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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

2 days until the RHS botanical art exhibition set-up

The day after tomorrow we take the pictures into London to set up for the botanical art exhibition in the Lindley Hall.

Today I moved everything up to the house from the shed. I thought I had done all the printing for labels and information sheet etc., but I made a mess of the first things I did. I had to print the whole lot again.

We had decided to back the labels with foam core as it’s easy to cut. Bad mistake! The edge looked so messy. I therefore had to print again, but this time I backed it with mount-board. I did this in 2011 the last time I exhibited with the RHS. I remembered that cutting small pieces was hard work. It was hard this time too.

Anyway the labels and information board are now done to my satisfaction.

The next thing on the list was mounting some limited edition prints to take with me. I am taking some mounted and some un-mounted but packed in stiffened envelopes. Additionally, I need to pack the unlimited prints of the blossom that I mentioned yesterday.

I think at the moment I am about halfway through these last things. I am hoping to get them done reasonably comfortably tomorrow.

I have a very large table where I normally teach. It is piled high with stuff. Obviously a temptation for the cats, so I have had to cover it all carefully for the night.

What on earth will I have to think about when I have done all I set out to do?

Now to show you the sections and enlarged detail of the parts of the Malus x atrosanguinea ‘ Gorgeous’ blossom in coloured pencil.

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4 days until the set-up for the RHS botanical art exhibition.

I am having kittens! I have changed the plot again.

I spent yesterday afternoon and evening and this morning going in one direction with the information sheets. Now I have changed the whole idea of what I want to do. I think I am going nuts and I’m afraid I won’t get it done.

I suddenly thought that I needed to get the order of pictures sorted out before I did anything else. I took a video of the setup but it won’t download into WordPress and I can’t take the time to find out how to do it at the moment. But when it is set up in the Lindley Hall in London on Wednesday I will take some pictures for you.

I have done some of the laundry as I said I would do, but once I got it on the line it started raining. One thing after the other.

I went to pick up some exhibiting materials for the open studios we are having at the beginning of May. But that is another story.

Today I am going to show Malus x atrosaguinea ‘Gorgeous’. Remember the series is all coloured pencil. It is a really beautiful apple and quite a small tree, but the crab apples are quite large. This is the flower to start off with.
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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