Day before the journey to Frankfurt’s Palmengarten

My last blog mentioned that the botanical art exhibition at Palmengarten is now less than a week away. Each day that comes I think that I might get a little painting in before we go – but no such luck. I will show you a couple more pictures from the pen and ink drawing of Bear’s britches progression though.

I thought I had all the paperwork for Palmengarten clear in relevant folders etc, but then the cat jumped up onto the keyboard and knocked my tea all over the paperwork and the printing paper. That took a couple of hours to reprint it all as well as clear up the mess.

But today, my husband Robin got up early, gave me a cup of tea in bed and then took the train to Portsmouth to collect a van for our trip to Frankfurt. It is quite a large van, but he thinks we will be comfortable enough during the long journey, although it doesn’t seem to have all the mod cons one might expect/ wish for.

So we checked all the paintings etc against the spreadsheet I had done and loaded everything onto the van. Robin fastened everything securely and one of the cats, Fudge, inspected the lot to see that we had done it properly. His black and white brother (guess what his name is) inspected the suddenly empty spare bedrooms. They will be having a strict cat-sitter for the duration!

A good night’s sleep tonight and tomorrow we will be on our way to Kent to pick up the other half of paintings.

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The bear’s britches (Acanthus)

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Dipladenia – again

I am now on my 6th attempt – I think. I’m losing count.

It is a while since I last wrote a blog and since then I have been trying to get my head around my temporary(!) lack of skills. I had decided to paint a Dipladenia plant for the Botanical art exhibition at Palmengarten, Frankfurt in October. The title of the exhibition is Poisonous and Medicinal plants.

Prior to going to Norway I had sketched out and gently started the picture. For those who may not know, the Dipladenia is as poisonous as Poinsettia. But it grows long tendrils and these are a temptation to a playful cat. Unfortunately I didn’t know how poisonous the plant was and I now know that when the cat suddenly became seriously ill before we went away, that in fact he had been poisoned by the plant.The trouble is it also seems to have had a negative affect on my painting skills.

The plant is now in the shed – well away from playful cats, and will be given away once the picture is finished. I will not give up.

This time I have reduced the design and have painted most of the flowers first. I suppose that is asking for trouble as I seem to get a blockage when I get to the leaves. I know what I want to do, but somehow there is a disconnect between my head and the messages sent to my hand and skills with the brush, pigment and water!

I am taking some photos as I go along.

Dipladenia flower 1
Dipladenia flower 1

First layer of the dipladenia flower. Note what looks like a heavy dark tracing. It is in fact not heavy and is traced in the method I have demonstrated in an earlier blog. Because no sharp tool, even a pencil is used to do the tracing, the graphite is easily lifted off completely with a putty rubber, leaving NO indent.

Dipladenia flower 2
Dipladenia flower 2

The layers of watercolour are almost complete.

Society of Botanical Artists (SBA) at Westminster

First the RHS exhibition, then Chichester Open Studios – which is on again this coming weekend, and the SBA exhibition at Westminster Central Hall. Next week I will be talking about the Society of Floral Painters (SFP) annual exhibition being held in Chichester.

Normally the SBA exhibition is in April and it is a little easier for a Botanical artists to plan things. But this year, the SBA were only able to book their normal annual exhibition space in Westminster from tomorrow onwards. The private preview and opening of the exhibition is to be tomorrow between 11:00 and 19:00.

The official opening and prize-giving will be by Dr Nigel Dunnett, Professor of Planting Design at the University of Sheffield at 15:30. Although this is a little late, if you would like a formal digital invitation, please contact me  this evening through this blog and I will send one immediately.

The annual exhibition in Westminster is an open exhibition and is also to encourage those who paint botanical art to take part with a view to becoming members. Membership is dependent upon having a full quota of pictures being accepted for the exhibition, three years running. But, far from being a mountain to climb, seeing the pictures at the exhibition motivates many artists and helps to concentrate their minds on this particular challenge.

The exhibition usually has a lot of very beautiful botanical art. I remember the first time I went to the exhibition, I was enthralled! I don’t know how better to express what I felt. It is worth a visit if you are in London or want to take a trip up to the capital. I am going to the opening tomorrow.

I have four pictures that will be exhibited this year. Two are in pen ink and two in coloured pencil. I will be interested to see how the pen & ink pictures will be accepted as I have not exhibited anything similar previously. Additionally I will be demonstrating coloured pencil all day on Tuesday 13th May next week. Do come and see and hopefully get a feel for how I use the medium. Maybe I can tempt you to want to try using coloured pencil in your botanical art.

 

The SBA Annual Open Exhibition
The SBA Annual Open Exhibition

A very delayed update!

I have not updated this blog for a very long time. My excuse is like for everyone else – too busy.

But, a lot has happened in recent month. We decided last year that we were going to re-organise the house to accommodate my botanical art classes and open studios in May (with the Chichester Art trail) and in August. We started building works after Christmas and have continued since then. The main area, including kitchen, was done in time for the open studios in May. In fact the door into the gallery was only hung the night before – a close shave!

We had a huge increase in the number of visitors this year although the weather was very bad the first weekend with loads of rain. Two couples turned at the door and said that my type of art was not for them. A few others who came, came to have a look in other people’s houses (own admission), but became hooked on what they saw.  that was a fantastic result. I spent a lot of time telling people how I paint and why, showing them the process and giving them an opportunity to at least try out the colour pencils. Some became smitten and several signed up for classes and workshops.

I have loads more to tell, including about the Society of Floral Painters exhibition to take place this year in Chichester. I will come back to that tomorrow.