Botanical art on Vellum

Again I haven’t done too much painting over the last week as we have had family staying and we took the opportunity to have a little bit of a holiday with them.

But now I’m back to painting.

Whilst in Pittsburgh last year there were several botanical artists who tried to persuade me about the benefits of painting on Vellum. I saw some really beautiful work there and was really tempted. My husband bought me a few small sheets for Christmas and it has been lying there. Since then I have seen some more work on vellum and I wasn’t too enamoured. It definitely was not of Rory McEwen quality! You see I aim for the best.

I have been painting a small picture on vellum during the last few days. I had taken a photo of a bee on the runner beans and wanted to do this. Normally I only paint from real life and obviously this was a problem as I didn’t have the bee although did have the runner beans. I did some research on the bee and found out that it is called a Bombus pascuorum worker. It also meant that I had some other bee pictures to make sure that I got the details right. I’m not happy if I haven’t got the subject actually in front of me.

For once I decided to paint it oversize. This is another thing I don’t normally do, so I have several ‘firsts’ here. I know that I had to paint using a dry-brush technique, but still wasn’t sure how. I therefore examined the pictures in the Rory McEwen book ‘The colours of reality’. I had to refer back to this book on several occasions as I built up the layers. I thought that as I had painted on Porcelain many years ago, that I could adopt a similar process. I’m afraid that didn’t work! But I gradually began to get the hang of it and also take advantage of the fact that you can lift out mistakes.

I will put a couple of pictures in this blog, but add a few more as an album on my Facebook page.

If anyone has any tips, please let me know. I haven’t stretched the vellum, but would like to do so on larger pieces.

Runner bean leaves, first washes and details
Runner bean leaves, first washes and details
The bee
The bee
Runner bean flower
Runner bean flower
Finished painting
Finished painting

Fruit & Veg or Strawberries and Cream Botanical art workshop

We painted the vegetables and ate the strawberries and cream!

I was very disappointed for two students who at the last minute were unable to come to the workshop because of personal difficulties. We did think of them often during these two days.

Quite early on during the workshop I felt that the students would have some results that they would be proud of. Having picked suitable subjects from the garden, as usual we spent time on the preparatory work; the composition and drawing. Having said that, one of the subjects we knew would fade very quickly and therefore it was important to get down the first layers of colour fast. This time most people used coloured pencil and only one person used watercolour. It is exciting using different media in the same workshop as each student sees how each affects the final work; although less than one would imagine.

You want pictures, so here they are.

What concentration on a lovely summer day!
What concentration on a lovely summer day!
What flowers are these?
What flowers are these?
A fading flower waits for no-man
A fading flower waits for no-man
Now guess what this is.
Now guess what this is.

Today – at the end of the workshop. They promised to finish the pictures that still had work to do on them.

Runner Beans in coloured pencil
Runner Beans in coloured pencil
What a beautiful little Courgette. Watercolour
What a beautiful little Courgette. Watercolour
Home grown tomatoes - but not from my garden. Coloured pencil.
Home grown tomatoes – but not from my garden. Coloured pencil.
Globe artichoke before its haircut. Coloured pencil and no embossing tool.
Globe artichoke before its haircut. Coloured pencil and no embossing tool.

After just two days work, aren’t these amazing?

The next workshop is entitled ‘ Hedgerow produce – those colours!’ Tuesday 2 September until Thursday 4 September. As usual it is between 10:00 – 16:00 each day with lunch included. I do have spaces on the workshop, so get in touch as soon as possible.