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

 

Advertisements

Another successful botanical art pen & ink workshop in Bosham

The last workshop was a week ago – pen and ink. I’m afraid I got carried away and forgot to get a few of the photo shots before people left. I now have all of them and can display them on the blog.

When you look at them, you must admit that they are good. All of the students were using this technique for the first time, therefore, not one of them was comfortable with it. It will be interesting to see if they enjoy the technique as much as I do, long term. I know I will be keeping my eyes open to what is produced in the future.

Do enjoy the photos.

By the way, I will be giving everyone who attends the summer workshop holiday in Norway, the option to learn the technique over a couple of days during that week. I will be taking the additional equipment necessary, with me. But just one more reason why you might decide to join the group for this holiday! Do sign up.

Of course the class working. They concentrated  hard on this workshop, but it was worth it.

image

Fuchsia microphylla progress; and composition.

The last time that I mentioned anything about this botanical art piece in progress, was August 3, during my Open Studio event in Bosham. You saw the start of the picture and I will reintroduce it here.

Fuchsia microphylla painting started
Fuchsia microphylla painting started

I got as far as this:

Fuchsia Microphylla botanical art progression - change point!
Fuchsia Microphylla botanical art progression – change point!

When, with the help of a very good friend who is a brilliant mentor, I decided I needed to change the composition. As he said, I hadn’t put enough thought and work into the composition before I had started and therefore I was likely to come a cropper. I agreed with with him.

Following this discussion, I decided to prepare all my dissections and other parts to be introduced into the composition, in detail. Until this time, I had only prepared the main part in detail and put a rough sketch where I was going to have the other sections; this included a ‘line’ that represented a branch! Therefore I had to get down to the hard work that I needed to do; my detailed line drawings ready to trace over.

The microscope then came into function and this helped me change my mind completely about the sort of dissections I needed for the picture. Here is what I saw:

Fuchsia micrphylla stamens
Fuchsia micrphylla stamens

The flower has eight stamens. Four are tucked up and four hang down, with the hanging down ones ripening first. Had I done a typical dissection showing a separate stamen and separate style and stigma, no-one would have realised how it was all placed in the funnel formed by the semi-fused sepals. The solution to this problem was to do one longitudinal dissection of the flower, showing the stamens, style and stigma in situ. All I have to do is the drawing and painting show that it shows clearly!

We are still back at problem number one; composition. How are the elements to be placed and what size will they be. If you remember the plant has tiny leaves and flowers. The main section is painted at twice the normal size, although I will include a graphite line drawing actual size. But how big do the dissected flower and fruit have to be to be seen clearly?

I completed all my line drawings, traced them onto tracing paper in the manner I have previously written about in this blog, and I cut each traced element to arrange around the paper. These are all the compositional trials I made. Which one do you think I chose?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

As a final for this blog, I still have a couple of places left for the next workshop in Bosham; Hedgerow produce, 25 – 27 September. If you are interested have a look at the the page on this website, Tuition –> Workshops. You will be very welcome.

Summer Open Studio – Botanical art

Its that time of year again. Children are on holiday and the waterways (as well as motorways) are bustling. The sun is shining and the bees are buzzing, making sure we get the produce from our kitchen gardens and seeds for next year.

From my shed (studio), I can hear happy sailors in the creek, as well as curlews as they land. There seem also to be a lot of children and teenagers learning the ropes out on the water. But I am happy painting away with the sun pouring in through the open door and the cats curled up asleep as company; oblivious to anything.

Do come and experience my little haven during the next couple of weekends. You will be most welcome.

2015 Summer Open Studios flyer

One of the pieces I will be working on is my latest challenge. Fuchsia microphylla. Microphylla means small leaves. Everyone knows more or less what a Fuchsia looks like as for some it seems to be a challenge to find as many different sorts as possibly – whether hardy in the UK climate, or not. This plant is hardy but intriguing. The flowers are tiny, as are the leaves, but the fruit is also quite small although seeming to get somewhat larger than the flower.

Fuchsia microphylla
Fuchsia microphylla
Fuchsia microphylla flowers
Fuchsia microphylla flowers

I have started to paint a picture in watercolour. The composition is the real challenge and how I am going to express this on paper, with dissections. Come and see how I intend to try and solve the problems. Comments and suggestions will be most welcome.

Fuchsia microphylla painting started
Fuchsia microphylla painting started

My husband commented today that he didn’t realise that the colours in the plant were so vibrant. I had done a tad more on the painting by the time he made this comment. But it is like all things botanical, once you get down to the detail – even in grasses – the colours are amazing.

 

Fuchsia microphylla setup in my shed (studio). Plant, magnifying glasses galore, easel, chair, paints, brushes and water.
Fuchsia microphylla setup in my shed (studio). Plant, magnifying glasses galore, easel, chair, paints, brushes and water.

Robin will be ably manning the gallery and I look forward to you joining me down in the shed.

Rory McEwen and my pineapple.

There is nothing to connect Rory McEwen and my pineapple – other than botanical art.

But I am dead chuffed and sad at the same time. I watched the programme on BBC today about Rory McEwen and felt so sad that such a gifted person died so young and in such a manner. I so wish I had been around when he was doing his wonderful paintings.

When I was at the Hunt Institute in Pittsburg two years ago, I had to pinch myself that because my work was accepted in the Hunt, and while there I was allowed to see whatever works that they had in their collection. I wanted to see Rory McEwen’s work and saw it in the ‘flesh’ without being protected by glass. It was amazing.

Four minutes after the end of the Rory McEwen programme today I got an email from the Hunt to tell me that I had been gifted a piece of Rory McEwen vellum. When he died, his vellum was given to the Hunt Institute and pieces have been gifted to botanical artists over the years. Now I am one of them. I can’t believe it.

Painting on vellum is hugely different to painting on paper. I will have to think of something really special to paint on it in due course.

But my pineapple. More pictures.

IMG_0065

IMG_0066

IMG_0067

IMG_0068

Botanical art workshop report from Twigs and things.

We have just finished the botanical art workshop and I thought I would get the pictures resulting from it, onto the blog before I started marking London Art College assignments.

From my perspective we had a very enjoyable workshop. But then I would say that wouldn’t I? Hopefully someone will confirm or deny this when they read the blog!

When painting a serious botanical subject that has gnarled branches with lichen or moss growing on it, I feel that I can play with the painting of it – as long as I stay true to the form, growth habit and type of lichen etc. I wanted to convey this to the group as well as get them to see the multitude of colours within such a specimen. I had two days to do this. Half of the group worked with watercolour and half with coloured pencil. Therefore it was exciting demonstrating the same topic in each of the media.

On one occasion I showed the group how to paint the furry terminal bud of a Magnolia soulangeana, first in watercolour and then in coloured pencil. It was quite amusing to hear the comments and the competition in assessing which bud looked best and which medium best suited that topic.

I was very glad to see that there were quite a few different types of lovely specimens which excited the group in different ways. There were some lovely colours observed, hidden in nooks and crannies. Red, pink, blues, oranges etc. A touch of some of these fresh colours, lifted a picture without dominating it. Anyway, I hope that you enjoy the following pictures.

The next botanical art workshop is Floating Hellebores (exposed faces), 27 February to 1 March. We already have a lot of Hellebores flowering in the garden, from very pale to very dark. There are available places, so do get in touch and book.

The brave class
The brave class
A piece of bark with several lichen types growing on it. The main one is identified as Cladonia cornuta.
A piece of bark with several lichen types growing on it. The main one is identified as Cladonia cornuta.
IMG_2089
At work
Gnarled birch branch with a variety of lichen forms. Watercolour.
Gnarled birch branch with a variety of lichen forms. Watercolour.
A branch of Magnolia stellata in watercolour.
A branch of Magnolia stellata in watercolour.
A variety of types of licjhen and moss on another branch from a Magnolia stellata tree. Coloured pencil.
A variety of types of licjhen and moss on another branch from a Magnolia stellata tree. Coloured pencil.
Start of a very complicated piece of work in Coloured pencil. The difficulty of portraying Cladonia cornuta amongst the other lichen growing on the bark piece. Quite a challenge.
Start of a very complicated piece of work in Coloured pencil. The difficulty of portraying Cladonia cornuta amongst the other lichen growing on the bark piece. Quite a challenge.
Rosehips in Watercolour
Rosehips in Watercolour
Both Birch twig and bark from a tree, with small amounts of lichen growing on it. Coloured pencil
Both Birch twig and bark from a tree, with small amounts of lichen growing on it. Coloured pencil
Branch with lichen very happily in situ. Watercolour
Branch with lichen very happily in situ. Watercolour

Happy New Year!

This is a rather delayed New Year greeting, but as soon as our Christmas Guests left I went down with a ‘large’. I think I am recovering!

The holiday period has not given me much time to paint, but I have now managed to finish off the Bear’s Britches in Pen and Ink. The only problem now is that I am looking for a suitable title. All the titles I have thought of so far seem only to be understood by me.

The Acanthus has quite a history in that it is well known and used a lot in Greek and Roman designs. It is a very stately and elegant plant. The one in our garden is very tall, and quite beautiful particularly as the flowers open down the stem. But get too near and it pricks you. Yes, it is an extremely prickly plant and certainly looks after itself. It is even more prickly in its dried state as I have been drawing it. Does this give anyone any ideas for a meaningful title?

Now I am in the process of marking more assignments and clearing up the shed to start another picture. I always have to go through this process. Once a picture is finished, the shed has to be cleared of all the debris accumulated from the making of it, so that I can start off with new thoughts and feelings about the next picture. I know what it is going to be, but first out with the old!

It is very fitting isn’t it? Out with the old year and artwork and in with 2015 and a new picture and its challenges.

Detail from the initial sketch
Detail from the initial sketch
The start of the initial sketch
The start of the initial sketch
The tracing
The tracing
Mummy, daddy and baby bears.
Mummy, daddy and baby bears.

Botanical art Painting holiday in Norway 2015

The SBA botanical art exhibition in Palmengarten, Frankfurt, has almost left my to-do list for this year! Our SBA member Sue Henon and Palmengarten have already started having meetings about the next exhibition in 2016, but I will now have nearly a year free to decide about any involvement I might or might not have.

The pictures that came back are nearly all out of the house and there is only one last collection due. The house almost looks empty – so much so, that I can now see all the dust that quickly collected when so many people were in and out of the house collecting pictures. We will have exactly six days to clear up before our Christmas guests arrive!

As so many people were coming and going, I decided it was best to leave the Acanthus work in the house so that I could do a little of it whilst waiting for people to arrive. This is where I have got to with the picture. It is taking its time.

Acanthus 1 Pen & Ink
Acanthus 1 Pen & Ink
Acanthus 2 Pen & Ink
Acanthus 2 Pen & Ink
Acanthus 3 Pen & Ink
Acanthus 3 Pen & Ink

More importantly for me – and hopefully for a few of you out there, I now have all the details for the next Botanical Art workshop holiday in Norway. By clicking on the image below you will be linked to my website to download further information including the booking forms.

Brochure art course Norway 2015

Autumn colour workshop Sunday – and Palmengarten

Potentially interesting - but what's going on?
Potentially interesting – but what’s going on?

This was a good workshop. I needed to do only a few demonstrations, and none of them were in relation to laying on the colour. However, we did talk a lot about ‘form’ and how to achieve this and what needed to be in a botanical art picture.

I also have several dried Teasels in the studio, so the next obvious question was, how to draw these ready to paint. A lesson on Fibonacci ensued.

Enjoy the following pictures from this workshop. The two pictures started last Monday on the SFP workshop will probably require no more than simple adjustments if necessary. There are two pictures with Liquid amber leaves – but the styles are hugely different and work. The Sorbus picture will take a while to come to completion with all the tiny leaves and detail. The honeysuckle has needed a lot of planning and thinking ahead, more of the basis work is in place and now she can just carry on painting the rest of the picture.

Horse chestnut leaf
Horse chestnut leaf
Mahonia
Mahonia
Liquid amber
Liquid amber
Rowan
Rowan
Liquid amber
Liquid amber
Honey suckle - all in the planning
Honey suckle – all in the planning

And Palmengarten pictures.

 

Artwork by Alister Matthews
Artwork by Alister Matthews

 

Artwork by Alister Matthews
Artwork by Alister Matthews
Artwork by Joanna Craig-McFeely, Roger Reynolds and Rosemary Lindsay
Artwork by Joanna Craig-McFeely, Roger Reynolds and Rosemary Lindsay
Artwork by Sue Dalton and Janet Pope
Artwork by Sue Dalton and Janet Pope