Saturday, 12 October 2013

Mind the Globule

'Black and White, in Colour' is now open at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art in Kew Gardens. The great thing about this little exhibition is that it is a selling show, which makes it all the more interactive in my eyes. On top of this, there are two showcases demonstrating how Sue Wickison and Sue J. Williams have painted their subjects, building even further onto a level of interaction which I rather like. Black and white subjects are notoriously tricky to paint and the two artists help us to see how we can go about painting them by showing us their colour swatches and sketches. It's like being in their studio, or walking into a sketchbook.
 Showcase of Sue J Williams' work
Interestingly I bumped into Sue Williams by accident whilst attending one of the meetings at the Chelsea Florilegium Society last week. I popped along to show them my portfolio. I found the entire process rather scary it was to be said! I think it was the level of professionalism that I found rather intimidating and when I noticed that Andrew Brown was judging my work alongside Judi Stone and Dugald Graham-Campbell I did panic a bit. Anyway - the good news is that they liked my work and I am now in the process of waiting for the papers to become an official member. I am very excited about this as I have wanted to be part of this Society for years.

 Showcase of Sue Wickison's work
It was a very insightful afternoon all in all (it find it always is when I am at Cheslea!). Upon arrival we were served lots of tea and the most scrumptious, thick and laden biscuits you have ever laid your eyes on. If you put any more chocolate chips in the shortbread cookies they would be more 'chocolate bar' than 'cookie'. Then there was a lot of talking, munching and sipping (or slurping as it was hot). They had a raffle on where you could win a piece of Rory McEwen's vellum (which was kindly gifted by one of the members to raise funds for the Society) and lots of plant lists so you could choose which plant from the garden you wanted to paint. I liked this bit. Apparently, as of this month, they have decided to focus on the ethnobotanicals in the garden which is great news! I couldn't believe my luck! 

So after gorging myself on tea and deluxe biscuits I joined the other members for a tutorial on how to paint on vellum by Sarah Gould. It was incredibly informative. She is a superb teacher and had brought everything with her in the form of props. I was very, very impressed. The best bit was a piece of board which had different types of vellum stuck onto it with teeny paintings on each one so you could compare the different effects that each type gives. She also had lots of different loose sheets of vellum so you could see the transparency and feel the thickness, and a very old document to show how it ages. Sarah demonstrated mounting techniques too and said if you see a shiny globule of paint at the tip of your brush when it hits the vellum it means it is too wet and you must stop immediately. Pretty sound advice... don't push that globule around guys... it ain't going to go anyway and has the potential to bring ruin. Ha! Who would have thought a globule could be so dangerous? All this danger is pretty exciting and it really makes me want to get cracking on with my little piece of vellum! I have decided what to paint on it, well I think so anyway... just need to do a spot of practicing on another piece. Any guesses what I am painting?


  1. Nice suggestion. I did think of that as it is my fav plant, but Rory has already done one and his is the best Ginkgo leaf in the world! I feel like mine would never be on a level with his and I like the idea of painting something that is seen as 'not very special' on my special vellum.