Monday, 28 January 2013

To plan or not to plan - that is the question !

With all pieces of artwork that I complete, I am always planning what goes where and how I am going to portray the subject matter, but in some cases the planning is more formal than others.

I love the spontaneity of finding some inspiring subjects and just getting on and painting them.  This often happens when they are bits and pieces that I have found in a hedgerow, along the shore or from the garden.  I lay out the objects on the paper to help me with the composition but other times I draw and paint each object one by one and the painting just evolves - sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

When I was a student on the RBGE Certificate in Botanical Illustration course last year, there was a great deal of planning going on when it came to our final assessment piece.  Pieces of tracing paper flying here and there, using a lightbox to decide on the final composition and then the big tracing exercise !  I do find that when you use this method of creating your composition, you have to be careful that the clarity of your drawing does not suffer in the tracing process.
Never the less, many of the exercises I completed on the course, I still use when planning a picture, especially if it is a very large painting.

The most recent painting I have been working on is of a Sacred Lotus.  (I have given myself the deadline of the end of this week to finish the picture, so I had better get a move on !)  I decided with this one that I would trace the main flower onto the paper, but the rest I drew straight onto the watercolour paper.  I did do some initial colour tests to see that the mixes I had in mind were suitable for the subject.

The painting is coming along and the next stage is to put in the stems and finish the other elements of the painting.

Back to the spontaneity !  Whilst trudging through the snow the week before last, we stopped off at the greengrocers and they were selling three stems of Amaryllis with some Willow.  They just seemed to glow in the grey and white atmosphere outside.

Knowing full well that I had no time to start a painting of them, an inspirational urge made me buy them !!
So upon returning home I decided to draw one of the flower heads and do some colour tests on cartridge paper.  I also took plenty of photographs and measurements, so that if I do decide to do a painting of them, I have all of the information I need.  I expect that I won't create a composition until this time next year, when I can buy the flowers at their prime again !

Thank you for following my blog and thanks also to David Crompton, a fellow Society of Floral Painters member, who on Saturday gave me some lovely feedback at our AGM.  If you would like to see some of his delightful artwork go to:

Happy painting !

Friday, 11 January 2013

Thank you and something for you !

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone that follows my blog, as today the pageviews have exceeded 5,000 !

The Botanical Art Course that I teach at Peter Symonds ACE in Winchester starts next Monday and already I see that the course is full.  I am really looking forward to seeing returning students and meeting new ones.

Through out my teaching I am always looking for new ways to share my knowledge.  The weekly sessions are just two hours long, so it doesn't always give enough time for students to absorb and familiarise themselves with what they are seeing, doing and learning.  Therefore I have come up with an additional way for students to re-cap on what they have learnt.

Twice a term I will post a video on You Tube of demonstrations that have been covered in class.  Students will also be able to buy a DVD with the demonstrations on too.

So as a way of saying thank you to all of my 'followers', here is the first demonstration - Creating highlights using watercolours - Aubergine / Eggplant exercise.

Happy painting !  Sarah