Second Gaynor’s Flora update

Whilst I was away, I was filling in forms, writing CVs etc for the American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA) conference in Pittsburgh and the exhibition in New York in November. I didn’t have access to all my paperwork to fill everything in, but thought I could rely on the information in my website. Not so! For some reason or other a couple of pages were empty, such as the one for awards, and several others were not updated. Why, I don’t know. But as my husband says it is because I’m human. That might be a surprise to some!

Have a look at my website, because some of the factual things were updated yesterday.

What has this got to do with botanical art? Find out in the botanical art course.
What has this got to do with botanical art? Find out in the botanical art course.

Whilst doing this vital function, I was reminded that I needed to mention that I have some places on the online botanical art course Online botanical art course .   I keep the number low for new people starting each month so that I don’t become overloaded with teaching, leaving no room for my own painting.

The feedback that students get back from me for each assignment is comprehensive – as those who are already doing the course can vouch for. Each assignment I receive often takes several hours to mark, so that as you embrace the tutorials and struggle with practicing for the work you send to me, you know that your efforts will be treated seriously.

The course is suitable for people starting out in botanical art and for those who want to improve. Generally speaking, the ‘wanting’ to improve in our botanical art practices applies to all of us and it sometimes helps to have someone else to guide us further along this path. Do sign up and give it a go.

Going back to the beginning of June and the Cedric Morris collection of Irises; these are the pictures of the second Iris. This time it is the Benton Apollo. In the garden in Hadleigh, Suffolk, the Irises were at various stages of flowering. The Benton Farewell that I showed you yesterday had only just started flowering and there was only the one fully opened. However, the Benton Apollo Irises were very much in full bloom.

Iris Benton Apollo
Iris Benton Apollo

In this picture you can see some of the other Iris colours in background. And I believe that this part of the garden was secondary!! Anyway, again I was smitten. But who in their right mind would choose a yellow flower to paint?

Both white flowers and yellow flowers are considered very difficult to paint, but it all depends on whether you have leaves backing the flowers, and the way you do your shadows. In actual fact the Benton Farewell had a lot of subtle mauve tints in the white and the yellow iris has also some beautiful and interesting shades, particularly in the fall petals.

On Saturday evening I made my way home in the car. It was hot. For the first part of the journey, Julia accompanied me, sitting in the front seat holding her Iris cutting with all the windows wide open. My Iris was safely supported in the boot of the car – or so I thought! Julia’s Iris didn’t even flutter in the wind and mine was safely in the boot being torn to shreds.

I was lucky enough to have some buds left on the cuttings and during the following week I did demonstrations on four days. What did I use for my subjects? The Irises of course.

Benton Apollo sketch done in situ.
Benton Apollo sketch done in situ.


Benton Apollo sketch from cutting
Benton Apollo sketch from cutting

Both sketches are watercolour in a Stillman & Bern Zeta sketchbook.

I am back!

I haven’t written a blog, updated my website or done too much in recent weeks. But after an enforced rest (more in another blog)  I am now refreshed and raring to go.

My last blog was in May when I told you that my Malus ‘Golden Hornet’ picture had been accepted for the ASBA exhibition in New York in November. Such a lot has happened since then. and we only have three days left in July.

At the time I was exhibiting in the Cranleigh Arts Centre and at the same time in the last Society of Floral  Painters Exhibition in Chichester. But in the beginning of June I was asked if I would paint two Irises as part of the Cedric Morris Florilegium. I agreed and met up at the garden of Sarah Cook in Suffolk, who is collecting the Benton Irises. All who had agreed to paint an Iris for the intended Florilegium met up for the Saturday and were flabbergasted at the array of Irises in flower.

Iris Benton Farewell, in all its glory.

As you can vaguely see, we were spread out around the garden sitting and sketching on our knees. Not the best of positions, but for the love of painting botanically we almost do anything. I have to say that luckily the sun came out at lunchtime and we all started shedding our layers of clothes. Unlike many of the others I was stupid enough to forget a hat!

I did do several sketches, making notes of size and colour, so that I have a better opportunity to paint the portrait at home.

Luckily, we have two years to complete these pictures and we are invited to catch up with the Irises again in June next year.

Today I will show you a couple of sketches of the Iris Benton Farewell. They are in watercolour.

Some sketches from my sketchbook done in the garden