Textures and the South Downs

South Downs Way with reflection from the sea.
South Downs Way with reflection from the sea. 5 January 2017

Now what on earth do ‘textures’ and the South Downs Way have in common? Nothing, other than that my next botanical art workshop has very few places available and we have been picking up some specimens for it on our long weekly hike today; this time along the South Downs Way.

Happy New Year. For some 2016 was a good year, but for some it was filled with sadness or difficulties. For most of us, it will have been a combination of both.

We are now at the beginning of 2017 with all the possibilities it has in store for us. The days have already started to be slightly longer and apparently we got an extra second on 31 December! Some days are beautifully sunny – like today, and as was one day last week when the Hawthorne branch picture was taken. But other days, like yesterday for us in the south of England, it was wet, grey and gloomy. But everything is already waking up.

I hope that you enjoyed your Christmas festivities or relaxation and that you are now raring to go with what is on offer in the way of botanical art workshops.

I have only a couple of vacancies left on the next workshop, ‘Textures’ with bark and moss as examples. But if we think laterally about textures we also have furry buds such as the Magnolia and furry leaves such as ‘Lambs ears’. There are useful techniques to be learnt both with watercolour or coloured pencil.

In addition to Magnolia buds and Lambs ears in the garden, we also have Garrya elliptica (the silk tassel bush) with its very attractive silvery catkins; which might be a nice challenge for someone.

Do get in touch as soon as you can to book your place. The workshop is Friday and Saturday 27 -28 January. As usual coffees, teas and lunch are included in the price.

The booking form can be found linked to this page:  Gaynor’s workshops

Hawthorne bench encrusted with lichen
Hawthorne bench encrusted with lichen
Furry Magnolia x solangeana bud
Furry Magnolia x solangeana bud
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Places on botanical art workshop starting two weeks today.

Before I update a little more, there are still a few places on the ever popular botanical art workshop ‘Fruit and Veg’ or ‘Strawberries and Cream’. The last part isn’t intended to paint as we will be eating them. However, there is no reason why shouldn’t reserve some strawberries to paint.

Please do get in touch as soon as possible if you would like to attend the workshop, Friday and Saturday 19 & 20 August, between 10:00 and 16:00, including lunch.

The workshop is held in Bosham near Chichester. There are plenty of B&Bs in the vicinity and I have a list should you need it. But these days it is easy to find accommodation on the internet.

We have a kitchen garden, although not too much in it as we were away during a vital period. We took cucumber plants to my daughter in Norway; she has cucumbers, our plants died! But we do have exciting overgrown radishes, apples on the way and blackberries already here. The runner beans are beginning to produce, but the broad beans are few and far between. Our neighbours got plenty of Raspberries whilst we were away – all gone now, but you never know, some may pop up.

I will put a form at the end of this blog so that you can get in touch with me quickly should you decide you would like to join in the fund and games. More information and booking form at Gaynor’s Flora workshops.

In the last update on 1st of August, I mentioned that I had beens struggling with painting tomatoes in coloured pencil as I was trying out different papers. For my fourth attempt I used my trusty old supply of Fabriano and it is now finished. I will show it to you another time as in reality I only did it as a teaching video for my online botanical art course. I still have to edit the video.

I also mentioned our trip into the mountains in Norway and showed you a list of plants that I might do for my next RHS submission. Here are a few sketches of the Heath spotted Orchid from my sketchbook.

Heath spotted Orchid sketchbook page
Heath spotted Orchid sketchbook page
Heath spotted Orchid flower detail
Heath spotted Orchid flower detail
Heath spotted Orchid leaf detail
Heath spotted Orchid leaf detail

They are in a Stillman & Bern Zeta sketchbook in watercolour.

Get in touch about the workshop in two weeks time.

Botanical art workshops

This last weekend I had a very select group enjoying the peace and quiet of Bosham as well as individual botanical art tuition. The weather is gradually improving and picking subjects in the garden (the Magnolia) or in the vicinity (Eucalyptus), is no longer a trial. The following are a couple of photographs from the weekend:

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There are more workshops lined up, the next one is Friday and Saturday 8 -9 April.

So many people have asked me to have a workshop that focuses on drawing and shading. Now is your opportunity. It is called: Botanical drawing and shading in graphite.

So what is it that you want to draw in graphite? Is it a delicate flower, some twigs, leaves or what is it that takes your fancy?

Many plants started flowering in January and even before, but surprisingly enough there are still plenty of spring flowers. I am surprised that so many daffodils are flowering and there are swathes of them wherever you go.

I’m afraid that the Magnolia really suffered this year. Its been trying to flower since the beginning of January, but with the recent cold snap it hasn’t been happy. As you see, one of my students at the weekend produced a really lovely picture. The tree normally flowers in early April and is hugely spectacular – but I doubt that we will see much of its glory by then.

But there is still a lot of last years plants drying out in the hedgerows and they provide very interesting subjects for graphite. Some leaves just have skeletal remains and these are really attractive.

Do get in touch soon to book your place.

© Graphite daffodil 8bit+sig

Another workshop happening this year is in Norway, June 24 – July 1. If you want to save a little on this holiday, book and pay your deposit by 31 March. Go to the page on this website specifically dedicated to the holiday.

June and July is a very beautiful time of year to visit Norway and if you haven’t been there before, it is likely to give you a taste for more. That of course is in addition to the teaching – which I am told, is good.

Imagine being able to concentrate on doing what you love – or interested in starting, in the most amazingly beautiful surroundings. You will have a view over the Oslo Fjord and you will experience the crystal clean air and sparkling colours that derive from this.

Do get in touch if you have anything you are wondering about in relation to workshops in Bosham or the Workshop holiday in Norway.

 

 

Demonstrating botanical art in Coloured pencil!

Thank you all those who visited our home this weekend during the Bosham Christmas Craft Trail.

In May, Chichester Open Studios art trail involves artists who live in or around our lovely city. But in recent years it seems that there are more and more serious artists living in Bosham, a village just outside the city, who are taking part. Over the years, one of the artists has opened her house each November and invited some of the Bosham artists to exhibit with her. But as there are so many of us, she can no longer accommodate all of us, so last year we decided to have a craft trail in our own homes – it was successful.

Most of the artists who have taken part the last two years are makers (except for me), thus the title ‘craft’. The other artists taking part work with glass, ceramic, driftwood, jewellery, fabrics and also artwork for the garden. When thinking of your Christmas presents for next year, think of taking a relaxing weekend break in Bosham. We have yet to decide on the date, but although a lot of people visited us this year, Black Friday seems to have taken a stranglehold in the UK now, so our craft trail is very likely to be the week before!

During the craft trail, I moved my easel to the house, as it has now become rather a muddy experience walking down to the shed. Robin also said it was nice to have my company for a change (oops)! As usual I had some work hanging in the conservatory – I’m afraid we forgot to take any photos as it was quite busy. But I was also demonstrating what I do. The original intention had been to work on my Indian Corn picture in coloured pencil, and I did do a little more on that; but getting questions about watercolour too, I needed that available as well.

My daughter’s cat was recently very ill and the vet’s surgery put themselves out to help. As a thank you she wanted me to do a ‘quick’ sketch of the cat for her to give them. The word ‘quick’ doesn’t rhyme too well with what I do – although I did and do try!

‘Tigger” is a Russian Blue. Tigger is a very descriptive name, although he does have a very beautiful face. Someone pointed out to me today, that she wished photos were taken that hid her neck! In this picture, he isn’t too blue yet, but the green eyes are there as well as the start of the extremely upright ears. The sheepskin he is lying on hides one of the reasons for his name! He is a lovely and very affectionate cat – particularly around meal times.

Indian corn in coloured pencil, or Tigger in watercolour?
Indian corn in coloured pencil, or Tigger in watercolour?
'Tigger', a Russian Blue in Pink, with green eyes! Watercolour.
‘Tigger’, a Russian Blue in Pink, with green eyes! Watercolour.
A long - haul 'Indian corn' in coloured pencil.
A long – haul ‘Indian corn’ in coloured pencil.

Demonstration at Society of Floral Painters in Chichester

Following a lot of preparation on composing and drawing a new botanical art picture, I spent the day starting the watercolour painting as a demonstration for the SFP.

The day dawned sunny and warm; the first nice day for a while. Watching the weather forecast as I write this, it reverts to cooler and wetter weather for a few days! Has spending the day inside demonstrating botanical art been worth it?

I am told that the SFP exhibition at the Oxmarket in Chichester, has attracted a lot of visitors. Visitors who I spoke with today, found the exhibition to be very interesting and many were amazed at the variety of floral painting; from very loosely painted Irises in oil, through the tighter botanical art, to strict botanical illustration. There is something there for everyone.

From previous experience, I knew that even though warm outside it can be cool sitting and demonstrating. I was well prepared. We didn’t have huge numbers of visitors and I am told that Sundays do not seem to attract the crowds. However there were quite a few people interested in my demonstration and I was able to talk a little of what I was doing.

The following is pictures from today finishing off with what I have done so far. The plant is a Mandeville, or Dipladenia.

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Tomorrow I will be catching up:
– with London Art College assignment marking;
– preparation for the exhibition in Palmengarten Botanical gardens in Frankfurt, Germany. A joint exercise between Palmengarten and the SBA. My husband and I receive botanical art from across the UK and take it over to Frankfurt in October for the exhibition;
– preparation for the Garden Show at Stansted House (http://www.thegardenshowonline.com/gardenshow_stansted/) this coming FRiday, Saturday and Sunday. We have a stand there for the first time. Do come and support us. I intend to demonstrate some more.

Demonstrating colour pencil in botanical art at Oxmarket, Chichester, tomorrow

I have mentioned before that at the moment the Society of Floral Painters (SFP) has their annual floral painting exhibition in the Oxmarket Centre for Arts in Chichester. Tomorrow I will be there demonstrating the use of coloured pencil. I will be there from 11:00 until 16:30 – except for lunch.

Do come and see what I am doing. I will have a similar picture in Watercolour as an interesting comparison. The flower is the Iris that I have been doing for just over a week in between all the other mad things I’ve been doing. This is how it looks now.

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In between botanical art demonstrations.

Following my botanical art demonstration at Westminster Central Hall during the SBA exhibition, I have hardly done any painting until today.

We had a few days good weather last week, so I did some much needed weeding in the garden. My husband and I also sorted what vegetables were to go into our new raised beds in the kitchen garden (he did the work). And I spent one day colour matching on Photoshop two pictures that I have just had framed. One is of Hellebore heads and the other was the large Hydrangea head in black and white.

I also had to mount some prints in preparation for the Society of Floral Painters (SFP) exhibition in Chichester handing in was on Monday and I was on one of the two assessment teams.

The arrangement of teams was quite impressive. The SFP is Floral and not necessarily botanical. I am strictly botanical, and as a counter balance, one artists paints very loosely and the third member is in between. In this way we got quite a good selection of paintings.

Once all the pictures had gone through the selection process, we were again divided into teams to hang the pictures. My husband had been a runner during the morning session and was also now hanging the pictures. In the end the SFP committee thought they would to adopt him!

Hanging the pictures lasted two days with the opening on Tuesday evening. Do go and visit the Oxmarket Art Centre in Chichester. It is a good exhibition and there is something there to suit all artistic tastes, as long as it is in relation to the kingdom of plants.

I am demonstrating coloured pencil and botanical art this first Sunday between 11:00 and 16:30. Do come and watch and ask questions if there is something you would like to know. I will be demonstrating again the following Sunday 1 June, but this time watercolour. Other artists will be demonstrating other techniques whilst the exhibition is on. Have a look at my website http://www.gaynorsflora.com/page12.htm for the address, dates and times of the exhibition.

On Wednesday my husband and I drove up to London to collect pictures following the SBA exhibition at Westminster and to attend the AGM meeting. One of the topics was the exhibition that the SBA are providing pictures for at Palmengarten, Frankfurt in October. We are both heavily involved with collecting the pictures from across the UK and getting them to Frankfurt. But more about that at a later stage. But we managed to start the collection of paintings during the AGM. We are off to a good start.

Today was my usual weekly class and since then I have been painting.

Do you remember the Irises that I did in watercolour and then demonstrated in coloured pencil at Westminster? I have continued with that today and will be using the same to demonstrate on Sunday. I think I have been doing myself a disservice in trying to keep it true to the watercolour as it is quite different to the iris I am now painting from. I’m tying myself up in knots.

This is it so far. The completed watercolour one first followed by the very incomplete coloured pencil one.

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A very busy few weeks

A busy time. I demonstrated at the Society of Floral painters exhibition at the Oxmarket in Chichester, twice. Once with coloured pencils and once with watercolour. People were interested in both and seemed to like my results. However, there is a huge fascination for the coloured pencils. There were lots of comments about how they didn’t realise what could be achieved with them. I love working with them, but also enjoy watercolour.

Since the exhibition, I have had my normal weekly classes and spent a few days in Amsterdam with my children. That of course was enjoyable. We came back on Saturday and I went off to Goodnestone Park gardens on Monday, teaching a botanical art workshop for Field Breaks. It seemed to go well, some returning students and over half using coloured pencil.

I think I will have to write a separate blog on coloured pencil and future plans.

Today I am starting another workshop over three days in Bosham. Again over half are returning students.