Beetroot – Diploma Portfolio

The first piece that I painted for the Society of Botanical Artists Distance Learning Diploma Portfolio was of a beetroot. I was first struck by the colours in the leaves when I was at a local farmers market. One of the … Continue reading

Assignment 8 – Botanical Illustration

I was really excited about this assignment. Botanical illustration, what the course is all about! I love painting flowers, and it was great to get back into that after the fruit and veg assignments (which I did enjoy, it was … Continue reading

Cherry Blossom Painting – and my first exhibition!

I recently completed 2 cherry blossom paintings, which I painted specifically for the Society of Floral Painters Oxmarket Exhibition. As much as I am enjoying my paintings for the SBA diploma, I really loved painting something completely different, for the … Continue reading

Assignment 7 – Vegetable

Assignment 7 for the Society of Botanical Artists Distance Learning Diploma involved painting a vegetable of our choice. I went to a number of different farm shops and farmer’s markets trying to find the perfect subject. I wanted to paint something … Continue reading

Jasmine

So, 6 weeks (or so) later I have completed my Jasmine… And most excitingly I have completed all the art diploma work that I will need to whilst also tackling university work; my next assignment (leaves in watercolour) will have my undivided attention!

I thought I would do a short summary of the process of drawing the Jasmine polyanthum. You can see it grow!

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TWO CLOSE UPS:

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THE FINISHED PIECE:

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Thank you to everyone on here who gave my advice before starting! I hope you are all satisfied with the result!

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Jasmine or Fern?

I’m still struggling with what to draw for my second assignment… If I sit at home and try and decide from scratch what my next subject will be I get absolutely nowhere. I need to be in a garden, or in a nursery, or just in nature to get inspiration.

People often try and give me ideas, and it never works (namely my Mother – love you, Mum) I get a feeling when I see the right flower or plant, I can’t really explain it.

This time is was a new nursery I discovered in the New Forest in Hampshire. I couldn’t make my decision there and then, and came home with a house Jasmine, and an interesting looking Fern.

I’ve had them a week and I still haven’t decided. In fact, I’ve started drawing the Jasmine and I’m still not sure I’ve made the decision, what do you think? Maybe I’ll have time to do both…

JASMINE:

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OR FERN?

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Assignment 1

This afternoon I went to the post office and dropped off my first assignment to be sent to Guy William Eves, a wonderful botanical artist and tutor on the SBA Diploma. It feels incredibly exciting (and intimidating!) knowing that he will be judging my work. He will also be marking Assignment 2.

In my previous posts I have described the outline drawing required for the first part of the assignment, and the stippled lily for the second part, so I will focus this post on the final part.

I chose to draw a hyacinth, and as I got into planning the composition I realised I wanted to include not just the stem and flower head but also the leaves, and also the bulb and the wonderful roots. Inevitably the piece got far too large and intricate for assignment 1… but I managed to get it finished.

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I really liked the composition, and I did enjoy drawing the hyacinth, but I have to say I do find pencils much harder than watercolours (I am dying to reach for my paintbrushes). I struggle with keeping the paper crisp and clean despite all attempts to do so (my drawing board has tracing paper everywhere!)

So below are the final 3 drawings that I sent today, plus a tonal strip and a note to my tutor with a few points, particularly querying the size of my pieces.

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And here they are all ready to be sent!

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This was such an exciting day for me today. Although I’m feeling apprehensive now, I definitely know that I am going to be completely in my element during my year out from my studies. I can’t wait to see what I can come up with for the next assignments.

Now for a breather whist I wait for my feedback before Assignment 2. Perhaps I can start thinking about my subject choice…!

Completed Stippled Lily

Stippling is fun, but requires a lot of patience. Only now I realise actually how much detail about the subject you can portray just through lines and dots!

This is only my first attempt, so I’m no expert, but I can hopefully pass on some tips that I have learnt doing this exercise:

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  1. Start with a clean, clear line drawing. Include any details such a main veins, thorns, and any defining features such as small areas of pigmentation. Be happy with it before you start thinking about stippling. Once you have started stippling an area, adding lines on top is risky. It can end up very messy. 
  2. Lay down your dots in lines, not randomly. With randomly scattered dots it can be difficult to keep the form and tone even, and can look chaotic. Lay down lines of dots, varying in lengths and varying the distance between them to create your darker and lighter tones. 
  3. Take breaks. Laying down those tiny dots takes a lot of concentration. It’s very easy to want to power through, but you’ll soon realise your dots are becoming little lines, and your neat rows of dots are weaving all over the place and looking untidy. I reckoned 10 minutes stippling at a time was plenty! Lots of tea breaks…!

My next post will be of my completed  SBA diploma Assignment 1. I will break down exactly what I have had to do, and show you the finished pieces!

Stippled Lily

For the second part of my first assignment they ask us to use the stippling technique on a flower, stem and leaf. I’ve never stippled before, and after practicing with pencil and pen I decided that pen was much neater, much cleaner and gave a much better result!

For a new technique, I didn’t want to rush straight in to the final piece (something that I am very prone to doing!) I chose to draw a lily for the final stippled piece, so I practiced with a lily also.

Here is my first study, unfinished to show my progress:          (apologies for the poor photographs)

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I shall post the final stippled piece, along with my thoughts as to how it went and tips on stippling, in my next post!

Society of Botanical Artists

I feel like I have a lot of news to share and catch up on. I’ve been accepted onto the Society of Botanical Artists Distance Learning Diploma: a big decision for me that has led me to take a year out of my medical studies. This started in January, lasts 27 months, and is considered a leading botanical illustration course, certainly within the UK. 

I received my package with all of the information, some materials, and a name badge! A super exciting day. 

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Until June I am going to be balancing University with this Diploma. Assignment 1 started on January 1st 2014, and is due on the 28th February. There are 3 components: a simple line drawing (the kind that would be used prior to painting), a stippled drawing, and a full tonal pencil piece. 

Here is Part 1 (this is on tracing paper, I am yet to transfer to watercolour paper):

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I am really looking forward to using the blog to document my progress on this Diploma for the next 2 years or so!