Wednesday, 27 February 2013

New Book on Rory McEwen

A new book on Rory McEwen will be published by Kew Publishing this May to accompany this year's big exhibition in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art, Kew Gardens.

Hardback: £32   ISBN (hardback): 978 1 84246 487 8
Paperback: £25   ISBN (paperback): 978 1 84246 466 3

Over 150 colour photographs
280 x 242 mm 
216 pp

You could pre-order off tax dodging Amazon if you want to:, but I am going to buy mine at Kew or through an independant book seller because I am like that!

I have been in busy trying to update the Kew illustrations website this year, and my colleague and I have made the first steps buy getting two new pages out to replace the old boring ones. If you like Kew please check out the first one here. - I am quite pleased with the results so far, it's a small step, but a good one I think. My colleagues should be out later this week and I'll let you know in due course. Feedback is appreciated - good or bad.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Yogi Lion Update

 So I have been a busy bee during my hourly commutes into Kew...

And today I did a bit more work on this bad boy (below). He's bad because he is taking me ages to layer-up. I knew I should never have given this painting the name 'Monstera problema'! Hah! So I have been busy making all the lines much crisper and smoothing out the existing layers before then putting another 3 layers on. I have done a fair bit of burnishing on this too, which has been a first for me. My mum bought me a really lovely agate burnisher for Christmas and it's brilliant! It's really sorting out the textured surface of this horrible Somerset paper.

The hardest bit for me are the veins - they are a very tricky pastel green and are square in nature, not round, so the shading is a bit different.  Plus the intensity of the bright green disappears as the leaves come towards you. What's tricky about capturing that is that there isn't much intensity in the dark places, so not much to work with... It's all good practice though isn't it?!

Thursday, 21 February 2013


Just before pootling off to Tunisia I did manage to do a bit of painting. My drawing board isn't fully erected yet as it's blooming heavy and I when I am off work Henry isn't and when he's off work I am not etc... etc... So that bit of it hasn't been done yet. However as I am raring to paint after a month off, I have made a mock board by temporarily dangling an A0 art folder across the stand. I can officially say that IT IS AMAZING to be able to paint with the paper tilted. I can feel my neck saying 'thank you' as I move the brush along the paper, and the new studio is south west facing, so my eyes are also very happy with all this daylight.

On Monday, while Pink Floyd tunes resonated around the Inky Leaves studio, my brushes  made a bit of progress on the left petal of Chelsea Tulips. You can see what it was like last time here.

Chelsea tulips (Tulipa sp.)

I think going darker is an improvement and after one more day this will be finished. I didn't submit anything for the SBA exhibition in the end as I decided that I wanted to concentrate on other things such as my Bare Necessities Project. I also hope for this particular piece to go to Chelsea Physic Garden - but we shall see.

Chelsea tulips (Tulipa sp.)

Chelsea tulips (Tulipa sp.) - close up on one of the petals

I have also been working on Monstera Problema - making it darker and working on the outlines and the shadows on the left leaves. The paper is so dreadful though that it's taking ages... A hint to my botanical artist readers - never paint on Somerset paper! I originally purchased it for my intaglio print making, so I knew it wouldn't be ideal for watercolour paints, but I didn't think it would be this bad. I guess I just didn't want to waste it... We learn from our mistakes that is for sure.

Swiss Cheese Plant (Monstera delicosa)

Friday, 8 February 2013

Book your places!

Dr. Sherwood will be giving a tour in May for the forthcoming exhibitions on Rory McEwen at Kew. It's a great opportunity to meet the lady in question.  You can find out more here.

Please contact the gallery staff by telephoning 020 8332 3622 to reserve a place on this tour.

Walks and Tours
An Exhibition Talk with Dr. Shirley Sherwood

Tuesday 21 May 2013, 2pm

Join Dr. Sherwood at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art for a tour around Kew's forthcoming exhibition on the botanical artist, Rory McEwen. 
Please contact the gallery staff by telephoning 020 8332 3622 to reserve a place on this tour.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013


Ok - so I am back everybody! Well what a month it has been... To cut a long story short, I think I opened some sort of crack in the cosmic energy pool when I began distmantling my room to make way for a drawing board becuase what actually happened in the end is I left the entire room and plonked myself in a bigger and better space 10 miles east in Brick Lane! It all happened so fast I am left feeling like I am spinning on the spot. So no painting for all that time... absolutely itching to get cracking on with something, although I am still not quite there as I sadly have a funeral to go to and then on a more joyous note I am away in Tunisia...

Being a regular commuter now has really helped my sewing productivity though. Yogi Lion is growing steadily and my Bare Necessities spreadsheet is all up to date and I have also come up with several new ideas for paintings.

The Lotus on Yogi Lion is now in place and I have begun filling in the petals and putting in the soya bean pods on the left and right edges..

 Sense of scale - with fingers

 'Love Tree' - a card for Henry

On top of this the Inky Leaves website is having a major re-design which I am very much looking forward to seeing the results of. I am very lucky in that my step father is an excellent webdesigner and by boyfriend is a dedicated programmer... it makes for a great team. So watch this space.

Plus I have news - Kew has (at last) started to sell indivisual Marianne North postcards... So if you are dropping off paintings for the SBA on the 18th February and find yourself in Kew grab some while stocks last! I have no idea how long they'll be there...

Lastly - saw this and thought the fabric was out of this world. I want curtains made out of this fabric!!

There is a whole cat walk fashion shoot of several outfits so check out the link.