Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Laura's Exhibition at Dunedin Botanic Gardens Information Centre

Laura has an exhibition of her flower studies on display at the Dunedin Botanic Gardens Information Centre. The exhibition opened at the beginning of February and runs until the end of April.

Laura drew these images from life in black ink and coloured pencil. She works mostly on white cartridge paper, sometimes more than one sheet are joined together if she runs out of room. Occasionally corrections are made on paper that is pasted onto the original sheet. When the line drawing is complete, I scan the artwork onto a computer, and any errors or mess can be cleaned up, then a print of the line work can go back to Laura for her to develop tone and colour with coloured pencils. The final image is scanned again, corrections made, and then the artwork is printed by Epson printer with pigment ink onto acid free paper. A great deal of effort is taken to ensure that the printed image is as true as possible to the original artwork.

It is a wonderful thing to see a good selection of her work on display like this, and for the most part the studies of flowers are reproduced at the size that she drew them. Mostly we scan the original images that she does and print them much smaller as greeting cards, but this exhibition was an opportunity to make finished A3 sized prints on beautiful natural warm white Hahnemuhle 140gsm drawing paper, and they are very impressive!

The prints were mounted onto display board, two A3 sized prints to one board, or up to six smaller images. Laura wrote a few words about what she does, and I displayed this below the work, along with a little "thumbnail" image that seemed appropriate to the text. I thought you might enjoy reading that, so I have included the text below. Do try to get along to see the exhibition at the Botanic Gardens Information Centre if you are in Dunedin before the show finishes.
Many of Laura’s drawings and paintings are available as cards, which we also design and print at our studio at the Waikouaiti Old Post Office Gallery. A selection of Laura’s cards is available for sale at the Botanical Gardens Information Centre. You will also find her cards at the Stuart Street Potter's Co-op in Lower Stuart Street, Dunedin, and at "Salt and Sugar" the Karitane General Store.

A3 or A4 prints of Laura's work can be available to purchase by request. Do get in touch with us if you are interested. (Contact details can be found on the "Contact" page of this blog).

“Flower Drawings” by Laura Gregory  
I am an artist who is mad keen on gardens and gardening, and drawing pictures of the flowers in my garden is fast becoming a passion. I am not a Botanical Artist, that is a very specialised art, I am just an Artist who relishes the challenges of capturing the ‘essence’ of a flower or plant on paper. It does make one more observant too and realise how lazily one looked before. For instance I had not really taken note of the strange shapes of the innermost petals & stamens on the Tiger Lily in my sketches before, it was just an exotic orange lily with spots.

Now I wonder is it trying to be semi double or has it a degree of fasciation or.?

Chasing the Holy Grail of accuracy and relative proportions whilst trying to show what it was that caught the imagination in the first place about the particular attitude of a flower is a real juggling act that I can see will keep me enthralled for years to come ( and frustrated! ).  The tulips, in the two pictures of tulips are going over. However in some style! 
The single Parrot Tulip looked so much like a Butterfly, I couldn’t ignore it. And the trio of Tulips looked like they were dancing Flamenco.

“ The Last Fandango “ it had to be.

There is nothing like drawing from life and being able to see how a flower is constructed. Occasionally I will take photos as a reminder of interesting combinations or as a reference to help finish a picture if the flower is going over and I don’t have another one in the garden. I was fortunate with the Autumn Posy of Hydrangea, Viburnum berries, Cyclamen etc that I was able to find examples of all the flowers again after nearly three weeks.
I had made the drawing then family matters took me away up North so the colour work happened quite a bit later. It is not usually good to lose the impetus like this and it was tempting to just keep it as a drawing, however for personal reasons I really wanted to finish it. By the way the seed pod is from a Convolvulus. 

We all see and draw differently. I bought a fabulous book about drawing Botanical Portraits with coloured pencils. It’s got very helpful information in it and lovely examples of work by many very talented artists. It is interesting to note what draws you to particular work and to try to analyse why. I realised I didn’t want to use my coloured pencils in such a way as to look like watercolour, but to enjoy the scribbly vigorous nature of the pencil. Which is what I like about my daffodil sketch. 

Having said that I do appreciate the subtle colour layerings you can achieve with coloured pencil and a light touch. Much more akin to the petals of some flowers. Like on the lovely Gladioli my friend Fiona gave me. I enjoy drawing with ink pens, and even though my earlier drawings look like ‘join a dots’ where I’ve paused, my line work now a days is much more fluid.

Usually I pick flowers and draw them at my work table. But it is good to go outside sometimes. The quick pencil sketch of the Iris and Granny’s Bonnets was probably all I managed in this session before being discovered by the cats and having one land on my drawing board thinking ‘Oh great! A lap!’. Isn’t it funny that the Jasmine and Hellebores were out at the same time. 

My little lady with the Snowdrop and Protea is interesting from that point of view too. I bought the Protea from a Florist’s Shop in town and came home and picked a Snowdrop from the garden. It seemed a wonderfully odd combination.

The lovely subtle colouring of the petals on the drying Hydrangea head captivated me. And the petal shapes. 

It was just a little squashed having sat around on my work table for a while in company with a dried corn cob, pine cones and dried tomato ‘stars’! (the truss). I really enjoyed drawing the late Summer flowers in a vase, the yellow Dahlia next to the Colchicum had quite little flowers last year, we’d just been given the tuber.  

This year it has dinner plate sized flowers so I must draw it, well attempt to. More flowers to draw, what fun!


Linda Starr said...

oh my word, these are exquisite, some wouldn't download and I am really missing them, congrats to Laura

Peter said...

Hi Linda,

Laura says a big "thank you" for your nice comment! Sorry that some images wouldn't download, the internet is very frustrating at times! We had some trouble when I first uploaded the blog in that the first image wouldn't show, so I did some more editing of the blog and I uploaded the image again with a new file name and it worked for us then. I wonder which images wouldn't show up for you? Are you looking at the blog on a phone, a tablet, or a computer? If other people report similar problems, I may try renaming all the images and uploading them again to see if that fixes the problem.

All the Best from us Both,

Peter said...

Hi Linda,
I have done further tests with various browsers, and eventually found the same thing happening that you describe. Not sure what was going on, but I have re edited the post, reformatted it and put up a couple of new photos and renamed some of the others. It seems to be working now on all our devices.
Thank you for letting me know that there was a problem, it is much appreciated. Hopefully all is working now!
P :-)

Michèle Hastings said...

Beautiful work, congrats to Laura on the exhibition. Thank your for sharing her process, very interesting! What type of scanner do you use to achieve a high quality scan?

Peter said...

Hi Michèle,
Good to hear from you, I've passed on your "congrats" to Laura! A few years ago when we decided to try making cards using Laura's artwork, I realised that I needed a scanner that would do an A3 sized scan. I was horrified to find how expensive such stand alone scanners were. I looked further into things and found, to my surprise that an A3 multi-function printer with scanner was a much cheaper way to go, I seem to remember them being around a third of the price of A3 scanners. I bought an Epson Workforce 7510, purely for the scanner, and expected (from the reviews I had read) that the printer wouldn't be all that good and that we would just proof the artwork and get a commercial printer to print the cards. I was really surprised to find what an excellent job the Epson printer made of reproducing artwork that was either water colour or coloured pencil, and I ended up doing all of our scanning and printing here. This was a considerable advantage in that I can accurately match the finished print to the original artwork, and print small editions of a wide variety of cards, rather than having to buy in hundreds of commercially printed ones. I was lucky with this particular printer in that the print head has a very fine "dot" size, later versions of the Workforce printer appear to be not as fine in resolution. Anyway, to sum up I would recommend getting an A3 multifunction as a cost effective way of purchasing a scanner!

Michèle Hastings said...

Thank you for that info. I know my HP scanner isn't great. I will have to research the Epson. I have had Epson 3 in 1 machines in the past. They were the low-end models but were great printers. It would be nice to print just what you need rather than purchase a large quantity from a print shop.

R's Rue said...


Peter said...

Thank you R's Rue,
A cheerful smile is really welcome! :-)