Thursday, 31 October 2013

New Work.... Old Theme and SBA Exhibition Planning Time!

Much as I'm enjoying these mini painting challenges I'm now way overdue in planning towards next years exhibitions. It's time to start a new work for the the Society of Botanical Artists (SBA) annual exhibition, titled, The Botanical Garden. which takes place in May next year at Westminster Halls. The handing in date is later than usual being the 17th March..... This later date is definitely a good thing for a disorganised painter!

 I've been exhibiting with the SBA for a number of years on and off since around 2000. I missed last years show due to the general upheavals of life......these upheavals shouldn't be allowed to interfere with painting but sometimes they do. The big question as always is ..... what should I paint or draw?

So here's the beginnings of a plan:

Beginnings..... Planning the layout and colours starts with a rough layout' painting.
I'm trying to link things together here, so instead of moving onto a completely blank sheet I'm sticking with the recent autumnal theme of the Challenge and will work on one large final piece, which will be on vellum. For this work I'm going to draw inspiration from the 30 day challenge and collection pieces by attempting a more complex work with much overlapping of the subjects.
While my local park/garden may be nothing special in the botanical world .... with no national collections or rarities; parks and gardens such as this late 19th century one, were established in a highly industrialised areas for the benefit of the people. They were at one time the only contact with parks and gardens for many people and shouldn't be overlooked as a source of worthwhile material. Also the autumn /winter garden is just as interesting as the summer herbaceous border in any botanic garden! So this might just work for one of the SBA submissions if it turns out OK.....but lets see how it goes...if it's looking a reasonable effort, who know I might even try another one! but with only 4 months to prepare that might be overly optimistic! 

Work started on Monday.  Reviewing the 30 day challenge subjects as contenders for inclusion in a  new work 

After reviewing the 30 day paintings and rummaging through yet another bag of old leaves and fruits on Monday. I started by drawing rough layouts on a roll of scrap paper on Tuesday. I want the final piece to be large and so working at A1 size . This work will probably take many weeks, possibly months because vellum painting is quite slow.
The rough layouts were completed in pencil, I traced some of the components to move them around which is my usual approach but I soon realised that with so many components there were issues with the balance of the colours, so decided that the way forward in this case is to complete a rough watercolour first to establish whether or not the composition works. I'm doing it this way because of the sheer quantity of material, colours and overlaps. It's more work initially but the only way to tell if a work is balanced, and, in the long term the better the planning the easier the painting!
I estimate that this preparatory work will take about a week, maybe more.  Once the rough is completed I will be able to see what needs to be moved, and whether or not it's worth pursuing as an idea! if  all is good the necessary readjustments will be applied accordingly, if not, I'll start over.
 Once I'm happy with the final layout will be transferred on to natural vellum for painting. I know wont be easy! the natural vellum is very thin and will have to be stretched on a frame or secured to board....still thinking about the options for that one!

Today, I'll continue with the panting, and order the vellum with optimism.

A little bit more progress

.....Will keep you posted on the progress, more photos later today. 


  1. Wow Dianne ,this will be amazing, can't wait to see it in London xxx

  2. Thanks Claire, it's a lot of work I know those great idea you wish you maybe hadn't started but hopefully are glad you did when it's over ;)

  3. Well done for being in it - and taking the time at this early stage to get the composition right. :)

  4. That's a lovely plan you have there Diane, and some really gorgeous colours which will gloww on Vellum. I'll look out for it in may!