Wednesday, 26 September 2012

A passion for flowers - 'Passion Flowers'

Being a botanical artist I obviously have a passion for flowers as well as other botanical subjects.  Over the last few years I have concentrated on native wild plants, fungi and 'scraps of nature' as I call them.

Recently, I have been thinking about painting more exotic plants.  This motivation has come from spending time at RBGE and being fascinated by the plants in their glasshouses.  When I was there in July two Passion flowers were in bloom, and when I returned for the graduation a couple of weeks ago, another beauty was also 'showing off'.

Passiflora vitifolia

Passiflora alata x caerulea
Passiflora sp

Passiflora caerulea
The last two images are of a Passion flower growing in our garden.  We have totally re-landscaped our small garden, and one of the plants that I have always wanted to have is a Passion Flower.
I bought a small straggly specimen in the Spring and nurtured it back to health and now we have a wall completely covered with it, buds and blooms galore with just one fruit.
Perhaps this will have to be my next painting ?
In the meantime, I have started teaching a course and workshops at Peter Symonds College ACE in Winchester.  11 students have enrolled which is great and our first session seemed to go very well on Monday.  Teaching for just two hours each week is very different to teaching day-long workshops, but I am looking forward to enjoying the student's progression as we travel through the next 9 weeks.
I had finished the Quail's Eggs painting.  Some of you may have seen it on the 'Natures Details' Facebook page, but here it is again for those of you that haven't.
I now have a Facebook page devoted totally to my artwork - why not have a look ?

Happy painting !

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Flower, fern and ............... eggs!

A couple of weeks ago we had a relative visiting and we went to Meon Shore, which is the local beach overlooking the Solent towards the Isle of Wight.

Yellow Horned Poppy
It is the beach I go to the most, it is less built up than Lee-on-the-Solent and has a sense of wildness about it, especially in the evening and in the cooler months when it is virtually deserted.  The other bonus is that on the other side of the road bordering the beach is Titchfield Haven Nature Reserve, so there are often delights to spot there too.

The beach itself is shingle in nature and becomes more sandy when the tide is out.  I have often looked at the plants that occur along the beach and recognise some of the common species such as Sea Beet.  I have often wished that I would see one of my favourite plants - Yellow Horned Poppy.  I had seen it previously in Devon and I know it occurs further along the South coast towards Lepe.

As my cousin and I ambled along the beach at Meon there at my feet were a couple of plants of Yellow Horned Poppy.  I was thrilled to see them and to me the plant has such character, with elongated seed pods, bright yellow flowers and pale bristly leaves.  I didn't have my camera on me but above is a photograph of the said plant that I took at Slapton Sands in Devon.

Last week I spent some time at my friend's farm in Devon, near Tiverton.  When I got down there I realised how much wetter the weather had been in that part of the country.  A lot of the farmers have been affected in terms of crops and the quality of grazing for farm animals.  The vegetable garden on the farm has been affected too, with some crops not doing so well because of the damp conditions.

As usual, I went off exploring the lane next to the farm with the high hedgebanks and they were dense with foliage.  There were still a few Red campion in bloom and the Harts Tongue Ferms were pushing their way out between the other plants.  My attention was drawn to a frond that was deep under the other foliage and as I pulled it out I realised how long it was.  It was slightly darker too and not so yellowy green in colour, I presume because of the lack of light.

I decided that this was going to be my challenge for the week and I set to portraying this fine specimen onto paper.  The main colours that I used were Indanthrene blue and New Gamboge.  The left side of the frond had the sunlight shining through it and you could see the spore producing bodies through the leaf from the underside.  There were also small areas of decay that added to the character of the frond.

The finished painting
My punishment for sitting so long painting the fern, was a worsening of my neck condition, so much so that I couldn't drive myself home at the end of the week - husband to the rescue !

Now I am painting a much more manageable subject - Quail's eggs.  To me they are like little jewels, each one so different in colour and pattern.  A lovely friend who understands my need to paint 'quirky' natural subjects, gave me about 60, so I have now set to on the painting below.  The image shows the painting with the second washes on, next will be the fine details. 

Hopefully I will be able to keep the eggs intact and can create some more pictures from them.  Watch this space for progress on the painting above.