Monday, 31 October 2011

Working from Spain

So I am currently in Spain! Seeing my mum and step dad for a little break. It was my birthday not long ago too, so I had a really great time! My mum had baked me a chocolate birthday cake!

Just been on a walk and saw some beautiful alpine plants up in the resinera close to mum's village. It's very beautiful here.  All the Poplars have just turned the most golden yellow and the people here have just made a new botanically themed walk with lots of plant labels. What's so odd is there isn't a soul in sight - so quiet.

I am finding it tricky doing this illustration, only becuase I am worried that it isn't what the assessors are looking for. But I am going to have to carry on with it now. The leaves are such hard work! Even at this stage of the course. I am really trying to get my tones right though, as i am still loosing marks with this aspect of my painting style... and this is an ideal subject to get my tones sorted out. 


Wednesday, 26 October 2011


Climbing Plants


Here is a glimpse of my latest piece of work  - an array of climbing plants (Passiflora, Phaseolus, Lonicera and Hedera.  I wanted to paint something with tendrils this season and the Passionflower just spoke out to me when I walked past it a few weeks back. I had been on a long walk, 'ransacking' florists and gardens to little avail, and then I found Perdita on my return leg, scrambling over a wall only a few minutes from my house. I thought: 'what luck'! 

What I really wanted to do with this painting is to she if I can have a composition like this one, and get away with it. I like the way it looks like a herbarium specimen - but I am also conscious of the fact that I don't want it to look too flat. 

So here are my first washes:






Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The Bunting Factory


My friend Kate came to stay with me this week for a pre-birthday weekend. The weather was beautiful so we spent a lot of time walking outside. We went to Hampstead Heath on Saturday and on Sunday we walked along the River Thames from Kew to Hammersmith. It's amazing how beautiful the river is up this end of town. You'd never know you were in a busy city! We had a lovely time catching up. Kate lives in Bristol, and because I work weekends we rarely get to see each other now, so we had a lot of catch up on!

On Sunday, with there being two of us I thought it would be good to get another line of bunting done... Mum's roof terrace is going to look really colourful!

I haven't got much illustration done (again)... Autumn is a very busy time of year for me, always has been and probably always will be. I like to spend as much time out-of-doors as possible when the sun is this low in the sky and the leaves are turning. Still - I have Friday off so I will try and get some work completed then. In the meantime, I am at work busy writing up a new webpage for the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art. It's about an oject that'sll be on show in our forthcoming exhibition 'Joseph Hooker - naturalist, traveller and more'.



Tuesday, 4 October 2011


Surfing the web and I found these...

I think they are great fun!



I am busy making bunting again - for my mum this time and some librian friends. I ought to get cracking on with my last assignment though, but I am not quite 'there' yet in my mind. I thinking about how to avoid dying cut flowers, because they always die on me rather more quicly than I intend them to! The tree's do look stunning in Kew, but I am a little weary of attempting to depict them. Marianne North always found the Autumnal shades the hardest. In Japan she had a particularly hard time. She had trouble capturing the colour of the maples which totally defeated her:

the hills were perfectly on fire with different tints of red, crimson scarlet and every shade of carnation, even different purples... I spent a vast quantity of madder and carmine in trying to imitate that which could not imitated’.

Which reminds me... I am giving a talk at the Chelsea Physic Garden on Marianne North a week on Thursday. I am a teeny bit nervous, as this is the first talk I have done since moving to London. I used to do a lot of presentations on Sir John St. Aubyn less than two years ago. I guess I am feeling out of practice.

Anyway, it's going to be a very insightful talk about Marianne - I will be talking about some of the findings we made on the conservation project ad showing lots of rarely seen photographs.

Come and join me if you can! For details please follow link.