This botanical thing

It’s been several months since I updated my blog and I’m not really selling anything online at the moment, but I have still been painting and I thought it was about time that I did an update

Anyone who follows my social media feed will have noticed that I have been sharing a lot of botanical drawings and paintings lately and I have been trying to paint in a more realistic style too. This is because of something that I have been reluctant to share until now. About 18 months ago, after I had completed the certificate in botanical illustration with Edinburgh Botanic Gardens and my solo exhibition at Inverewe Gardens, I was invited to exhibit as a solo artist at the gorgeous new Gairloch Heritage Museum in May 2021. The museum asked me to focus my paintings on indiginous plants of the area, so I started to sketch and research and prepare for the show.

Then the pandemic happened, everywhere went into lockdown and I wasn’t sure what to do. However, the date had been set, so I kept working towards it.

Then, at the end of last year, the museum contacted me to let me know that they were hoping to go ahead with the exhibition, which was planned for May and June. Currently Scotland is in lockdown, so places like Gairloch Museum are not open, but the plan is, as long as infection rates stay low, to open up more widely at the end of April. However, the fact that the exhibition will almost certainly go ahead has given me a goal and a deadline to work towards and I am now using the sketches that I’ve been doing and the photos I have taken to do 10 botanical paintings and a number of paintings in oil or acrylic that will depict indiginous plants in the landscape.

Botanical art is very detailed intricate work, and takes longer than most painting and drawing that I’m used to doing, so progress has been much slower than usual, but I’m over half way there now. I want to have finished the botanical plant portraits by the end of March in order to get them framed and then I’ll move on to the larger detailled paintings

I’ve already started painting studies, like the one below, trying to be more detailed and realistic than I have before and these will used as a basis for five botanics in the landscape paintings for the exhibition, which will be in acrylic and/or oils

Meanwhile I have four more botanicals to complete, starting tomorrow with primroses, which have just come in to flower here in Northern Scotland, and I went out today to photograph and sketch some.

The title of the exhibition will be Flora Gadelica or Lùsan na Gàidheal in Gaelic, which means the plants/flowers of the Gaels. Most of the plants in the exhibition have been a key part of Gaelic life, so I am also researching stories and botanical information to go along with the paintings

some sketches

I’m a bit torn right now, between being really excited for the exhibition and hoping that it will go ahead and slightly terrified at the same time!

I’ll post more details about it nearer the time and share details of a joint exhibition, which will be for the 3rd year running at the gorgeous wee gallery at An Talla Dearg with my friends Aileen (Aileen Grant Art) and Steven Proudfoot, and is planned for June.

Meanwhile, I’ll be in the studio, painting!

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