Martin Allen Workshop – 18th March 2018

‘Using photographic notes’ was the title of Martin’s workshop. We are very grateful to Martin for travelling down from Middlesbrough in snowy conditions, eleven members managed the dreadful road conditions in the West Midlands to attend.

Points from the workshop

  • Take a lot of photographs of your subject.
  • When photographing indoors use natural light from a window if possible, from the left to give shadows, use a white board behind the subject and use a tripod. Outdoors use a white board and tripod, it may not be possible to pick wild flowers.
  • You need to see how all the structures fit and refer to a flora for the size of leaves, number of stamens etc. Your painting needs to be botanically correct.
  • Measure all parts, including the size of leaves.
  • Also record the the reverse of the flower, petals and leaf structures
  • Do not paint/record distorted petals or leaves, you may have to merge two images to get a good painting.
  • Beware of painting flowers or leaves that are drooping.
  • Make colour notes from the plant, colour will not be accurate from printed photographs. sometimes you may need to use ‘Photoshop’ to whiten the background of the photo to get a more correct colour.

Members were then challenged to colour match and paint part of a red bromeliad.

Finally Martin took us through how he used photographs in his painting, in particular showing a painting of Rampion enlarged to many times its size but still in proportion. A thoroughly enjoyable and informative workshop.

Workshop 28th April 2018

Botanical Painting Workshop at Winterbourne House and Gardens with Jeni Neale, Saturday 28th April ‘Spring Flowers.

Enjoy a day of drawing and painting the delights of springtime from Winterbourne’s garden: flowering bulbs, emerging buds and beautiful Camelia. Concentrating on simple compositions, learn how to capture their form and vibrant colours in easy colour washes. Jeni will demonstrate drawing and painting methods at each stage and the limited numbers will allow for plenty of one-to-one tuition throughout the day.

For further information and bookings, please click on link:

January 2018

Sixteen members braved inclement weather to enjoy some ‘me’ time at our meeting on January 21st. Please note there will not be a meeting at Stirchley on 18th February, a venue for lunch on this day has been organised members must inform the chair if they wish to attend and to see the menu.

There is a Botanical Art Exhibition at Easton Walled Garden from Saturday 17th February – Sunday 11th March on their usual open days, this also co-insides with their snowdrop week. The artists exhibiting are Norma Gregory, Dawn Wright and Sue Vize. More details on their website


December 2017

Our last meeting of the year was well attended. Many took part in our ‘Paint a Postcard competition’ and there was an opportunity to browse and buy books, followed by a buffet lunch. The two winners of the Christmas competition were Jeni Neale and Annabel Barrett (images are on our Facebook page).

There is an exciting programme of events organised for 2018 with a good spread of workshops and painting days and maybe a few trips. Members of the society will continue to visit Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens on the second Wednesday of the month from 1.30pm February to November. An exhibition of members work will be held at ‘The Core’ Solihull Library from 18th April – 5th May and the paintings will be for sale.

2018 is designated as the year of botanical art and there are events all over the world. The ‘Botanical Art Worldwide Exhibition’ is to be held at The Ruskin Library, University of Lancaster from 18th May – 15th June. Title – In Ruskin’s Footsteps ‘Linking People to Plants through Botanical Art’

November – Busy month

November is proving to be a busy month. The society had a stand at ‘Art Materials Live’ at the NEC, Birmingham from 2nd to 5th November 2017. A lot of interest was shown for our exhibition of work with some inquiries for joining our society.

On Friday 10th November twelve members visited Kew Gardens. Kew was bathed in sunshine showing up the lovely autumn colour. Time was short before our arranged visit to the Library and Archive so some dashed to the Shirley Sherwood Gallery to see the art installation – ‘Life in Death’ and the exhibition – ‘Abundance’ both worth the visit. Others had a leisurely stroll to The Hive and conservatories. At the Archive we were treated to view original art work by Verelst, Ehret, Redoute and Bauer. Also laid out for us to see was the earliest editions of Curtis’s Botanical Magazine from 1787, and art work for later editions through to the 21st century. We saw work by Walter Hood Fitch from the 19th century, by Lilian Snelling and Stella Ross Craig from the 20th century and Ann Farrer and Lucy Smith present day artists at Kew.

Dianne Sutherland was the demonstrator at the meeting on 19th November, Dianne showed us her technique for painting ivy leaves – first we overlaid the drawing with blue and yellow washes. Using wet in wet we placed the veins and then using her technique of small brush  strokes built up the contours of the leaf. Dianne achieves some lovely effects and a technique worth practice for the rest of us.

The December meeting is our paint a postcard competition, the theme ‘A botanical cracker’. Keih Larkin will be bringing books for sale at the December meeting, you can view his books on Lunch is also provided.