I love painting, be it with watercolour, coloured pencil ink or just graphite. Many consider using some of these materials is ‘mark making’, rather than painting, but…….
Today I haven’t been painting at all. I have been getting things ready to take some work up to London tomorrow; hand-in for the annual SBA botanical art exhibition at Westminster central hall in April. I hate this aspect of painting, getting work ready for exhibitions! But tomorrow I get to meet old friends and other members of the SBA when they also hand in their work.
Then back to painting. But before I show a couple more pictures of the pineapple, a touch of Spring!
Some more pictures of the pineapple progression. I don’t know whether you notice this or not, but once I have had the first wash on an area, I use a lot of fairly dry brush work to do the detail for each segment. As I mentioned above, starting to paint a pineapple is a labour of love. But every single segment is so different and of course each one faces in a different direction.
The SBA botanical art exhibition in Palmengarten, Frankfurt, has almost left my to-do list for this year! Our SBA member Sue Henon and Palmengarten have already started having meetings about the next exhibition in 2016, but I will now have nearly a year free to decide about any involvement I might or might not have.
The pictures that came back are nearly all out of the house and there is only one last collection due. The house almost looks empty – so much so, that I can now see all the dust that quickly collected when so many people were in and out of the house collecting pictures. We will have exactly six days to clear up before our Christmas guests arrive!
As so many people were coming and going, I decided it was best to leave the Acanthus work in the house so that I could do a little of it whilst waiting for people to arrive. This is where I have got to with the picture. It is taking its time.
More importantly for me – and hopefully for a few of you out there, I now have all the details for the next Botanical Art workshop holiday in Norway. By clicking on the image below you will be linked to my website to download further information including the booking forms.
I don’t think that I have ever been so late at putting together everything when participating in an art trail – or in this case a craft trail!
I have hardly had time to think these last few months because of the SBA exhibition at PalmengArten. I thought I would get a bit of a break whilst the exhibition is on, but I forgot that I need to use that time preparing for the next stage – return of unsold paintings. Having said that, Sue Henon has worked solidly the last month for us.
Anyway, all of the above meant that I was not as well prepared as I should have been. But, it looks as though the ‘gallery’ is ready for a few visitors when it opens in the morning. We just need to bring my easel up to the house and the picture I started months ago; Acanthus – Bears Britches. It is much too wet and muddy for people to traipse down to the shed, so it will be lovely and cosy and everything in the house.
Just imagine; a nice warm, light area to view the paintings and the smell of Mulled wine and Mince pies. Do come and join us. Your invitation and instructions to find me are attached. I am number 6.
A good class this morning and progression with the brochure for the Norwegian botanical art holiday.
I have heard from Sue Henon that we have two further red dots on pictures. I am so glad that botanical art is being so warmly appreciated in Frankfurt. It would be lovely if we could awaken a similar interest in Norway.
Some more pictures. This time they are three pictures by Norma Gregory. I first met Norma when I first exhibited with the RHS. She won another Gold Medal with her fantastic paintings of roots. Amongst others was a Rhubarb plant which I will never forget. The RHS added that picture to their Lindley collection.
But now you are possibly ready for a couple of pictures in a different style coloured pencil than those shown yesterday. These two pictures are by Sue Henon and are on coloured paper.
In trying to catch up my own paperwork today (not that I have succeeded), I have at least put in the forms for the Chichester Open Studio event starting the weekend of the May Bank holiday in 2015. One box ticked off.
Since then I have been putting together my brochure for the Botanical Art Holiday in Norway 28th June to 5th July at Åsgårdstrand, near Tønsberg in south eastern Norway. A beautiful area, with lovely light and very peaceful. The brochure still isn’t finished.
People who might have their pictures returned from Palmengarten after the exhibition are arranging dates with me for collection. That is good as I will want to put my family up for Christmas!
I have my weekday class tomorrow morning and then its back to the grindstone in the shed.
Many of the artworks at Palmengarten have made quite an impression on me and some the artists have helped me considerably on my journey. The pictures that I will show for the rest of the week are a mix of these.
I love working with coloured pencil and although all of these pictures are not CP, the ones I am showing you today are by the artist who first taught me to use this medium – Susan Christopher Coulson.
The fourth picture by Maggie Fitzpatrick is just a picture that stood out for me. It isn’t big and flamboyant, but beautifully delicate. Please enjoy them as much as I have. Sorry they are wonky!
As usual, Monday is Sue Henon’s one day off from the botanical exhibition in Palmengarten. Early this morning she called me to let me know how the past week had been. She had been very busy during the week and had many late evenings at the exhibition, meaning she was quite late home.
The first bit of news was that there were now 34 red dots on the pictures. Sue has noticed that quite a few people have made repeated visits to the exhibition and were very interested in this ‘new’ subject; botanical art.
The second bit of news was that the people’s choice picture is one by Sarah Caswell. Sarah has painted the picture of Hellebores in Acrylic on canvas.
I am back to chasing my tail. In between emails about picture collection once the exhibition is finished and pictures being returned to the UK, I am trying to get my own paperwork done so that I can paint again!
More Palmengarten pics. If you have followed this blog from our journey to Frankfurt and setting up of the exhibition, you will have seen all the pictures being exhibited by the end of this blog. However, I will post a few of the pictures individually during this coming week, in addition to anything else I might be doing.
Artwork by Bridgette James.
Artwork by Kate Green and Sarah Caswell
This is a reminder about those who are running the exhibition in Frankfurt. Karin Wittstock from The Botanical Gardens, Palmengarten and Sue Henon SBA. Both sitting with Robin before we left Frankfurt to return home.
This was a good workshop. I needed to do only a few demonstrations, and none of them were in relation to laying on the colour. However, we did talk a lot about ‘form’ and how to achieve this and what needed to be in a botanical art picture.
I also have several dried Teasels in the studio, so the next obvious question was, how to draw these ready to paint. A lesson on Fibonacci ensued.
Enjoy the following pictures from this workshop. The two pictures started last Monday on the SFP workshop will probably require no more than simple adjustments if necessary. There are two pictures with Liquid amber leaves – but the styles are hugely different and work. The Sorbus picture will take a while to come to completion with all the tiny leaves and detail. The honeysuckle has needed a lot of planning and thinking ahead, more of the basis work is in place and now she can just carry on painting the rest of the picture.
I have had a very good day in teaching this workshop. I mentioned yesterday that I had the feeling that there would be some lovely results from the workshop; that feeling persists.
Even so, their accomplishments continue to amaze me and therefore I also need to be on my toes and give enough advice for continued development. I was glad to see that they took a couple of active breaks whilst drinking their tea or coffee, so that they could go back to the drawing board with fresh eyes. But, even though taking a break they continued to discuss their progress.
Some of the work as it is developing. There is a huge difference in each of their styles of working and every student has a struggle with a certain aspect of their picture. Two of the pictures were started on Monday at the SFP workshop, but you can see how their pictures are developing. Some have chosen very complicated pieces to draw and in fact only started using coloured pencil this morning. Not all of the pictures are shown here.
The last one shown below is the Honeysuckle. I think you might be able to understand the quandary the artist has when painting this picture. We are now in mid November, she has found this Honeysuckle still flowering, but knows that its days are numbered. In addition to the limited supply, she also wants to get done that part of the plant that is likely to die first – the flowers. This is typical of all botanical art painted from a live subject – what do you paint first and what is likely to change most?
In addition to this, if choosing to paint the flowers first, how much shading does one put into the flowers? If the dark leaves are done first, then the ‘hole’ left in the picture for the flowers is likely to need much less shading than if done without a dark background.
Painting white or very pale flowers on white is quite daunting. It is possible, but one has to make sure that the shading to create form, is not overdone. The problem is minimised if the pale flowers are against a dark background, or background of leaves. The hole you leave in the painting for the flower is a shape and therefore the problems of creating the appearance of three-dimensional form are reduced.
The form of a subject is created by light hitting the surface of the subject. Some areas will be exposed to light and some areas less exposed to light or very little light. Thus the combination of the flat shape of the object, and the tonal differences created by light exposure, give you form; and a means of identifying the object. Colour is another issue altogether.
In the case of this Honeysuckle, it was decided that a grey underpainting on the leaves would be done first so that the flowers would stand out as white shapes. Before the leaves are completed fully, the flowers will be completed delicately and the leaves finished afterwards. The bark will be finished last of all but I doubt that you will get to see that part of the picture.
So, some more pictures from the Botanical art exhibition held in Palmengarten the botanical gardens, Frankfurt, Germany.
I didn’t realise, until everyone turned up for the workshop, that everyone was going to be using coloured pencil. This is the first workshop that I have had that is wholly coloured pencil – that is except for workshops that were only for coloured pencil artists. It was therefore celebrated!
We thought that we were to expect rotten weather, but it has been lovely. The weather inside was very good too.
All of the students really wanted to improve on their coloured pencil techniques and even on the first day I think that there will be some lovely results. You will see from the following picture that everyone is very willing to share knowledge and that makes for an even better workshop.
I’m amazed at how much easier it is, as a teacher, to only teach in the one medium – as of course most of my workshops are suitable for both CP and watercolour artists. Additionally, all of the students had been to my workshops before and knew my routines. They were very good self-starters.
From the above, it would seem that I only teach people who can already paint botanical art. That is not so as even some of the people there today, started off with me and without very much knowledge of how to use coloured pencil. You have to start somewhere and as the classes are small I can give everyone the attention that they need – experienced or new beginner.
I mentioned on Monday that two of the students on that day were coming to my worksop this weekend. Here is their start today.