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

 

 

 

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Another Botanical picture ready for the RHS exhibition

I seem to be spending every free minute on the Photoshop colour matching of the Crab apple botanical art series. But tomorrow I will be doing something else.

The Society of Floral Painters has asked me to do a coloured pencil demonstration at one of their meetings that is open to members and artists hoping to attain full membership in the society. It will be at Pitton Village Hall near. Salisbury, tomorrow between 10:00 – 14:00.

As the Magnolia x soulangeana is still in full flower, I have prepared a drawing to demonstrate this. It will be good to take my head away from the computer for a day.

Would you like to see part of the next picture finished? It is blossom on the Malus Evereste. Note how it differs from Malus Red Jade. The flower is slightly smaller than for the Red Jade, doesn’t have the stripey red on the petals and seems to have regular wrinkles along each petal. Although the Malus Red Jade apple is very small, the flowers are not so small.

It is amazing how different each Malus sort is.

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RHS exhibition results 3 weeks today!

In three weeks time, on April 10 about midday I will know if my six botanical art paintings in coloured pencil have passed muster and if they have won a medal.

I’m still hard at working up the colours in Photoshop and In between teaching classes, workshops or marking botanical art assignments for the London Art College. The days are long, but it sounds as though it is going to get colder again and the weeds in the garden might grow slowly for a short while.

The Magnolia is in full and splendid bloom; several weeks early according to pictures taken other years. Each of the crabapple trees have started sprouting. I now have seven different ones.

Would you like another glimpse from the Malus. Red Jade picture? This time it’s the apples. The full picture with dissections is quite interesting, but you will have to come to the RHS exhibition to see it.

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Three weeks until the RHS botanical art exhibition

How am I doing? Will I be finished in time?

These of course are the questions I am asking myself and I imagine are the same questions for those who follow the blog.

Preparing for the RHS botanical art show which will happen in London 11 – 12 April, with preview on the evening of the 10th, has taken three years. The work is almost finished. Believe it or not.

I have finished painting each of the six pictures. I have only painted the necessary six and I haven’t painted a 7th as a reserve in case one wasn’t up to scratch ( I was advised to do this – in case). The frames are made and all that remains is working up the digital images for printing plus writing the information to hang with the pictures.

Matching the colours exactly is a hugely time consuming exercise. I prefer to do this myself unless the picture is too big for the equipment I have. As having the correct colours to reflect my subject is important for my painting, I am a perfectionist in matching the colours in Photoshop.

The last bit of work will be to research further the six Malus plants I have painted and write some information about each of them.

Three weeks is not long. The sun is shining, the garden and gardening await and May this year will be very busy with exhibitions. But, the RHS exhibition is the most important having taken three years to prepare.

Breath!

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