Friday, 4 October 2013

Banksia Workshop in Canberra

I have just returned from teaching a Banksia workshop in Canberra, a place I always love visiting. This very successful workshop kept me on my toes, with 15 motivated and talented participants.
"It is all about the process" I kept reminding them. When tackling a subject that at first appears to be complicated and intricate, just take it one step at a time, rather than feel it is beyond your capabilities.
The subject I chose was originally Banksia prionotes, which is a banksia I have recently painted and I felt it was absolutely achievable. The banksias that arrived for the workshop were Banksia hookeriana, which although similar in construction, are smaller and have thinner leaves.
Banksia hookeriana
The hardest part of any botanical work is the drawing. If this isnt right, nothing else will be right. So the first morning was spent working very hard at getting the drawing correct by working with the Fibonacci Spiral.
One of the student's drawing of the Fibonacci Spiral of the B.hookeriana
Pay close attention to the "information" on the plant. Work out the Fibonacci sequence. Draw what you see.
The next step was to do a colour match, and a colour study. This ensures there are no mistakes when beginning the final painting. All the various components of the subject are practised and perfected before the painting.
The above student's  work shows the colour study and confirmation that the Fibonacci Spiral works. It is very easy to "see" the spiral formation on the subject.

All of the class began their final painting on Day 2. They were all feeling confident and were all very happy with what they had achieved over the 2 day workshop.

I continue to get an enormous amount of satisfaction out of sharing my skills and knowledge with others, and to take them on the journey of creating a wonderful botanical painting.

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