Magnolia x soulangeana soon in bloom

Magnolia x soulangeana: Ripe fruit and seeds. Watercolour on hot pressed paper.

In 2011 I had finished three years work on a series of paintings showing a year in the life of the Magnolia x soulangeana. The series was exhibited at the RHS that year and I won a Silver medal – my first RHS medal. One of the paintings was chosen by the Hunt Institute for Botanical documentation in Pittsburgh, USA and it was first exhibited there in 2013. Since then it has had a three-year tour around the USA with the rest of that exhibition, but is now back in their archives in Pittsburgh.

© Magnolia x soulangeana: Maturing Blooms

I was super lucky to have some huge fruit on the tree the years I was doing the paintings and they were featured. But since then tree from which all the paintings were done, has not produced much fruit at all; in fact nothing until last year when it had a couple of small ones. I think the tree knew that I was painting it’s portrait and wanted to show itself at its most beautiful.

© Magnolia x soulangeana: Ripe fruit and seeds

I am hoping that the tree is building itself up to another magnificent display later on this month. At the moment there are masses of terminal buds in which the blooms develop and you can almost see them growing a little more for each day.

It is obvious that the Magnolia tree means quite a lot to me after having studied it so closely for those three years. I learnt such a lot about it, how it is fertilised and why it is a particular type of bug that  is responsible.

If you want to know more about Magnolia x soulangeana, and you are interested in botanical art as an artist, do book to come to my workshop Friday to Sunday 31 March to 2 April. I still have a few places available.

This is the first time that I have had a workshop on this subject – and you can probably guess why. But now I would love to help others who would like to paint the blooms in watercolour or coloured pencil (dry), or even draw them in graphite.

Get in touch with me as soon as you can so that you don’t lose this opportunity.




Botanical art demonstration in coloured pencil for the SFP

I tried to prepare for today’s demonstration yesterday evening! I had some interesting assistance.


I decided to show how to do a couple of Magnolia x soulangeana blooms and prepared the outline drawing for today.

Today I had a lovely relaxing day with my husband as we drove to a little village just outside Salisbury where the Society of Floral Painters meeting was being held. A lot of people had turned up both to get advice about their own botanical art work and to watch the demos.

Coloured pencil work is fairly time consuming, so I didn’t get too far with painting the Magnolia, but I enjoyed the time showing the various techniques and answering all the questions fired at me. People there were obviously very interested and it was a very useful exercise – also for me. It is amazing how much one learns oneself when teaching!



After the demo my husband treated me to a delicious lunch. What a lovely break for a few hours from the crab apple series. I did return to it when we eventually got home again.