Pittsburgh and ASBA 2016

What a wonderful event!

I was in Pittsburgh for the ASBA conference, three years ago when I had a picture included in the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation. Robin, felt that as the ASBA was again in Pittsburgh for the opening of the new Hunt exhibition (it is every three years), that it was time we came again.

When we arrived on Tuesday afternoon it was really good to meet up with old friends from the last time we were here, and new friends made on Facebook. It was quite strange meeting up with some of the latter, as they had become ‘friends’ on the net and we never met in person. But now we had the opportunity to get to know these familiar faces.

The Facebook phenomenon is a really interesting as it has opened up connections in the botanical art world allowing us to communicate worldwide across borders. We are now learning from each other without restriction – something we never could have imagined only a few years ago.

What have we done since being in Pittsburgh?

The first morning started off with a Portfolio sharing session. Anyone who wanted to could take part in this and I too had a table. The response for me was brilliant and was quite a surprise.

Version 2

There were several workshops and during one of them a cry went up that Barack Obama was leaving the building next door to us. We had been told that he was due to give a talk in the University and we knew that many of the streets had been closed off round our hotel. But we had no idea that he was so close.

I get the impression that in America, Obama is a president much loved and respected.

Obama leaving
Obama leaving

Last night, after the opening of the new Hunt exhibition, we met an ‘old’ friend from my nurses training days in Birmingham, fifty one years ago! It was a treat we thoroughly enjoyed.

Today has been particularly busy for me, starting at 09:00 doing a coloured pencil demonstration. Apparently the ASBA hasn’t done ongoing demonstrations from the tutors before this. As far as I can judge it was received extremely well. A lot of people turned up early to watch the demonstrations and once I had finished I was able to watch John Pastoriza-Pinol from Australia take over from me, followed by another highly regarded American botanical artist Robin Jess.

Interestingly enough, I was able to use a couple of comments I heard during these two demonstrations, in my own workshop also held today. Yes, it has been an extremely busy day.

These are some of the pictures from my own workshop.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I was amazed at how quickly people started picking up the technique. It was a thorough enjoyable class with a lot of very nice people.

I think I have commented before about how much pleasure I get from working with such lovely people. Botanical artists seem to have a lot of joy in what they do.

 

Third Gaynor’s Flora update

Earlier in the year I was contacted by the ASBA and asked if I would teach at the next Annual conference in Pittsburgh. I of course said yes. I was then contacted once again and asked if they could publish one of my botanical art pieces on the front page of their quarterly magazine, with an article about me on the inside. This edition coincided with the program for the annual conference in October where, of course, I was due to teach. How could I say no!

ASBA Botanical Artist quarterly magazine

Registration for the conference was opened 23 July. But more about this later.

In my blog of May 17th (Norway’s National day), I was conducting a workshop in Bosham and showed pictures of a pair of ducks in the pond. They became regular visitors for a while, but luckily they decided that our pond was not actually the safest bet for a couple of birds to make their home. We have cats, although the ducks were left alone, they were wary.

Ducks are apparently notorious at damaging garden ponds. But towards the end of May, beginning of June, we still had a lot of yellow Irises in the pond – Iris pseudacorus. I was busy trying out different papers to be able to give advice to coloured pencil artists, so decided to start painting one of the Irises.  We have had problems with Fabriano hot pressed papers – my paper of choice, therefore finding an alternative paper until they make a new batch in 18 months time, is a priority.

This coloured pencil drawing is done on Strathmore 500, Bristol plate. What do you think?

© 09.Iris pseudacorus

 

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.

Prep Monday before Pittsburgh tour starting Saturday

Today is Monday (Tuesday really). On Friday I go to the US. Next week is the opening of the Hunt Institutes 14th International Exhibition of Botanical art and Illustration. My picture will be part of the exhibition and I will be there at the opening. What excitement – I think. My head is only just being able to think about it.

The last few months have been extremely busy between painting, teaching, exhibitions, demos and large family visitations. I have now started the last of the six Crab Apple series of pictures. None are complete, but I now have enough detail to complete each one – I hope. I was worried about getting all the detail I needed for the Golden Hornet as I had not studied the leaves and growing habit in detail. But now I am well on the way with it – as long as the fruit from my new tree continues to grow and ripen without falling off the branch before I get back from the US. I am doing the apple branch from this section of the tree. Unfortunately it doesn’t have all the leaves as per the photo, as I have been removing them one at a time to copy!

20130917-010719.jpg

Back to the trip. I have been doing the usual things that one does before going away. Choosing and un-choosing suitable clothes for such an expedition. Apparently it is still very warm there. Making it difficult to make the right choices when I am freezing here! Also I have to bear in mind that apart fro Pittsburgh I am hoping to avoid towns whilst over there and try and find some nice places to walk and things to sketch – thus enough sketch books, pencil etc.

My additional luxury is that the American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA) has their conference in Pittsburgh at the same time. I am booked to take part in that.

My tickets are booked, visa sorted, pencils and sketch books ready, prints of the work to be exhibited are also ready to take with me – in case……. I’m not ready though!

I intend to write a short blog up until and during the trip.