"Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning." Albert Einstein
Normally I’m not one for making New Year Resolutions as they usually involve the half-hearted renouncement of chocolate and mince pies, and earnest vows to become fitter. Usually these good intentions are forgotten by the end of January .
So this year, I have decided instead to make a List of Plans and Promises relating to my artwork which I hope will be easier to keep!
SBA Membership- Top of my wish list is to become a full member of the Society of Botanical Artists.
I’m already half way there but it’s been a long hard journey. First step was to complete 27 months of course work, which earned me a Diploma with distinction. Then, last year I had to have six paintings accepted into the annual exhibition to become an Associate member. Now I face the final challenge of having five more paintings accepted into the SBA annual exhibition at Westminster. I’ve one more to paint and then it’s fingers crossed. If I don’t get accepted, then I’ll be doing five more next year!
|A lovely gift to keep me busy throughout the year.|
· Vellum- I am really enjoying painting on vellum. It imbues such a softness to watercolours and is quite thrilling to work on. My very kind parents gifted me with a lovely fat parcel from Wiliam Cowley with a selection of vellums to play with. Although the kelmscott is considered the crème de la crème for botanical artists, I really like the look of the natural calfskin with it’s honey colour and natural flaws. Yes, working on different vellums is definitely on the list!
|A sketchbook page from last spring- I'm looking forward to doing more studies like this in 2014|
Sketchbook – I am really excited about a project which I hope will kick off in the next few weeks… a Sketchbook Exchange which involves some very talented and inspiring friends. We have all ordered our dinky little sketchbooks from Stillman and Birn and the plan is to paint and post these sketchbooks to each other throughout the year. I am looking forward to trying out new ideas and getting creative!
|The Gilder's Tools|
Gold- Ah, the glitter of gold always catches my eye! I love illuminated manuscripts and old books, and inspired by my recent trip to the Chester Beatty Library, have decided that this year I am going to try to combine contemporary botanicals with gold and silver leaf, perhaps on vellum. Fortunately my mother is a gilder and so I have a very handy supply of materials (and an enthusiastic mum) on hand.
|Off it goes!|
Travel- This year already is promising to be a great one for travelling. One of my paintings is soon off to Spain for a very exciting exhibition (more later!) and hopefully I will be going to visit it there. Then there is the SBA exhibition in London in May. Shortly after that I’ll be heading back to Egypt for the summer where I plan to do lots of painting.
|Nothing beats painting by the pool!|
· RHS work- Last year my work was deemed "of an acceptable standard" by the RHS, and so I hope to start work on a series of paintings of dates (Phoenix dactylifera) this summer. I love the light in Egypt and am spoilt for choice with all the beautiful date trees that grow there.
|Painting dates in Egypt,2013|
· Tie up loose ends- I think every artist has a few unfinished pieces in their studio and I’m no exception. I started this barn owl last year as a present for my brother. It’s almost done, so I’ve no excuse!
Explore composition- I was really inspired by Thorntons’ The Temple of Flora and loved how the artists painted backgrounds to complement the portrait of the plant. Each painting told the story of the plant- the where, when and how it grows in it’s habitat. It’s definitely something that I feel could be explored more thoroughly. One of the sites that I have have bookmarked is KatherineTyrrell’s Making A Mark Resource page on Composition. There is a lot there to read and take in, but it’s worth reading carefully.
· And finally, I want to keep blogging, at least until the end of the year. It’s been very helpful to me to verbalise my thoughts and plans. I usually have far too many ideas and don’t always write them down, so this is a great way to get myself organised. Let’s hope that I’ve more willpower than I do with chocolate!
Happy New Year everybody!!