Friday, 25 February 2011

After 9 and a half hours - end of a day I think!



Sally after 8 hours...



Sally after five hours...




A walk around London

London Plane by the Thames - I love all the little prickly seedballs

So after three lovely hours in the print room at Kew Studio yesterday, I went for a walk around London. It was such a lovely day, and everyone was smiling. I had to go to Charbury Lane first though to drop off my grapes. They are now being scanned and colour corrected as we speak - very exciting! After dropping them off I went for wonder. I really regretted wearing rather impractical shoes, but I was so desperate to get my legs out in the sunshine that I couldn't wear my DM boots.

St. Paul's Cathedral standing proud and in the light amongst the dark modern buildings

I found the sun transformed London: shadows became blacker, office windows glared the sun right back at you and everyone was happy and smiling. It had been such a grey January and February... the sun was definitely due. So I walked from somewhere north of Fenchurch Street down to Stamford Street in Waterloo where some friends live. So glad I made the most of it.

The River Thames at sunset

By sunset I felt like I was standing in one of J. M. W. Turner's watercolour paintings... the light was just incredible. I was going to go to Tate Britain to see the Watercolour exhibition that afternoon, but I guess I didn't need to!

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Botanical Teaching Diagrams

These nineteenth century botanical teaching diagrams are part of an extraordinary collection in the archives at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. There large size meant that they could be seen by students from a distance in the classroom.

Linum usitatissimum L. 60 x 48.2 cm

Cross section of the ovary in fruit. The ovary has five cells, but a wall (septum) develops
in each cell, dividing it in two, the whole thus appearing 10-celled.

Myosotis alpestris F. W. Schmidt, 61 x 49 cm

A flowering stem. This shows an arrangement of flowers commonly found in the borage family: the scorpioid cyme (I love that phrase). Easily remembered by looking at the stem and noticing that the flower branches are curled like a scorpion's tail. Probably painted in 1870 by J. Sadler.


Diagram of leaf margins (edges), 60.8 x 47.1 cm

Serrate is with sharp teeth pointing forwards towards the leaf tip. Dentate is with sharp, outward pointing teeth and Crenate is with rounded teeth. The handwritten annotations at the bottom were made by J. H. Balfour. Pre- 1859.

(All information from 'John Hutton Balfour's Botanical Teaching Diagrams (1840-1879), Henry Noltie, 2000. An exhibition in Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.)

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Sunday, 6 February 2011


Thanks to Annette who has been kind enough to put me on her website, I have just been added today, and I am rather pleased. It's a step in the right direction!

15 minute Broccoli


Friday, 4 February 2011

Half a Day of Drawing...

So my next botanical illustration assignment is to paint a portrait of a vegetable... unlike the problems I had with fruit in not being able to choose one because I am not a massive fan of fruit, I am now spoilt for choice as I love vegetables... So, I decided to do some drawing. - I am supposed to be keeping a sketchbook after all... I would really like to draw a Romanesco, but it's too difficult. The problem with anything in a Fibonacci spiral is if you're just a little bit out, it's VERY obvious. I don't mind spirals on cones and sunflowers, but on a Romanesco... Well it's taking the micky. I do really like broad beans... but the foamy interior will be très difficile in watercolour. Other plants on my list are Kale, Rhubarb, Garlic and an Artichoke. If anyone has any suggestions, please leave a comment :)


Vicia faba (Broad Bean)

Asparagus officinalis (Asparagus)


Phaseolus coccineus (Runner Bean)


Pisum sativum (Pea)

Then I got board of drawing vegetables and thinking about them, so I tried a cone:


Not sure on the species name as I found it on the floor (Cone)

And then it was time for dinner... stuffed peppers with rosemary spuds, cinnamon and sage roasted butternut squash and a pomegranite and orange leaf salad, followed by an apple crumble (I had guests round and hence only half a day of drawing).