Botanical art workshop starting tomorrow

Tomorrow morning I will be having another botanical art workshop. The subject is roses.

People often think it is very difficult to paint beautiful roses, but think about how the petals are attached in the flower head. Use that knowledge to create a proper line drawing and tonal drawing, then add the colour.

I am glad to say that as the weather has been a little cooler the last few days – and cloudy, there are still quite a few roses of differing levels of difficulty ready to be plucked to have their portraits drawn. It will be interesting to see which roses the students will choose. Watch this space to see the progression of some of the work.

Today I have spent most of the day on work in relation to the SBA exhibition in Palmengarten, Frankfurt in October. There is a lot of preparation in organising the collection and exhibiting of work from across the whole of the UK, Ireland, USA, New Zealand, France, Germany and Japan at Palmengarten. But it will be a fantastic exhibition with so many SBA members taking part.

I had hoped, to finish the Irises painting in coloured pencil yesterday, but think I have completed it today. I don’t feel the colours come out so well from a photograph, but will be better and easier to show online once I get time to match them on Photoshop.


Busy, busy – one!

The Antonia Rose
The Antonia Rose

Where to begin?

Since I came home after the fantastic course with Sarah Simblet I have been catching up in between family visits.

Some of our children stayed on and off with us throughout June and will be returning next week with other members of the family. All in all we will be eleven of us. They will be keeping out of my hair until Monday as I have a three-day workshop this coming weekend.

This workshop is well supported and the topic will be ‘Summer fruits’. However several of those taking part will be painting Roses. I suppose this is a form of lateral thinking. I had a think about any fruits that we have in the garden at the moment. There is in fact very little as we are between flushes of the usual varieties. The Raspberries and Strawberries are finished until a new lot arrive and it is too early for Blackberries, although they are now beginning to turn a beautiful black.

Normally Cobnuts look really beautiful to paint at this time of year with their curly green skirts and pixie hats. There isn’t a single one on our tree this year. The Rowan tree has a lot of fruit on it and it is ripening fast. The apples are still very small and of all the crab apple trees in the garden there is only one that is showing any hint of warmth in colour. Actually, thank goodness for that as I have been doing so many other things other than continuing the Crab apple series of paintings recently.

One of my students who will be painting roses during this coming workshop, will be continuing a picture she has been doing for the last three weeks. She has had several days with one-to-one tuition as the subject is very special. Her father was a Nurseryman and developed a rose which he named Antonia – the name of his first grandchild. As far as they are aware there are only three examples of the rose left and this is the reason she wanted to paint it. Not only that, she is using coloured pencil.

To demonstrate various relevant techniques to aid my student, I started painting the rose myself and have decided to use it as a step-by-step tutorial.

I don’t think that I have mentioned before that I am the Botanical Art Tutor for the London Art College. It is a very good organisation who provide art courses in various mediums and with many topics via the Internet or per correspondence. My predecessor wrote a fair amount of the course as it stands today, but it focuses on watercolour as well as a little graphite and pen&ink. I am now in the process of writing some tutorials for coloured pencil botanical artists to add to what is there already. Therefore in time we will have very good tuition to help botanical artists with their watercolour and coloured pencil studies.

The above

is my finished Antonia Rose which I will be using for the step-by-step studies with the London Art College. I hope you like it.

Why would someone go into my garden and strip a rose tree?

Today I started a three-day botanical art workshop on Roses. My garden has a lot of roses as we have planted quite a few, mostly with a beautiful scent.

When we originally moved into our home five years ago there were no roses in our front garden which is south facing. We changed that and in the evening the smell is very powerful and heady.

One of the most impressive looking roses is a standard called ‘Deep Secret’. It is a rich velvety red rose with a particularly rich scent that suits its appearance.

This summer it was covered in juicy buds which have only just started opening. It was an ideal subject for my students this weekend. I say was because……..

…….This morning when taking my students out to cut a rose each as a subject, EVERY SINGLE ROSE AND BUD HAD BEEN CUT OFF. Not only that, the flowers had been picked to pieces and had been dropped in a trail along and out of our drive into the lane. Why would anyone do this? Why would someone be so destructive?

Luckily I had other roses and all were able to choose one they liked. Day one of the first day of the workshop has gone off without further complications. By the way the students are a lovely group of people.