Monday, August 06, 2007

A new Wet Canvas Forum for Floral/Botanical Art

Sweet Peas and Red Hot Pokers, Cottage Garden, Sissinghurst
11" x 8", pen and ink and coloured pencil in Daler Rowney sketchbook

copyright Katherine Tyrrell

This is a joint post for both the Flowers in Art and Gardens in Art projects covering a new Wet Canvas forum and sketching in Sissinghurst Gardens in Kent.

I'm very pleased to see that Wet Canvas has at long last, and after much lobbying, got a new forum for Floral and Botanical Art. I'm guessing that the new owners of Wet Canvas, F&W Publications, have been listening to the feedback from their recent survey and/or reviewing past site discussions about the need for new forums.

However I'm very puzzled as to why this has not been announced anywhere on the site. It's all very odd. Normally all new forums emerge after discussions about their potential impact on other forums on the site. The new forum site is then most usually announced around the rest of the WC site via:
  • a response to the request for the forum in the Site Discussions forum - which means that all those who have previously contributed to the thread asking for a forum would be automatically be notified. This didn't happen and I didn't find out about it until yesterday - 5 days after it started up on 1st August.
  • a site announcement on the Wet Canvas Home Page - but this didn't happen
  • a site announcement within each of the other Forums - but this didn't happen.
There has been a lobby for this new forum since April 2005. It's such a pity when it finally arrives you need to know somebody who has spotted it to find out that it now exists! (Thanks Vivien!). Apparently there is another new forum in the pipeline and a formal announcement will be made about both "later". WC members also need to note that at present it can only be accessed via the WC Home Page as it hasn't yet made it into the drop down menu of forums which lots of people use to navigate round the site.

However, the new Floral/Botanical forum has got off to a good start in terms of activity (even though only a few members know it exists) and already has lots of new threads which augurs very well for its future.

As it happens on 1st August I was reviewing images from the previous day's visit to sketch the gardens at Sissinghurst - one of the most noted gardens for flowers in England. The Cottage Garden and the White Garden were both quite spectacular - although it's very difficult if not impossible to find somewhere to sit when the gardens are open to the public.
One of the world's most celebrated gardens, the creation of Vita Sackville-West and her husband Sir Harold Nicolson. Developed around the surviving parts of an Elizabethan mansion. A series of small, enclosed compartments, intimate in scale and romantic in atmosphere, provide outstanding design and colour through the seasons. (National Trust)
I've included two very quick sketches. I was incredibly fortunate and managed to 'bag' "Harold Nicholson's chair" which sits outside the door to the cottage in the Cottage Garden for the first one.

The second sketch was done in the White Garden just before the gardens closed - which is an idyllic time to be in the gardens. The white rose over the central pergola had finished flowering but the rest of the garden was in bloom - but the best positions to draw or paint this can only be taken up when the public are absent.

The statue under the tree, White Garden, Sissinghurst
11" x 8", pen and ink and coloured pencil in Daler Rowney sketchbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell

For those who have not visited before - a warning. The gardens are both intimate and 'full on' and swamp you with images. That and the combination of scale and the number of visitors (it has to have timed entrance arrangements) and the total lack of scope for bringing in a chair and/or easel means that it is far from easy to either create a good composition or get much work done while the garden is open to the public.

I've now got the the phone number to contact the Sissinghurst Office so that I can arrange to go back on one of the days they are not open to the public. Apparently, on Wednesdays, they are now taking bookings for up to six artists to draw/paint the gardens. You can also use their e-mail address which is on the National Trust website.

I've posted about Sissinghurst before and have included the links to those posts below as well as details about the garden. These sketches will also appear in Travels with My Sketchbook - along with more details about the visit.


1 comment:

Rose Welty said...


Thanks for posting these sketches - they give good ideas about how to capture a scene quickly for reference later.

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