A little more of my Benton Iris ‘Farewell’

Trying to paint more with the Benton Iris – work that I love doing, has been complicated by all the adjustments in relation to the botanical art exhibition ‘ In Ruskin’s Footsteps’. But you can now see the updated website in relation to the new improved venue (still at Lancaster University) and adjustment to the dates. I will give you the link at the end of this blog.

In my last blog I showed you my progression in relation to the large fan-like leaves of this majestic plant. I chose to include only colour for those on the right hand side of the artwork and graphite on the remaining leaves. This was so that the picture would not be overwhelmingly heavy with green leaves. 

I finished off last time with the bud spike on the left hand side of the artwork. Now I will show you the start of the main flower spike, which needed to be divided in two because of the height of it.

 

 

 

This is customary in botanical art when painting correctly.

 

It is important to give an indication of the habit of the plant if painting life-size and the plant is very tall; try to include as much of it as possible in the same painting. I have divided the flower spike in two and have shown the cut ends with the same profile at the cut edge.

On this stem you can clearly see the flowers and buds spiralling off.

I have started off with a pale wash for the bud leading up to the main flower before completing the detail with a dry brush technique.

Now the start of the top flower and he developing bud just underneath. This was actually quite difficult to get right.


All my sketches were done outside in the garden last year and if you don’t keep your head still while drawing, the detail visible will change.

If you are enjoying following the stages in the development of the Benton Iris ‘Farewell’, you might like to come to my next workshop March 23-24th, where this time we will be concentrating on a line drawing and tonal sketch. Normal, good preparation for any botanical art painting. Get in touch with me via the contact form below if you would like to join us. The details are on the Workshop page of my website.

Look at the last blog of 2017 to remind you about how I started off this Iris. https://gaynorsflora.com/2017/12/30/last-gaynors-flora-blog-of-2017/.

Although botanical art is fairly strict in what is ideally included in a picture, it is quite wide ranging and much wider than for pure botanical illustration. But it is important to remember that what I show you in my blog is my style of working. There are many different styles and none are wrong; It is the result that counts!

 

Last but not least the link to the Association of British Botanical Art website: www.britishbotanicalartists.com/2018exhibition

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Where to find daffodils and global warming!

At the weekend I had a two-day workshop with the title of ‘Daffodils – Herald of Spring’.

Looking into most gardens on the south coast of England, the daffodils were long gone, so how did I decide to teach this subject at this time of the year.

When planning my botanical art workshops, I look back at the photos I have taken of daffodils over the years and note the dates. Before my introduction into the digital age, I remembered that for my 49th birthday (21 years ago), we had snow (in the UK) and the daffodils were just coming out.

Working from then until last year, I expected that there would still be some in the garden. If you remember last year the daffodils were extremely early and we thought that was that. But then we had a new flowering and rather than just a few odd ones, there was an almighty crop. Not so this year!

Robin and I went trailing around Chichester and surrounding areas buying up what we could find. It was an interesting exercise.

As you can see, in the end we found the remains of some tiny ‘Tête á Tête” bulbs still flowering, but also some Narcissi. Therefore the workshop was saved.

As a note here, all my workshop titles where specific plants are mentioned, are just suggestions for subjects to paint. My workshops are not based on a step-by-step approach, but on individual support to improve your own technique.

Here are several pictures from the workshop including a preparation page, a very rough sketch and a ‘before and after’ picture showing the importance of cleaning up around the image as a last task.

I will let the pictures speak for themselves, but once again I met with some lovely, hard working botanical artists and I believe a good time was had by all.

Now to prepare for the next two weekends, which is the Chichester Open  Studio art trail. In addition to my usual exhibition space where my workshops are held, I will be doing some  work towards pictures I will need to have finished before the end of the year. Robin will be looking after the exhibition and you will find me tucked away in the shed at the bottom of the garden. Do come and visit me at Venue 35 in Bosham. For more details visit page: https://gaynorsflora.com/exhibitions/.

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A Peaceful Christmas to all

I am at last beginning to calm down a little and prepare myself for relaxing at Christmas with the family.

I haven’t done any more of my Acanthus, but it is still in the house in case I get five minutes. But I haven’t!

But I have been busy cleaning and making the place sparkle. My husband has done all the the heavy stuff, cleaned ceilings etc., whilst I have been busy with the nooks and crannies, cupboards and drawers. How much dust and muck can enter a house when you are receiving botanical art pictures for an exhibition, and then delivering them back to the owners afterwards? Palmengarten is now washed out of the house and my hair. Thank goodness!

The day after tomorrow our Christmas visitors arrive. It will be lovely to see both the adults and grandchildren. I am hoping that they will want to decorate the tree.

But now, whilst I do have five minutes I would like to wish you all a very peaceful Christmas.

My Christmas Greeting is unusual this year, but as it is cold and damp outside (we are in the UK), I thought that this might remind you and me of what is to come. The picture is watercolour on Vellum (Goat’s skin) and called ‘Bean here before’. You might have seen it before as I was painting it.

I think that Bees buzzing amongst the Runner beans is a very peaceful sound and by wishing for peace at Christmas, it is a good start to the New Year. I hope you think so too.

Gaynor Xmas card 2014

Palmengarten – Monday week 2

Very little to write about the Palmengarten botanical art exhibition today. This is Sue Henon’s one day off in the week, but she has been catching up on her admin work that has accumulated over the previous week. In the meantime the exhibition has continued, attracting a lot of interest.

I too have been busy at home also trying to catch up on accumulated work. I haven’t been back to the easel since I returned from Frankfurt and as I still get a lot of queries regarding Palmengarten, I can’t see me getting on top of things to carry on with my own work, for a few days yet.

But more pictures, I here you say.

Artwork by Susan Christopher Coulson
Artwork by Susan Christopher Coulson
Artwork by Sheila Etchingham, Kath Baker and Eiko Takano,
Artwork by Sheila Etchingham, Kath Baker and Eiko Takano,
Artwork by Marion Perkins
Artwork by Marion Perkins
Artwork by Linda Pitt & Kath Baker
Artwork by Linda Pitt & Kath Baker
Artwork by Gill Jelley, Jenny Jowett, Charlotte Linder and Maggie Fitzpatrick
Artwork by Gill Jelley, Jenny Jowett, Charlotte Linder and Maggie Fitzpatrick
The Palm house botanical art sales desk .
The Palm house botanical art sales desk .

From Sketching to drawing – learn to draw botanical images workshop.

Today was the last day of the workshop concentrating on sketching and drawing skills – which is a necessity when creating botanical art images.

It was again a super workshop; as regards the participants. My husband always says that such lovely people join us for the workshops. They seemed very interested and commented upon how well they had progressed over the three days.

The first day was used in sketching and drawing simple shapes, from apples, bananas, grapes and cups. In fact it seemed that the forms we are most used to were the most difficult – the upside down cup caused the most problem.

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I have a very simple way of teaching the use of perspective in botanical art, so placing elements in space seemed less of an issue.

The second day was spent on working up a daffodil from sketch, through tonal drawing, to completed graphite picture . At least, the completed graphite picture was not done until today.

I deliberately chose daffodils as this gave a greater challenge than many simple flowers. The gardens are full of them too, so it all made sense.

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This afternoon, I was told that they hadn’t thought that they would be able to complete the workshop with a reasonable result. In fact, they and I were thrilled with the results. What do you think?
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Back home to crab apples

So far this week I have been catching up – or trying to, after our time in the US.

I mentioned that everything was green and therefore a shock after seeing the intense fall colours in America. This was the first sight of our back garden and one of our cats.

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It was still reasonably warm on our return, but I kept on my full length jeans.

Monday and Tuesday afternoon I did a lot of paperwork to catch up, but Tuesday and Wednesday morning I had my normal weekly botanical art classes. Everyone was very interested in the trip we had taken and most particularly in the catalogue from the Hunt Exhibition. Hopefully the catalogue will be motivational for some of the students.

At last on Wednesday I was able to get back to painting my crab apple series. Whilst we had been away, the Malus Golden Hornet crab apples had swelled up (luckily it has rained a little since we were away) and turned yellow. The apples are not fully ripe yet, but as this was the only painting where I had done no apples at all and very little preparatory sketches, it was the one picture I was most concerned about.

I had in fact actually started the painting before we went away. I had done a composition and finished most of the leaves, placing the apples roughly in accordance with measurements taken two years ago when starting the series. However, this year there has been little rain during the summer months and the fruit were not as big as originally allowed for. That aspect of the painting had to be sketched anew. A photo from the Malus Golden Hornet.

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On Thursday morning it started getting really cold here (relatively speaking) and a wind was building up. The Malus Gorgeous, a lovely little tree near our front door, has quite big deep red crab apples. They were beginning to fall off the tree. Although I have painted a composition with this apple several times, I had started a different composition. I again have done most of the leaves, but need to paint the apples. The Malus Gorgeous.

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I felt it was now important to do a list of the pictures, detailing what was missing on each one and the urgency of each element. I don’t want to miss an important phase in the development of each apple because I was concentrating too much on one of the..

My Malus John Downey tree now has only three apples left on it. It didn’t do too well this year. I still had five apples to paint in the picture! I decided this was a priority. I can wax lyrical about the beauty of this tree, but I will save this for another time.

So, now I have been rescuing crab apples to paint their portraits in the relevant picture and yesterday managed nine hours on John Downey. My husband went out in the evening, so I could do what I enjoyed best – paint.

I haven’t got new pictures of this painting, but here you can see the notes from my flower dissections in my sketch book. Peeking out from under the sketchbook you can just see some completed leaves on a branch contain gripe crab apples.

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Today, Friday, I have only had a couple of hours painting as we had to travel to Bristol for a meeting with other tutors from London Art College (LAC). I am the Botanical Art Tutor for LAC which is a distant learning course. If you are interested in this, have a look at their website. It is a good course.

Tracing to art paper

I have done some art tutorials with ArtTutor.com and they are now live via my website. Look at the page on tutorials and follow the links to download the E-book showing you how to paint a Crab apple picture with coloured pencils. You can also link into one of the tutorials as a taster.

I have had some very positive feedback and essentially this blog is in response to one of these which asked how I transferred my image onto the final art paper.

An image can be transferred in so many ways depending upon how refined you need the transfer to be. The more you rub out on your art paper, the more you damage it’s surface no matter how careful you are. You can use tracing paper, a light-box, your window as a light box, or this way:

I compose a picture using various thumbnails. This leads to a general rough design which forms the basis of the final line drawing.

This is part of the line drawing of the picture I am in the process of doing now:

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I trace the line drawing onto tracing paper, using a 0.3 clutch pencil.

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I turn the tracing paper over and draw the line again on the reverse side, being very careful to trace accurately.

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I then place the traced image right side up, on my art paper ( normally Fabriano HP) and, using a Decoupage tool, I rub across the lines. This transfers the graphite from the back side of the tracing paper to the art paper.

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The image left on the paper can then easily be lightened with a putty rubber, without leaving any indentations on the paper.

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I hope this helps those who wonder how best to transfer an image without damaging the art paper or leaving any indentations to get in the way.