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.
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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

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

Day before the journey to Frankfurt’s Palmengarten

My last blog mentioned that the botanical art exhibition at Palmengarten is now less than a week away. Each day that comes I think that I might get a little painting in before we go – but no such luck. I will show you a couple more pictures from the pen and ink drawing of Bear’s britches progression though.

I thought I had all the paperwork for Palmengarten clear in relevant folders etc, but then the cat jumped up onto the keyboard and knocked my tea all over the paperwork and the printing paper. That took a couple of hours to reprint it all as well as clear up the mess.

But today, my husband Robin got up early, gave me a cup of tea in bed and then took the train to Portsmouth to collect a van for our trip to Frankfurt. It is quite a large van, but he thinks we will be comfortable enough during the long journey, although it doesn’t seem to have all the mod cons one might expect/ wish for.

So we checked all the paintings etc against the spreadsheet I had done and loaded everything onto the van. Robin fastened everything securely and one of the cats, Fudge, inspected the lot to see that we had done it properly. His black and white brother (guess what his name is) inspected the suddenly empty spare bedrooms. They will be having a strict cat-sitter for the duration!

A good night’s sleep tonight and tomorrow we will be on our way to Kent to pick up the other half of paintings.

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The bear’s britches (Acanthus)

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Botanical art workshop at Goodnestone Park Gardens, Kent

On Monday and Tuesday this week I lead a workshop at Goodnestone Park Gardens in Kent. I have a couple of workshops there per year for Fieldbreaks.

The subject was Hedgerow produce and most of the students were using coloured pencil. One of them had neither used coloured pencil nor watercolour previously, so this was an experience. She did very well, although it felt a bit scary for her.

They are very good at Goodnestone and allow us to pick what we want from the gardens to use as botanical subjects. Some of the subjects we can find there can be quite exciting. But funnily enough, at a workshop I often find that other than new students who have not yet grasped that the ‘prettiest’ is not always the easiest to do, people generally choose very simple subjects. I think that this is because they are more intent on improving technique or learning something new to add to their repertoire of techniques.

Here are the results. I am very pleased with them and I am sure you will think them very good too.

Tree Peoni seed capsule. Coloured pencil.
Tree Peoni seed capsule. Coloured pencil.
Tree Peoni seed capsule pair. Coloured pencil.
Tree Peoni seed capsule pair. Coloured pencil.
Portugese Laurel berries. Coloured pencil
Portugese Laurel berries.
Coloured pencil
Lily seed capsule - Coloured pencil
Lily seed capsule – Coloured pencil
Rose hips - Watercolour
Rose hips – Watercolour
Rose leaf - watercolour
Rose leaf – watercolour

This morning I had an ordinary weekly class and since then I have been working on the pen & ink Bears Britches.

Bear britches in pen& ink
Bear britches in pen& ink

I have only done a small portion of it so far and this is only establishing the flowers and fruits. Once I have established all the elements in the picture I will create tone and then…….. But you will have to wait for that.