December meeting 2019

As usual our last meeting of the year was a social event. The competition was to depict a Christmas decoration to hang on a tree. The winner was Moira Ashby chosen by former member Jackie Davies assisted by her husband Roy, and in second place Liz Green. This was followed by a super lunch of items brought by members, it all worked very well with a variety of savory and sweet treats.

We have had a busy autumn, our programme for next year being planned and will include an exhibition. The venue is booked and details will follow. Best wishes to all for Christmas and the New Year.

17th November – Workshop

A big thank you to Sarah Morrish for coming to Birmingham to give us  a workshop on ‘ Seedpods, Seed-heads and Seeds in Pen & Ink’. Sarah gave us information on the variety of pens suitable for botanical illustration, she uses mainly black and sepia but we saw some of her work using grey and green ink. She also discussed the the different marks used to depict texture, tone and form and the different papers that she uses. We were able to see examples of her beautiful work. We enjoyed this workshop and meeting Sarah and came away inspired to practise.

Kew Gardens – Shirley Sherwood Gallery.  ‘Modern Masterpieces of Botanical Art’ . This exhibition of works from Shirley Sherwood’s private collection is on until 15th March 2020. A new book accompanies this exhibition.


October 2019

On Sunday 20th October Simon Williams came to our meeting and gave a very instructive workshop on painting with gouache. This was a medium that few of us had tried for botanical work. Thank you Simon for the time spent coming around the room helping and advising everyone. It was an enjoyable day with some lovely work produced.

Our first venture participating in Birmingham Open Studios on 12th October at Stirchley Baths was very successful. We hung members art work around the walls of the cinema room, and set up a double row of tables down the centre with more paintings, prints and cards all of which were for sale. We felt it was a very successful event with good comments from our visitors who also purchased cards.

We will once again have a stand at the NEC from 31st October to 3rd November 2019 at the ‘Creative Crafts’ event.

Exhibition and Birmingham Open Studios 2019

Society members Yvonne Barbara Gemmell and Sandy Gough have had pictures accepted for the Lichfield 2Art competition. The theme is ‘Blowing in the Wind’ and the exhibition of the finalists work runs from Saturday 12th October to Sunday 20th October at the Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum, Breadmarket Street, Lichfield. Go along and have a look, Lichfield is also a wonderful shopping venue.

Y. Barbara Gemmell is participating in Birmingham open studios at her home in Selly Oak on the 5th and 6th October (See for more details.) This society is also participating on Saturday 12th October at Stirchley Baths, Bourneville Lane. There will be cards, prints and original art work for sale plus demonstrations.

20th Anniversary Celebration



On 15th September 2019 members were invited together with founder and past members to celebrate the society’s 20th Anniversary. Coffee and biscuits were served on arrival. Members had been invited to bring along paintings which made a marvellous display. Jeni Neale had searched the archives and printed off events from each year of the society and together with folders of information there was a lot to browse through.

One of the founder members Jane Edwards gave a short history of the society which was very informative especially for new members. Our invited speaker Lucy Smith, one of the botanical artists based at Kew, gave a talk on her research entitled ‘Walter, Waterlilies and Waders – The Victoria Waterlily Project’. Lucy started with a brief history of Walter Hood Fitch and his collaboration with William Hooker. Walter created four lithographic plates of Victoria Regis in 1851. There are two species in the genus Victoria amazonica and Victoria cruziana. Three plants from the seeds of V.amazonica had been grown and one was sent to Chatsworth, another to Syon House and the third kept at Kew.. The plant at Chatsworth was the first to flower and it was cut and taken to Queen Victoria and named for her.

A 2014 exhibition at Kew inspired Lucy’s project and she aims to document the species in detail. We heard how Lucy had to get permission to stay in the glass houses after closing time as the flower opens in the evenings and a gardener must be present to cut the flower. Lucy photographs the flower ( wearing waders) and makes detailed drawings. Lucy has made detailed drawings of both species, buds, flowers, dissected flowers and leaves. We admired the amount of detail that she has already recorded and she has even been to Denver Botanic Gardens to document a plant they have there.

Following the talk a buffet lunch was served followed by cutting of the cake by our Chair Moira Ashby. This was a lovely day to remember.