Friday, 12 September 2014

Heading to Florum

Yesterday I went off on my merry travels again on a grand day out to Kent. Sarah, my good friend at The Natural Year and I took ourselves off, to take a look at the much anticipated annual Florum Exhibition , at The Wildlife Trust's Sevenoaks Nature Reserve. Neither of us had ever been before, so we were very keen to see the range of artworks on display.

The journey from Hampshire was surprisingly easy, and of course the time passed extremely quickly as we talked and laughed our way there. So much so that we nearly missed the instructions being given by the Sat Nav. Oops, we must pay attention or she will tell us off.

On the cover
One of the colour pencil pieces by Katherine Tyrrell

What it's all about

Still, once safely arrived, we headed straight for the exhibition, (I didn't take any pictures in the exhibition). It was so good to see that some of the more well known artists had a good number of pieces dotted about and hanging next to some of the newer artists. Styles where extremely varied, with modernistic approaches being applied in silk screen printing alongside the more formal botanical illustrations. The two smallish rooms where very well filled, although the juxtaposition of the taxidermy backdrop from the nature reserve collections was a bit strange. There was a great opportunity to see the RHS medal winning Hydrangea paintings from Gael Sellwood, amongst other medal winning artists. Although, it was a pity to see some of the more stunning paintings tucked away in corners or hung a bit too low to appreciate.    

Other well known artists exhibiting this year included Susan Christopher-Coulson, Sandra Wall-Armitage, Christina Hart-Davies and Billy Showell. Billy was on duty, engaging with the visitors and taking lots of questions. She really is a wonderful 'people person'. Unfortunately, we weren't able to get a chance to chat to Billy, but we did get a good long look at her latest pieces. Also exhibiting this year was Katherine Tyrrell from Making a Mark, with her colour pencil pieces depicting cacti in close up really looking wonderful. With so many lovelies to choose from, I just couldn't pick a favourite. 

The series that really caught my eye though was a set of square paintings in Gouache by Wendy Cranston, (who sadly died earlier this year). These paintings reminded me of those stunning hand painted Art Noveau tiles that fetch a fortune. Beautifully executed in stunning jewel colours, the bloom and shine of the fruit and vegetable studies were quite amazing.           

Alas, the on site cafe was closed up, so there was nowhere to get something to eat without leaving the reserve. That was shame as I think we would have taken more time to enjoy the reserve after lunch. The one time, we hadn't brought our own, and one to remember next time. Still, there was a fabulous little garden with loads of great berries and seed heads in full force. This quiet little oasis was a lovely surprise, and we both took loads of photos and a couple of 'treasures' to study later.

Lots of inspiration both inside and out has given me plenty of new ideas for my own work. Another lovely day and more to think about. 

Guelder rose berries

Crab apples

Beautifully fragrant hops
(well it was Kent)

Spindle berries
These were the most stunning magenta pink

A stunning leaf showing it's Autumn wardrobe

And finally...

Next year, the RHS show should be a cracking date for the diary



Claire said...

What a fantastic day out, you lucky peeps! xx

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

It was definitely worth making the effort to go. We so often miss out on great exhibitions, but not this one.