As usual, Monday is Sue Henon’s one day off from the botanical exhibition in Palmengarten. Early this morning she called me to let me know how the past week had been. She had been very busy during the week and had many late evenings at the exhibition, meaning she was quite late home.
The first bit of news was that there were now 34 red dots on the pictures. Sue has noticed that quite a few people have made repeated visits to the exhibition and were very interested in this ‘new’ subject; botanical art.
The second bit of news was that the people’s choice picture is one by Sarah Caswell. Sarah has painted the picture of Hellebores in Acrylic on canvas.
I am back to chasing my tail. In between emails about picture collection once the exhibition is finished and pictures being returned to the UK, I am trying to get my own paperwork done so that I can paint again!
More Palmengarten pics. If you have followed this blog from our journey to Frankfurt and setting up of the exhibition, you will have seen all the pictures being exhibited by the end of this blog. However, I will post a few of the pictures individually during this coming week, in addition to anything else I might be doing.
Artwork by Bridgette James.
Artwork by Kate Green and Sarah Caswell
This is a reminder about those who are running the exhibition in Frankfurt. Karin Wittstock from The Botanical Gardens, Palmengarten and Sue Henon SBA. Both sitting with Robin before we left Frankfurt to return home.
I have had a very good day in teaching this workshop. I mentioned yesterday that I had the feeling that there would be some lovely results from the workshop; that feeling persists.
Even so, their accomplishments continue to amaze me and therefore I also need to be on my toes and give enough advice for continued development. I was glad to see that they took a couple of active breaks whilst drinking their tea or coffee, so that they could go back to the drawing board with fresh eyes. But, even though taking a break they continued to discuss their progress.
Some of the work as it is developing. There is a huge difference in each of their styles of working and every student has a struggle with a certain aspect of their picture. Two of the pictures were started on Monday at the SFP workshop, but you can see how their pictures are developing. Some have chosen very complicated pieces to draw and in fact only started using coloured pencil this morning. Not all of the pictures are shown here.
The last one shown below is the Honeysuckle. I think you might be able to understand the quandary the artist has when painting this picture. We are now in mid November, she has found this Honeysuckle still flowering, but knows that its days are numbered. In addition to the limited supply, she also wants to get done that part of the plant that is likely to die first – the flowers. This is typical of all botanical art painted from a live subject – what do you paint first and what is likely to change most?
In addition to this, if choosing to paint the flowers first, how much shading does one put into the flowers? If the dark leaves are done first, then the ‘hole’ left in the picture for the flowers is likely to need much less shading than if done without a dark background.
Painting white or very pale flowers on white is quite daunting. It is possible, but one has to make sure that the shading to create form, is not overdone. The problem is minimised if the pale flowers are against a dark background, or background of leaves. The hole you leave in the painting for the flower is a shape and therefore the problems of creating the appearance of three-dimensional form are reduced.
The form of a subject is created by light hitting the surface of the subject. Some areas will be exposed to light and some areas less exposed to light or very little light. Thus the combination of the flat shape of the object, and the tonal differences created by light exposure, give you form; and a means of identifying the object. Colour is another issue altogether.
In the case of this Honeysuckle, it was decided that a grey underpainting on the leaves would be done first so that the flowers would stand out as white shapes. Before the leaves are completed fully, the flowers will be completed delicately and the leaves finished afterwards. The bark will be finished last of all but I doubt that you will get to see that part of the picture.
So, some more pictures from the Botanical art exhibition held in Palmengarten the botanical gardens, Frankfurt, Germany.
What miserable weather we are having now – a reminder that winter is on the way. Only one week ago we had really warm weather – unseasonably so. It put us into a false sense of the cold and wet was still a long way away.
Now I have actually caught up with marking the assignments for the London Art College, so tomorrow I will have to catch up on other admin work as on Monday I am holding a coloured pencil workshop day for the Society of Floral Painters (SFP) just outside Southampton. When will I get back to painting?
I have moved my Wednesday class to Tuesday as I will be going up to London on Wednesday for the Society of Botanical Artists(SBA) Christmas meeting. Christmas!!?
Friday I start another three-day workshop on Autumn colours. I have one vacancy if anyone wants to fill that place let me know. Watercolour of Coloured Pencil.
More pictures from the Palmengarten exhibition? Here they are.
I have spent the day Photoshopping the Crab apple pictures and there is another glimpse at the end of this blog.
But this evening I was at a meeting with my Bosham artist colleagues. The Chichester open Studios art trail is during the first two weekends in May, this will include the bank holiday Monday.
In the beautiful village of Bosham lives a whole enclave of artists using different media. We are going to start the art trail a little early on Friday 2 May with a preview at each of the artist’s studios. This will be between. 17:00 to 20:00.
Hopefully, people living in the vicinity will get the opportunity to see what is on display in a relaxing environment. More about this soon.
Tomorrow and for a further two days, I will be teaching the workshop ‘From sketch to drawing – learn to draw botanical images’.
So many have problems with their initial drawings and plans for their botanical paintings. Unfortunately, it is often the case that one finds out by having experienced it, that the final painting will only be as good as the line drawing. Those on the workshop have already understood this and hope to improve their drawing skills.