ABBA and busy bees!

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You might very well wonder what the connection is particularly if you didn’t read my last blog a month ago! ABBA stands for Association of British Botanical Artists. For some of us working with ABBA during the last year, at times we have been so busy that we felt as though we could buzzzzzzzzz away to something more relaxing. But we stuck with it and had a lovely exhibition at the Peter Scott Gallery, Lancaster University.

That was the start of ABBA, formed to take part in the Botanical Art Worldwide Exhibition where we were one of 25 countries taking part. For my part, I co-ordinated the UK offering.

But, whilst doing this it became very clear that there was a wish for ABBA to develop into an organisation that catered for everyone interested in botanical art. We are now putting things together to develop ABBA. Do come to the RHS Art & Plant Fair at the RHS Lindley & Lawrence Halls in London 11-12th July where we have a stand. You will be able to talk with me and my colleagues about our plans for ABBA’s future. Hopefully we can encourage you to join.

If I get time, I will be having some work there to demonstrate on, but I haven’t decided in which medium. That can be a surprise!

So what has been going on with me since my last blog?

I had a very interesting workshop at the end of May, where we concentrated on colour mixing. This is the sort of workshop that everyone says they want to do, but when it actually happens, life has taken over. But some people did sign up with an attendee from a loooooooong way away.

Although there was the opportunity to work in watercolour, people chose colour pencil. The results were amazing and there were pencils everywhere! In fact, it became so thoroughly interesting that I continued with my weekly class on one colour found to be a real challenge.

See if you can find a solution. I have to say it was slightly easier in watercolour than colour pencil. But a lot of layers are necessary no matter what medium you choose.

Following on from that was the event at the Stansted Park Garden show. We again had a really super show and met a lot of lovely people and the weather was perfect.

I notice that I am listing up events, which is not what my blog has normally been about. I want to show you work that I have been doing, but everything has been done in small bites as we race around the country setting up, taking down and planning.

But I did work some more on my Indian Corn in colour pencil. Luckily the fruit part of the corn doesn’t change too much over time as long as you look after it and keep it away from the light and gnawing bugs. But it is different with the leaves. I do need fresh supplies of those if the colour is to remain vibrant. 

I hope to see you at the RHS in a couple of weeks time. Do let me know if you have read my blog!

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Botanical art and the Stansted Park Garden Show

It is now the Thursday following the Stansted Park Garden Show. I can’t understand it, but everytime I write Stansted, it auto corrects to ‘stagnated’. That just is not what I want to say and definitely not what the show was like!

There was a lot of preparation for the show, in addition to everything else going on. Soon I am going to start having to say ‘no’. But it is difficult when you get asked; 1) Because others want you to take part and 2), because they like your work or your teaching.

The weather forecast for the weekend was mixed. We expected thunderstorms and rain. In actual fact, it was sunny but windy for most of the time and the rain came at night or early in the morning. Anyway, the car got packed up – thanks to Robin. But he wasn’t happy with all that had to go into it.

© 5.Stansted 15

© 6.Stansted 15

 

 

 

 

 

 

Luckily we don’t live too far away from Stansted and a few hours later we made our way home leaving the stand covered in case of storms (but not floods).

© 3.Stansted 15

The rest of the pictures tell a tale of three lovely days spent at the show, meeting lots of new people visiting the show and, of course reuniting with the stand holders who returned from last year.

We got home fairly late in the evening of Sunday having packed everything up again. But, although we unpacked the car, the sorting waited until Monday.

Now I am catching up with London Art College assignments and the next important event on the Calendar – Norway.

 

© 1.Stansted 15 © 2.Stansted 15 © 4.Stansted 15

Notice the reflection in the Umpha - umpha!
Notice the reflection in the Umpha – umpha!

© 8.Stansted 15

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the work during the Show? I have to be honest, I started the Indian Corn a long time ago and pick it up now and again. The corn doesn’t change you see, although I will need new leaves when I get that far.

The botanical art demonstration - Indian corn in coloured pencil
The botanical art demonstration – Indian corn in coloured pencil

The Bearded Iris: 52 Shades of Grey.

Today I have been licking my wounds and demonstrating coloured pencil in botanical art at the Society of Floral Painters Exhibition, the Oxmarket, Chichester. I had a lot of interested people looking at how ‘crayons’ can be used successfully. Hopefully we might get a few converts.

I have been working on a piece with Indian Corn as the subject. The painting has been going on and off for a long time, but hopefully with the little I did today and the work I will be doing on it at the Stansted Garden Show, I might get some more of it done. In time you might see it, as long as I don’t ruin that too. Understandably I am getting a little unsure about transporting work in progress after yesterday’s events!

After I came home today, I have been getting some more things ready for the show at the weekend. But I have also colour-matched and printed yesterday’s damaged original. Here it is.

The Bearded Iris: 52 shades of grey.
The Bearded Iris: 52 shades of grey.

Stunning Irises workshop in Bosham

I haven’t been very good at keeping up with my blogging as there has been so much going on this month. We came back from our weekend away, back into the thick of things and preparation for the three-day workshop that has just happened.

A few weeks ago I held a workshop for Fieldbreaks at Goodnestone Park in Kent. That was a great success (according to the students) and it was time to do the same thing here in Bosham. Irises is really the thing at the moment. Unfortunately they are so short lived. Stately and elegant in their glorious drapery; some with beards, some without; some very slim and sylph-like, others plump and very ‘Reuben-ish’. If you remember, he liked to paint women with something to them – buxom and a bit more.

We had something of everything here. The simplest in appearance were the ones you get in the supermarkets – we had a lot of them! Others brought beautiful bearded Irises and some, very beautiful slim yellow irises or blue irises with highly patterned falls (the name of one of the petals). Common for all was the way God has assembled them for us.

So that we would have a better idea of how an Iris really looks and how it is assembled, we actually took a few of them to pieces and there was a queue for the three microscopes. Initially, no-one on the workshop was interested in botanical illustration. After they had looked through the microscopes I actually saw some of them drawing what they had seen! It is exciting.

We were a little late in starting to paint the irises as a fair amount of time went into examining them and drawing them ready to paint. In fact unusually, no-one started painting until the next day. But it seems that the knowledge of what they were doing (i.e. careful observation of the plant), actually seemed to help them both in the drawing of their subjects and painting them.

The sun actually shone on the second day – but it did cast some strong shadows for some of these photos.

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Work in Watercolour and Coloured pencil on the second day.

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And the paintings at the end of the three days. All took Irises home with them to complete their work.

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So what now? Tomorrow, all day,  I will be demonstrating Coloured pencil in botanical art at the Society of Floral Painters Exhibition at the Oxmarket in Chichester.  The exhibition is open until Sunday midday, when it will be taken down. Do try and take the opportunity to go there to have a look.

I will be having my penultimate botanical weekly art class for this school year, on Wednesday, and Thursday we will be setting up for the Stansted Garden Show due to happen from Friday until Sunday. There will be a lot to see there and I will be continuing my demonstration in coloured pencil. I understand that the weather is to improve for the occasion. I hope to see you.

Final day at Stansted and more

I am so tired. Happy, but tired.

Today we had fantastic weather and loads of visitors. For me there continued to be a constant stream of botanical art interested people. So many to explain to about botanical art and illustration.

I wrote this on Sunday and then fell asleep! It was an interesting and rewarding three days which might even have benefits in relation to future work. I also managed to get a little done on the Irises picture in coloured pencil.

This week has been catching up on paperwork, gardening and more painting as I couldn’t bend any more. But now at least we can see the flowers for the weeds and overgrown Forget-me- nots.

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Next week I have a three-day workshop called ‘How difficult can Roses be?’. The roses in the garden are now in full bloom smelling beautifully and ready to be painted. Luckily we have all sorts which will allow people of varying abilities and experience to get a good result.

But it is now only two weeks until my husband and I travel to Norway in preparation for the workshop there.

The irises so far.

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2nd day at Stansted Park Garden Show

And the heavens opened!

We knew that today(well yesterday now), the weather had been forecast as very bad – although the forecast was changeable. We knew that during the night there might be downpours and several times during the day.

We woke up to a wet nose wanting food ( one of the cats). We noticed it was wet outside, but nothing undue. We were about to leave the house to get to Stansted House when the heavens opened and it poured.

Keep calm and collected as there is nothing that can be done about nature other than dress for the occasion. I donned a sweater, long raincoat and long wellies – as well as my jeans of course. We got to Stansted just as the rain was stopping ( about 1/2 hr after we left.home). We were greeted by a man singing wishful and happy, sunny songs.

By 11:00 the sun was breaking through and the sky rapidly became blue with the odd puffy white cloud. That was the weather state for the rest of the day. Beautiful!

We had a lot of very interested visitors to the stand and discussions ranged from the type of coloured pencil I was using, to the potential for taking part in a new project. Some exciting conversations!

A picture taken during today:

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One more day to go. Do come and enjoy the atmosphere.

First day at Stansted Park Garden Show

What a lovely day. The weather was super- the sun shone all day, it was warm but not hot and there was a slight breeze.

The stand we have is just inside the Art and design marquis, so we had the benefit of fresh air coming in. I can imagine it might not have been so pleasant on a cooler day, but lovely just now.

As soon as the gates opened to the show, people streamed in and there seemed to be a constant flow of interested visitors during the whole day.

I had decided to demonstrate botanical art using coloured pencil. This worked out well and was obviously the right choice as it attracted quite a few people to the stand. I had loads of questions and this also meant that they looked a little more closely at the pictures than they might have done. I also found out that Irises are in fact a flower that is much appreciated.

This evening has been spent with stocking up again and now a very slightly earlier night than usual.

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Stansted garden Show – setting up day

A long day!

Thankfully the weather has been gorgeous. Driving the short way to Stansted (15 minutes), we felt so blessed living in such a beautiful part of the country – especially when the weather is so nice. Apparently it will be just as nice tomorrow and, Saturday may not be as bad as first forecast.

Now why am I focusing so much on the weather? One reason is because I am British and we do that. The second reason is because my pictures are now in a big marquis waiting to be shown to the publics. The third reason is the visiting public. Where would we be without them and why would they visit the show if the weather was awful?

Actually, in the UK, people don’t necessarily stay away because of bad weather and they certainly do come if it means a chance to see unusual plants for their gardens. But it certainly makes the experience more fun if the sun is shining – which it seems there is a good chance for it to do so.

I haven’t got too much to comment about the work put in today, other than that there seem to be an awful lot of very nice people working to put the show together at Stansted. They are extremely effective and I take my hats off to them. Additionally there are a lot of very nice and happy stand holders there. I am looking forward to the opening of the show tomorrow.

This our packed car parked in our drive this morning. I did manage to squeeze into the front seat.

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Do come to see us. Tomorrow I will be working on my botanical painting of the Irises in coloured pencil.

Stansted Park Garden Show – the night prior to setting up.

It is 12:57 in the morning. My husband Robin has put his foot down. It’s time for bed.

This morning I had my last weekly botanical art class until the students return in the Autumn. This year they were positively dismayed at the idea of not having a weekly class again until then. I felt guilty.

After everyone had gone I caught up on emails about the Autumn botanical art exhibition being arranged between the SBA and Palmengarten in Frankfurt. Apparently the forms I had taken so long to do so that they could be filled out online, didn’t quite work! I had to sort that out and resend them – having tested them thoroughly this time. At least I’ll know how to do it another time.

At last I could get on with packing things to take to Stansted. Of course, I thought that I had a handle on everything and that it would go smoothly. How many small things (and not so small) one can forget! I have a list for tomorrow morning as I wasn’t allowed to do it tonight.

At the last moment we ordered a new hanging system with the hope that it will arrive early. My husband also went out and bought two folding tables rather than taking good ones. Last but not least he also bought some plastic sheeting to put over the stand at night in case there are any horrendous downpours that find leaky points in the marquis.

Robin has got the stand itself into the car already and all that remains to pack in the car is this lot – plus some, and not forgetting my easel and a chair, and another table, and……………

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As you see one of the cats has started wondering if we are moving!

Don’t forget, the Garden Show is Friday, Saturday and Sunday.