  one of the native plants I have packed to take with me. Come along and see how I do this.

Apart from the Primrose, do you know what these plants are called?

The one on the right, with hardly any leaves just yet, is a Bilberry. This is a small wild blue berry. It doesn’ look very interesting at the moment, but if you are going to paint the portrait of a plant, including something from various stages in its life cycle, makes the resulting picture more interesting.

The plant above  the Bilberry with the small oval leaves is Cowberry and has small red berries. You might know it as Lignonberry and has smaller and sharper tasting berries than cranberries. This plant has the beginnings of tiny flower buds.

The one above the Primrose is a Crowberry and will eventually have small, almost black berries. Again the plant doesn’t seem so interesting in this stage of its life, but I think might offer some challenges whilst painting its portrait.

Common for for all three species ( not the Primrose) is that they all produce fruit that is edible.

I am lucky enough to be able to do some sketches now, while the plants are only just coming out of their winter state. This will be particularly useful for me and for future work I have planned.

Do come and see us at the RHS, Lindley Hall, Vincent Square, Friday and Saturday.

Does anyone know what this is and is it native?

I hope you now have an idea as to why I have been focusing on native plants recently?

For those who are still not aware, we have formed a new organisation for all UK botanical artists whether they belong to an organisation or not. It is called ABBA, the Association of British Botanical Artists, although slightly a misnomer as this also includes Norther Ireland.

Why was this started? Well, the American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA) initiated a worldwide botanical art day for May 2018, inviting all nations to to join them in organising a botanical art exhibition in each country. Some of us felt it particularly important that the UK was represented because we have some brilliant botanical artists here. Some of them remain independent and have no allegiance to any organisation. Therefore having an association inviting everyone, was the answer.

For more information about the exhibition, please look on the ABBA website:

abba2018.wordpress.com

But, today during my latest workshop, I was looking through my sketchbook and found the following drawing. I know that I did it through a microscope at an Institute of Analytical Plant Illustrators (IAPI) meeting, about mosses and liverworts. The problem is I was stupid enough not to write what it was. Can anyone help me, and is it native to the UK?

? Bryophyte capsule
? Bryophyte capsule

I have a strong suspicion that this is a Bryophyte capsule, but of course it doesn’t tell me which one and therefore I don’t know if it native.

My next sketch is native and is Deadly Nightshade (Atropa belladonna). I think this is a really beautiful plant, although, if walking past it the colours of the flowers are rather dull. But of course the plant is often seen with flowers and large, shiny black berries at the same time. One day I hope to paint it, but I will have to be careful with it.

Atropa Belladonna - Deadly Nightshade.
Atropa Belladonna – Deadly Nightshade.

Next week, 24 and 25 February, ABBA will have a table at the RHS botanical art exhibition in the Lindley Hall, Vincent Square, London. We are there to tell you about the exhibition in May 2018 and how you can take part. Additionally, over the two days, Sarah Morrish will be demonstrating on Vellum, Lucy Smith in pen and ink, and I will be doing a graphite and watercolour worksheet.

Please make yourself known when you visit us.

The opening of the Hort exhibition

Please excuse some of the limitations with this blog as I am trying to write it with a very slow wifi connection. Added to which I am so tired that I am falling asleep.

Suffice it to say that I personally was extremely honoured by having my work accepted for the prestigious ASBA exhibition and being at the opening today was an experience I wouldn’t have missed.

Dr Shirley Sherwood opened the exhibition and all of the artists at the opening spoke for a few minutes about their work. It was interesting hearing about how their artwork came to fruition.

Although there was work from five British artists out of the 48 pictures selected for the exhibition, Dianne Sutherland and I were the only British artists present. However, three of the awards went to British artists including one to Dianne. Congratulations!

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Unfortunately the last photo showing Lizzie Sanders picture did not turn out. I hope she will excuse the exclusion.

Where am I packing up to go?

My husband is keeping on at me because I haven’t done any packing yet and tomorrow I am going back to the States.

I have my usual class  tomorrow morning and on the dot of 12 MD we drive to the airport. I am going to the opening of the 19th Annual International Botanical art exhibition at the New York Design Centre. The exhibition is held by the American Society of Botanical Artists and the Horticultural Society of New York and one of my pictures is being exhibited.

exhibition-invite

This is the picture that was accepted.

malus3-malus-golden-hornet-rhs-8bit-sig

I will only be there for a few days and back again at the weekend, but it will be lovely to see the friends I have made over there.

Botanical art entry provisionally accepted for New York

The American Society of Botanical Artists(ASBA) has provisionally accepted one of my pictures for its New York exhibition this November. However, I daren’t take it as a ‘fait accompli’  just yet as the jury have only seen the digital version of my picture so far.

Just like having work accepted at the Hunt Institute of Botanical Documentation, the ASBA  reserve the right to refuse any artwork if it isn’t up to scratch when they see it in real life. So I am still keeping my fingers (and toes) crossed that they will like it. I had to un-cross them long enough to have half a glass of bubbly which my very happy husband poured for me. I’m also rather chuffed!

But this is the picture they have chosen:

Malus x zumi  "Golden Hornet" crab apple in coloured pencil.
Malus x zumi “Golden Hornet” crab apple in coloured pencil.

Today I was demonstrating coloured pencil at the Society of Floral Painters Exhibition in Chichester. Being British, I was also aware that the sun was shining outside, but as I was painting a very sunny yellow Iris from the pond in the back garden, the sun was brought into the exhibition.

I would have liked to show you the results of that exercise as I am trying to find the right paper for use with coloured pencil. This is to replace the Fabriano hot pressed papers that we botanical artists are struggling with. Unfortunately I am not convinced yet that I have found a paper that suits me and my style when using coloured pencil. But I know that I have found a lovely Strathmore paper to use with watercolour.

I have realised that yesterday’s blog showed a poster with a painting of the Strelitzia-reginae ‘Bird of Paradise’ plant, but the signature was too small to read. The honour for that lovely piece of work should fall on the Chairperson of the SFP, Gill Jelley.

Its all go in May and June with botanical art.

Last weekend IAPI – the Institute of Analytical Plant illustrators, had one of its meetings in the Lake District. We went both to see Beatrix Potter’s botanical illustrations at the museum in Ambleside, and to John Ruskins home, which is an absolutely stunning botanical garden on the edge of Coniston Water. I don’t think I have ever seen such a display of colour!

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DSC02636 DSC02630

Artists Glade
Artists Glade

No comments could make this more beautiful.

However, after this fantastic weekend away, we came back well prepared to take part in the hanging of the Society of Floral painters exhibition at the Oxmarket in Chichester. The exhibition opened successfully on Tuesday evening and since then there has been a steady stream of visitors to see all the wonderful Floral pictures.  They range from a strict botanical style to a much looser style. But, although very different, the quality in each genre is very good.

By the way, that isn’t just me that has commented on this as of course I do have a vested interest; but visitors to the gallery have been extremely impressed.

Do come along at some point between now and the 12th June. Except for Mondays, a different person will be demonstrating their style of work each day. I am demonstrating coloured pencil tomorrow, Saturday 28 May and watercolour 7 June. The address is the Oxmarket, St Andrews Court, East St, Chichester PO19 1YH. This weekend the Chichester Flower Festival is also happening.wpf3269d6f_05_06

Florilegium – a gathering of flowers at Cranleigh Arts Centre

Today we had the last day of the Chichester Open Studios art trail. Boy, what a warm day, particularly when we haven’t been used to it. But it meant that lots of people came out to visit us in Bosham. Generally people seemed to find their way down to the shed for a natter with me, before going up to the house to see the botanical art. It was a busy and interesting two weekends.

But so we have to clear up!

However, in the process I am getting ready the work that is going to the Cranleigh Arts Centre, 1 High Street, Cranleigh. This is an exhibition in partnership with RHS Wisley who want to show some of their herbarium specimens. In addition, they wished to combine this with showing some botanical art and I was honoured to be asked to do this. The third person showing work in the exhibition is Celia Henderson a photographer. I have seen her work of flora and it is particularly beautiful.

The exhibition opens on May 10th to June 11th. I do hope that you will be able to come and see what is on display.

A6 PV invite v2 copy