At the end of February this year I decided that at last the situation in Norway was such that it was reasonably safe to have a workshop for the first time since the start of the pandemic early 2020. I therefore put together an email with very short deadline – one month.
I sent the email to everyone who had been in touch with me with a query about botanical art workshops in Norway. I was surprised to see that there were quite a few on the list, but as this was the first workshop since moving back to Norway, I decided that I didn’t want too many people first time around.
Yes I had taught in Norway previously whilst I lived here 25 years ago, but I knew that I would need to rebuild my reputation for teaching here again. I needed to find out if anything had changed and if expectations were different from that time, or from my experience in the UK and the USA in the interim.
Three people got back in touch with me immediately and signed up for the workshop. They arrived on Friday late afternoon, and came back raring to go both on Saturday and Sunday. I think that the smell of newly made coffee and home made cakes just out the the oven helped to relax everyone from day one.
This was the first time I had met any of them although one was a student from my online course. All of them were fairly / very new to botanical art and from the atmosphere, I think that each of them became just as thrilled at discovering what nature has to offer as I have become over the years.
The subjects chosen: The ground is still fairly frozen here with several minus degrees at night, although the sun is beginning to warm well during the day. The are some new shoots in the verges and woods starting with Coltsfoot. But all of the plants chosen this time were from the local garden centres; tulips, fritillary, daffodils and narcissus. The temptation to choose something very exciting looking such as a rose or filled narcissus, is huge. But when starting out, looking at something simple and how it is put together so that that you know what to look for, is very important.
I am glad to say that in the end, each chose plants suitable in relation to their experience in painting botanically. And, each commented on the joy of being able to ‘see’.
Everyone chose to paint using watercolour. Norway doesn’t seem to have many botanical artists at all, so hopefully their enthusiasm will help to change this situation. But just as botanical art in itself is unusual, so is the use of coloured pencil. Hopefully this too will expand with time.
I am thrilled to say that I now have several new Norwegian botanical art friends and look forward to making more with further workshops planned.