UK native plants packed for RHS botanical art exhibition

Packed and ready to go.

Tomorrow two of us are travelling up to London to set up the ABBA table in the RHS Lindley Hall, Vincent Square near Victoria Station. It will be the RHS botanical art show with the best of International botanical artists showing their work. Neither of us are exhibiting our own work this time, but we will be demonstrating different techniques.

The main reason for having the table at the exhibition is to talk about the plans for the Worldwide Botanical art day in May 2018 and to encourage British botanical artists to take part. A new Association of British Botanical Artists (ABBA) formed to do this has put an initial ‘call for entries’ on it

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On  Friday and Saturday this week, I have chosen to demonstrate a sketch book or study page in graphite and watercolour from  one of the native plants I have packed to take with me. Come along and see how I do this.

Apart from the Primrose, do you know what these plants are called?

The one on the right, with hardly any leaves just yet, is a Bilberry. This is a small wild blue berry. It doesn’ look very interesting at the moment, but if you are going to paint the portrait of a plant, including something from various stages in its life cycle, makes the resulting picture more interesting.

The plant above  the Bilberry with the small oval leaves is Cowberry and has small red berries. You might know it as Lignonberry and has smaller and sharper tasting berries than cranberries. This plant has the beginnings of tiny flower buds.

The one above the Primrose is a Crowberry and will eventually have small, almost black berries. Again the plant doesn’t seem so interesting in this stage of its life, but I think might offer some challenges whilst painting its portrait.

Common for for all three species ( not the Primrose) is that they all produce fruit that is edible.

I am lucky enough to be able to do some sketches now, while the plants are only just coming out of their winter state. This will be particularly useful for me and for future work I have planned.

Do come and see us at the RHS, Lindley Hall, Vincent Square, Friday and Saturday.

Open studio in Bosham this weekend: Friday to Sunday

There are a number of artists in Bosham and each year we get together just before Christmas to create an art trail. As I am the only fine artist, and all the others are makers, we have decided to call it the “Bosham Christmas Craft Trail”.

For those who have visited Bosham at this time in years gone by, you will know this is a trail worth doing.

Robin and I will welcome you in our home whether you are just looking at my work or want to buy. There is plenty to choose from for that special present; a single card, a print, an original, or even a voucher for a workshop or the workshop holiday at Le Manoir next September.

Browse or buy with a warm mince pie and mulled wine or a nice cup of tea. Donations go to St Wilfrid’s Hospice. At the same time I will be continuing this picture from these sketches. See how far I’ve got by the time you arrive.

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I hope to post the painting of the Liriope muscari picture as it develops. It is in watercolour on paper and includes an enlargement of the flower spike as it is so small, but with the growth habit in natural size.

Which artists to visit on the trail, and where you can find them. I look forward to seeing you:
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Where am I packing up to go?

My husband is keeping on at me because I haven’t done any packing yet and tomorrow I am going back to the States.

I have my usual class  tomorrow morning and on the dot of 12 MD we drive to the airport. I am going to the opening of the 19th Annual International Botanical art exhibition at the New York Design Centre. The exhibition is held by the American Society of Botanical Artists and the Horticultural Society of New York and one of my pictures is being exhibited.

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This is the picture that was accepted.

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I will only be there for a few days and back again at the weekend, but it will be lovely to see the friends I have made over there.

Botanical art Autumn colour workshop had Autumn colours

Isn’t it amazing what several people can do to make a botanical art workshop happen! I was worried as to whether the workshop would live up to its title as just about everything had fallen off the trees. Winter had come further than I thought it would.

But, everyone kept their eyes peeled and the majority came with subjects to paint themselves, or share with others. Wonderful.

About half of the students had been to one of my workshops before and the other half were new to me. I’m glad to say that the new students had been tempted to try by others recommendations. It was a lovely group of people and we kept the bitter cold out.

Firstly the group:

Searching for subjects?
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Hunting for subjects?
Hunting for subjects?

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You have to agree that although it was cold outside, the inside was full of warmth.

Don’t forget the Bosham Christmas Craft Trail next Friday, Saturday and Sunday. You will be very welcome.

Summer Open Studio – Botanical art

Its that time of year again. Children are on holiday and the waterways (as well as motorways) are bustling. The sun is shining and the bees are buzzing, making sure we get the produce from our kitchen gardens and seeds for next year.

From my shed (studio), I can hear happy sailors in the creek, as well as curlews as they land. There seem also to be a lot of children and teenagers learning the ropes out on the water. But I am happy painting away with the sun pouring in through the open door and the cats curled up asleep as company; oblivious to anything.

Do come and experience my little haven during the next couple of weekends. You will be most welcome.

2015 Summer Open Studios flyer

One of the pieces I will be working on is my latest challenge. Fuchsia microphylla. Microphylla means small leaves. Everyone knows more or less what a Fuchsia looks like as for some it seems to be a challenge to find as many different sorts as possibly – whether hardy in the UK climate, or not. This plant is hardy but intriguing. The flowers are tiny, as are the leaves, but the fruit is also quite small although seeming to get somewhat larger than the flower.

Fuchsia microphylla
Fuchsia microphylla
Fuchsia microphylla flowers
Fuchsia microphylla flowers

I have started to paint a picture in watercolour. The composition is the real challenge and how I am going to express this on paper, with dissections. Come and see how I intend to try and solve the problems. Comments and suggestions will be most welcome.

Fuchsia microphylla painting started
Fuchsia microphylla painting started

My husband commented today that he didn’t realise that the colours in the plant were so vibrant. I had done a tad more on the painting by the time he made this comment. But it is like all things botanical, once you get down to the detail – even in grasses – the colours are amazing.

 

Fuchsia microphylla setup in my shed (studio). Plant, magnifying glasses galore, easel, chair, paints, brushes and water.
Fuchsia microphylla setup in my shed (studio). Plant, magnifying glasses galore, easel, chair, paints, brushes and water.

Robin will be ably manning the gallery and I look forward to you joining me down in the shed.

Botanical art and the Stansted Park Garden Show

It is now the Thursday following the Stansted Park Garden Show. I can’t understand it, but everytime I write Stansted, it auto corrects to ‘stagnated’. That just is not what I want to say and definitely not what the show was like!

There was a lot of preparation for the show, in addition to everything else going on. Soon I am going to start having to say ‘no’. But it is difficult when you get asked; 1) Because others want you to take part and 2), because they like your work or your teaching.

The weather forecast for the weekend was mixed. We expected thunderstorms and rain. In actual fact, it was sunny but windy for most of the time and the rain came at night or early in the morning. Anyway, the car got packed up – thanks to Robin. But he wasn’t happy with all that had to go into it.

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Luckily we don’t live too far away from Stansted and a few hours later we made our way home leaving the stand covered in case of storms (but not floods).

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The rest of the pictures tell a tale of three lovely days spent at the show, meeting lots of new people visiting the show and, of course reuniting with the stand holders who returned from last year.

We got home fairly late in the evening of Sunday having packed everything up again. But, although we unpacked the car, the sorting waited until Monday.

Now I am catching up with London Art College assignments and the next important event on the Calendar – Norway.

 

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Notice the reflection in the Umpha - umpha!
Notice the reflection in the Umpha – umpha!

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And the work during the Show? I have to be honest, I started the Indian Corn a long time ago and pick it up now and again. The corn doesn’t change you see, although I will need new leaves when I get that far.

The botanical art demonstration - Indian corn in coloured pencil
The botanical art demonstration – Indian corn in coloured pencil

The Bearded Iris: 52 Shades of Grey.

Today I have been licking my wounds and demonstrating coloured pencil in botanical art at the Society of Floral Painters Exhibition, the Oxmarket, Chichester. I had a lot of interested people looking at how ‘crayons’ can be used successfully. Hopefully we might get a few converts.

I have been working on a piece with Indian Corn as the subject. The painting has been going on and off for a long time, but hopefully with the little I did today and the work I will be doing on it at the Stansted Garden Show, I might get some more of it done. In time you might see it, as long as I don’t ruin that too. Understandably I am getting a little unsure about transporting work in progress after yesterday’s events!

After I came home today, I have been getting some more things ready for the show at the weekend. But I have also colour-matched and printed yesterday’s damaged original. Here it is.

The Bearded Iris: 52 shades of grey.
The Bearded Iris: 52 shades of grey.

Bosham Christmas Craft Trail starts today!

I don’t think that I have ever been so late at putting together everything when participating in an art trail – or in this case a craft trail!

I have hardly had time to think these last few months because of the SBA exhibition at PalmengArten. I thought I would get a bit of a break whilst the exhibition is on, but I forgot that I need to use that time preparing for the next stage – return of unsold paintings. Having said that, Sue Henon has worked solidly the last month for us.

Anyway, all of the above meant that I was not as well prepared as I should have been. But, it looks as though the ‘gallery’ is ready for a few visitors when it opens in the morning. We just need to bring my easel up to the house and the picture I started months ago; Acanthus – Bears Britches. It is much too wet and muddy for people to traipse down to the shed, so it will be lovely and cosy and everything in the house.

Just imagine; a nice warm, light area to view the paintings and the smell of Mulled wine and Mince pies. Do come and join us. Your invitation and instructions to find me are attached. I am number 6.

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Society of Floral Painters (SFP) workshop day & Palmengarten

For a change I will tell you a little of what I have been up to today.

I mentioned a couple of days ago that I would be doing a fair amount of teaching this week. Today I did a workshop for the SFP. A couple of times a year they arrange workshops for members at a place called Bursledon just outside Southampton.

Bursledon is by the River Hamble and its Elephant Boatyard is on the site of the old ship building yards where Henry VIII’s fleet was built. But I didn’t get to do any sightseeing unfortunately.

The village hall where the workshops are held is very light and airy, but the light comes in all directions giving all round light. Difficult when you want to emphasise contrast and shadows creating form.

The topic of the workshop was Autumn Colours and the medium was coloured pencil. Some of the students were well into using coloured pencil in botanical art, some had played a bit with CP and some had collected the odd pencil and wanted to learn how to use them. We had only one day.

Because of time limitation (1 day), and unlike my usual workshops, I had to stay focused only on CP techniques, rather than the whole picture – initial drawing and composition. This meant that people had to have taken decisions about subject and composition before today, to be in readiness for laying CP.

I demonstrated the technique, answered questions and then let people put into practice what they had picked up from the demo and instruction. After that it was a question of going round and continuously checking progress, giving advice and solving individual issues.

I’m afraid that I only took a few pictures as I waited a little too late before remembering to take them. But there are two people from further west who are absolute gluttons for punishment, they got off on time, but are coming back for my three- day workshop at the weekend. I will definitely take photos of their results then.

Here are four of the results from today.

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Don’t you think they are stunning? Three of the happy ladies (Maggie Roberts, Barbara Sampson and Ruth Roberts) considering if they are going to paint Medlar or not. I think that they were amazed that when painting subjects such as dead and dyeing leaves, you can really play with colours. They were so surprised to find out that dull brown also contains pale pinks, exhilarating magentas, delicate blues and of course vibrant reds and yellows.

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To finish off this blog a few more of the exhibition pictures at Palmengarten.

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Artwork by Sandra Armitage & Vickie Braithwaite.

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Artwork by Cheryl Wilbraham & Yuriko Kojima

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Artwork by Shevaun Doherty & Elisabeth Sherras Clark