Second Gaynor’s Flora update

Whilst I was away, I was filling in forms, writing CVs etc for the American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA) conference in Pittsburgh and the exhibition in New York in November. I didn’t have access to all my paperwork to fill everything in, but thought I could rely on the information in my website. Not so! For some reason or other a couple of pages were empty, such as the one for awards, and several others were not updated. Why, I don’t know. But as my husband says it is because I’m human. That might be a surprise to some!

Have a look at my website, because some of the factual things were updated yesterday.

What has this got to do with botanical art? Find out in the botanical art course.
What has this got to do with botanical art? Find out in the botanical art course.

Whilst doing this vital function, I was reminded that I needed to mention that I have some places on the online botanical art course Online botanical art course .   I keep the number low for new people starting each month so that I don’t become overloaded with teaching, leaving no room for my own painting.

The feedback that students get back from me for each assignment is comprehensive – as those who are already doing the course can vouch for. Each assignment I receive often takes several hours to mark, so that as you embrace the tutorials and struggle with practicing for the work you send to me, you know that your efforts will be treated seriously.

The course is suitable for people starting out in botanical art and for those who want to improve. Generally speaking, the ‘wanting’ to improve in our botanical art practices applies to all of us and it sometimes helps to have someone else to guide us further along this path. Do sign up and give it a go.

Going back to the beginning of June and the Cedric Morris collection of Irises; these are the pictures of the second Iris. This time it is the Benton Apollo. In the garden in Hadleigh, Suffolk, the Irises were at various stages of flowering. The Benton Farewell that I showed you yesterday had only just started flowering and there was only the one fully opened. However, the Benton Apollo Irises were very much in full bloom.

Iris Benton Apollo
Iris Benton Apollo

In this picture you can see some of the other Iris colours in background. And I believe that this part of the garden was secondary!! Anyway, again I was smitten. But who in their right mind would choose a yellow flower to paint?

Both white flowers and yellow flowers are considered very difficult to paint, but it all depends on whether you have leaves backing the flowers, and the way you do your shadows. In actual fact the Benton Farewell had a lot of subtle mauve tints in the white and the yellow iris has also some beautiful and interesting shades, particularly in the fall petals.

On Saturday evening I made my way home in the car. It was hot. For the first part of the journey, Julia accompanied me, sitting in the front seat holding her Iris cutting with all the windows wide open. My Iris was safely supported in the boot of the car – or so I thought! Julia’s Iris didn’t even flutter in the wind and mine was safely in the boot being torn to shreds.

I was lucky enough to have some buds left on the cuttings and during the following week I did demonstrations on four days. What did I use for my subjects? The Irises of course.

Benton Apollo sketch done in situ.
Benton Apollo sketch done in situ.

 

Benton Apollo sketch from cutting
Benton Apollo sketch from cutting

Both sketches are watercolour in a Stillman & Bern Zeta sketchbook.

A new Youtube video – painting Shallots in watercolour

I have just this minute finished downloading two videos to YouTube. The first one is fully accessible and the second is only accessible at the moment through the online botanical art course.

Obviously doing these videos is the best way of actually seeing how a technique is done and, they are easy to film. What is not easy is all the work that needs to go into refining the video so that people both learn something from it and don’t get bored.

Botanical art is painstaking and can take quite a long time. Each stroke has to be thought about before it is applied. It therefore takes time. But with a video, people aren’t interested in seeing you spend time thinking! They want to see you apply that stroke and if there is anything special about it, they want to see what you need to do before you apply the stroke – how you fill your brush as an example. Unfortunately that bit is in the second video!

Another thing that is a source of interest, is seeing the painting develop, layer for layer – but in a reasonable time span.

The two videos are based on the same picture. The first one is a demonstration of the first washes on the three shallots, showing how the under-layer can also start creating form. It then goes on to show the painting of two of the shallots using time lapse photography. A short sequence in the middle is done in real time. Here is the link: How to paint Shallots in watercolour – part 1

The second video demonstrates the painting of the third shallot in detail. I have shown short sections in real time, to guide through the techniques I use. The rest is the real-time video speeded up a little. But at the moment this one is only available to those signed up for the online course.

Before I forget to mention it~the botanical art workshop in April is Friday & Saturday 8-9 April and is called ‘Botanical drawing and shading in graphite’. You will find the details and booking form under the section on Workshops. I look forward to hearing from you.

Shallots

New online botanical art course available from 1 March 2016

At last I have published details of the new online botanical art course. You will find information on the page of my website by clicking here: Gaynor’s Flora online botanical art course.

The course is based on six modules and is suitable for both experienced and inexperienced students. You choose your main medium;  either watercolour or coloured pencil and I have made YouTube videos to demonstrate techniques.

Unfortunately I will have to limit the number of new students that I take on at any one time, but take on new ones each month.

I look forward to hearing from you.

As it is almost the end of Hellebore time, I will pretty up this blog with ‘Hellebore mix’ in watercolour.

Hellebore mix in watercolour

A new Youtube video

Happy New Year!

What have  I been doing of late? You probably think that I haven’t been doing anything at all – but I have been working on my new online botanical art course. Poor Robin, he hardly sees me these days!

For those of you living in the UK you know that the weather has been very mild – and very wet. I live on the south coast and although we haven’t suffered the same floods as further north, it has been wet. All the plants in the garden are in turmoil. Everything is sodden and the cats leave muddy paw prints everywhere – they get the blame as they can’t answer back! A lot of the daffodils have finished flowering and if we get some cold weather now, goodness knows what will happen to those in bud.

IMG_3249We spent Christmas in Norway and had a really super time with my daughter (the hostess) and my son. We even got some lovely snow there – which was refreshing. we enjoyed some very special Norwegian food such as Lutefisk, had a Norwegian Christmas Eve supper of delicious cod and an English Christmas Day meal of Roast pork with all the trimmings. My children are fantastic cooks; they obviously felt they had to learn as I am such a bad cook.

We came back home before the new year to see the Hellebores, Daffodils and Snowdrops in full flower! Starting on the watercolour module of my online botanical art course, I therefore had plenty of subjects to paint from. I chose the Hellebore after picking off a live caterpillar! Several of the flowers had their stamens chewed right off. I’ve pulled this picture off the video, so it isn’t too clear. I wish I had taken a picture of the caterpillar too.

Hellebore chewed
From painting the Hellebore I have done a whole series of videos for the course right from : Stretching light to medium weight watercolour paper (I hope you find it useful), sketch to line drawing, colour matching, tracing over to art paper, tonal value reference study to actually painting the picture. All of the videos are on Youtube, but only the one about stretching paper is available to the public. The rest will only be available to students doing the course, although I am considering doing a very fast one showing the painting. I still have a load of writing to do yet, so I will see how it goes.

I may not be keeping up too well with my own artwork, but I am keeping my hand in when doing the videos.

The December Hellebore