Friday, 29 August 2014

Listening to everything in a minor key

So it's been a while hasn't it?! Thought it was probably time to check in and write a little update. Since I last wrote quite a lot has happened... I had a lovely little trip to Galacia at the beginning of August and then I had two days in London where I tied up all loose ends before catching the train to Bognor Regis - my hometown. For the next two days I caught up with my dad and started my intensive driving course. On the Saturday night I then zoomed back up to London and I came back down to Worthing on the Sunday with all of my things and dearest Henry. Then I went back to Boggers to finish my driving course. I passed... phew! So that was a mega week. My brain was fried with everything that's been going on in my personal life, and lerning to drive on top of all of that in such a short space of time was prety hard going. I am really glad that I passed though as it is really going to help me with pretty much every endeavour in the future.

I passed! Thank you Bank Holiday/Goodwood Racing/Arundel Festival traffic!
So, since passing and having a fun day out with dad and his crowd from The Alex to the Arundel Festival* I have moved to my mum and step dads flat in Worthing. This is great as I can now paint and heal. This no longer involves indulgent foods and alcohol. The process has developed and I am now in my 'music phase'. There is rarely a moment when my headphones aren't in my ears. This must really annoy the people around me, but it's essential. 

So, alongside indulging in music I have been busy trying to finish Ophelia. I have found that completing this piece very restorative and I am glad that I hadn't finished it earlier. For me, this piece is about the power of femininity, creativity and transformation. Calling her Ophelia is a bit of name-play.

Ophelia the Orchid (Phalaenopsis sp.) Started at the RHS' Botanical Art Show Pop-up Studio
It does seem to be taking a long time this piece. I think it's because I got used to painting leaves and I'm just not used to working with so much pink! These petals are very different - very whole with little interruption along the surfaces. Big washes are needed and lots of time for drying. The amazing thing about this big beauty is how much yellow she has in her layers. I am mainly using my very old Daler Rowney paints for this one... Permanent Rose, Rose Madder, Phtalo Blue, Ultramarine, and W&N Transparent Yellow. In the green places I have the same colours, but in different proportions. I try not to add too many colours on one piece and stick to a limited palette. It's bad enough having a five brushes in one hand, let alone tons of colour mixes! Well that's what I think anyway... The really funny thing is I have got a really big brush for these big washes and I can't really get it in my mouth when I am using the smaller brushes. I tend to bite on my brushes a lot you see, like a dog with a bone. So alas I am struggling with the 5-brush tactic...

Close up on the Orchid
Right-e-o, I think that's enough of an update from moi. I hope to update again a few times before my move to Spain on the 24th September. Don't forget that Inspiring Kew opens tomorrow!! I probably won't be going up to London as originally hoped, so I eagerly await to hear all about it from you...

* I highly recommend visiting the Arundel Festival. It's a brilliant arts-based trail and features some of the best artists in the area. Arundel itself is a beautiful town and over the weekend you also get to see musicians, performance artists and taste some very tasty food!

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Coco's progress

It's Tuesday and I am getting ready to go to Spain on a little trip. This isn't the big move, more of a 'toe dip'. I am seeing my house mate Catuxa who kindly bought me a ticket to go and see her as a thank you for helping her with her PGCE and QTS work. Isn't that a lovely thing to do?! So, in between trying to cram in as much as possible into a teeny hand luggage bag and decanting all of my Green People sun cream into 100/50ml bottles, I am slowly getting Coco completed.

Leaves close up - apologies for bad photograph, light in my bedroom isn't as good as the studio and I have a very old camera as my new one broke.
It appears I have at last worked out why I couldn't paint on the Fabriano Artistico paper - it was not only because I insisted on working on a drawing board rather than flat, but also because I am very naughty (tight) when it comes to buying new brushes. Knowing I am going to move to Spain, I decided to splash out on a load of brushes the other day. I was going to save them, but on my return from the shop I couldn't paint using the older brushes with the shiny new ones staring straight at me with their pointy heads and clean bristles! I succumbed to temptation and broke four new brushes in. WOW! It was amazing and I can now say that Artistico isn't that bad after all. I can also say that I am now promising myself to buy new brushes more regularly than before. A lesson learnt!

A close up on the leaf with the sun shining through it.
So here is Coco - I managed to get quite a bit done at the RHS on Sunday which is good and then again yesterday and today. Actually yesterday was a pretty non-productive day as I was too busy house-packing, emailing and getting my Euros sorted out, but anyway - you get the idea.

Again - rubbish photo - I blame the camera and my dimly lit room... 
I am going to work late tonight with the hope I can sleep on the plane. Might try and get that other leaf on the left done now I appear to be in the groove of working with these lighter more lurid shades of green. The types of green you get with the sun shines through leaves. It's a really tricky green to get right and I know I still haven't got it right, but I think it's better than the green I used on the The Green Giant, so I am getting there... if a little slowly.

Thursday, 31 July 2014

Florum Exhibition September 2014

an annual exhibition inspired by plant life

Detail on Araucaria by Julie Small ©

6th - 13th Septmeber 2014
10-5 daily

Kent Wildlife Trust Sevenoaks Reserve
Bradbourne Vale Road

More than 60 invited artists will be showing their work in this botanically-themed exhibition. All of the works will be for sale including prints and cards. Admission to the show is free, so why not have a nice day out in the glorious Autumnal weather and maybe do a spot of blackberry picking on the way?

"Florum was the inspiration of Elizabeth Smail FLS FSBA. Together with Guy Harrison she had successfully run The 'Flora' Botanical and Flower Exhibition at the Sevenoaks Wildfowl Reserve. When the Reserve passed to Kent Wildlife Trust Elizabeth proposed a similar exhibition there for 2003 and 'Florum' was born. Elizabeth's death in 2012 left everyone sad but determined to continue the exhibition in her name."

Cintiq Drawing Board

What do artists do all day’ on BBC4 is one of my favourite programmes. The other week they were following Polly Morgan in her studio which was really fascinating. She is one of my favourite artists and it was therefore great seeing how she thinks and spends her day and in what type of space. So yes, I was watching this programme on artist Frank Quietly yesterday and I was really intrigued by the piece of equipment that he was using.

Cintiq 24 HD touch
So yes, the piece of technology that I was pretty impressed with is I think a Wacom device, but I might be wrong. It might be a Cintiq 24 HD touch. It looks like a big digital drawing board. Pretty impressive. Watching Frank Quietly use his techno-drawing board was really interesting. I know he is a comic artist, so a bit different to the art we discuss here, but if you have the time I recommend watching this program and see how he draws on it in lines. His work ethic is very impressive too!

I am probably way behind the times, but I thought I'd share this as it is interesting and now I know about it I want to talk about it. Does anyone have any experience of using something like this?

“Cintiq 24 HD touch: most advanced, pressure-sensitive pen combined with intuitive, multi-touch capabilities deliver an on-screen creation experience that’s so natural and seamless, it feels like an extension of your senses.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Plants in space number two

So I have just found the most amazing thing EVER! Please watch the video above - it might not be botanical art, but it is so very cool. It completely expands on what is possible. The film features the work by Julian Melchiorri and describes his Silk Leaf project, a piece which he developed as part of the Royal College of Art's Innovation Design Engineering course. The product of his studies on this course is the Silk Leaf - a pseudo-leaf which is made out of chloroplasts that are suspended in a matrix of silk protein. I am so impressed by this creation. Julian's grand idea is that this matrix could be used on all sort of things, such as cladding for large buildings or as a material for interior design, all of which could really help to address our CO2 build-up issue. Grand ideas indeed! But further to this he has even proposed the possibly of using this matrix in space to facilitate life in the cosmos. My only gripe is that we might have a problem in obtaining water out there in the abyss to make such a venture feasible, but I am sure that when there's a will there's a way.

All I want to know now is if this leaf can die like other leaves, or does it just keeping living?Wow, it's like having your very own botanical tamagotchi!

Melchiorri's Silk Leaf.

Sylva by Sarah Simblet and Gabriel Hemery

This afternoon somebody in the gallery at Kew made me aware of an exhibition and book called Sylva by Sarah Simblet. Sadly this exhibition, which was shown in Edinburgh until the 15th June, completely bypassed my attention, so I missed it.  

Sylva apparently was designed to celebrate the 350th anniversary of the publication of John Evelyn's Sylva - A Discourse on Forest Trees. As part of the show, a wonderful book (Bloomsbury, 2014) was published as part of the project, a sample of which can be seen here. It features several remarkable drawings by Sarah Simblet and passages written by Gabriel Hemery which bring Evelyn's classic discourse up-to-date. I absolutely love Sarah's work. I love the feeling of curiosity and deep thought that comes across in her drawings. Like she is searching for something. Her book Botany for the Artist is one of my favourites. Her pieces remind me of a collection of 18/19th century documents that one might find in an archive.

Below is a little film where we can listen to Sarah talking to Jaqui Pestell about her part in creating The New Sylva. This short motion picture was sponsored by Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) and was made to celebrate the opening of the Sylva Exhibition.

Sylva is a collaboration between the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, The Sylva Foundation and four other botanic gardens and arboreta in UK and Ireland: National Botanic Garden of Wales, National Botanical Garden of Ireland; National Arboretum at Westonbirt and Harcourt Arboretum, Oxford University

Heads up!

    The New Sylva: Drawing trees with Sarah Simblet
    Saturday 27th September 2014
    10.00am to 4.00pm
    Venue – Harcourt Arboretum
    Tickets cost £60 (includes a sandwich lunch)

Sunday, 27 July 2014

The Work of Gary Bukovnik

I just had to share the gloriously optimistic work by Gary Bukovnic. I find his work so nourishing and uplifting and I really wish that I could see it in the flesh. For those of you based in and around Beijing, you might be interested to know that he has a show opening soon...

Butterfly's Love for Flowers by Gary Bukovnic ©

On September 6, 2014, ‘Forever Spring - Gary Bukovnik Solo Exhibition’ will be opening at the Today Art Museum, China’s first and largest privately owned art museum. This exhibition will be Mr. Bukovnik’s eighth in China since he began showing his work there in 2011. The exhibition’s largest work is an 8’ x 30’ monumental watercolor installation, ‘Butterfly’s Love for Flowers’, which has been created from 7 panels hung in scroll-like fashion, amidst 199 painted and gilded butterflies suspended from the gallery ceiling. The exhibition also features ‘A Rose Diary’, a series of smaller watercolor roses painted on 50 consecutive days, which will occupy another entire wall of the gallery. This “painted diary” was inspired by the work of revered Qing Dynasty artist Ren Yi (1840-1896) well known for his flower and bird paintings.

The beginning of Butterfly's Love for Flowers' - work in progress

If you are interested in visiting the exhibition, The Today Art Museum is located at No. 32 Baiziwan Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing. 100022. Tel: 8610-58760600. You can read more about the exhibition here.

Gary Bukovnik and his watercolour work
Born in 1947 in “greenhouse country,” Painesville, Ohio just east of Cleveland, Gary Bukovnik attended the Cleveland Institute of Art. After travelling and painting in Europe, he eventually moved to San Francisco in 1975 where he works in his studio in the SOMA (South of Market) District. In San Francisco, Mr. Bukovnik is represented by Thomas Reynolds Gallery.

Generously, since 1980, Mr. Bukovnik has annually created and donated a major work to the San Francisco Symphony for their season poster. The complete collection of these works is on permanent exhibition in the Loge Lounge of Davies Symphony Hall. The works he has donated over the years to San Francisco charity, Project Open Hand for use on their annual calendars, have generated in excess of one million dollars. What a lovely chap!

He has a facebook page here.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Science-Art Exhibits for those in America

A big thanks has to go to botanical illustrator, Vicki Lee Johnston, for drawing my attention to this fabulous list of events and exhibitions and another big thanks has to go to Kalliopi Monoyios for writing such a fantastic article, of which I have reused a lot of the content and images.

So, for those of you who find yourself in America this summer you might be interested to know that there are a lot of science-art exhibitions happening across the region. So, for my American readers, here goes! 

Exhibitions in the north

Flower-forming cells in a small plant related to cabbage, by Sampathkumar and  Meyerowitz
June – November, 2014

Gateway Gallery
Between Concourse C and the AeroTrain C-Gates station
Washington Dulles International Airport
Washington, D.C.

Life: Magnified is an exhibit of scientific images showing cells and other scenes of life magnified by as much as 50,000 times. High-resolution versions of all 46 images in the collection are also featured in an online exhibit with longer captions than in the airport exhibit.
June 16 – August 22, 2014

AAAS Art Gallery
1200 New York Avenue NW
Washington, D.C.

Inspired by scientific and mathematical theories, hypotheses, and principles from Archimedes, the I Ching, geology, geometry, architecture, and more, the artists featured in GEDANKENEXPERIMENT have conducted their own thought experiments, resulting in the sculptural expressions—incorporating wood, metals, paper, computer parts, and limestone—featured in this show.

April 11 – August 31, 2014

Adamson Gallery
1515 Fourteenth Street NW, Suite 301
Washington, D.C.

June 30 – August 25, 2014

The Scotch Plains Public Library
1927 Bartle Avenue
Scotch Plains, NJ
Art in Science, which is on loan from Monmouth University, intends to express and highlight the beauty of science through images, drawings, and photos that are based on the research done by the Monmouth University faculty.
Solanum lycopersicum, © Asuka Hishiki

April 19 – September 21, 2014

The New York Botanical Garden
2900 Southern Boulevard

Bronx, NY

Respecting the beauty of the botanical world’s most bizarre flora, the New York Botanical Garden invited members of the American Society of Botanical Artists to create illustrations of visually unusual plants. The result is 46 fascinating paintings of unusual specimens that are now on display in the Ross Gallery.

April 19, 2014 – January 4, 2015

New York State Museum
222 Madison Avenue
Albany, NY

Focus on Nature XIII features 91 natural and cultural history illustrations, representing the work of 71 illustrators from 15 different countries.
October 16, 2013 – July 6, 2014

Museum of Arts and Design
2 Columbus Circle
New York, NY

‘Out of Hand: Materializing the Postdigital’ will explore the many areas of 21st-century creativity that are now possible through advanced methods of computer-assisted production known as digital fabrication. Out of Hand will be the first major museum exhibition to examine this interdisciplinary trend through the pioneering works of more than 80 international artists, architects, and designers.

October 19, 2013 – October 12, 2014

American Museum of Natural History
Central Park West at 79th Street

New York, NY
German naturalist and artist Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717) spent two years documenting the flora and fauna of Surinam, South America, creating the book Metamorphosis, from which this engraving is reproduced. © AMNH/D. Finnin
Featuring scientific illustrations spanning five centuries from the Museum’s Library this exhibition explores the integral role illustration has played in scientific discovery through 50 striking, large-format reproductions. Artists shown include Albrecht Dürer, Joseph Wolf, Moses Harris, John Woodhouse Audubon, and Maria Sibylla Merian.

June 15 – July 29, 2014

Pioneer Works, Center for Art and Innovation
159 Pioneer Street
Brooklyn, NY

Louise Despont explores the act of drawing as a form of abstract meditation; employing and recasting a vocabulary of elements found within a set of architectural stencils and compasses, onto the pages of antique ledger books. For this exhibition, Despont has borrowed the geometries of beehives, gardens, and found architecture to offer balanced forms that engage the past and present as indicators and provocations. In view of colony collapse, and other environmental concerns, the Six Sided Force investigates the subtle architectures, seen and unseen, between nature and human influence.

July 11 – December, 2014

Museum of Science
1 Science Park
Boston, MA
Water is most certainly one of our most precious resources – it makes life possible. By combining paint and sound, artists Anne Neely and Halsey Burgund, try to focus our attention on water and invite us to enquire into water’s unifying role in our world and the many ways we affect it.

November 21, 2013 – November 30, 2014

Massachusetts Institute of Technology Museum
Building N51
265 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA

Melding art, science, history and technology, 5000 Moving Parts features sculptures by Anne Lilly, John Douglas Powers, Takis, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer and Arthur Ganson in collaboration with sound artist Christina Campanella. This exhibition looks at the wide range of kinetic art that is currently being made.

Exhibitions in the south

June 28 – July 26, 2014

916 Springdale Road
Building 2 #102
Austin, TX

The precise mechanics of Matt Norris and imaginative compositions of John Self combine in Lifecycles to create an ecosystem of interacting assemblage creatures. Both artists give new life to discarded objects — Norris with bicycle chain, nails and sheet metals; Self with “authentic garage sale artefacts”. Their art ties together the lifecycles of organisms with those of consumer products in this dual exhibition of sculptural work.
through September 7, 2014

Museum of Arts and Sciences
4182 Forsyth Road
Macon, GA

Black & Light features groundbreaking abrasion holograms by artist James Minden that employ the same physics as white-light or “rainbow” holograms. In essence, as a viewer moves around each piece of art, the item changes its appearance. Minden refers to his body of work as ‘light drawings’ because the surface is literally drawn or incised by hand. Using a compass, the artist scratches narrow radius-shaped grooves in a sheet of plastic that has been coated with a diluted matte medium. When light is reflected from the surface and grooves, the image appears to be three-dimensional. Remarkably, the exhibition gives each viewer a unique experience because no two people see the same thing at the same time.

Karen Kluglein© Franklinia alatamaha

August 30 – November 2, 2014

North Carolina Botanical Garden
100 Old Mason Farm Road
Chapel Hill, NC

This major art exhibition includes forty-four original artworks based on the native plant discoveries made by John and William Bartram in their renowned and influential travels throughout the eastern wilderness between the 1730s and 1790s.

Exhibitions in the mid-west

June 6 – July 12, 2014

Packer Schopf Gallery
942 W. Lake Street
Chicago, IL

Nature² features work by sculptor Victoria Fuller. Direct depictions of organic elements – whether among earth and grass or human-implemented industrial piping – allow Fuller to investigate systems impacted by man’s activity in a widely-understandable manner. Though distinct, Fuller’s newer sculpture remains interconnected with her found object-based artwork. Each body of work informs the other, fully illuminating the universal experience of life on earth.
Object Permanence on the other hand features work by Michael Dinges. Dinges works primarily in the tradition of the 19th century sailor’s art of scrimshaw and the soldier’s folk art style of trench art in order to explore the legacy of the industrial revolution and its effects on society.

Exhibitions in the west

May 16 – September 21, 2014

Bellevue Arts Museum
510 Bellevue Way NE
Bellevue, WA
This unique exhibition explores the history and evolution of paper folding. Over 140 works by 45 master folders from around the world—from countries as diverse as Japan, the United States, Uruguay, and Russia—showcase the power of origami and its modern-day application in the field of engineering, design, fashion, and the global peace movement.

July 2014

Pacific Science Center
200 Second Ave. N.
Seattle, WA
Joseph Rossano’s interactive BOLD* sculpture series interprets the work of innovative biodiversity scientists including Dr. Daniel H. Janzen. Sculptured and silvered polyurethane butterflies and Moorea reef fish, and lacquered sea life abstractions are the core of Rossano’s exhibition.
*BOLD shares the acronym of Barcode of Life Datasystems - the Canadian repository for the International Barcode of Life project, for which Janzen is a passionate proponent and contributor.

Jeholornis prima on a Bennettitalean trunk by Michael Rothman © Acrylic on paper
April 30 – September 25, 2014

University of Colorado Museum of Natural History
Henderson Building
15th and Broadway
Boulder, CO
The University of Colorado Museum of Natural History is presenting the 2014 Guild of Natural Science Illustrators 2014 Annual Members Exhibit. This juried exhibition represents the finest in contemporary scientific illustration by members of the GNSI - a nonprofit organization dedicated to the practice of scientific illustration.

April 9 – August 3, 2014

Cantor Arts Center
Museum Way and Lomita Drive
Stanford University
Stanford, CA

James Chang fell in love with the Rodin Sculpture Garden at Stanford when he was an undergraduate. Later, while training in plastic and reconstructive surgery at the Stanford University School of Medicine, he visited the Cantor Arts Center with his family on Thursday evenings, where they would enjoy dinner in the café and then the art. His fascination for the work of the famous French artist Auguste Rodin (1840–1917) grew as Dr. Chang saw signs in the sculptures of the medical conditions he was learning to identify. Now as a professor in Stanford’s medical school, he shows images of Rodin’s sculptures of hands to medical students and hand surgery trainees, asking them to make diagnoses and hoping the artworks will make learning more fun and memorable.

April 12, 2014 – September, 2016
Monterey Bay Aquarium
886 Cannery Row
Monterey, CA
Journey to a world of undersea magicians, masters of disguise and quick-change artists. This exhibition is the largest, most diverse living exhibit ever created to showcase these amazing animals.

February 7, 2013 – September 6, 2014

Anchorage Museum
625 C Street
Anchorage, AK

With stunning visual impact and an astonishing array of ocean trash, internationally recognized artists create works of art for this exhibition from debris collected from beaches around the world. Plastic packaging in a throwaway culture finds its way into our ocean biosphere and then into the hands of artists. Our oceans and beaches are awash in plastic pollution propelled by gyre (rotating ocean currents). The exhibition explores the relationship between humans and the ocean in a contemporary culture of consumption.

Exhibitions Abroad

June 5 – July 25, 2014

Future Space Gallery
The Royal Institution of Australia
55 Exchange Place

Stem Cell Stories celebrates the beauty in regenerative medicine research. The images include drawings, patient portraits and research images, which help patients communicate the difficulties they face dealing with disease, or assess the merits of emerging stem cell or regenerative medicine treatments.