RHS Botanical art exhibition in London today.

Apart from my news about an unusual and unforeseen start to a day, that should have been the culmination and relaxation after 2 1/2 years of preparation work, I have little to report.

I had intended spending all the day with my pictures to answer any questions people might have. I’m afraid that this afternoon after my return from hospital, I wasn’t very focused and kept on wandering away to view other peoples work.

I got to see what awards had been won and I would have liked to show them here, but the pictures I actually took were too late in the day to ask for permission to put on this blog. So sorry, there will be nothing to liven up this bit of writing!

Although we were told as a group that the pictures this year were of an unusually high standard, there were few golds. I understand that they did this on purpose as an adjustment because the standard has gradually increased from year to year. They were certainly more strict than I have seen them previously.

Regarding the feedback I got, I was happy with their comments as these coincided with my own thoughts on the pictures. I learnt one new and important thing, the botanists were not happy with the elements ( normally stamens) where I had drawn a scale at an angle. It must be either vertical or horizontal.

Otherwise, I understand they were very happy with my painting. One thing though, no-one realised until they were giving me feedback and read my labels, that it was in coloured pencil. They thought it was in watercolour. I asked if they would gave given me more marks if they had noticed this before – but no such luck.

Tomorrow is another day and the last one at the RHS this time around. Of course as I didn’t get my gold I will have to try again. Dogged determination.

Advertisements

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.

!

20140410-234110.jpg

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.

>

20140410-234640.jpg

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.

Today I have set-up my RHS exhibit

The day started well as the sun was shining. The eldest of the cats started following us around as he doesn’t like us going away and knows we are because of the packing. He will ignore us when we get home! Our punishment.

The plot has changed. It seems that the people organising both the RHS Botanical art show and the Orchid show are under-manned. We could see that there was some rushing around and stressed responses. Luckily, as I have exhibited once before I didn’t need to ask too many questions – although it has changed a little since last time.

Regarding the change in plot and the shortage of staff, it has affected when we will know the result of the judging. I’m afraid that we have to wait one more day.

They are still going to judge the botanical art show tomorrow morning, but they apparently can’t do the Orchid show stands until Friday morning. This means that they want to give all the results and medals out at the same time on Friday. Even people attending the show for the preview and the Friday morning will have no idea of how each of the exhibits have been judged. This isn’t only just a shame for us (prolonging the agony – although just 24 hrs isn’t going to make that much difference), but for those who are coming to have a look. But I can imagine it is worse for those exhibiting live plants.

Anyway, we have set up my exhibit of the six crab apple pictures painted in coloured pencil. I will show you snaps I took of the three panels in this blog.

There are a lot of lovely exhibits there and I think it will be well worth a visit. Artists from all over the world are exhibiting with paintings of flora from their own countries. Some of which are really interesting. Although not everyone had arrived when we left, I saw one exhibit in graphite and the remaining, except for mine seemed to be in watercolour. A couple had used watercolour for their main subject, with background in graphite. There was little vellum as most was on paper – but there was some. My next challenge!

I didn’t go into the other hall where the Orchid show is, but no doubt I will get an opportunity at some point. I will try to get some pics of that too.

My husband has disappeared off to his meeting in Manchester and we had a nice meal together before he left. I get a slight lie-in tomorrow morning as I don’t have to be at the Lindley hall until 12:00, for annual awards – not ours!!!

For those of you who can, do come and visit the RHS Botanical Art Exhibition at the RHS Halls, Vincent Square, London. It’s not far from Victoria railway station. The preview for RHS members is tomorrow evening from 18:00-21:00. It is open on Friday and Saturday 10:00-17:00.

I hope to see you there. Do make yourself known to me.

20140409-195448.jpg

20140409-195503.jpg

20140409-195520.jpg

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.

 

 

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

 

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

7 days until the Set-up for the RHS exhibition

For anyone who might just be picking up on this for the first time; for the last three years I have been preparing six pictures to exhibit at the next RHS Botanical art exhibition. It is to be held in London at the RHS’s Lindley Hall, 11-12 April.

The pictures are of six different crabapples, Malus ‘Red Jade’, Malus ‘Evereste’, Malus x robusta ‘Red Sentinel’, Malus x atrosanguinea ‘Gorgeous’, Malus x zumi ‘Golden Hornet’.  Each of them are in coloured pencil and are of ripe crabapples, dissected crabapples, crabapple blossom, Longitudinal section of the flower, enlarged stamen, style & stigma and a transverse section of the ovary. Each picture basically shows in detail the times when people are most interested in the life of a crabapple tree.

Normally one sees the tree covered with blossom later on in April to early May and the next time one is interested is when the tree is covered with red or yellow apples. But do people really look at the trees, the blossom or the apples? Very rarely. For example, they assume that the blossom is the same on each tree. But they are very different.

I wanted to show the beauty of the trees right down to the detail. But I also wanted to create beautiful pictures of the whole works. Obviously it is up to those who view the pictures as to whether I have succeeded or not. It will also be up to the judges at the RHS as to whether I get a medal or not.

The judging is carried out by the picture committee and these include botanical artists, botanists, and photographers. They have extremely strict criteria and I will be judged on my worst picture. This means that they are not only judging for correctness of botanical detail, but also how I use the medium I have chosen, the composition, the information I have provided in and with the picture, and the way I have presented the exhibit. They want to see that my work is consistent and that is why the worst picture is judged: Bearing in mind, no picture is ever 100% perfect!

Today I have had to re-do one of the pictures for colour matching in Photoshop. I discovered this morning (after I had spent all morning teaching), that one of the pictures was incorrectly colour matched. Why do I need this? I will be using segments of the pictures (as I have shown you in the blog) to provide further information about each each picture at the exhibition. Additionally, I will be able to get gicleé prints from these – although that is of lesser importance at the moment.

It is now dark, so I will have to wait until tomorrow to see if I have succeeded with this or not. In the meantime, I am getting as much information as possible about the crabapples I have chosen. And now, a glimpse of the next picture, the M. John Downey. Now these are very different to the M. Red Jade, M. Evereste and M. Red Sentinel that you have seen in earlier blogs – aren’t they?

Malus x sylvestris 'John Downey' blossom- in coloured pencil
Malus x sylvestris ‘John Downey’ blossom- in coloured pencil

 

 

 

9 days until set-up of RHS exhibition

We have had a lovely weekend in relation to the weather. The sun has been shining and it has been a lovely temperature. I have been in the shed except for during Sunday lunch yesterday – which was Mothering Sunday.

My neck and shoulders are getting to me and I am a day later than I planned. I have actually finished doing the colour matching except for one or two tweaks.

The garden is beginning to look quite spring-like. Although we had some mild weather when the Magnolia started flowering, we had a cold blast which turned it off white. It is still going strong, but there are a lot of tepals lying on the ground now.

The Camellia have been flowering, but the cold blast sent the white ones brown and the red ones brown-tinged. The tulips are fantastic and you already know that we have plenty of Daffodils and a few Jonquil.

The Malus Evereste has now got tight flower buds on it. Can you imagine that the season is starting all over again?

I showed you the flower of the Malus Red Sentinel last time. Now I will show you the apples.

As with all the crab apple pictures, this too is in coloured pencil.

Malus x robusta ‘Red Sentinel’ blossom

 

 

11 days until set-up of RHS exhibition

Time is running away from me! Most of the week that has gone by I was teaching – and enjoying it. But that means that preparation for the RHS exhibit has been left to one side. Today I am back doing the colour matching with Photoshop.

But before I show you a snippet from the next finished picture, I will show you one resulting from last week’s workshop.

I am not sure if it is fortunate or unfortunate, but every time I teach I want to do some of what the students are doing. I always need to demonstrate techniques anyway and I am often left with a half finished small picture – depending upon how many there are in the class. In fact, I often find that I continue to work on what I’ve started into the evening. My poor husband!

If it is a full class, then all my time is spent either demonstrating or going from person to person constantly. If it is a smaller class, I have to make myself look away from what they are doing so that they can actually start getting something wrong (but not too wrong). I find that if I hang over them too much, they don’t get a chance to do this and then they don’t learn. That is why I prefer to have several students at a time rather than a one-to-one. Although, for some people a one-to-one is essential.

These are Jonquil in graphite. It is a very small picture. I have been asked to give a small picture to a charity, so this will be it.

Jonquil flowers - graphite
Jonquil flowers – graphite

But the next RHS picture ready is Malus Red Sentinel. I think that many people have this crab apple in their gardens as it is quite common. When my grandchildren were smaller they called it a ‘tomato tree’. If you have been following this blog, you will know that we now have several ‘tomato trees’.

Make a note of the new leaves on this crab apple. They often have a slight red tinge round the edge when new.  The flowers are fairly simple showing up a pale pink. Although on a bright Spring day against a clear blue sky they look really exotic.

Malus Red Sentinel Blossom - Coloured pencil
Malus Red Sentinel Blossom – Coloured pencil