When I decided to give art a chance I thought it would be a matter of drawing and painting… gentle days of creative flux and inspiration. But as Michael Avatar says in his book How to be an Artist, you are required to assume different personalities: PR, manager, entrepreneur, researcher, promoter, as well as artist! My next big adventure is an exhibition planned with fellow local artists: Lesley Longworth and Stuart Adams, at the Poplar’s Garden Centre on the 26-27 of April/2014. After some weeks of deliberation, I think I have already decided what I am going to exhibit, and because the venue is a Garden, thus what better than showing my current botanicalready rich collection of botanical illustrations including three main series:
1. Series Homage to Maria Sybillia Merian. This is a series of 12 watercolours inspired by the Dutch botanist Maria Sybillia Merian, who travelled to the Dutch south american colony of Surinam to document the unexplored flora and insects of the new world. I did these watercolours a while ago, throughout a long and cold winter, and the result are these vibrant watercolours of plants and butterflies and moths. I love the result, as they are so intricate and also they pay homage to the bravery of Maria Sybillia and her contribution to the understanding of the new world! I have come to understand more about the contribution of many women to the science of botany. So, what a better way for me to find a historical mentor! I’m very excited about this because this is going to be the first time that I will show the 12 illustrations together, and they are really colourful! It took me a good while to make them in a way that were both loyal to the original but also including my own little interpretation. So all is good!
2. The daily garden: In continuing with the botanical exploration, last year I decided to start drawing the plants and flora around me. Britain is a great place in which respect to nature is a national value, thus, there are a number of natural reserves as well as the indomitable passion for gardening. I started with some sketches when I visited the natural reserve of Rye Harbour, in East Sussex, and my dear friend Heather Hopfl, requested a first commission of the three plants featured in the sketchbook: Sea Cabbage (Cambria Marina); Yellow Horned Poppy (and a red wild flower (an umbrella of diminutive flowers) that at the end turned to be Red Campion. Thanks to Heather’s encouragement I have been recording and paying more attention to the flora around me.
For example, while visiting the recently renovated Tate Britain with Lesley Longworth (my artist pal) I was marvelled by the yellow flowers of the Mahonia cheering up the grey weather. As the year was finishing I also painted a traditional “mistletoe” and I waited patiently for the Hyacinth to show her intoxicating pink flowers. I also discovered a shy viola amongst the bushes and daffodils dancing in the breeze. All of these are my own take on the flowers and plants, and this time I tried to render both the magic of these flowers at the beginning of the year, defying the rain and the weather and giving us hope for the days to come.
3. Flower Power: I will also show my more “design” flowers, created in the form of wall paper in white background: sunflowers, rhododendrums, iris and orchids. These are really beautiful paintings and I hope to present a coherent take on the subject. As mentioned in previous post botanical drawings have been a major door for my creativity and my love-affair with painting and art, thus, it is more than deserved to showcase this passion of mine.
I will be writing more about some of the drawings and the creative process involved. So watch this space and accompany me in this adventure!