Looking ahead

BOOKINGS NOW BEING TAKEN 

Botanical Painting in Ireland
Workshop and Pre-workshop Southern Ireland Tour
July 8–19, 2019
http://www.goingplacestogether.com

Wildflowers in the Burren, Co. Clare, Ireland

Wildflowers in the Burren, Co. Clare, Ireland

My old friend and colleague Nancy Walsh, whom I have known since our days at Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD), now runs a very successful travel tour business in Canada, offering a wide variety of specialised group tours. For 2019, I am delighted that Nancy has invited me to play a part in her Irish tour: ‘Botanical Painting in Ireland’. The tour will begin with a six-day tour of Southern Ireland, visiting such popular destinations as Glendalough, Waterford Crystal, the ancient town of Kilkenny, Blarney Castle, Killarney, Cliffs of Moher and the Burren, ending up in Galway, the City of Tribes. For the following five days I will be conducting a botanical art workshop for the tour participants in the beautiful setting of Claregalway Castle. This is suitable for beginners and those who would like to improve their skills in botanical drawing and painting. Although Nancy is based in Canada, the tour is available worldwide, with participants meeting in Dublin on Monday 8 July. Full details, including prices, are available HERE. Anyone who would like more information or to book a place on the tour should contact Nancy via her website. She is a very experienced tour leader who will ensure that your trip is truly memorable. Book soon, because this is a popular tour. The deadline for registration is 31 January 2019.

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Wiener Schule der Botanischen Illustration
Vienna School of Botanical Illustration
GET TOGETHER 2019
12–19 May 2019
www.botanische-illustration.at

Vienna Botanic Garden (Wiki Commons)

Vienna Botanic Garden (Wiki Commons)

I am delighted to have been invited to teach a one day workshop in my favourite city, Vienna. In a week filled with workshops and many other activities, my own workshop will be held on Friday 17 May, and will focus on Drawing Skills, with reference to the teaching of John Ruskin. The workshop is suitable for beginners and those who wish to improve existing skills.

‘GET TOGETHER 2019 is  where botanical artists can meet, exchange ideas, and work together over an entire week so that there is sufficient time for participants to participate in practical expert-led workshops, and to visit museums and archive collections. During a field trip to the Donau-auen National Park attendees will also have an opportunity to sketch.

Portfolio showcases will be given by botanical illustrators and the workshop instructors; these will last about one to two hours in the morning, and will be followed by a discussion. The emphasis of the meeting will be on the varying approaches of traditional scientific botanical illustration. all components of the programme are independent, so attendees can decide on their level of involvement themselves.

For further details and to download application form, please CLICK HERE

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Classes and Workshops
at Áras Uilinn, Moycullen, County Galway
laragan.hall@gmail.com

Ophrys apifera Bee orchid ©Jane Stark

Ophrys apifera Bee orchid ©Jane Stark

As we move towards a new year, all indications are that it will be a busy one! Before 2018 comes to a close, there will be one more Basic Drawing Workshop on Saturday 1 December – part of a series of day-long classes that concentrate on basic drawing techniques. Subject matter is not exclusively botanical, and the exercises featured in the workshops would be useful to anyone wishing to improve their drawing skills. Absolute beginners are very welcome.

The next 8 week botanical art course will take place at Áras Uilinn in Moycullen, Co Galway on Thursday 27 January. The class is almost fully booked, so if you are interested in joining us, please email me at laragan.hall@gmail.com as soon as possible. The class takes place on Thursday mornings from 10 to 12.30.

Another Basic Drawing Workshop will be held on Saturday 29 January – details to come.

Catching up

The front cover of Éireannach: Native Plants of Ireland

The front cover of Éireannach: Native Plants of Ireland

It has been a very busy year, and I have been woefully neglectful of my website, so in an effort to catch up, this post will take the form of a newsletter.

Éireannach: Native Plants of Ireland is the latest project of the Irish Society of Botanical Artists (ISBA) and was part of exciting Botanical Art Worldwide project initiated by the American Society of Botanical Artists. Irish artists painted native Irish wild plants and exhibited the paintings at the National Botanic Gardens in Dublin last May. A high quality book containing all the paintings was launched at the opening of the exhibition. While all of the paintings were featured in the book, it was much more than a catalogue. Each artist wrote a short piece about their plant(s) and a number of Irish conservation groups wrote articles and supplied photographs. Sharon Greene of Wild Irish Foragers contributed a lovely article about traditional uses of some Irish wild plants. In addition, each of the 25 participating countries supplied a representative painting from their own submissions to Botanical Art Worldwide, along with information about their native flora and how it is being portrayed by botanical artists.

The book and the exhibition were very well-received, and sales of books and paintings were brisk. You can still order the book (a great Christmas gift !) at www.irishbotanicalartists.ie/shop. For more information about the ground-breaking Worldwide project, see www.botanicalartworldwide.info – well worth a look at some of the wonderful artwork and stories relating the project.

Arum maculatum Lords and Ladies. ©Jane Stark

Arum maculatum Lords and Ladies (watercolour). ©Jane Stark

My own contributions to the project were paintings of Arum maculatum (lords and ladies),  and Eriophorum angustifolium (bog cotton).  Please scroll down the page for a picture of the bog cotton painting. Also included in the exhibition were paintings from two of my students, Anne Burns and Hataitip (Tim) Walsh) who were exhibiting for the first time as botanical artists.

Botanical and Floral Art in Bloom
As the Éireannach exhibition closed, the annual Botanical and Floral Art in Bloom exhibition was beginning at the Phoenix Park in Dublin, in association with Bloom in the Park. For this exhibition I submitted a watercolour of an Anthurium hybrid, and was delighted that it was awarded a silver medal.

Anthurium hybrid (watercolour) ©Jane Stark

Anthurium hybrid (watercolour) ©Jane Stark

Claregalway Castle Botanical Art Expo
The annual Claregalway Castle Botanical Art Expo was held in July in conjunction with the very popular Galway Garden Festival. This is the largest botanical art exhibition in the west of Ireland, and many visitors to the Garden Festival find their way in to the gallery. A number of the ur pop-up shop in the gallery featured Éireannach paintings were on view, along with a selection other works by Irish botanical artists. The pop-up shop, which offered botanical cards, prints, and other products, was very popular and sales were brisk.

A small selection of paintings on view at Claregalway Castle Botanical Art Expo in July 2018

A small selection of paintings on view at Claregalway Castle Botanical Art Expo in July 2018

A lovely surprise!
Autumn brought a lovely surprise when my painting of Sarracenia leucophylla found a very good home with a collector in the United States. Three of my limited edition prints also accompanied the painting. It is a huge pleasure to know that the painting has gone to someone who shares my own passion for carnivorous plants!

Looking to the future
Although 2018 is drawing to a close, there are still classes and a workshop to look forward to, and next year is shaping up to be another busy year. My next post will give more details on my classes, workshops and a couple of special events coming up in 2019.

Thank you to those who follow my blogposts, and for your great patience with the long periods in between them. I will try next year to make them more frequent!

Burren College of Art Summer Workshop

Dactylorhiza-fuchsii-fuchsii-0025The Burren in County Clare on the west coast of Ireland is a breathtakingly beautiful place in any season, but never more so than in May – the time of year when so many of the rare plants that make this landscape so special are in bloom. The starkness of the limestone pavement comes alive with the colours of orchids, gentians, burnet rose, mountain avens, bloody cranesbill and many more. The Burren College of Art is located in the heart of the Burren, just outside Ballyvaughan. Superb studio space, combined with a friendly, encouraging atmosphere, superb homemade food in the café, a well-stocked library, and a wide variety of accommodation – not to mention the stunning surroundings – make this a perfect spot for an intensive five day course in botanical art, without the interruptions of home and business. If you have never been to the Burren in springtime, this is an ideal opportunity to immerse yourself in a very special experience. For more details, visit: https://www.burrencollege.ie/programmes/summer-workshops/summer-workshops/ or ring Julia Long at +353 65 707 7200 (email: julia@burrencollege.ie) to sign up for this year’s course which runs from 14th–18th May. 

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Botanical Art Workshop at Burren College of Art

14th – 18th May 2018

A demonstration on painting leaves at the Burren College of Art

I am delighted to be returning to the Burren College of Art in May to teach a workshop in botanical art. This five-day workshop is designed for those who have some experience in the basics of botanical art and flower painting and would like to further develop their skills through an intensive five days of drawing and painting. Emphasis is on individual tuition and allowing students to work at their own pace and level of experience.

Burren College of Art

There are many places in Ireland that can simply take your breath away. Others inspire you. Some make you feel energized, creative and refreshed, while others bring out all that is best in you. For many people though, only the Burren can sum up all that. The college is located very close to the village of Ballyvaughan.

For more information about the course, please have a look at https://www.burrencollege.ie/programmes/summer-workshops/summer-workshops/botanical-art-jane-stark/

Information on accommodation and an application form can be found at https://www.burrencollege.ie/programmes/summer-workshops/summer-workshops/

or you can contact Julia Long by email at julia@burrencollege.ie

 

 

Some Goals for the Coming Year

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No matter how experienced and skilled we are as artists, there is always room for improvement. Most of us, at sometime or other, feel that we could do better, and the beginning of a new year is a good time to look at some ways in which one might make a few changes.

Being realistic . . .

As with any other new year’s resolutions, it’s important from the outset to not take on more than you can realistically manage. Even the smallest of steps, taken often enough, will eventually lead to improvement.

Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”

Vincent Van Gogh

Finding time . . .

Without doubt, one of the most widespread complaints from artists is that they never seem to have enough time. Other commitments so easily get in the way of artistic endeavour, often to the point where we simply give up and put away our brushes, pencils, paper, paints etc. In reality, almost everyone can find some amount of time to draw and/or paint, but if it isn’t already part of your daily routine, it may require some effort and adjustment.

Some suggestions . . .

Painting regularly will only happen if you set aside time specifically for that purpose. Saying you will use your leisure time means that you will only draw or paint when everything else is taken care of . . . and by then you are too tired!

Decide on how much time you can realistically set aside – 15 minutes, an hour, a morning or afternoon . . . and make a commitment to include that in your regular routine. For me, it works well to set aside time in the morning, before I work on more mundane tasks. Ideally, I like to paint/draw for several hours, but sometimes that isn’t possible, so I spend as long as I can. Even 15-20 minutes spent on work in progress will bring me a little closer to my goal. As far as possible during that time, I avoid telephone calls, emails etc.

“Do not wait: the time will never be ‘just right’. Start where you stand, and work whatever tools you may have at your command and better tools will be found as you go along.”

Napoleon Hill

If you can only manage a very short time each day, set aside a ‘painting day’ now and then. It can relieve some of the frustration caused by lack of time if you can look forward to an extended painting/drawing session every now and then. Write it down in your diary and stick to it as you would any other appointment.

Make sure that you have a spot set aside where you can leave your work in progress, so that you don’t have to waste precious time setting up. At the very least have a box/bag/drawer where you can keep all your art materials together. Using fold-over palettes or palettes with lids will allow you to have colours already mixed from one session to another.

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Choose your subject matter according to the amount of time you can afford to spend on a daily basis. If your time is very limited, look for small subjects – seedpods, a single flower, a leaf etc – or something that will not wilt or decay in a hurry.

Finding inspiration . . .

Sometimes it is hard to feel inspired, and lack of motivation can result in just not bothering to get out your art materials. Some days we feel more motivated and creative than at other times, so a little forethought can help on those days when the muse just doesn’t seem to be with us.

pinterest

If you use a computer, keep a folder of images that inspire you – it might contain a mixture of work by other artists, stunning photos you come across on-line, photos that you have taken yourself etc. You might find it useful to join www.pinterest.com, where you can find endless inspiration and also store your own images. Boards on Pinterest don’t have to be ‘public’ – you can set them up so that only you can access them.

If you feel more at home with ‘hard copies’, consider setting up a scrap book or a series of folders that can hold your own photos, images that you find in magazines or that you have printed out from the internet.

 

Other sources of inspiration . . .

books

Books about art can be very helpful in stimulating creative juices. Read about some of the great botanical artists of the past and present – Marianne North, Margaret Mee, Maria Sybilla Merian, Mary Delany, Franz Bauer, Rory McEwen etc – or spend time reading one of the many excellent ‘how-to’ books that are available. But don’t limit yourself to botanical art – read about Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, the Impressionists, John Ruskin, David Hockney . . . the possibilities are endless.

Inspiration can be found in many places – art galleries, botanical gardens, garden centres, woodland walks, a visit to the seashore. Do make sure when you are out and about to keep a little notebook or sketchbook for recording ideas. Even if you don’t have the opportunity to do some sketching, take photos and make note of any ideas that may come to you. It is amazing how easily these are forgotten once you get home if you have no written or photographic record!

“If you hear a voice within you say you cannot paint, then by all means paint and that voice will be silenced.”

Vincent Van Gogh

 

Botanical Art at Claregalway Castle during Heritage Week 2015

I’m delighted to be taking part in Heritage Week at Claregalway Castle this year. As botanical artist-in-residence, I will be working in the Farmhouse at the castle every afternoon (12.30 – 5.00) from Monday 24 – Friday 28 August inclusive. On Thursday 27 August, I am also giving a talk at 6.00pm in the lecture hall: Heritage of Irish Botanical Art from 1750 to the present. There is a small admission fee (€5: adult; €3: concession; child: free) for the talk, but there is no charge for visiting the Farmhouse to see my work in progress, as well as the exhibition of botanical paintings by several members of the Irish Society of Botanical Artists. If you are in the area, do drop by for a chat and a cup of tea. There will be some free handouts about botanical art, along with some beautiful botanical art books to browse through.

Heritage Week will be celebrated in many different ways at Claregalway Castle and there  is something for everyone. Dr Chris Doyle will be doing his fabulous tours of the castle every day during Heritage Week at 12.30, 1.30, 2.30 and 3.30 – no better way to learn more about the fascinating history of this sensitively restored castle. On Wednesday 26 August, Chris will also give a talk at 6.00pm about Cromwell’s siege of Claregalway Castle. If you are interested in medieval combat, there are demonstrations on Saturday the 22nd, along with archery displays and a children’s bow and arrow workshop. And the following weekend, Saturday 29 August. 6.00pm–10.30pm, there is a celebration of the life and work of Ciarán Bairéad (1905-76), and especially of his work as a folklore collector and recorder of Irish dialect in Claregalway, County Galway.

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BLOOM 2015

Heliamphora heterodoxa Sun Pitcher by Jane Stark Silver-gilt award at Bloom 2015. Photo © Bernard van Giessen

Heliamphora heterodoxa Sun Pitcher by Jane Stark
Silver-gilt award at Bloom 2015.
Photo © Bernard van Giessen

Bloom In the Park is Ireland’s largest horticultural and food festival. For five days over the June bank holiday weekend, a portion of Dublin’s Phoenix Park is turned into a festive wonderland of gardens, floral displays, artisan food, entertainment and, for the last three years, the very best in Irish botanical and floral art. The 2015 Bloom Floral and Botanical Art Exhibition featured a total of 53 adjudicated paintings. That 21 of these paintings received awards was a testament to the high standard of the work in the exhibition.

The medal winners were as follows:

Category: BOTANICAL ART

Best in Show
Siobhan M Larkin – Iris

Gold Medals
Siobhan M Larkin – Iris
Shevaun DohertyPhoenix dactylifera var. khasab Date palm
Nayana Sandur – Musa acuminata Banana

Silver Gilt Medals
Holly SomervillePapaver rhoeas Field poppy
Jane StarkHeliamphora heterodoxa Sun pitcher

Silver Medals
Shevaun DohertyAesculus hippocastanum triptych
Nayana Sandur – Malus cultivar Red Apple
Holly Somerville – Hippeastrum cultivar Amaryllis
Holly Somerville – Tulipa gesneriana Didier’s tulip
Patricia JorgensonRomneya coulteri Californian tree poppy
Siobhan M Larkin – Larix decidua (cones)
Lynn Stringer – Chrysanthemum ‘Salmon Shoesmith

Bronze Medals
Yanny Petters – Malus Apple
June Wright – Aesculus hippocastanum Horse-chestnut

Category – FLORAL ART

Best in Show
Yanny Petters – Meadow Plantain speedwell

Gold Medals
Yanny Petters – Meadow Plantain speedwell
Nayana Sandur – Allium aflatunese
Lynn StringerPrimula vulgaris

Silver Gilt Medals
Anne McLeod – Delphiniums
Lynn Stringer – Narcissus ‘Cheerfulness’ Narcissi

Silver Medals
Nicola Lynch MorrinIris

Bronze Medals
Sue van Coppenhagen – Hellebores

I felt very honoured to be included amongst the award winners, receiving a silver-gilt for my Heliamphora heterodoxa, a sun pitcher from the Guiana Highlands of South America, belonging to the carnivorous plant family Sarraceniaceae. Whilst working on this painting, I became fascinated by carnivorous plants, and I look forward to painting more of them.