Monday, 26 May 2014

The song of a Cuckoo .....

You may wonder what this blog post has in store going by the title - all will be revealed in this visual and audible narrative.

Just after my last blog post I had a very exciting and inspiring time in London at the Society of Botanical Artists Exhibition.  This is turning into a wonderful time of year when many friends get the chance to meet, catch up on news and share our botanical art ideas.  What was even more special was that those special friends were there to see me receive an award at the exhibition.

Many thanks to Katherine Tyrrell for the image.

I was thrilled to have been awarded a Certificate of Botanical Merit (CBM) for my painting of Echinacea purpurea.  For me I felt honoured as it is judged by a botanist, this year by Doctor Brent Elliott who is Historian for the Royal Horticultural Society.  You can read more about the other CBMs on Making A Mark.

In addition I had the exciting news that my painting of Galls of Quercus Species sold at the exhibition too.

There was a moment of calm after the exhibition, with a few days to reflect on new artwork ideas, plan a summer of painting and new courses for the Autumn term at Peter Symonds AHED; before another exhibition got underway.

This reflective time entailed visits to two of my favourite places -  Meon Shore, overlooking the Solent and a visit to Swanwick Lakes Nature Reserve.

Tidal pools looking towards Hill Head

I needed to collect some seashore items for a demonstration and also for a painting that I will be using as a teaching piece for two workshops coming up this summer.  The only thing was, I had got the tide times wrong, so therefore I ended up having to go down to the shore at 6am in the morning.  What a treat I was in for.  The beach virtually to myself, tidal pools to splash about in with my wellies on, and the beautiful bird song coming from the adjacent Titchfield Haven Nature Reserve.

Sunrise over Titchfield Haven Nature Reserve

Listen here to the cacophony of bird song on this track and if you listen carefully, you may hear the sound of a cuckoo.

If you didn't hear the cuckoo on that track, you can hear it more on this one, but you may need to up your volume level.

The collection of bits and pieces are gradually being turned into a painting that will evolve over the next few weeks with other items from my collection at home.

I hadn't been to Swanwick Lakes Nature Reserve for what seemed like such a long time.  The day I went there the weather was so glorious and I found myself sitting on the dipping platform overlooking the main lake in front of the classroom (the wooden cabin on the right).  Whilst there I watched the Heron stalk the Coot chicks and then saw the flash of a Kingfisher circle around the lake.  I was actually sitting near where it normally perches !

A sunny perch for me !

This visit was prior to  a workshop that I was teaching there - Botany & Art.  I had 4 students, so plenty of time was spent with each, and along with the usual demonstrations we all got to grips with the botanical features of flowering plants and how to portray them on paper.

The other exhibition that is now in full swing is The Society of Floral Painters exhibition at the Oxmarket Centre of Arts in Chichester.  I have been a member of the SFP since 2000 and the Society was originally set up in the mid 1990's by a group of artists that wanted to exhibit artwork on a floral theme, but in a variety of mediums.  This has been done successfully since its creation and the society also brings many artists together at other social events, workshops and open days.

The current exhibition is on until the 8th June.

Why not come along and have a look or alternatively enjoy this exhibition video.

As for me, once the exhibition is finished, I will be 'diving' into more artwork and hopefully will be exploring some options for 'professional development', that's what they used to call it in my previous working life anyway !

Happy painting !


  1. Congratulations on your award Sarah, much deserved!

    And I really enjoyed your sounds of Titchfield Haven incorporated within this Blog. I have recently started recording soundscapes on my wildlife wanderings, enjoying the extra dimension that this adds to my records / listing, but hadn't yet thought about embedding them in my blogging .. So hope you don't mind if this idea strays elsewhere?


  2. Thanks Peter. I really love the idea of adding sound to blog posts, using Sound Cloud made it very easy, so of course go and ahead and share your sounds !


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