For a short time yesterday and a lot of today I was able to get back to my easel.
Because of all the preparation to the RHS, I haven’t done anything since the middle of March. It feels such a long time. But I returned to a picture I had already started.
I will show you a snapshot of it at the end of this blog. It is a picture in pen & ink. Initially it looks complicated, but as it’s in monochrome this simplifies. Additionally, I feel that when I am using this style of pen & ink work I can relax a little more than I normally do when painting. Although I stay true to what I have in front of me, I feel I work a little less tightly. The difference between botanical art and botanical illustration.
The flower is a Hydrangea with quite large bracts. My husband bought it for me a few months ago and it dried beautifully on the stem. I felt that it would be lovely in ink and a suitable challenge at the same time. You will be able to determine if I have been successful or not.
After the problems that I had with my website following the RHS, my daughter in Norway decided that enough was enough. She is in the process of designing me a new one, which she feels will be easier for me to maintain. It will obviously take a while before this is up and running as she is fitting it in between other projects. I just hope that she doesn’t mind me mentioning it at this early stage.
On Monday I am off to Kent to teach a workshop for two days. It is a lovely place to go. Goodnestone Gardens not far from Canterbury, is a peaceful place. There is a walled garden and we are allowed to pick whatever flowers we want – including a lot of lovely Auriculas. They always tempt me, but whether I will even have time to start one is another matter.
This year I have three different workshops at Goodnestone. If you want to join us, get in touch with Field Breaks who arrange these botanical art workshops.
My next workshop in Bosham on the south coast near Chichester, is 29 – 31 May. If you are interested in that one contact me via my website which is working at the moment, or by responding to this blog.
My Hydrangea in Black and white.
Yesterday I had my last botanical art class before Christmas. Two of my students had continued with the pictures they had started on the Pen and Ink workshop and they proudly finished them yesterday.
I too am proud to show the pictures here. Both chose to do hydrangeas, although initially they had thought it would be too difficult. I think you will agree with me that they have produced lovely and entirely different pictures.
‘Thanks so much for a brilliant 2 days. I thoroughly enjoyed it all!’
I got this email as soon as the student had returned home after the Pen & ink workshop. Is it any wonder that I enjoy teaching when I get a response like this?
I had a full workshop and you have already seen the step by step series I had prepared. If you want to know what each of the steps entails, you will need to sign up for one of the workshops next year.
Each of those taking part worked really hard, expressed their pleasure in having done the workshop and several want to practice the technique more. Most of the students hadn’t intended drawing a Hydrangea as they thought it too difficult. But, after showing them the technique all but one attempted it. These are some of the results:
They are good aren’t they?
On Thursday this week I will be having a workshop using Pen & ink.
Following the Sarah Simblet workshop in July, my students asked me to show them her technique. Obviously, although I studied Sarah’s technique, I use it in my way.
Going on a workshop doesn’t mean that you have to incorporate the teacher’s technique 100% when you finish the course, but that you use what you have learnt and incorporate some of it into your own way of working. That is why no botanical art teacher is absolutely right or absolutely wrong. We are all different and emphasise different aspects in our work.
I advise students who come to me, to also learn what they can from other teachers too, so that they can develop their own style, using elements from all they learn.
Anyway, on Thursday and Friday I will be having several students who want to learn a pen & ink technique that is not dots.
During the last few weeks I have done a series of step-by-step pictures and these should give a better idea of what is needed at each stage of the picture. I realise that without further instruction these pictures will not make full sense. But, the last picture is the completed one.
A drying Hydrangea.