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Trees, flowers and buildings require very different approaches from the artist. As a botanical artist I usually depict flowers life size and work directly from the live specimen. In contrast a tree or building has to be reduced immensely in order to fit the page. To draw the proportions accurately I use a photograph and ruler or proportional dividers to map out the main structure. For trees detailed observation of how the leaves and twigs are held enable me to capture as much of the character of the particular tree as I can with the aim that my final drawing should clearly represent the species of tree drawn.
Watercolour is a wonderful medium for depicting the freshness and vibrancy of the colours of flowers and the mellow hues of roofs and walls, but I find that ink is ideal for capturing the structure and character of trees, especially the wonderful ancient specimens that characterise Windsor Great Park and Burnham Beeches.
For this exhibition I have selected pictures to illustrate these contrasts. Many of the flowers grow in my garden and most of the trees come from Windsor Great Park, Burnham Beeches or near the River Thames, reflecting the diversity that we have in our local area. Where subjects come from further afield, they support the themes of the exhibition, for example the painting of the cottage at Selworthy reflects the juxtaposition of old buildings and trees in our countryside and Willy Lott’s Cottage is included, because from childhood I have been inspired by John Constable and the wonderful way he painted trees in his landscapes. Sadly Dutch Elm Disease means that the English Elms which dominate his paintings are no longer the tall trees he knew, but scrub in places such as Eton Brocas.