Day 1 of the RHS Botanical Art Exhibition

It has been a strange day with quite a few disappointed botanical artists. But, the artists seem to be a lovely group of people and are going with the flow.

Our pictures were judged this morning and it seems they took longer than usual. We (the artists) waited patiently outside until they were finished. Whilst we waited, it transpires that the majority thought we would be going into the hall to find out how we had done. Few had been told that we wouldn’t find out until tomorrow. Unfortunately again, the artists think that ‘tomorrow morning’ means first thing in the morning – not midday when we I have been told we will get the results!

When we went into the hall we were asked to man our exhibits as the guests for the annual awards lunch arrived for drinks. Once they had sat to lunch we were then free for the afternoon until the preview evening. This started with a reception to welcome the artists, whilst willing friends and family manned our exhibits.

Unbeknown to us, whilst in the reception a Japanese drumming group entertained the first guests to see the exhibition preview. However, we soon heard about it when they started up their performance again shortly after our arrival back in the Lindley Hall. I expect they were a very good group, but unfortunately not in an enclosed building. It was a huge amount of noise and I’m afraid many people left – both exhibitors and people visiting the preview. I don’t think the evening picked up fully again after this – unfortunately.

Eventually the drumming was stopped and were able to talk to a few visiting the show. Additionally we got to know our botanical artist colleagues a lot better.

I don’t think that there will be any musical accompaniment tomorrow, and I am glad to say we should be able to actually talk to those interested in our art.

Rather than show what I have done this time, I will show you what a couple of other artists have done. I have asked their permission to share this with you.

The first is from Sharon Tingey with a picture from her series of Sunflowers. I’m afraid that my photo doesn’t really do it justice as my phone was running out of puff.

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The second picture is of Jane Fisher and her series of graphite pictures showing corn in a very contemporary manner. Jane is from the USA and I met her when exhibiting at the Hunt Institute of Botanical documentation. It is nice to see her again here in London at the RHS.

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As you might understand a lot is going on here and as you can see there is a lot of interesting work. Do come!

Tomorrow, around lunchtime we get the results of the judging.

Tomorrow is the set-up day with the RHS

Tomorrow my husband and I will be driving up to London with the Crab apple botanical art pictures due to be exhibited at the RHS, Lindley Hall from Thursday 10 April until Saturday 12 April.  We will set up the exhibition tomorrow afternoon and evening and then my husband will disappear until the next evening. I will be all on my own (sniff), but with other exhibitors of course,  when we get the results of the judging on Thursday lunchtime.

We have found a hotel not too distant from the RHS halls so I might even get a slight lie-in on Thursday morning. The exhibition will be open for the preview between 18:00 – 21:00 on Thursday evening. I think that this is meant to be for RHS members. By this time I hope that my husband has returned to either commiserate or enjoy. Either way, I think we will have a nice – but late meal in the evening. Everything is planned so far, but you know what happens to plans!

The RHS Botanical Art Exhibition and Orchid show will be open to the public on Friday 11 and Saturday 12 between 10:00 – 17:00. I understand that they are doing something new this year in that several well-known botanical artists (previous Gold medal winners) will be demonstrating their techniques.  I will be very interested in that.

So what am I doing now? Have you noticed that I am now looking ahead? This means that I think I have done as much as I can before we set off tomorrow morning – except to pack. Someone is going to look after the cats, so they will probably get spoiled to death.

Malus x zumi 'Golden Hornet' crab apples in coloured pencil
Malus x zumi ‘Golden Hornet’ crab apples in coloured pencil
Malus x zumi 'Golden Hornet' blossom in coloured pencil
Malus x zumi ‘Golden Hornet’ blossom in coloured pencil
Malus x zumi 'Golden Hornet' sections in coloured pencil
Malus x zumi ‘Golden Hornet’ sections in coloured pencil

I have got everything together – I think. Pictures painted, framed and labelled. Some prints made – in case. Picture hooks, rope to hang the pictures….., a level to make sure they hang straight. Scissors. Oh I must take something to clean the glass! Visiting cards. Have I forgotten anything?

I am trying to make the house habitable again – but that doesn’t extend to the shed – I will do that on Sunday. Imagine, I can start painting again on Sunday – if I am allowed.

There is one picture remaining. I am attaching the elements from it as I have done with the other five. Bear in mind, I have grouped things to make it easier for the blog, but the whole picture does not have the same arrangement. Once I get back, I will put the pictures on my website: http://www.gaynorsflora.com. That means I might not get to paint on Sunday! We will see.

This is Malus x zumi ‘Golden Hornet’ in coloured pencil.

 

 

2 days until the RHS botanical art exhibition set-up

The day after tomorrow we take the pictures into London to set up for the botanical art exhibition in the Lindley Hall.

Today I moved everything up to the house from the shed. I thought I had done all the printing for labels and information sheet etc., but I made a mess of the first things I did. I had to print the whole lot again.

We had decided to back the labels with foam core as it’s easy to cut. Bad mistake! The edge looked so messy. I therefore had to print again, but this time I backed it with mount-board. I did this in 2011 the last time I exhibited with the RHS. I remembered that cutting small pieces was hard work. It was hard this time too.

Anyway the labels and information board are now done to my satisfaction.

The next thing on the list was mounting some limited edition prints to take with me. I am taking some mounted and some un-mounted but packed in stiffened envelopes. Additionally, I need to pack the unlimited prints of the blossom that I mentioned yesterday.

I think at the moment I am about halfway through these last things. I am hoping to get them done reasonably comfortably tomorrow.

I have a very large table where I normally teach. It is piled high with stuff. Obviously a temptation for the cats, so I have had to cover it all carefully for the night.

What on earth will I have to think about when I have done all I set out to do?

Now to show you the sections and enlarged detail of the parts of the Malus x atrosanguinea ‘ Gorgeous’ blossom in coloured pencil.

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3 days until the set-up for the RHS botanical art exhibition

Before I say anything else, I am so grateful to the support I am getting from you out there. I have had some lovely messages of support. Thank you. It helps.

I don’t know whether it is the messages that I have been getting, but today seemed easier somehow. I decided not to go to church this morning, so I had all morning to organise things before my husband returned. I wrote lists – in detail and have been ticking off every small element as I go along. I can actually see that I have managed some things and I know what I have left to do.

I have finished the information sheets and have printed them out. But I still have to mount them on board ready to go.

All my labelling is designed and printed. That too is ready to be mounted on board. But it is a very fiddly job as I found out last time – better to use double-sided tape than glue.

I will be taking some limited edition prints with me. They are printed and just waiting to have mounts put on them. I also did a combi-sheet of the different blooms from each Malus variety. I tried it out with the apples and also one for the dissections – but they didn’t look so nice. Too much information on one sheet. I will take some ‘Blossom’ sheets with me, but they aren’t limited edition and won’t be mounted. I have been going on about how different the blossom is on each tree and you can really see it with this page.

Guess who’s doing the ironing? And making supper? I am lucky aren’t I?

Another thing that has helped today is that I haven’t looked at the pictures at all.

This time I am going to show you the Malus x atrosanguinea ‘Gorgeous’ apples. They are of course in coloured pencil. If you don’t know their actual size, you would think they are just ordinary apples. In actual fact, they don’t taste as sour as the other crab apples and there are usually loads on the tiny tree.

Malus x atrosanguinea 'Gorgeous' crab apples in coloured pencil
Malus x atrosanguinea ‘Gorgeous’ crab apples in coloured pencil

 

4 days until the set-up for the RHS botanical art exhibition.

I am having kittens! I have changed the plot again.

I spent yesterday afternoon and evening and this morning going in one direction with the information sheets. Now I have changed the whole idea of what I want to do. I think I am going nuts and I’m afraid I won’t get it done.

I suddenly thought that I needed to get the order of pictures sorted out before I did anything else. I took a video of the setup but it won’t download into WordPress and I can’t take the time to find out how to do it at the moment. But when it is set up in the Lindley Hall in London on Wednesday I will take some pictures for you.

I have done some of the laundry as I said I would do, but once I got it on the line it started raining. One thing after the other.

I went to pick up some exhibiting materials for the open studios we are having at the beginning of May. But that is another story.

Today I am going to show Malus x atrosaguinea ‘Gorgeous’. Remember the series is all coloured pencil. It is a really beautiful apple and quite a small tree, but the crab apples are quite large. This is the flower to start off with.
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6 days until the set-up for the RHS exhibition

As a botanical artist I would much prefer to paint or draw, than anything else. But my husband reminded me that in whatever you choose to do, there are always some aspects of it you would prefer not to spend too much time on.

I enjoyed getting all the information together for the six crabapple pictures in preparation for the RHS exhibition; I enjoyed the sketching, the planning, the study and drawing using a microscope and then getting down to the actual painting.  But, I haven’t enjoyed the last couple of weeks quite so much. I feel as though I am stuck behind the computer with no way to turn.

The colour matching of the pictures is now completely finished and I am satisfied with the results. What am I doing now?

I am going through all the information that I have on the crabapples – individually and generically. I realise that in some areas I might need slightly more information as some aspects of what I have found out can be confusing. I need to put it into a simple format so that people can cast their eyes over it quickly and learn something new. I have started writing a bit about the crabapples in general. All that I have gleaned is interesting, but hopefully people will want to spend more time on the artwork than the writing. I suppose this means me spending ages on this to sift out unnecessary stuff.

A week from now and I will know how I have done. I have asked before if you will either keep your fingers crossed for me or, preferably pray. I just hope that I have enough time to get all that I want to do – done.

Now a glimpse of the ‘John Downey’ crabapples.

Malus x sylvestris 'John Downey', in Coloured pencil
Malus x sylvestris ‘John Downey’, in Coloured pencil

A very delayed update!

I have not updated this blog for a very long time. My excuse is like for everyone else – too busy.

But, a lot has happened in recent month. We decided last year that we were going to re-organise the house to accommodate my botanical art classes and open studios in May (with the Chichester Art trail) and in August. We started building works after Christmas and have continued since then. The main area, including kitchen, was done in time for the open studios in May. In fact the door into the gallery was only hung the night before – a close shave!

We had a huge increase in the number of visitors this year although the weather was very bad the first weekend with loads of rain. Two couples turned at the door and said that my type of art was not for them. A few others who came, came to have a look in other people’s houses (own admission), but became hooked on what they saw.  that was a fantastic result. I spent a lot of time telling people how I paint and why, showing them the process and giving them an opportunity to at least try out the colour pencils. Some became smitten and several signed up for classes and workshops.

I have loads more to tell, including about the Society of Floral Painters exhibition to take place this year in Chichester. I will come back to that tomorrow.

Subject for next RHS submission

As a botanical artist, I have been thinking about what subject to illustrate for the next time I submit my work to the RHS. Having won a silver for my Magnolia series in March this year, I want to choose a subject that is likely to earn me an additional medal. As Wisteria flowered not long after the exhibition, I had thought about plants from the Pea family, then seeing red berries from one of the Nightshade family (Solanum) in the hedgerows, I thought of doing that. I am in the middle of one botanical watercolour painting (Solanum dulcamara), but they have quite a sprawling habit and therefore a painting needs to show this.

We have four crab apple trees in our garden and three of them are heavily laden this year. They too make a good subject. I would have to find four more trees though to make the series of eight.

Today, I have been doing drawings, making colour samples and taking pictures of the fruit and leaves, so that I have something to start with. Hopefully I can add the flowers and young spring leaves to the preparatory work next year. I might do this series in colour pencil.

This means that in fact I have some material already on the go to do two separate series. I wonder which one will get there first?

Trying to set up this Blog

A kind friend showed me how easy it was to set up this blog the other day. I have now spent all day trying  to replicate what he told me. Unfortunately, I must be a little slow on the uptake, as it hasn’t gone quite as smoothly as I imagined. But I will get there and I will have this blog linked to my website at http://www.gaynorsflora.com.

I spent ages reading the instructions for my website; If all else fails read the instructions! After that I think I understood the terminology a little better.

As I am a botanical artist and the work I do is very time consuming for each picture, I inevitably feel that the time I used here was used in painting. Also the sun shone brilliantly today and the garden weeds called.