Over the next two weekends I am taking part in the Chichester Open studios event.
Our conservatory will be ably manned by Robin and he is looking forward to see people arriving to look at my botanical art which is hung there for the occasion. Whether or not the weather remains cold, you will be welcome to have a cup of tea – or coffee with us.
However, I will be down in the shed painting. Some people have watched the development of the Indian corn picture, which has only been done at open studio events or exhibitions. One of these days I will have to find a subject that is equally long lasting. But I know that several people have been coming on a regular basis to see the development of this picture. This is what it looked like following a demonstration in November last year.
Additionally I am also painting a Fritillary for a commission, so you might very well see me doing some of that. These are some of the sketches in my sketchbook .
The commission is in watercolour.
I am looking forward to seeing you here. Don’t forget to tell me who you are and where you come from. Here is the link on my website giving you the address to head for: https://gaynorsflora.com/exhibitions/
I spent a lovely day last Friday painting bugs and beasties with Sarah Morrish. For once I was on the receiving end and sitting down trying to get a good result from painting. Sarah showed us what to look out for when painting bugs and we concentrated mostly on Butterflies and Moths. She also gave us some good tips in an effort to get a good result. I started a Spurge Hawkmoth, but I was so busy enjoying myself I didn’t get it finished!
Since Friday I have been working hard to catch up (of course). I had quite a few assignments to look at for the London Art College where I am the botanical art tutor. But now it is preparation for the Chichester Open Studio event that is taking place over the next two weekends, including the bank holiday Monday. I was preparing some of the pictures a couple of weeks ago and now it is time for preparing the house and garden.
Everything is growing so quickly in the garden already. The Magnolia feels as though it is long gone. The lilac tree standing next to it is just about to open its buds. The Wisteria flower buds have been swelling gently over a few weeks and now it looks as though they are about to burst.
But Robin thought that we should change the name of our house to Crab apples. Because I painted crab apples for the last series I exhibited at the RHS, we now have quite a few crab apple trees. We have four in the front garden and three in the back garden. They are an absolutely amazing display this year. But in addition to those we also have some eating apple trees in full bloom (something ate round the base of the Bramley apple tree last year, so it is struggling), a cherry tree and the Canary Rose has started to bloom. That will be an incredible sight too.
But for everything to look good, the weeds need to be removed. I have spent a long time digging up three-cornered garlic in the front garden. It looks really lovely but it seems to kill off everything else. In removing it one needs to be very careful and lift it gently so that all the new tiny bulbs don’t break off into the soil. One day I will get on top of it! Robin has been removing the same from his Fern patch before they become taken over.
A couple of days ago I removed the weeds from one of the kitchen garden beds, but today I have been weeding around the shed at the bottom of the garden. For those who haven’t already heard this, the shed is where I paint. This will be the place that hopefully you will come and visit sometime over the next two weekends.
In the house, we will move the table that I use for my classes and workshops, and hang botanical art pictures. This will include those that I have been dealing with the last few weeks. Robin looks after this side of things as I am much better at showing and telling people how I do it. With any luck we might interest more people to take up botanical art.
Do come and join us. Bosham is a lovely place to come and see at anytime of year, but during the Chichester Open studios art trail there are a lot of artists who are inviting people in to look at their artwork and to watch how they make it. Our address is in the trail catalogue which can be picked up almost anywhere, but it is also in the ‘exhibitions’ page of this website. In particular the little enclave where I live – Critchfield Rd and Windmill Field, there are several artists. But as I am the last one you get to, please don’t wear yourself out before you Reach me. You can always come for a sit-down and a cup of tea, have a wander in the garden, visit the shed (and me) at the bottom of the garden and my husband in the house. The trail is open 10:30-17:30 each day.
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!
The Chichester open studios art trail started its second and last weekend, today. The weather as hoped for, was very good although it has blown quite hard. The wind has not kept people at bay and we had a lot of very interested visitors.
We got a few visitors who chanced on our set-up and as always I took this as an opportunity to get them interested in botanical art. However, it seems that most of our visitors had highlighted coming to see my work.
For the first weekend I decided to paint irises in watercolour as I had spent so long using colour pencils on the crab apples. Our visitors were very interested in the progression through drawing and first layers of colour. I continued with the painting during the week as the irises rapidly died. How to finish the painting without the flowers?
I bought some new irises, but they were redder than the original ones. Today I have continued the painting using the new irises for their form and size, but I had to bear in mind the colour palette I needed to use.
I will be continuing my demonstration on the irises for whoever is interested on the last day of open studios tomorrow.
Yesterday I was in London at the SBA annual exhibition opening. It is well worth seeing and there is a lot of good botanical art. You will need plenty of time, but luckily you can stop now and again and get a cup of tea – or coffee, in the cafe in Westminster Central Hall.
Tomorrow is the start of the last weekend with Open Studios art trail . I understand that the weather here will be really good tomorrow after all. We have been hearing all week that it was going to be especially bad tomorrow, but it looks as though this will happen overnight.
Luckily, if there is any rain there is no problem coming in to see me with wet clothes and shoes and it would be an opportunity to dry out. However, I can imagine that at some venues they might struggle.
I look forward to seeing you either tomorrow or Sunday. My watercolour picture is coming on leaps and bounds. I think I might use the ‘template’ for my coloured pencil demonstration on Tuesday at the SBA exhibition. It would be a good comparison between the two media.
I am showing you some pictures of my gallery this weekend. It is only a glimpse, but you will be able to see the pictures properly when you come. I’m sorry that all those of you who live abroad will not be able to make it.
The Chichester Art Trail happens every May and generally includes Bank holiday Monday in the first weekend. That is what has happened this year too and we are again open to the public.
Essentially the criteria for this art trail is that you open your studio to the public so that everyone can see you at work. Unfortunately this doesn’t always happen. And, in fact I am told that very few people are actually working at their art. Therefore , it seems that people are very pleased when they arrive at our ‘venue’ (sounds a pretentious word doesn’t it?). That’s why I call the shed the shed – because it is and was a shed. Actually, it was a loose box, so a shed is an upgrade. But as ever I am off on a tangent.
We have had a steady trickle of people since Friday evening. We, and the other artists in Bosham, had a Pimms preview evening for people who live in Bosham. It was quite tough getting everything ready in time, but it was fun once we got there. The people of Bosham did as requested and either turned up on their bikes or ‘Shank’s pony’. For those who are not English, this means ones own two legs.
The first day – Saturday- went well enough once everyone had got their weekend shopping out of the way. The weather has been absolutely supper. The sun has been shining and it is very pleasant. This means I have been able to sit working in the shed with the door open ready for visitors. Yesterday went very well. In fact the first Sunday is usually the best day of the two weekends. With any luck, in writing this the statement will prove me wrong.
In Bosham there are 15 artists in 11 locations – which tells you that those who share are not able to show their own working environment. As one can’t go any further than the sea when getting to see us (we are about 200 metres from the inlet), we are the last one on the Bosham part of the trail. This means that many drop off the trail before getting to us as there is so much of interest on the way – that is unless they have specifically chosen our place. However, we still get a few who want to see as many artists as they can and that gives me a real opportunity to get people interested in botanical art.
Our set-up is that we have a gallery of my pictures in the conservatory (where I normally have workshops). My husband mans this area as he loves talking to the people that come. I am working in the shed so that people can see what I do and ask as many questions as they want to. Mulling over the questions I have had, perhaps I have chosen the wrong medium that I am using in the shed. I chose to do some purple irises in watercolour as I haven’t used that medium in a whole painting for some time.
The conservatory (Gallery for the day)contains the RHS Silver Gilt medal Crab apple series, which is in coloured pencil and attracts a lot of attention, but also some of the Magnolia x soulangeana series in watercolour that I did as an RHS exhibit in 2011. Visitors are astounded when my husband tells them that the crab apple series is in coloured pencil and therefore they are asking about the coloured pencils all the time. There seems to be less of a thrill about watercolour, although a fair amount of interest as to how I achieved the iridescent purple of the Irises.
Visitors do love to see the artists working environment and ask questions about how they do things. That is why it is a shame to hear that very few make themselves available to do this.
Before I finish this blog, there are two things I must mention. The open studios art trail is open next Saturday and Sunday between 10:30 and 17:30. You can find my address on my website: http://www.gaynorsflora.com . Additionally, I have places on my next workshop ‘A page of flower heads from the garden’ – May 29th – 31st. Now I am going to show one or two pictures of my working environment and on another occasion I will show you what I have been working on this weekend and the ‘gallery’ in the conservatory where
Very briefly I will mention the workshop at Goodnestone Park Gardens. As always they are lovely hosts and we had a large airy room to do the workshop.
The workshop went well and again there were some lovely students who worked really hard. I noticed that by the end of the first day they wondered what their results would be like, but at the end of the two days all were happy with their work and felt they had learnt something new.
Unfortunately, I forgot to take any photos to embellish this page, so you will have to imagine deep red Peonies, clematis and Wisteria. None of which are simple plants.
At the moment there is a mess all round me. This weekend we are taking part in the Chichester Art trail. Essentially, it is open studios. Here in Bosham there is quite an enclave of artists, so many people choose to spend one day in this area. Bosham is a lovely place anyway and we do have a lot of visitors generally. This is an extra good excuse to visit the area.
As usual we are setting up a gallery in the house, but I will also be working in the studio. This usually attracts many questions and people who were not initially interested in botanical art, have succumbed. I don’t think I have talked them into the ground, but many have obviously become interested in a subject they knew little about before.
Anyway, I don’t think you want any pictures of this mess until it’s been sorted out and pictures hung where they are meant to be. If you have the opportunity, I do hope you will plan a trip to Bosham either this weekend (which includes the Monday bank holiday) , and next Saturday and Sunday, it will be 10:30-17:30 each day.
In the village there will be loads of signs and balloons marking the spot. I am number 14, so you just need to follow the signs.
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.