3rd part of Blackberry on vellum story – and more.

Last Friday and Saturday I had a workshop called Fruit and Veg ; or Strawberries and cream. It is a very popular workshop has happened for several years running. I don’t know if it is the Strawberries and cream that tempts, or the painting. Unfortunately, I didn’t take into account that it was a bank holiday weekend this year, but those who signed up were pleased to have more of my attention..

One student was working on vellum and decided to paint a short branch from our Malus ‘Royal Beauty’ crab apple tree. It has very dark berries and I thought the best way to demonstrate was by doing one of the berries myself. Of course doing it properly also takes time, so as soon as the workshop was finished the first day I went down into the shed and started the berry so that I could demonstrate on it the following day. That was one long day!

But it was a useful exercise and the student got a clearer understanding of how to get depth and darker colours on vellum without laying it in thick layers.

The other students unusually all worked with watercolour this time.

I finished off my Royal Beauty crab apple later on.

My 5 x 7 inch picture of a Blackberry branch on Kelmscott vellum is progressing in-between teaching and demos.

My last blog finished off when I had completed the bottom-most berries on my branch; you could see a ripe blackberry under the stem. In this blog I will show you the layers needed for the berries on the left of the stem. The nearest one is almost fully ripe as you can see by the residual redness of the drupelets. Then there are two more fully ripe ones behind this; I therefore have to take this into consideration when choosing my colours. The slideshow of photos taken at regular intervals is at the bottom of this page.

I promised a picture of my art table as it was in my last blog, but bear in mind that since the very hot weather my subject is deteriorating quite fast.

In this picture the sprig is still fairly OK giving me an idea of the colours of the berries, although I have to get fresh samples to paint from; as you can see, these are scattered on the surface beside me.

Finally and unusually, I have two vacancies in my weekly botanical art class in Bosham. It is Wednesday mornings between 10:00-12:00, starting up again Wednesday 4th September. Get in touch using the contact form below if you want to know more about it or sign up. Before you ask, it is for watercolour and colour pencil artists, including those who want to learn. The class is kept even smaller than the workshops so everyone can develop at their own speed.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

I got an email the other day…

We have a local village magazine which covers the villages between Chichester to Emsworth and a little up into the Downs. I was really surprised to get an email from them the other day telling me that if I hadn’t looked in the recent issue, there is an art competition. The winner’s artwork will go on the cover in the October issue and the subject is Autumn.

There are a lot of artists in this area and I expect many got the same email. But I need to practice as much as I can on vellum  in preparation for when I start my final pictures for the RHS exhibit, so I thought I would see if I could get a small picture finished. Unfortunately the deadline is pretty soon – 10 September, and I have a workshop this weekend, but I have started something.

The blackberries in the garden are coming towards their end for this year, but apparently in the hedgerows they are only just beginning to ripen. The wind and the rain hasn’t helped much, but we have a few days of warmer weather due.

I’m painting Blackberries on Kelmscott vellum. There are two problems: It might not be finished in time and it might not be good enough to put in. There is a third thing – if i finish it and its OK, they might not choose it! But then I will have  5 x 7″ picture.

 

The berries are gorgeous aren’t they?

I found the actual painting on Kelmscott rather different to painting on natural calfskin vellum. If you make a mistake (which I often do at this stage), it is easier to take out on the Kelmscott. But, as it is easier to take out, it also means that i have to be even more careful with the dry-brush technique, or I lift off what I have already done.

This blog shows my preparation from first sketch before tracing it onto the vellum to the first group of berries.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Busy, busy – one!

The Antonia Rose
The Antonia Rose

Where to begin?

Since I came home after the fantastic course with Sarah Simblet I have been catching up in between family visits.

Some of our children stayed on and off with us throughout June and will be returning next week with other members of the family. All in all we will be eleven of us. They will be keeping out of my hair until Monday as I have a three-day workshop this coming weekend.

This workshop is well supported and the topic will be ‘Summer fruits’. However several of those taking part will be painting Roses. I suppose this is a form of lateral thinking. I had a think about any fruits that we have in the garden at the moment. There is in fact very little as we are between flushes of the usual varieties. The Raspberries and Strawberries are finished until a new lot arrive and it is too early for Blackberries, although they are now beginning to turn a beautiful black.

Normally Cobnuts look really beautiful to paint at this time of year with their curly green skirts and pixie hats. There isn’t a single one on our tree this year. The Rowan tree has a lot of fruit on it and it is ripening fast. The apples are still very small and of all the crab apple trees in the garden there is only one that is showing any hint of warmth in colour. Actually, thank goodness for that as I have been doing so many other things other than continuing the Crab apple series of paintings recently.

One of my students who will be painting roses during this coming workshop, will be continuing a picture she has been doing for the last three weeks. She has had several days with one-to-one tuition as the subject is very special. Her father was a Nurseryman and developed a rose which he named Antonia – the name of his first grandchild. As far as they are aware there are only three examples of the rose left and this is the reason she wanted to paint it. Not only that, she is using coloured pencil.

To demonstrate various relevant techniques to aid my student, I started painting the rose myself and have decided to use it as a step-by-step tutorial.

I don’t think that I have mentioned before that I am the Botanical Art Tutor for the London Art College. It is a very good organisation who provide art courses in various mediums and with many topics via the Internet or per correspondence. My predecessor wrote a fair amount of the course as it stands today, but it focuses on watercolour as well as a little graphite and pen&ink. I am now in the process of writing some tutorials for coloured pencil botanical artists to add to what is there already. Therefore in time we will have very good tuition to help botanical artists with their watercolour and coloured pencil studies.

The above

is my finished Antonia Rose which I will be using for the step-by-step studies with the London Art College. I hope you like it.