Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Exhibition here we come !

I have just written the last posting for the Swanwick Lakes Art Project blog, so rather than re-write a posting for here, I have copied it across - happy reading !

On Sunday the last 'Meet the Artist' session took place at the reserve and it was lovely to see people and chat about the project.

The time is racing by now to the exhibition from the 28th to 30th October. The invites for the preview evening have all been sent out and the final framed pictures will be collected from my framer in Devon this weekend.

A small article about the project was in Hampshire Life magazine this week and it was interesting to see what their graphics person had done with the image of the Fly Agaric painting. Not too sure about it - but at least it has impact!

As for more artwork, this is coming to an end. I have started to experiment with acrylics on natural linen canvas, which has been great fun so a couple of the last paintings will be in this format. I have been using Daler Rowney Cryla artist's acrylics which are very creamy and seem to blend very well. So many people have said to me that acrylics dry too quickly, but Jonathan Latimer (who illustrated and wrote 'Orchards' published by Langford Press), recommended using a slow-drying medium which is added to the paints on your palette.
The two acrylic paintings that I have completed so far are shown below. The Lesser Water-boatmen canvas only measures 10 x 10 cms and the other canvas is 20 x 20 cms.

One of the paintings that I used for demonstrating at a local art group is also now finished and framed. Those of you that know me, know that I love drawing and painting fungi, and the colours in this bracket fungi were just too rich to ignore !

As well as framed paintings at the exhibition, there will also be some unframed but mounted and pages from my sketchbooks that I have started and not finished over the years.

As autumn is now here (all be it for a week's Indian summer this week), I thought that you would like to see another study of fungi. It is a sketch of an Orange Birch Bolete, drawn in Scotland in 2002. A more detailed painting was developed from this study and both will be on show during the exhibition.

I hope to upload another posting before the exhibition, but if I don't get time, I would like to thank everyone that has followed my blog on here and from Flickr. It has been very exciting having people from all over the world interested in my artwork and the project. I look forward to keeping in touch with some of you as we spread news of the highs and lows of being natural history artists and the joy we get from illustrating the many aspects of our natural world !

Sunday, 4 September 2011

This was the sight that awaited me when I visited the reserve last week. There were berries and hips everywhere ! I particularly like the Guelder Rose (above) and the Dogwood berries, but at the moment there just doesn't seem to be enough time to paint everything !

The preparation for the exhibition is really going at a pace now, with what I keep thinking will be the final lot of framing, but more pictures seem to be evolving. We are really grateful to Ecological Planning & Research Ltd who are lending us the screens for the exhibition in the study centre and today the fabric arrived to cover them - all 11 metres of it.

As well as working on the project I have also been exhibiting with the Marwell International Wildlife Art Society at Marwell Zoological Park near Colden Common. My painting of a Hazel Dormouse seemed a little overwhelmed being surrounded by pictures of big cats and other exotic creatures ! Never the less several other artists also exhibited paintings of native wildlife.

Alongside the exhibition there was an Art Market in an adjoining marquee over last weekend and I had a small pitch, showing some additonal work, selling prints and cards and also spreading the word about the Swanwick Lakes Art Project. Alas, there were not many sales, but it was great chatting to visitors about the project and I really look forward to seeing some of them at the forthcoming exhibition.
Whilst running my stand I also had the opportunity to 'demonstrate', and decided to work on one of the final pictures that I will painting for the project - that of a White Admiral butterfly and two Jay feathers, there is still one more feather to do !

The other medium that I have begun to explore is acrylic paint, which I am finding very exciting and different to use than watercolours. I am hoping that there will be some completed canvases ready for the exhibition, all be it small ones - watch this space !

Pictures of the art market stand follow: