Wednesday, 11 November 2015

The Botanical Year

A little while ago I introduced you to one of the projects I have planned for 2016. The Botanical Year is revisiting my love of sketchbooks and will give me the opportunity to get back into creating, and having fun without the commitment of something overly planned or finished. See Needful Things to get the idea of what I am up to.

"Never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun."

Randy Pausch



A Sketchbook Year, (well, almost)
Some of my favourite bits


During the SBA botanical painting course I had to keep a sketchbook as part of their curriculum, and I really enjoyed the freedom of playing around with techniques, colours, and new subjects. Since completing the course, I must admit to letting this part of my practise slide a bit, with my own sketchbook being somewhat neglected, as I have got busier with other commitments.


A couple of pages from the SBA course




For 2016 I really wanted to get back into keeping a sketchbook, but rather than just using it as a working documentation of progress and ideas, I really want to create something unique and beautiful, that reflects the passing months with all the bits and pieces that I love. 

As with all my sketchbook pages, there will be a certain amount of ephemera going on, with collected bits, random phrases, poetry, postcards, typography, and quite possibly the odd RHS ticket or map. I'm not good at those classic pages, where one subject is beautifully done, I have to be random, with lots of things going on. A bit like a nature table, but on paper, with little collections of random subjects and objects to make each page a unique and happy place. I'm really hoping that I will fall back in love with my sketchbook.

Of course I have my good friends on the Natural Sketchbook Exchange to thank for all this enthusiasm for sketchbooking. Their support and collaboration on our year long project has really fired my enthusiasm and enjoyment of the ideas and working out process again, and I have really wanted to do a good job by making my little piece of all of their books, a happy, fun and slightly eccentric place to settle for a while.    

"When you have confidence, you can have a lot of fun. 
And when you have fun, you can do amazing things."

Joe Namath


My latest page for the exchange

I had no idea how this was going to turn out or what was going to be on it.

All I wanted was an autumnal palette.

It grew as things presented themselves


Here on the blog, I will be creating a dedicated page for the project, so you can see how it all progresses. And, as life is always better with friends, if you would like to join me in the studio to create a unique and beautiful reflection of your own botanical year, I have a programme of study days that you can book on the tuition page of the website. It would be great to see you.


“No matter how much time passes, 

no matter what takes place in the interim, 

there are some things we can never assign to oblivion,

 memories we can never rub away.” 

Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

See also:

Enjoy What You Do


Playing with snowberries and snails
My last workshop introduced the idea of adding extra bits to paintings
The collection box came in handy








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