Saturday, 18 April 2015

Day 9, An Iris Seed Pod and some other exciting things!

It's actually day 10 but I'm a day behind after being away in London for the SBA annual exhibition. Haven't exhibited  for a few years, so it was really nice to be back on track and involved again.
I arrived home late last night full of enthusiasm and got up early to catch up with the challenge! Something small seemed a good idea so I chose to paint a small Iris seed-head, which was given to me last year by fellow artist and friend, Jarnie Godwin, aka Sketchbook Squirrel 
It's painted on Kelmscott vellum, funny enough it's a small off cut from one of the works for this years SBA show..

A quick vellum painting of an Iris seedpod for day 9
 I started on paper but decided that vellum would be better for this subject. it's always great for these dried subjects. I wasn't sure that I could do it quickly but it seemed to work. It could do with a bit more work but with only a short amount of time it was OK. Might add the seeds later on.
I'll maybe add the seeds and the other side of the pod later on. Apologies for the lack of information and photos, short on time today!
SBA Exhibition and new Work
 My two entries for the SBA show this year were Fritillaries, the F. imperialis is the largest painting that I've completed on vellum. The second painting was a small painting on vellum of F. meleagris. I was delighted to hear that I got an honourable mention for the F. meleagris, which goes to show that small paintings get noticed too! The F. imperialis was hard work ( see my previous post ) ......but not deterred by the scale of the task I've already ordered another whole skin and can't wait to get started. I was totally in awe at some of the work a this years show so definitely need to practice for next year now. I already have some ideas for what is a very exciting title subject. I'm going to focus on the theme of pattern for next year, which is an area Ive always had an interest in.
One of this years SBA entries, Fritillarie imperialis Rubra painted on a whole skin of Kelmscott vellum
I wasn't at the opening for very long but even in that short time it was lovely to meet so many other artists. Seems like the standard just keeps getting higher and it's a much more connected community of artists compared to the first time I exhibited withh the SBA back in 2002, I think that's all thanks to the internet, and supportes such as Katherine Tyrell with her Making a Mark blog, and of course to social media too. The ever increasing standard is probably due to the SBA diploma course which continues to bring more amazing new artists together every year. So it's all good and very exciting times ahead for botanical art.

A detain from the small F. meleagris painting, also at this years show
New Prints
One other exciting bit of news for me,  is that I spent an afternoon at the printers last Tuesday and picked up the first proofs for my new limited edition prints of the butterflies. I'm getting the proofs for two more works, the Fritillaria meleagris on Rory McEwen vellum and the Leaf Skeleton and Lichen Branch...all three are on vellum. It's not easy to get good prints of work on vellum but so far I'm pleased with the results and found a great photographer / printer who seems to understand the subtleties of watercolours..... probably helps that his wife is a watercolour artist too. Here's a snapshot I took of the first proofs, doesn't do them justice but the colour match and image quality is excellent. I'm trying to decide whether to print the butterflies life size or larger......never was very good at decision making!  Will post better photos shortly

Not a great photo but here are the first proofs for the butterfly prints... hot off the press!

My other painting currently at the printers
That all for now, time to take my daughter back to University after the Easter break, so back to the challenge again tomorrow. 


Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Day 7 and 8. Tulip Tree, Seed - Head in Watercolour and Graphite

Day 7 and 8, a mix of watercolour and graphite was used for these Tulip Tree seed- head studies. This was cheating a bit because I found an unfinished drawing in my old sketchbook and though it would be good to add a couple more. I'd found the seeds last year on my way through Germany and had forgotten about them....I found them in a box on top of the bookcase the other day! Think I'll post every other day now so as not to irritate you with my daily posts., Sorry  I forgot to take photos of the process, so just the finished pieces today. 

Day 7.  Dried Tulip Tree seed-head, Liriodendron tulipifera.  Graphite drawing on Stillman and Birn A4 smooth Zeta series sketchbook, such lovely sketchbook paper. The usual Faber Castell 9000 series pencils. I still believe these are the best pencils for the job. Grades H right up to 8B here for the darkest shadows. I could have made this darker all over but I'm out of time today. I must make an effort to take better photos! these are taken on an iphone!  

The complete page in the sketchbook, with the original drawing bottom left
 I have to confess that I'm struggling with time now. Really had intended to get out to paint some spring flowers but Ive got so much on this week! with a new composition course starting, a trip to the printer today,  because  I'm betting my butterflies and fritillarias made into prints:) and tomorrow it's off to London for the SBA show tomorrow...... Excuses excuses! oh and there's those fruit commissions (eek!)  But I always keep in mind one of  my favourite quotes from Francis Bacon: 
' Inspiration comes from regular work

Not sure if that's absolutely accurate as a quote because I read it on the toilet wall at the Hugh Lane Gallery, where is studio is now located in Dublin.  I'm not really very good with remembering quotes but it's good enough for me and regular work I will continue do!
Day 8 A colour version, maybe I'll add a flowering version at the top of the page later this year. I've had this in a box for a while yet remarkably the little leaf is still green. The colours: Transparent Yellow and Perylene Maroon, in various combinations for the rich golden colour. To warm it more I added Scarlet Lake.  Some Cerulean on the woody parts first for the shine followed by a warm brown mix same as the seed plus some Van Dyke Brown ( yes too lazy here today to mix ), which I also used on the seed head  and added in some Paynes Grey to darken and cool it off.. The seed head completely fell apart just as I finished it!  

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Day 6, Tulip in Graphite

Not much time today so it's a short post tonight.  Today graphite was the medium of choice. Working again in the small square Sillman & Birn sketchbook, I chose a pale tulip from a bunch of flowers in the house....and added a slightly odd looking bulb too.
Tulip in graphite for day 6 of the challenge. A tonal drawing  on 7 x 7cm Stillman & Birn sketchbook paper, 270 gsm, smooth. Using Faber Castell 9000 series grades 2H - 4B. Sorry for the dark images, the light had gone by the time I got around to photographing this one.
  The paper gives quite a soft finish which I like, but for really sharp drawings I find the Schollershammer 4G is good. Bristol board is an alternative but personally I don't like it's rather cold appearance.
Laying the foundations with a 2H and H pencils
 After sketching the outline very lightly I usually start any tonal drawing by establishing the basic form using continuous tone technique with a fairly hard pencil, being careful not to apply too much pressurem, the weight and motion should come from the arm to get an even tone. I cover pretty much all all but the brightest highlights. The harder grade pencil creates a smooth foundation to build the darker tones on top. Here I worked from light to dark, using progressively softer pencil grades. For this tulip I used 2H, H, HB, B, 2B, 3B and 4B. I sometimes go over grainy looking soft grades with a harder pencil at the end. This smooths it out.

I added this rather odd looking bulb which had some shrivelled old growth and a split skin, which was about to fall off!
I was going to add a few different parts, such as petals and reproductive parts but ran out of time for today. I don't much like the bulb so thought it would look better with more parts added.
It was a good to work with graphite again, it's one of my favourite mediums. Hopefully more in graphite will follow as the challenge progresses.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Day 5, Cymbidium Orchid Flower

Finally a change of subject! and a change of brand for the materials. For day five I decided to do a quick sketchbook study of a Cymbidium orchid,  a single flower from a plant which is now nearing the end of flowering period, seemed a shame to miss painting at least a little part of it. This time working in Stillman & Birn Zeta series sketchbook and with a limited range of Schminke Horadam artist watercolours.

Cymbidium flower study, size 7 x 7 inches on the best of all sketchbook paper, Stillman & Birn.
I only ever painted an orchid once before, I think it was a Paphio, not so much into panting them but they are fascinating! They really are the glamorous 'cheats' in the world of pollination! Tricking unsuspecting insects and other animals into thinking they offer some attractive reward but actually over 1/3 of all orchids have nothing at all to give to insects, unlike most other flowers they don't do mutualism and waste none of their energy on giving nectar or pollen away to insects..... Clever eh!

I was never more interested in any subject in my life than this of Orchids 
Charles Darwin 1861
Detail showing the column with pollinium
These Cymbidiums and some other orchids have their pollen in a pollinia, these are sacs of pollen  housed at the tip of the column and covered by an anther cap. If you have an orchid such as a Phalenopsis or Cymbidium try touching the anther cap with a cotton bud or cocktail stick, the pollinia will easily be revealed and pulled away intact. But a word of warning, unfortunately the flowers job primary job is done once the pollinia is removed and it fades and dies very quickly once the pollinium is removed. When the curious insect enters the flower the whole pollinarium comes away sticks to the insect ( it's attachment is very sticky!).  It' is then carried to the next flower and facilitates cross pollination, as the curious animal persists in it's search for a reward! I tried to photograph the pollinarium ( below) but didn't make a great job, sorry. But hopefully you  get the idea.
    
 Pollinarium, showing the pollen sacs and sticky attachment which allows it to be carried by insects to the next flower. actual size is only around 2mm at the widest point.
Interesting as this story of pollination is - this post isn't really about orchid reproduction but I forgot to take photos of the painting process, so thought I'd add a bit of extra stuff!

Here's a brief summary of the painting process.

Centre page is a face-on view of the flower. The fairly straight forward symmetrical view is easily achieved by drawing a box using the height and width measurements of the flower, then by dividing it up into four quarters (draw a horizontal and vertical line through the centre). Finally plot the position of the petals by judging the angles of the petal positions....kind of like a clock face. All that's left is to add the outline by  measuring of the parts for accuracy.

Simple face-on view of flower, get the basic symmetry right and then make adjustments as necessary
  Thereafter the shade colour was added, which is my usual approach when painting light flowers. I'm not at all familiar with Schminke watercolours but have some pans so thought I'd give them a go. I used manganese violet and ultramarine finest for the shadow colour. For the 'yellow' areas on the petals I used titanium gold ochre. I wanted to reach for the W & N on a few occasions because I could think of easier options but stuck with it. They're fine to use although I've yet to learn about the particular properties and only have a limited colour range.

Adding the spots to a dampened surface gives soft edges.

I then added the basic hue for the petals,  which is almost 'fleshy' pink in colour.Vanadium yellow and vermilion plus a little of the ultramarine finest. For the cooler pinks I used ruby red in the mix.  The edges of the petals were faded and brown, brown madder an ultramarine was used here. For the dark spots on the labellum I used ruby red and brown madder with a tiny amount of ultramarine for the darker areas. To apply, I wet the area first and allowed it to part dry and dropped the colour on, this give the soft edge to the spots, but care has to be taken to have just the right amount of dampness or the spots will spread too much. Darker areas were added on top, the spots are actually slightly raised so the light catches the edge of them and a darker area can be added to the shaded side.
 A simple dissection in graphite and a few other parts were added (stigma, ovary, labellum and profile view).  Hopefully this gives a good overview of the morphology on this small study page.

Simple dissection
Orchids are really simple to dissect, because they are so fleshy and resistant to wilting, so if you've never dissected a flower before this is a good place to start but don't be surprised when it looks nothing like the standard 'plant parts' illustration often used in botanical painting classes!  

   

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Day 4, Yes, it's Another Bulb!

OK this is looking a bit like the 30 day bulb challenge but I promise to paint something else eventually! This evenings effort was a tulip from Amsterdam...other than that I've no idea what type it is but the spouting tip had a nice bit of red on it which made it more interesting....the reddening is probably caused by stress because it should really be in the ground rather than rolling around on my desk!
Todays sprouting tulip bulb painted on a scrap of Kelmscott vellum size 11 x 15cm. All paints were W & N  pans which I prefer for vellum. You can see I like to use the tape and cardboard support to test colour and dry off the brush. David Jackson's brushes ( The Brushman) are the best when it comes to fine lines on vellum!

Starts off looking frightenly scruffy! For the initial wash I used some cerulean blue for the highlight, a bit of cobalt violet for the reflected light and a mix of transparent yellow and perylene maroon for the basic hue

Thereafter I build up the colour and use the modelling dry brush technique using a few different brushes, including the the Rosemary & Co short flat and spotter size 1 and 2. Thin thin transparent layers of colour are layered to create the form shadow. I also added some scarlet lake to the mix on the shade side where it's warmer, on the right side the mix is more yellow. The fine veins are picked out with a pointed brush and the basic hue mix.
Finishing off the bulb I added some purple to the mix, I don't know what it is other than it's Japanese and the most amazing deep violet colour which was asking to be used for something!  No idea about the permanence of this paint but I'm just playing around here so don't really care too much .... it's such a great colour though that I'll check it out properly. Finally I added the pale green shoot using a mix of lemon yellow and cobalt blue with perylene maroon for the red/brown colouration. Ultraviolet was used for the shadows and some van dyke brown and perylene maroon for the darkest fine details.
Tomorrow, maybe I'll break free from the bulbs or I might just stick with them for the week now...

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Day 3 Chasmanthe

No spare time today because I've been painting strawberries! but finally sat down at about 9pm to paint another of the bulbs from Amsterdam, well actually it's a corm. This time a South African, Chasmanthe. Not sure which one exactly but I think  it's known as the 'African Flag'. A member of the iris family, it's a large corm, about 10cm at the widest point, looks like Crocosmia to me but larger and flatter. It's definitely not the easiest subject when you're in a rush with much painting of negative space required in between the strands but I like the colour  and the look of it . It's good to paint really complicated things against the clock...right!?

Chasmanthe corm, size 14 x 17 0n Langton extra smooth HP. A tricky one to paint but at least the colours were pretty straight forward. Only 90 mins on this, so it's a bit rough around the edges! I do think it's good training to work quickly it speeds up thinking and prevents procrastination!
Lots of bulbs, corms and tubers at the Amsterdam flower market. I came home with a bag full and glad I photographed the labels otherwise I'd have had no idea what most of them were.


I like this corm, but in hindsight it could have done with a bit more time ( isn't that always the case though?). Again I made a rough sketch of the basic shape and got stuck in with a mix of raw sienna and burnt sienna with van dyke brown for the darker browns. I used cerulean blue on the shine on the right hand side ( light source side), and added some pyroll red to warm it up on the shade side and ultraviolet to cool it down in places and also for the shadows. I finished of with wash of gold ochre in places  I started by putting int he basic form but painting between some of the fibrous strands. I added the cerulean afterwards establishing this first stage, normally I'd do this first but was ahead of myself and distracted by the television!

Establishing the form first but by painting between some of the strands to get the basic shape in first.

This little painting exercise provided some light relief from the very complicated strawberry painting I'm working on at present.... I really don't like painting strawberries!  So it's back to them in the morning and  find doing little works like this stops me from getting too bogged down ( or stuck) with more complicated work.
No idea what day 4 will bring but it's likely to be night shift work!
   

Monday, 6 April 2015

Day 2, only 28 remaining! Purple Emperor

Whilst feeling determined this morning I decided to tackle the Purple Emperor butterfly on vellum. I've been meaning to paint a sheet of butterflies for a long time now, so the 30 day challenge seems like a good opportunity to do at least some of it. It's not the easiest subject! the wings look a very drab brown until it catches the light, then they become the most incredible purple! So I decided to paint it .....sort of half brown and half purple because that's pretty much how it looks when it catches the light.

No 2 the Purple Emperor, Apatura iris (male). Painted on Kelmscott vellum. A rare and beautiful butterfly. A bit more work needed but it'll do for now 
I couldn't quite decide on the purple mix.... because it seems to change with the light. Looking at this now it seems a bit like yesterdays bulb colours!
 I tried the Daniel Smiths and the M Graham, but I don't find them so good on vellum, there's too much Gum Arabic and mixers for the really dry vellum work.... however I  decided to persevere and it was OK in the end with a few reservations, so  think it just needs a slightly different approach to the pans. The DS ultramarine violet and MG ultramarine blue gave a pretty punchy purple though, which was better than the W & N option, hence the perseverance. For the brown I reverted to W&N Van Dyke Brown with a touch of the purple mix added to it. Plus a spot of neutral tint for the darker markings.  There's a touch of orange in the markings too, so some pyroll orange and trans yellow was used for this. I think it needs to go a bit darker all over but I'll l come back to it later.

Not sure about these for vellum work.
 I'll probably do a few more butterflies on this sheet as part of the challenge. There's no particular purpose for this piece, I'm just doing it for fun. like all the 30 day challenge pieces, paint whatever appeals on the day with virtually no plan in mind.

I got carried away and almost forgot to take a photograph to show the process. You can see it's just a case of painting around the markings and then tidy up with a scalpel after. The dry brush gives a particularly good finish for butterfly wings. It starts of a bit scruffy looking but comes together in the end.

So here's the sheet with the first two butterflies now complete. I'm going to keep this painting to hang in my flat. Something that I don't often do is keep work.

The planned sheet of butterflies, I'm hoping to have about 20 species in total on this sheet.
 Last month I joined Butterfly Conservation and I been enjoying their news. It's a great organisation and doing a fantastic job! I always liked butterflies and studied them a little as part of a conservation module at university and also have this old butterfly collecion too, but finding out more about them recently has upped the interest....and of course they're such great subjects to paint.
I've no idea what tomorrow's challenge will be but it will have to be quick because it's back to work after the easter Bank hols!  

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Bulbs! and a new 30 day challenge, no.1 Sprekelia bulb

Last week I visited the Netherlands to see the 'Late Rembrandt' exhibition at the Rijksmuseum and also visited the fantastic Escher Museum in the Hague. On the way back to the hotel in Amsterdam the flower market caught my attention. I love bulbs! and have been using them for Skype demonstrations for some of my students recently - they're great subjects to demonstrate painting rounded objecs. Today I decided it was time to start a 30 day Spring challenge and painted a Sprekelia bulb.....I didn't finish it because lunch had to be cooked but it was fun.

Unfinished Sprekelia bulb from Amsterdam, no. 1 in the 30 day challenge. Painted on the spare piece of trial Saunders Waterford HP paper, image approx size 16 x 21
I want to take time out this month to do one small painting everyday. Even though I've a lot on at the moment with four commissions in April and a new Composition course starting on th e14th .... but still think there's a bit of spare time to do a daily warm up!  It wasn't difficult to choose this one from the bag of goodies, so this is my number 1 in the 30 day challenge.

Just a few of the bulbs from Amsterdam and a few old painted demos underneath. I like to use bulbs to demonstrate painting form...or actually how to, and how not to paint a rounded object 

The Sprekelia is an amazing dark colour! I like any dark subject but it has so many other colours lurking ....browns, purples, reds and yellows and a strong blue sheen. I was just playing about with this and made an odd decision to use some left over M. Graham paints that had dried on the palette to see if was possible to paint it with what might normally be washed down the sink! It was the leftovers from a Pulmonaria painted last week.  Some tube paints are not meant to be dried out but the M. Graham are OK to re wet and they had been covered. It's not necessarily what I'd choose for the palette for this bulb but I figure you can mix just about anything as long as you have the basics! It really doesn't matter too much.

Stages of the painting: Very rough sketch, followed by a fairly strong wash wash of  ultramarine blue, mixed with some  ultramarine pink on the shade side. I then worked wet-in wet and with a brown mix, made from the blue, quin red and azo yellow. I then layered quite a few different colour biased glazes and  and added what I believe was a little Daniel Smith neutral tint. for some of the detail and dry brush work.  There was a small amount of Scarlet pyroll which came in handy to add to the quin red for the little red/ orange areas. I used a flat square brush, of no particular make, size 4 for most of the painting, it cost 50p from the Jackson's Art sale! and was great for painting the skin. Also  a small spotter and very worn size 2 short flat from Rosemary and Co for the dry brush work. After the layering of washes, I applied a good bit of dry brush work to build up depth and used a shadow colour mix with the Ultramarine and the pink ultramarine.    
So that's my first painting. Not sure if I'll manage all thirty but will give it a go. Lots of little flowers popping up outside, and the butterflies to complete so it's a shame not to get these things painted.

I'll finish off with a couple of images from the Escher Museum. It's the most amazing collection and such a beautiful building. Escher is an inspiration when it comes to perspective and he created some pretty incredible spheres too, I'd recommend it to anyone!  This year again I'm making a point of seeing as many exhibitions as possible. I  think it's always good not to limit yourself to only looking at botanical work 


Beautiful Escher Museum, housed in the former Winter Palace of Queen Mother Emma of the Netherlands.




And it has amazing lights! ....Hey that's me in the mirror

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Jaded!

After another week working on the vine, I was feeling more than a little jaded! It's not far off being finished but by Friday I was pretty weary of it and unsure of whether or not it was heading in the right direction. So the decision was made to take a break, and, by way of a change I spent a couple of hours painting a butterfly on vellum. Beginning right in the centre of a sheet of Kelmscot vellum with the Swallowtail. Papilio machaon is one of our largest and most beautiful butterflies here in the UK. It is also one of the rarest and can only be found in the fens of the Norfolk Broads where the sole food-plant, Milk Parsley is present.

The Swallowtail, Papilio machaon on vellum
I really enjoyed painting the butterfly, particulary those red spots, and I think I must have been craving some other colours....it was good to get away from the turquoise for a while  Sometimes it's best to walk away from a painting when it gets to this stage. A painting (and painter) seem to go through various stages, from the initial enthusiasm with the washes, then it slows right down as the layers build, the detail stage and finally the finishing. This final stages can sometimes cause a bit of anxiety for me, when I start to question whether I could have done things differently, of course it doesn't matter because what is done is done.  At this stage I take a break and also photograph the work to explore it in detail on the computer screen, this helps me to see where more work is needed. I also turn the image to black and white in Photoshop to look at the values and play about with levels to see how the tonal values could be improved upon.

A black and white view helps me to identify where work might be needed regarding  the tonal values.
The colour of the jade vine is a very difficult one to depict because it varies so much across the plant, from green to turquoise and blue to purple. The flowers becomes more blue and purple as they age. This bizarre colouration is known as copigmentation which is due to the presence of the anthocyanin, malvin and saponarin. The flower has a different pH value inside in the colourless tissue compared to outer petals where it has a higher alkaline pH and this alkaline pH is is believed to be responsible for a reaction in the saponarin which creates the unique turquoise colouration. I tried to address the unusual colouration by layering glazes of different transparent colours and by adding a small amount of gum Arabic to the glazes to maintain the luminosity.

Tricky colour, layering of glazes and the addition of gum Arabic helps to maintain transparency

Tomorrow I shall try to finish the vine but have teaching work and other jobs to finish first, whatever happens, I have to be finished by Monday when it goes to the photographer. I've enjoyed doing it but these larger paintings (this one and the previous fritillary) require a lot of concentration. I try to paint or draw everyday and think it's important to do so but when working on the same piece for extended periods it can be tiring and I can lose sight of what I'm trying to achieve.  The butterfly painting is something I've had planned for a while and provided a much needed  break, once the jade is finished I hope to add at least one butterfly per day and aim to have at least 15 butterflies on the sheet of vellum.... the temptation of some small works and learning about each butterfly will hopefully help to drive me towards the finish line!


The latest version of the jade.....more over the weekend



Saturday, 14 March 2015

Vine Time, Take 2!

Last week saw the start of a new painting of the Jade Vine, Stongylodon macrobotrys, Family: Fabaceae ( Pea family). Completing work is always a good feeling.... and that's what I'm looking forward to doing with this piece! Painting can be a frustrating business at times but it's always best to finish, the alternative of having unfinished work lying around can be a bit depressing and a bad habit to get into. I'm currently working through all of my unfinished projects from the last 2 years and finally feel as though progress is being made.

A new Jade Vine painting underway, size 40 x 56 cm. I normally put the stems/ stalks in first but decided to start with the flowers this time, using a blue biased turqoise mix. The yellow biased mix will be added as a glaze later.

Last years painting, a larger flower......a bit too large!
 It's been almost a year since the previous painting of the vine and I have until the end of the month to submit for the Sydney Royal Botanic Garden Florilegium project. I started over because the first one is really a bit too large for the specification...my mistake! So this one is a simplified slightly smaller painting, not that it's particularly small at 40 x 56 cm but it feels a lot smaller compared to the larger version.
I actually prefer this flower, it's the one from Durham University Botanic Garden, and although the flowers at Kew were plentiful and considerably larger, this flower had the most intense colour.

Purple creeping into the turquoise flowers, is a sign ageing
I hobbled to Durham on crutches last March, having twisted my ankle the week before. I knew the plant was in flower as the garden manager had kept me informed of the progress before my visit. I  came upon the solo flower  hanging just inside the doorway of the hothouse. As I stood photographing and sketching it, I could hear people gasp as they opened the door behind me ....so vivid was the colour, it created quite a talking point!  The flower was pretty much at the end of flowering period and some purples were creeping into the turquoise flowers. So here is the painting so far....more work tomorrow.

Still a long way to go but making steady progress! (Tracing paper is used to Keep the paper clean and to protect the work).

Painting specifications
For this project there are a number of specifications. Only 100% cotton archival quality paper can be used, which is something that I always use anyway.  Fabriano Artistico HP 300lb paper,  is my normal paper, so this was fine. For those interested and to clarify which side to use, it's the side without the writing, which is actually the back side of the paper, the front is the mesh side and where the writing is.
 The painting has to be produced to given size specification and there are two portrait and two landscape options, I chose the largest portrait size, this is why I've chosen the smaller flower, the previous painting had a flower spike almost 60cm in length. Plants must be painted life size, so the larger spike was simply too large and I didn't want to crop it.
 Paints must be ASTM lightfast rated with permanence I or II. The signature has to be in pencil , discreet , no logo style signatures are allowed.

The colour of this flower is very unusual! the basic hue is turquoise and it moves from yellow to turquoise, green, blue and violet. below are some of the colours used. I decided to start with a slightly more blue biased mix and add the more yellow biased mix on top.

Winsor Blue Green shade plus Aureolin seems the best option for the mix and both have ASTM II. But in the end I went for Hansa Yellow light because I don't like Aureolin. Also used is Ultramarine violet and some Cobalt Turquoise. Making sure the chosen colours have the correct light fast rating.
  In it's native habitat in the Philippines the jade vine is pollinated by bats, the green actually appears to glow at night, and attracts the pollinators, most bat pollinated plants which are white.To find out more about it click here

Some fallen flowers collected from Kew and taken back to the hotel for investigation. Bats hang upside down on the flower and drink the nectar as it pours out of the flowers and their heads brush against the pollen as they do so, as they move from plant to plant cross pollination occurs when the pollen brushes against the stigma.
Not exactly at its best but still worth investigating! A flower from Durham

I expect this painting will keep me busy for the next week or so! That's it for this week, will be interesting to see how much I actually get done by the same time next week!