This last weekend I had a very select group enjoying the peace and quiet of Bosham as well as individual botanical art tuition. The weather is gradually improving and picking subjects in the garden (the Magnolia) or in the vicinity (Eucalyptus), is no longer a trial. The following are a couple of photographs from the weekend:
There are more workshops lined up, the next one is Friday and Saturday 8 -9 April.
So many people have asked me to have a workshop that focuses on drawing and shading. Now is your opportunity. It is called: Botanical drawing and shading in graphite.
So what is it that you want to draw in graphite? Is it a delicate flower, some twigs, leaves or what is it that takes your fancy?
Many plants started flowering in January and even before, but surprisingly enough there are still plenty of spring flowers. I am surprised that so many daffodils are flowering and there are swathes of them wherever you go.
I’m afraid that the Magnolia really suffered this year. Its been trying to flower since the beginning of January, but with the recent cold snap it hasn’t been happy. As you see, one of my students at the weekend produced a really lovely picture. The tree normally flowers in early April and is hugely spectacular – but I doubt that we will see much of its glory by then.
But there is still a lot of last years plants drying out in the hedgerows and they provide very interesting subjects for graphite. Some leaves just have skeletal remains and these are really attractive.
Do get in touch soon to book your place.
Another workshop happening this year is in Norway, June 24 – July 1. If you want to save a little on this holiday, book and pay your deposit by 31 March. Go to the page on this website specifically dedicated to the holiday.
June and July is a very beautiful time of year to visit Norway and if you haven’t been there before, it is likely to give you a taste for more. That of course is in addition to the teaching – which I am told, is good.
Imagine being able to concentrate on doing what you love – or interested in starting, in the most amazingly beautiful surroundings. You will have a view over the Oslo Fjord and you will experience the crystal clean air and sparkling colours that derive from this.
Do get in touch if you have anything you are wondering about in relation to workshops in Bosham or the Workshop holiday in Norway.
Surprisingly, my daughter already has got the cards I sent to her of Tigger. She will have to wait to get the original until we see her at Christmas. She has done exactly what she wanted to do initially and that is to give a picture of Tigger to the Vet in Tønsberg as a thank you for saving him this autumn. Tønsberg, by the way, is in Norway and not far from Åsgårdstrand where we have the summer botanical art workshop holiday.
Back to the vet and Tigger, apparently he was so ill, that they downed tools and concentrated on him, also giving my daughter additional help when she was unable to get medication into him. When he eventually recovered, he actually walked home by the side of her – and he doesn’t like going out!
Helen has just sent this picture as she is about to post the card. Now you can guess that it is written in Norwegian, therefore most will not understand what it says. I just thought it looked rather sweet with Tigger seemingly peeping round the edge of of the card.
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.
Poppy seed case, inititial thumbnails to rough tonal value sketch
Physalis bracts, early in process
Teasel leaves – very clingy (sharp bits)
Finished physalis bracts
Himalayan Lilly seedpods
Of course the class working. They concentrated hard on this workshop, but it was worth it.
Phew! I have just managed to post the list of botanical art workshops for 2016. Do have a look at them and make your reservations for next year. The schedule and the booking form can be found under Tuition – Workshops. My UK based workshops are limited to 8 people so that I can concentrate on each person and give them advice to improve their skills.
I’m afraid that I haven’t got quite so far with the Norwegian botanical art workshop holiday. The hotel is booked for Friday 24 June to Friday 1 July 2016 and I have posted this in the relevant section under Tuition. However, all the details and booking form have yet to be completed. Do start saving. Fantastic weather has been booked yet again and the hotel is looking forward to looking after us. This year, everyone was amazed by all the flora that was out. Norway is now very careful about using sprays on roadsides etc, so now everywhere is fantastically beautiful as wild flowers are encouraged.
As well as working on botanical art painting and improvement, we will be taking trips out to collect subjects to paint, and hopefully organise an afternoon trip a little further afield too. I intend to offer a two-day focus on pen & ink in addition to the mediums you normally use (watercolour, coloured pencil or graphite). I will be providing the materials for the pen & ink, so that no-one needs to worry about sourcing that equipment prior to the week’s holiday workshop.
I’m afraid that in looking through the pictures from the Norwegian workshop holiday this year, I got rather involved in them and as well as posting a few on the page about the holiday, I have included some more here. Please do enjoy. If you like the photos, imagine what it is like to see it all in real life!
I look forward to hearing from you soon.
This exhibition was very unusual as it was held in the Mine Directer’s barn. Torvald Moseid had embroidered a long frieze depicting Orfeus & Euridike. He had done it between 1978 and 1985 – apparently working on nothing else. Each section depicted beautifully the feelings throughout this story.
You need to bear in mind that Mølen is Norway’s largest beach of rolling stones, but apart from being an area of scientific interest, it is outstandingly beautiful.
2015 is not over yet; we still have the rest of October, November and December. So much happens in the garden during this time as things switch off to rest and reconstitute themselves ready to spring open in all their glory next year.
Personally, I find that there is still so much out there that I want to paint. I used to think that it would be a time of rest for me too – not true. I still don’t have enough time to paint or draw the living three-dimensional plants onto my two-dimensional paper (or whatever it is I paint on).
I am in the process of putting together a botanical art workshop schedule for next year. I have just heard back from the hotel in Åsgårdstrand (where Edvard Munch had his studio), that they would love to have us again at the end of June 2016, so I can now get the rest of the schedule together and hopefully post it on my website during this coming week.
In the meantime, information about the two remaining Bosham botanical art workshops for 2015. There are only two vacant places for the ‘Stunning Pen & Ink’ workshop, Friday and Saturday 30-31 October. That is not this coming week, but the one after. If you are interested, do get in touch as soon as possible if you don’t want to be disappointed.
For the last 2015 botanical art workshop there is one vacant place; ‘All those stunning Autumn colours’, Friday to Sunday, 20-22 November. Again do get in touch.
Obviously the Pen & Ink workshop will just be pen & ink and I can supply you with the necessary equipment. The Autumn colour workshop can be in either watercolour or coloured pencil. The classes are kept small so that I can give appropriate help where necessary – as well as demonstrate both mediums.
One week ago today I said goodbye to those lovely people who joined me in Åsgårdstrand for a botanical art workshop holiday. Since then I have been relaxing with my family and some of the friends I made during my life in Norway. Today was our last day of relaxation and tomorrow we pack for an early start on Tuesday.
I’m not too good at relaxing fully and need to be doing something. My first day after the workshop was enforced relaxation with a book, whilst a knee problem was given a short chance to recover a little. It did a little, but I also enjoyed having an excuse to sit and read.
One of the things I wanted to do during this holiday week, was to introduce Robin to some of the Norwegian cuisine I enjoyed whilst living here. My daughter thinks I am trying to glorify the past in relation to some of the simple meals we used to eat. But I enjoyed them and I thought Robin might enjoy them too.
On Tuesday we drove up into the mountains to a village in the valley of Sigdal. I spent some happy years there when the children were small and made some very good friends. When we arrived, they pulled out all the stops and made us very welcome, serving us one of the meals on my list; Rømmegrøt. This is a porridge made of sour cream. It is normally eaten with a variety of salted meats, scrambled egg, flat bread (unleavened bread) and Rømme. Delicious. Luckily, Robin also enjoyed this.
Later on in the week, I bought some ‘fiskepudding’. This is a very uninspiring looking meal in that it looks very pale and simple. In the old days, fish scraps were blended with milk and flour into something like a fish loaf. It is served with boiled potatoes, carrots and white sauce (with of course parsley). I know that this is a meal for which many tourists will turn up their noses, but I like it. If there is any of the fiskepudding left, this can be eaten on a piece of bread with a slice of beetroot, the next day – for breakfast or lunch. I’m not trying to put you off Norwegian food – it sounds strange, but it is good.
Another meal is ‘kjøtt kaker’; This is meat cakes. Many might mistakenly assume this is like Ikea’s meat balls, but there is absolutely no similarity. Think of the size of fish cakes, meat cakes are a similar size and made of good ground beef.
Later in the week we visited a friend who I met within the first six months of my 25 year stay in Norway. She and her husband live east of the capital Oslo in a lovely house looking out over a valley cut out by the Glomma river. The river is the longest in Norway and runs almost the whole length of southern Norway from the mountains south of Trondheim nearly down to the border with Sweden at Fredrikstad. But as the river covers such a huge area, there have also been some very significant floods during snow melting – particularly if it rains as well. Of course the areas almost worst affected are towards the end of its course towards the sea; Lillestrøm near where this house is situated, and Fredrikstad.
This visit was hugely interesting, because we were taken to the Fetsund Timber booms. This is where the wood was floated down the Glomma and collected. Additionally, our hosts were hugely knowledgeable about Norwegian History and able to impart it in a very interesting way. To cap the day, we were surprisingly treated to Meat cakes. I know that they had no idea of the list I had in my head, but they helped tick off one more delicious meal that I had wanted to introduce to Robin.
Yesterday we took the ferry over the Oslo Fjord from Horton to Moss. This shortened the journey from my daughter’s home in Tønsberg, just south of Åsgårdstrand, to another friend’s home in Sarpsborg; neighbour to Fredrikstad and also on the Glomma river. She also helped to tick another box in relation to Gravet Laks.
I am very lucky to have so many good friends living in Norway, and fortunate to catch up with many of them in such beautiful weather and surroundings.
What was left? There is so much to do and see in Norway. My daughter thought we should visit the Rolling Stones at Mølen, near Larvik. This has been chosen as one of 37 areas in Norway with special historical and cultural value and therefore protected. The area in itself was completely fascinating. It was amazing to think that we were walking on rocks and stones carbon dated as far back as over 200 million years!
But for me as a botanical artist, there were even more wonderful sights to be seen. The range of wild flowers was huge. Something was clinging in to every knock and cranny; plants you wouldn’t expect to see there. The colours were beautiful.
I know some of the plants in the following pictures, but not all of them. If I haven’t given them a title, I would be very grateful if you know what they are, to let me know. I have used a Norwegian Flora book, found out the scientific name and the English version in many cases.
One thing I nearly forgot. Have you seen and wandered through a Peony field?
2015’s botanical art course in Norway came to an end on Sunday after breakfast, although our last supper was when we sadly said our goodbyes.
The week had been just right. Lovely students, good food and perfect weather. We had long bright, sunny and warm days. The nights were just a little too bright and sunny for some, but I think that most quickly got used to this. The temperature was just perfect, a mid twenty. We were also hugely lucky in that it meant we could do what we wanted, when we wanted, without having to worry about the weather.
I’m writing this on my iPad aided by my daughter’s cat. It’s funny but it seems that Norwegian cats have the same instinct as British ones – to sit on what you are trying to do! They must have the correct amount of attention.
Åsgårdstrand Hotel, which is just 15 minutes north of where I am now – Tønsberg, also on the Banks of the Oslo Fjord- did us proud this year too. We had a lovely room with a view overlooking the fjord, so that we had a first class view of the activity on the water. Sailing boats coming and going and even the big ferries taking their travellers to local and foreign destinations. I’m afraid that there is one sad point though – we didn’t do the refreshment breaks justice! Healthy and unhealthy snacks, the choice was ours. The trouble was that when we were working – we were working.
However, although everyone was there to learn and practice their botanical art, they were also there to have a holiday and relax. I think there was success In that too.
I had managed to get a variety of plants from up in the mountains and also from garden centres. However, I think that everyone was really impressed with the variety of wild flowers everywhere. They are fantastic.
This is some of the work done:
Our last meal together was a huge success thanks to Elizabeth, one of the students, and the hotel. We met in our glad rags in the separate room which Elizabeth had organised for us, and we were really well behaved for five minutes.
In trying to catch up my own paperwork today (not that I have succeeded), I have at least put in the forms for the Chichester Open Studio event starting the weekend of the May Bank holiday in 2015. One box ticked off.
Since then I have been putting together my brochure for the Botanical Art Holiday in Norway 28th June to 5th July at Åsgårdstrand, near Tønsberg in south eastern Norway. A beautiful area, with lovely light and very peaceful. The brochure still isn’t finished.
People who might have their pictures returned from Palmengarten after the exhibition are arranging dates with me for collection. That is good as I will want to put my family up for Christmas!
I have my weekday class tomorrow morning and then its back to the grindstone in the shed.
Many of the artworks at Palmengarten have made quite an impression on me and some the artists have helped me considerably on my journey. The pictures that I will show for the rest of the week are a mix of these.
I love working with coloured pencil and although all of these pictures are not CP, the ones I am showing you today are by the artist who first taught me to use this medium – Susan Christopher Coulson.
The fourth picture by Maggie Fitzpatrick is just a picture that stood out for me. It isn’t big and flamboyant, but beautifully delicate. Please enjoy them as much as I have. Sorry they are wonky!
On Sunday, after a lovely long breakfast with all from the Botanical Art course overlooking the Oslo Fjord, we said our sorrowful fairwells. It was very sad as we had grown quite close as a group during the week.
We had struggled together ( including me in trying to paint a picture too fast), laughed a lot. Listened to each other and got to know one another a whole lot more than we had done initially. Funnily enough we were also satisfied in staying in Åsgårdstrand for the whole Week with just a couple of small excursions. The focus was definitely making the most of the opportunity to paint botanically as much as possible.
The result was as you saw in the last blog. Pretty amazing.
When I went home to my daughter, she and my son were very busy getting food ready for a barbecue with friends I hadn’t seen for very many years. We had a lovely reunion with a lot of catching up to do in addition to eating all the lovely food that had been prepared. I feel very spoilt all round.
Today we took things very easy, had a coffee in Tønsberg, then climbed up Slottsfjellet (The castle’s mountain). Tønsberg is the oldest town in Norway And therefore has a lot of history. I took the next pictures from the top – obviously using the zoom on my camera.
Can you believe the day was finished off with my son cleaning my daughter’s driveway with a high pressure washer. I think he actually enjoyed it!