The start of the ‘Stay-home’ mode.

One of my students wrote to me using the phrase ‘Stay-home mode’ and I thought this was lovely. Far better than some of the other terms that have been flying around at this difficult time.

None of us know how long this present situation will last and of course none of us know what it will be like at the other end. The Coronavirus has created a lot of uncertainty.

During the week I had my last botanical art workshop which had been brought forward from next week. The subject was the Perpetual Journal, something that was developed, taught and promoted by Lara Call Gastinger in the US. Lara has been very generous with this and encourages everyone to do something similar.

There were quite a few booked onto the workshop, but in the end there were just two very brave ladies who attended and enjoyed it. The workshop was a little unusual in that this time there was as much chatting as drawing and painting. Something we all needed before going into self-isolation. We didn’t solve the world’s problems but we certainly lifted our spirits.

An image from the workshop where they used only  a technical pen to draw the initial image with a layer of colour on top of this. Both ladies who attended were colour pencil artists, so this page shows the loose laying of CP on the pen line drawing. Colour pencil can be used just as much as watercolour. It means you can take your pencils anywhere without having to worry about using water.

It has been a tumultuous year so far. In the UK we have had our fair share of rain and wind. I have been terribly lucky in that although we are close to the sea no flooding has affected us; so many have been devastated by this.  But I think  that our  plants  are glad of the water as it has been quite dry for the last few years.

The wind hasn’t been quite so kind to us, although again we are lucky in comparison to many. Below is a picture of some of our garden. Bottom right you can just see the eves of my shed, but on the right is a massive Deodar tree. It is very tall and probably over 100 years old. It is standing too close to the house and for every storm I watch it sway. We have kept it trimmed so that wind can go through it, but  I am constantly worried. During a recent storm a big branch towards the top broke halfway and is hanging there, a little dangerously. We have decided the tree must go as our home is in jeopardy should the tree uproot, but as for much at the moment, dealing with it is on hold.

But, the sun is shining today and summer is on its way.                          

I have been offering an online botanical art course using watercolour or colour pencil for over four years. It took over two years to write and do the videos and since then I have had a steady stream of students from around the world.  I have controlled the number of students I have at any one time as a previous tutoring experience meant I was overwhelmed. Unfortunately I am my own worst enemy as I use several hours on marking each assignment so that the student feels they are getting enough information to continue their own development.

This year I have noticed an increase in the number of people wanting to do my course and initially I didn’t realise why!

‘Staying-home’ has meant that botanical art tutors everywhere can no longer teach their workshops physically and are looking for another way to teach – potentially online. There is now much more online botanical art teaching available, some are set up quickly as a reaction to the virus and some are tried and tested over a long time. The teaching varies with several providing step-by-step tutorials using monthly subscriptions; a few do online demos or even provide one-to-one lessons on screen; these are good for those who want to start painting flowers and plants.

If you want to do botanical art, courses with written tutorials and feedback from assignments are more in depth. They will often teach you about what to look for, how to do it and why.

Importantly, if you love botanical art and want to learn how to do it, there are now more than enough different types of tuition to be found online that will suit how you like to learn.

You will find information about my online course here: https://gaynorsflora.com/tuition-2/online-botanical-art-course/

I also have some videos you can watch on this page – these don’t cost a thing: https://gaynorsflora.com/my-tutorials/

In the meantime, these are a couple of recent pages from my Perpetual Journal, which I have now been doing for a year. Good luck, stay safe and healthy!

Week 12-Lesser Celandine: 19/03/19, Grape Hyacynth: 16/03/20 
Polygala myrtifolia, WC and pen&ink, Week 12 : 11/03/20

A little bit further with the Benton Iris ‘Farewell’

The Botanical Art Worldwide Exhibition; “In Ruskin’s Footsteps”, which is the English and Welsh contribution to the global exhibition happening 18 May 2018, is taking all my time these days, in addition to marking some really interesting assignments. Attracting people to look at botanical art and perhaps trying it is always an exciting prospect. For the exhibition, go to the Association of British Botanical Artists (ABBA) website: www.britishbotanicalartists.com. Here you will find all the updated information.

For my online botanical art course go to:gaynorsflora.com/tuition-2/online-botanical-art-course/

But I have done some more of my painting the Benton Iris ‘Farewell’. Last time I had done some of the leaves and told you that I was going to use graphite for some of them. I have decided that to show the habit of the Iris to the best advantage with the fan-shaped leaves, I would do these solely in graphite. In this way the overall effect of the picture will not be too heavy and the flowers will come to the for.

It was not easy doing so much graphite on the heavy Fabriano paper (640gsm) and I will need to adjust the strength of this as I add the flowers.

Below you get an idea of the overall layout of the picture with the flower spike with buds on the left side of the picture.

 



To the right is the bottom bud on the flower spike. After finishing this section I needed to adjust it because it came directly below and in line with the top bud. But as in so many plants the buds spiral round the stem and of course this is an important part of correct botanical observation.

The ideal would have been to get it right first time during the line drawing and not after having painted it! The image below is the corrected version. Here you can see the centre line at the bottom of the bud, has been moved slightly to the left.

 

 

And so the voluptuous terminal bud, with another one developing at its base. The bud of the Iris Farewell has a very typical shape to it and in my garden where I have different Irises, I can see the Farewell straight away. The tip is almost squared off rather than pointed. I think this is part of its attraction.
You will notice that I have started the flower to the right, but I will come back to that in my next blog. Whilst painting each section of my composition I am constantly looking at the rest of my picture and adjusting as I go along. I added a little more shadow to the right of the bud after I had started the flower. The image is from that stage.

I hope to get back to you soon with more images from the development of this picture.

I have another workshop in just over a week’s time. 23 – 24 February is a workshop on Composition and Perspective. If you want to improve on these particular topics in your own practice, sign up for the workshop as soon as you can.

Change of Date for a Botanical art workshop

I’m afraid I still have no new painting at the moment as I am writing, writing, writing – with of course a load of research in the middle. There is a lot going into this new online course I am doing, but I am really happy that several people have agreed to allow me to show their work as well.

I feel it is so important to let people know that there are so many styles of botanical art and so many ways of getting to where you want to go with it. Other artists have been really helpful in this and some have even offered to write bits about what they think is important in the style of work they do, to go into the course.

Anyway, Robin and I were checking dates in our diaries the other day and as I want to go to the ASBA conference in Pittsburgh this year, I have had to make a change to one of the workshops in October. This is the link: Botanical art workshops 2016

image

Palmengarten botanical art exhibition – 3rd weekend

What miserable weather we are having now – a reminder that winter is on the way. Only one week ago we had really warm weather – unseasonably so. It put us into a false sense of the cold and wet was still a long way away.

Now I have actually caught up with marking the assignments for the London Art College, so tomorrow I will have to catch up on other admin work as on Monday I am holding a coloured pencil workshop day for the Society of Floral Painters (SFP) just outside Southampton. When will I get back to painting?

I have moved my Wednesday class to Tuesday as I will be going up to London on Wednesday for the Society of Botanical Artists(SBA) Christmas meeting. Christmas!!?

Friday I start another three-day workshop on Autumn colours. I have one vacancy if anyone wants to fill that place let me know. Watercolour of Coloured Pencil.

More pictures from the Palmengarten exhibition? Here they are.

 

Artwork by Billy Showell
Artwork by Billy Showell
Artwork bySarah Wood, Amber Halsall & Sue Linton
Artwork bySarah Wood, Amber Halsall & Sue Linton
Artwork bySue Linton & Jennifer Jenkins
Artwork bySue Linton & Jennifer Jenkins
Artwork byLisa Tomassi
Artwork byLisa Tomassi
Artwork byCaroline Jackson Houlston and Rosemary Lindsay,
Artwork byCaroline Jackson Houlston and Rosemary Lindsay,
A very unfortunate view along the other part of the L-shaped Palm House. Picture taken prior to setting up of Sales desk. Get a real idea from the picture shown in the blog 4 November.
A very unfortunate view along the other part of the L-shaped Palm House. Picture taken prior to setting up of Sales desk. Get a real idea from the picture shown in the blog 4 November.

What isn’t happening in botanical art at the moment?

Yesterday (Thursday) was the first of a three-day workshop. Most of the day was spent on composition and drawing. Whilst the weather was OK we used the time to choose flowers from the garden to paint. We were only going to concentrate on floating flower heads.

As many will know, the colours in the garden do no clash. You can put all sorts together and it still looks beautiful. Nature is a wonderful thing. Therefore putting together colours that are not normally considered to be conducive with each other really works well. Hopefully you will see some of the results.

Normally just the morning is spent composing and drawing ready to commence painting. However, the students this time became very involved in the technicalities of composition and they realised that their final painting will only be as good as there drawing. There compositions were finished by the end of the first day and they were ready to start day two.

At the start of today, the students had some good drawings to start painting and carefully they began to lay in colour. After a lot of concentration and hard work, they made some headway by the end of the day – but whether or not they will finish their compositions by the end of tomorrow is anyone’s guess. We shall see.

Anyway, a good time has been had by all so far – including me. They are a fun, hard working bunch of people.

20140531-001345-825076.jpg

20140531-001344-824195.jpg

20140531-001422-862090.jpg

20140531-001421-861348.jpg

Catching up!

How many things to catch up on. Made much worse by problems on my website.

Yesterday, I spent as much time as I could preparing the Crab apple series for getting some notelets printed. But everything always takes much longer than you think. I took time out In the evening to go to the Maundy Thursday service as it is an important preparation for this coming weekend. On my return I sorted my to-do list ready for today.

Just before the RHS exhibition, I had said that i would post each picture properly on my website. I had done most of the preparation for it with only some minor adjustments to be made. So I thought!

I went into the back of the website only to find that most of what I had done, was no longer there. I looked on other pages and all my pictures were gone. I expect one or two of you may already be aware of this, but when I went into the front of the website, there was none. It told the world that I hadn’t paid my dues!

I was very upset as anyone can imagine. I had actually paid my subscription a month ago to avoid any problems in this very busy period. Eventually I was able to do an online chat with the company who sells the services for this website package. They sorted it out, but said I had to wait a few hours for it to go live. But there was absolutely no apology – even when I suggested it was appropriate.

I didn’t have to wait a few hours, but all of this did take a rather long time. Since then I have been even further behind and I’m still trying to catch my tail. The Crab apple explored page is now on the website – but I’m not a happy bunny.

Just so there is no confusion, the website package is not WordPress. WordPress seems to work remarkably well and might be worth considering for the main website.

My next workshop is 29 – 31 May, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The topic is flowers from the garden. Have you seen flower heads floating upturned in a bowl of water? Well this is the suggestion.

Have you also noticed that all flowers, no matter what their colour – go together? Nature is so fantastic that there are no colour clashes in our gardens. Don’t you find that amazing? Hopefully those who come to the workshop can replicate this.

This time you should be able to look at my website page http://www.gaynorsflora.com/page9.htm to get the details. You know how to get in touch with me if you are interested.

Looking ahead as the days have been getting a little warmer and brighter, I have been reminded of the summer workshop holiday 29 June to 6 July in Norway. Luckily the cost of taking a flight to the small airport not far from where the hotel is, is in fact very reasonable. I daren’t say cheap In case they put the prices up. – but ………

Norway is an absolutely beautiful country, so if you love botanical art. – or want to learn how to do it and, you want to visit Norway during their warm summer season, then join us. The places have been filling and I have but a few left. http://www.gaynorsflora.com/page10.htm

In the meantime, another botanical artist from the RHS exhibition. Nikki Marks who was awarded a Gold medal for her work on the Arisaema Genus.

20140419-002741.jpg

Congratulations Nikki!

Botanical art workshop – Autumn colours – in Bosham

Well, I mentioned that I was due to have a botanical art workshop from Friday until today. Are interested in how it went?

I have been allowed to take the following pictures and you can judge from these how it went. I and the people who came, would obviously be very interested in your feedback, so please comment.

20131103-225647.jpg

20131103-225707.jpg

20131103-225738.jpg

20131103-225752.jpg

Some of the subjects.
As usual, we took a photo once the position of the subjects had been arrived at. As I have suggested previously, it is worth doing this as we are painting from living things and they change over time. If something wilts, we can replace that element and if we knock something out of position, we can re-arrange. We still paint from living subjects.

20131103-230349.jpg

Enjoying the company and the opportunity to paint.

20131103-232501.jpg
Glory tree – Coloured pencil

20131103-232604.jpg
Malus Gorgeous – coloured pencil

20131103-232705.jpg
Fallen leaves – Watercolour

20131103-232756.jpg
A pear plus Malus Gorgeous and Golden Hornet crab apples – Coloured pencils.

I think that you will agree that these are lovely pictures that are well on their way to completion. But, what is even more amazing is that some of the students had not done much in the way of their chosen medium previously and they accomplished so much in this one workshop. It was exciting to watch them develop. No wonder I enjoy teaching!