Hellebores, snowdrops and daffodils in December!

I haven’t quite finished sending out all my Christmas wishes yet, but this is intriguing. 

I had my last botanical weekly art class of the year today. Everyone was sort of winding down and when I went down to the shed with my eye half on all of the things I still haven’t sorted in the garden, I saw all of the above flowers, plus a lot more. One of my students was looking for something to do on this last day so she chose………

 If you can’t quite make out what she is doing it is this:

   But she could have chosen any of the above, or even Primroses, daisies, geraniums, periwinkle or even snapdragons. What a strange year! I just hope that there are some Hellebores and Snowdrops left for the workshop in February.

The other side of being an artist

This is the time of year for a botanical artist, in the UK,  when there are the most exhibitions and opportunities to promote ones work. You only need to see the list of dates and places on my ‘Exhibitions’ page to see all the occasions for which I need to prepare my work.

I love painting with watercolour and coloured pencil, or drawing with graphite or pen and ink. Many of my subjects are at their most beautiful at this time of year, but this doesn’t always mean that they are at their most interesting. People starting out in botanical art are often surprised to find that there is something of interest all year round.

I don’t love having to prepare my work for exhibitions! The reason for this is that it takes me away from doing what I do best and enjoy most – creating the actual artwork. But it has to be done.

For the last week I have not done any real painting as I have been preparing what I have done to exhibit. I try to keep on top of preparing each painting for printing as I finish that painting and rarely allow myself a backlog of more than two. This alone can take about two full days for each picture, where I use Photoshop to match the colours as closely as possible to the painting.

Luckily I haven’t had to do any colour matching on the pictures that I have been framing or mounting this week, as I had done it previously. But I do have some small pictures that will soon have to be done.

I got into the mounting and framing mode a week ago when my husband, Robin, needed to prepare some of his work for an exhibition. He did most of the work himself and I just helped him. After all, he does an awful lot in supporting me at my exhibitions and shows. So I just carried on from his framing to my framing.

The large table used for classes and workshops comes in very useful when mounting and framing artwork – but it’s never large enough!

The working table - at work
The working table – at work


You will hopefully recognise all but one of the pictures. The nightshade is one that I had intended to do as a series, but other subjects became very interesting!

'Young or old and still spiky'; Acanthus.
‘Young or old and still spiky’; Acanthus.
Daffodil; 51 shades of grey.
Daffodil; 51 shades of grey.
'Fatal attraction' ; Dipladenia and 'Solanum x dulcamara'; Bittersweet nightshade.
‘Fatal attraction’ ; Dipladenia and ‘Solanum x dulcamera’; Bittersweet nightshade.


Before I forget, the hanging of the pictures at the SBA exhibition at Westminster Central Hall in London, seems better this year. the exhibition continues until this coming Sunday, so I hope you get a chance to see it. Five of my six Crab apple paintings in coloured pencil from my exhibit at the RHS last year, are hanging there. Although not mentioned in the SBA catalogue, the series won a Silver Gilt medal.







Step by step Pineapple pictures and a graphite Daffodil!

So what does a series of Pineapple step by step pictures have to do with a graphite daffodil picture? Nothing, except that they were done by me.

I have at last got my act together and done a separate page where all of the photos that I took during the 160.5 hour marathon for the Pineapple picture, are in one place. Just click on the heading above and you will find them all. Additionally, if you haven’t seen the YouTube video I did whilst painting one of the segments, you will find that in a link on the Tutorial page above.

I discovered whilst painting and posting updates about the picture that many botanical artists are challenged into painting a pineapple. It isn’t simple to do although it is all in the planning – as with most things – but it isn’t that difficult either.  I noticed that several people had previously painted a pineapple, as I had done, or were in the process. Some started about the same time as me, but were finished long before me, and others started well afterwards. Pictures were done in watercolour, coloured pencil and I saw one really beautiful one in graphite. Most were done actual size and one or two over-size. They were very impressive, particularly if more detail had been included.

The differences in the results were as amazing as in the techniques. Even with watercolour, there was a clear distinction between those done mostly wet-in-wet, to the other end of the scale where more dry brush techniques were used.

I mentioned that I did a pineapple once before, about eight years ago. I was given to understand on several occasions that it wasn’t bad – although I felt it could have been improved upon no end. Putting the two side by side was quite an experience for me. One could clearly see that I had developed in that time. I just hope that I continue to develop positively. I just wish that I could work faster, not slower!

So the graphite daffodil. I had no additional pictures to show you with the pineapple, so I thought I would post my latest work. A couple of weeks ago I held a graphite workshop and just continued with my demonstration piece. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I hope you like it too.

©06.Graphite daffodil 8bit+sig