Hedgerow produce botanical art workshop in Bosham.

Once again a good workshop (I think), with lovely people (I know). There were some struggles on the way and changes of subject once everything was put on the table and the garden checked out. There was even a change of medium too, giving unexpected results.

Here are some of the photos taken during the process and at the end.

Other results;

The chef, with a few fluid ingredients at the ready.
The chef, with a few fluid ingredients at the ready.

Happy students

And finally a picture taken last night by one of the students.

The lunar eclipse

The next workshop is pen and ink 30-31 October. Do get in touch if you want to take part.

Fuchsia microphylla progress; and composition.

The last time that I mentioned anything about this botanical art piece in progress, was August 3, during my Open Studio event in Bosham. You saw the start of the picture and I will reintroduce it here.

Fuchsia microphylla painting started
Fuchsia microphylla painting started

I got as far as this:

Fuchsia Microphylla botanical art progression - change point!
Fuchsia Microphylla botanical art progression – change point!

When, with the help of a very good friend who is a brilliant mentor, I decided I needed to change the composition. As he said, I hadn’t put enough thought and work into the composition before I had started and therefore I was likely to come a cropper. I agreed with with him.

Following this discussion, I decided to prepare all my dissections and other parts to be introduced into the composition, in detail. Until this time, I had only prepared the main part in detail and put a rough sketch where I was going to have the other sections; this included a ‘line’ that represented a branch! Therefore I had to get down to the hard work that I needed to do; my detailed line drawings ready to trace over.

The microscope then came into function and this helped me change my mind completely about the sort of dissections I needed for the picture. Here is what I saw:

Fuchsia micrphylla stamens
Fuchsia micrphylla stamens

The flower has eight stamens. Four are tucked up and four hang down, with the hanging down ones ripening first. Had I done a typical dissection showing a separate stamen and separate style and stigma, no-one would have realised how it was all placed in the funnel formed by the semi-fused sepals. The solution to this problem was to do one longitudinal dissection of the flower, showing the stamens, style and stigma in situ. All I have to do is the drawing and painting show that it shows clearly!

We are still back at problem number one; composition. How are the elements to be placed and what size will they be. If you remember the plant has tiny leaves and flowers. The main section is painted at twice the normal size, although I will include a graphite line drawing actual size. But how big do the dissected flower and fruit have to be to be seen clearly?

I completed all my line drawings, traced them onto tracing paper in the manner I have previously written about in this blog, and I cut each traced element to arrange around the paper. These are all the compositional trials I made. Which one do you think I chose?

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As a final for this blog, I still have a couple of places left for the next workshop in Bosham; Hedgerow produce, 25 – 27 September. If you are interested have a look at the the page on this website, Tuition –> Workshops. You will be very welcome.

Botanical art in graphite – workshop

Today was the second and final day of the botanical art workshop using graphite. It was a lovely small group of artists and I believe that we learnt a lot from each other. 

I think this aspect of a workshop is important, whereby we all learn something from each other – even the tutor. 

I may have mentioned this before, but personally, I don’t think I would have got so much enjoyment from teaching if I hadn’t learnt a lot from the students I was teaching. I always think that a question that one person asks, sets in motion a whole thought process which makes me think about how and why, so that I can answer appropriately. From this I can develop a process, simplifying as much as possible, and cutting out anything unnecessary on the way.

Example, why do I draw my subject onto sketch paper and then trace it via a lengthy process onto my art paper? Those of you who follow my blog (https://gaynorsflora.com/2015/03/19/tracing-to-art-paper-without-indentation/)will know that once I have actually drawn my design, I trace over it  once, then again on the reverse side before transferring it to my art paper – and without leaving indented lines in the paper. The whole process seems long and drawn out, when all I want to do is paint a good picture! But I know that my final picture will be no better than the amount of preparation I put into it.

So having thought all this through, what are the benefits?

  1. Freedom to change the design as many times as I want to before the tracing process.
  2. Less waste of paper.
  3. Potential for a better composition on my art paper as I can move the tracing around the paper before tracing it over ( that was a student comment today).
  4. Pristine art paper at the start of the painting – leading to a better result.
  5. The same tracing can be used several times without additional graphite.

I expect that you can add other benefits to the above.

The gorse tracing that I made for my last blog has been used seven times since I did it, without adding more graphite to the tracing. I have just laid it on fresh paper whilst demonstrating the technique at this workshop, and rubbed gently over it with a decoupage tool as previously described.

I used the same technique when doing a new drawing during this workshop. But I used Bristol board and when I took away the removable tape I had used, it removed the surface of the paper. The same happened to one of the students. She was not fazed, and neither was I. We simply quickly repeated the process on the other side of the paper. Tip: don’t do that with Fabriano HP watercolour paper as it has a right and wrong side.

Rather than me wittering on, you will be more interested In the resulting work from the last two days. I have put a copyright on each of the pictures as they are posted on my blog, but the copyright is with each of the students.

   

           

Promised Hellebore workshop pictures

I promised to show the Hellebores following the botanical art workshop at the weekend.  Unfortunately I couldn’t do it before now as one student came back during the week for a class – taking advantage of being on holiday in the area; one went back to Norway; and one wanted to do some more at home after the workshop. However, here they are. I am really pleased with the pictures so far.  All the students decided to use coloured pencil, but painting Hellebores face exposed is not easy, whether using watercolour or coloured pencil. There is a lot of detailed work.

For those of you who do know a bit about coloured pencil and botanical art, no embossing tool was even near any of the pictures. They all decided to try doing it the hard way via controlling their pencil and carefully laying layers of colour. The results of this were really good.  Personally I feel that if you can avoid the embossing tool as much as possible, the result is more realistic and of course you don’t damage the paper. I think that In the end the students found the spots on the petals the most difficult.

It was the spot pattern on some of the Hellebores that had attracted several of them to choose these particular flowers, but they didn’t find it as easy as they had thought. The reason for this was that the spots guide the insects to the nectaries and this creates a specific pattern, but at the same time they accentuate the shape and fall of the petals – almost in the same way as the veins do. Not easy.

It was interesting listening to the conversation round the table about their individual choices of flowers. One felt she wasn’t able to get things really dark with CP, so chose the dark flower.  She found that spending time on choosing the right colours and deciding the order in which they were used, helps a lot – as does being conscious of contrast. Another person chose a pale flower as they had difficulty doing pale. One person didn’t really like Hellebores but wanted to learn how to do them.

As each of them benefitted from looking at each others work, it was quite rewarding. I think that all were surprised and pleased with their results.

Please enjoy.

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Botanical art workshop report from Twigs and things.

We have just finished the botanical art workshop and I thought I would get the pictures resulting from it, onto the blog before I started marking London Art College assignments.

From my perspective we had a very enjoyable workshop. But then I would say that wouldn’t I? Hopefully someone will confirm or deny this when they read the blog!

When painting a serious botanical subject that has gnarled branches with lichen or moss growing on it, I feel that I can play with the painting of it – as long as I stay true to the form, growth habit and type of lichen etc. I wanted to convey this to the group as well as get them to see the multitude of colours within such a specimen. I had two days to do this. Half of the group worked with watercolour and half with coloured pencil. Therefore it was exciting demonstrating the same topic in each of the media.

On one occasion I showed the group how to paint the furry terminal bud of a Magnolia soulangeana, first in watercolour and then in coloured pencil. It was quite amusing to hear the comments and the competition in assessing which bud looked best and which medium best suited that topic.

I was very glad to see that there were quite a few different types of lovely specimens which excited the group in different ways. There were some lovely colours observed, hidden in nooks and crannies. Red, pink, blues, oranges etc. A touch of some of these fresh colours, lifted a picture without dominating it. Anyway, I hope that you enjoy the following pictures.

The next botanical art workshop is Floating Hellebores (exposed faces), 27 February to 1 March. We already have a lot of Hellebores flowering in the garden, from very pale to very dark. There are available places, so do get in touch and book.

The brave class
The brave class
A piece of bark with several lichen types growing on it. The main one is identified as Cladonia cornuta.
A piece of bark with several lichen types growing on it. The main one is identified as Cladonia cornuta.
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At work
Gnarled birch branch with a variety of lichen forms. Watercolour.
Gnarled birch branch with a variety of lichen forms. Watercolour.
A branch of Magnolia stellata in watercolour.
A branch of Magnolia stellata in watercolour.
A variety of types of licjhen and moss on another branch from a Magnolia stellata tree. Coloured pencil.
A variety of types of licjhen and moss on another branch from a Magnolia stellata tree. Coloured pencil.
Start of a very complicated piece of work in Coloured pencil. The difficulty of portraying Cladonia cornuta amongst the other lichen growing on the bark piece. Quite a challenge.
Start of a very complicated piece of work in Coloured pencil. The difficulty of portraying Cladonia cornuta amongst the other lichen growing on the bark piece. Quite a challenge.
Rosehips in Watercolour
Rosehips in Watercolour
Both Birch twig and bark from a tree, with small amounts of lichen growing on it. Coloured pencil
Both Birch twig and bark from a tree, with small amounts of lichen growing on it. Coloured pencil
Branch with lichen very happily in situ. Watercolour
Branch with lichen very happily in situ. Watercolour

The Pineapple and a new workshop

I was reminded today by a friend that I have been remiss in my blogging. I am sorry for that. Therefore to catch up-

Last Saturday Robin and I were at the Society of Floral Painters(SFP), AGM and lunch. It was a very good meeting and lunch finishing off with an interesting talk by Roy Lancaster. It is the first such meeting I have been to and I gained a lot from it – as well as meeting lots of other botanical and floral painters.

The SFP have their next exhibition in Chichester Oxmarket arts Centre 20 May – 7 June. Look at my website http://www.gaynorsflora.com for details.

But since Saturday I have been continuing with the Pineapple picture – when time has allowed. I am adding a few more pictures at the end of this blog.

Tomorrow I am having a new two-day workshop here in Bosham. The topic is ‘Twigs and things’. It will be very interesting to see what people bring with them. I hope to be able to post some pictures after the workshop.

The next workshop is Friday 27 February – Sunday 1 March and the topic is Hellebores – floating. This means one has the opportunity to paint the flowers face up, showing their beautiful and colourful detail. There are a very few vacant places, so do contact me or look at my website (details above) for more information.

The pineapple-

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Society of Floral Painters (SFP) workshop day & Palmengarten

For a change I will tell you a little of what I have been up to today.

I mentioned a couple of days ago that I would be doing a fair amount of teaching this week. Today I did a workshop for the SFP. A couple of times a year they arrange workshops for members at a place called Bursledon just outside Southampton.

Bursledon is by the River Hamble and its Elephant Boatyard is on the site of the old ship building yards where Henry VIII’s fleet was built. But I didn’t get to do any sightseeing unfortunately.

The village hall where the workshops are held is very light and airy, but the light comes in all directions giving all round light. Difficult when you want to emphasise contrast and shadows creating form.

The topic of the workshop was Autumn Colours and the medium was coloured pencil. Some of the students were well into using coloured pencil in botanical art, some had played a bit with CP and some had collected the odd pencil and wanted to learn how to use them. We had only one day.

Because of time limitation (1 day), and unlike my usual workshops, I had to stay focused only on CP techniques, rather than the whole picture – initial drawing and composition. This meant that people had to have taken decisions about subject and composition before today, to be in readiness for laying CP.

I demonstrated the technique, answered questions and then let people put into practice what they had picked up from the demo and instruction. After that it was a question of going round and continuously checking progress, giving advice and solving individual issues.

I’m afraid that I only took a few pictures as I waited a little too late before remembering to take them. But there are two people from further west who are absolute gluttons for punishment, they got off on time, but are coming back for my three- day workshop at the weekend. I will definitely take photos of their results then.

Here are four of the results from today.

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Don’t you think they are stunning? Three of the happy ladies (Maggie Roberts, Barbara Sampson and Ruth Roberts) considering if they are going to paint Medlar or not. I think that they were amazed that when painting subjects such as dead and dyeing leaves, you can really play with colours. They were so surprised to find out that dull brown also contains pale pinks, exhilarating magentas, delicate blues and of course vibrant reds and yellows.

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To finish off this blog a few more of the exhibition pictures at Palmengarten.

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Artwork by Sandra Armitage & Vickie Braithwaite.

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Artwork by Cheryl Wilbraham & Yuriko Kojima

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Artwork by Shevaun Doherty & Elisabeth Sherras Clark

Another Pen & Ink workshop

I thought that last Saturday was likely to be our last day of summer, so used the opportunity to go out with the kayaks in Chichester Harbour – the Bosham inlet. It was fantastic. But low and behold we got several more opportunities to go out in them. We would have gone again on Tuesday at high tide, but a lot of preparation needed to be done for the Pen & Ink workshop starting the next day. However, I did get what I think might be my last trip (without wet suits) in the kayak this year, on Wednesday evening after the workshop. It was lovely and warm and relaxing – 1st October.

So why did I need something warm and relaxing? The Pen and Ink workshop was only Wednesday and Thursday, therefore I had my work cut out to teach a new technique to a full house. As normal I encouraged people to choose more realistic challenges for themselves as they needed to draw their subject before branching out into the ink technique. It was a lovely group of people and luckily they took my advice – although I think some of them might have chosen something more difficult given the opportunity. But when doing a new technique, it is always much better to choose something simple, get a feeling for the technique and thus a good result.

At the end of the first day everyone had their first layer of ink on and was ready to take a break. By the time they came back on Thursday, nearly all were enthusiastic and they stormed ahead getting the results you see. I am glad to say that most were really encouraged by their results and are very determined to do some more pen and ink work in this style.

Serious work on the big table.
Serious work on the big table.
Serious work on the two small tables
Serious work on the two small tables
Chief cook and bottle washer in the background
Chief cook and bottle washer in the background
This is meant to be a serious matter!
This is meant to be a serious matter!
Back to the serious work
Back to the serious work

And so the results:

It was a seed head of some description, but we are not sure from what.
It was a seed head of some description, but we are not sure from what.
Dried Poppy seed heads
Dried Poppy seed heads
A Magnolia fruit case
A Magnolia fruit case
Himalayan Lily seed case
Himalayan Lily seed case
Horse Chestnut - or conker before getting bashed!
Horse Chestnut – or conker before getting bashed!
Rose hip quicky
Rose hip quicky
Pine cone. How would we manage without Fibonacci?
Pine cone. How would we manage without Fibonacci?
Hydragea quickey
Hydragea quickey
Dried Teasle
Dried Teasle
Dried up Pineapple top. Notice the intriguing technique used here. I would like to see more of this.
Dried up Pineapple top. Notice the intriguing technique used here. I would like to see more of this.

A new botanical art project started.

On Saturday I will be travelling up to Leicester for the day to go to an Institute for Analytical Plant Illustration (IAPI) meeting, Grasses masterclass, at the University botanical gardens. I am looking forward to this as I have only just joined the group and this is my first meeting with them.

Monday will again be a very early start to arrive at Goodnestone Park Gardens in Kent for 09:30 in the morning. I am teaching at one of the Botanical art workshops arranged by Field Breaks and hugely looking forward to it. Goodnestone Park is a lovely place to do botanical art and the gardens contain a lot of subjects! Already I know some of the students and some use watercolour and others coloured pencil. I enjoy this mix.

But I have started another picture. I am still doing the initial sketch! But the final picture will be in pen & ink. I have another two-day workshop 1-2 October which will be pen & ink. How far I will get with this picture by the start of that workshop, I don’t know – but it will be useful having something on the go.

So far I have only started sketching it. Guess what it is!

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