Thursday, 25 September 2008

Botanical Illustration by Valerie Oxley

Valerie Oxley is a member of both UKCPS and the Society of Botanical Artists and specialises in botanical illustration.

She also teaches across the UK and this week saw the publication of her long awaited book Botanical Illustration. This will be particularly welcomed by Valerie's past and present students who have been urging her to write about the subject for many years!

Botanical Illustration by Valerie Oxley
Crowood Press (September 2008)

Valerie's botanical art credentials are impressive. Valerie developed the Diploma in Botanical illustration at the University of Sheffield, Department of Lifelong Learning (TILL). She's also the Vice-Chairman of the Northern Society for Botanical Art and the Chairman of the Florilegium Society at Sheffield Botanical Gardens.

Her new book has been written for students of botanical art - for those new to this aspect of art as well as for those with some experience wishing to develop their expertise. It deals with the practicalities of botanical art and the related botany of the subject and covers the following topics:
  • the history of botanical illustration,
  • the botany of plants and flowers,
  • materials and equipment,
  • preparation of plant material,
  • observation techniques,
  • starting to draw,
  • developing tonal studies,
  • preparing to paint,
  • colour theory,
  • painting techniques,
  • what to paint and how to paint,
  • alternative media including coloured pencil techniques,
  • correcting mistakes and
  • finishing touches
  • photography and computers.
If you're interested I'd recommend you take a peek inside the book by using the Search Inside facility on the Amazon website.

It is also very well illustrated with over two hundred colour illustrations by over fifty artists, including a full page illustration of Carlina involucrata by UKCPS member Eleni Mcloughlin and coloured pencil drawings by Susan Christopher Coulson, Vivienne Brown, Jane Cowan, Helena Anderson and, of course, Valerie herself!

Coloured pencil matters and techniques which are covered include dry and water resistant coloured pencil techniques, pen with coloured pencil (and Eleni's illustration), Papers, Drafting Film, Erasers, Pencil Sharpeners, Blenders, Indenters, Embossers and colours that resist, removing coloured pigment, use of the grisaille approach and dealing with wax bloom. There is an eight point suggested "working method" and finally a bit about fixative and storage and a mention of water soluble pencils.

You can also find out more details about Valerie's workshops on the Workshops page of the UKCPS website. This also provides details of courses run by all other UKCPS members who teach - or at least the ones UKCPS has been told about! ;)

Book Details: Botanical Illustration, The Crowood Press, (September 2008) ISBN 978-1-84797-051-0

Thursday, 18 September 2008

CPSA invite contributions to Explore This! 5

Entry to the CPSA Explore This! 5 exhibition in 2009 is open to all living artists over the age of 18 regardless of geographical location.

Coloured pencil artists are likely to be interested in changes that CPSA have introduced to their Explore This! exhibition, which encourages artists to explore the use of coloured pencil in combination with a range of materials. You can read more about these in:
Key points are that:
  • as announced on this blog at the end of August (CPSA Blog plus changes to CPSA Exhibitions) the Explore This! exhibition will in future be annual and online only
  • all entries must be digital images submitted via the CaFE website
  • all entries must have some element which breaks the rules of the CPSA International Exhibition
  • acceptance into three shows within a 10 year period will earn a new signature designation, called CPX, for a CPSA member/artist
  • the top three winners in Explore This! 5 will be invited to ship their work to the 17th Annual CPSA International Exhibition for display
All questions relating to the exhibition should be addressed to Paula Parks, CPSA Exhibition Director. Deadline for entries is November 15th 2008.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

A new blogmaster for the UKCPS Blog

As Bob indicated in his post on Friday, sadly he's stepping down from running the UKCPS blog, just as he indicated at the end of August that he has already retired from membership of the UKCPS Executive.

I've known Bob for quite some time now. I'm sure that very many people will agree that UKCPS without Bob being around will feel like a very different place. He will, of course, continue to be a member and will always be greatly esteemed as the Founder of UKCPS.

A new blogmaster: In future, I'm going to be the new person posting news about UKCPS and its members on this blog. My name is Katherine Tyrrell.

I've been blogging since the end of 2005 and at the AGM last year I suggested that UKCPS should consider creating a blog. I then helped Bob to set up this blog nearly a year ago. I think it's been very successful at improving online communication with members. Even CPSA have decided to get a blog now! ;)

Different roles: Many of you may already know me from one or other (or both!) of my personal blogs Making A Mark or Travels with a Sketchbook in....... (the latter having sketches in CP). What I want to do in this post about the transition is highlight the difference between the role I'll be playing on this blog and how that will be different to the person I am when creating posts on my own blogs. Not least because I still want to be able to be me on my own blogs! If I ever do feel the need to express an opinion on this blog - which won't be often - I'll indicate clearly that it's my own view and not that of the Executive or the Society as a whole.

Here are the differences.........

UKCPS BlogMy Blogs
Purpose: News about
  • its interests
  • its members
  • any thing else relevant to UKCPS
Purpose: Posts about
  • my drawings
  • my interests
  • my observations
  • my opinions
Role: Blogging is impersonal
- representing UKCPS
Role: Blogging is personal
- I'm me

UKCPS blogmaster: For this reason in future, I thought it best for the person running the blog to be known as the UKCPS blogmaster, rather than by name, to avoid any confusion. So that's what you'll see when I create a post or whenever I respond to a comment.

Contact me: If you want to contact me at any time, you can see the email address which relates to my role on this blog in the image at the top of this post (done like that so as to avoid spam!). So if you want to contact me that's the way to do it.

For those of you not familiar with this way of writing an email address all you need to do is substitute the @ symbol for [at] and put in a full stop where it says [dot].

Blog Housekeeping: As Bob has not been well of late, I've started to do the blogger version of a little bit of housekeeping on this blog. You'll notice a few changes in the right hand column as recent innovations by Blogger are introduced to the blog. I might even have a go at trying to get the blog to look a bit more like the website!

Blog Content: As a blogger I learned very early on that if blogs are going to be any good it's because of their content. So I'll also be talking with the Executive and interested members of UKCPS in the near future about how we can best continue to develop and improve this blog and its content.

You can comment too: You can of course tell us all what you think about UKCPS news or changes by commenting below.

This blog welcomes comments because comments are what makes this a blog rather than a noticeboard. Anybody can comment - you don't need to have a blog or a Blogger Account. (If you've got any queries please let me know)

All comments are moderated by me to make sure they are civilised and haven't wandered too far off topic - which means they may not be published straight away if I'm out or in the middle of doing something else. Spam is never published.

I've greatly enjoyed blogging since 2005 and I feel very privileged now to have been able to become the new UKCPS blogmaster. I'm looking forward to hearing your views and hope that together we can all build on the excellent foundations laid by Bob and help the UKCPS blog to continue to grow and develop to meet the needs of the society and its members.

PS If you'd like to say goodbye to Bob Ebdon as he takes leave of an active role as an officer within UKCPS why not let leave a comment on his post So Long, Been good to know ya... ?

Saturday, 13 September 2008

test post

This is a test blog post. We're just checking that everything is working OK in transferring the running of this blog!

Friday, 12 September 2008

So Long, Been good to know ya...

Takako Ikuta "On a Monday Morning"

It seems appropriate that my last post should take me right back to the beginning of the Society - but more of that in a moment! First, as you will have gathered, a very worthy replacement for the managing of the UKCPS blog has been found in Katherine Tyrrell, who I am sure will do a much better job than me. She will introduce herself in the next post. My health is still not good, but initial investigations have shown that I do not appear to have the heart problem I thought I may have. When your father dies aged 45, you tend to worry over these things! My biggest problem at present though is that I am depressed and have not put pencil to paper fruitfully since last June. I don't know when or if I will do so again.

Anyway, before I ride off into the sunset, just time for a few things, starting with congrats from me to our President Ann James Massey SWA, KA, CPSA, UKCPS and member Jean Canter PPSGFA, UKCPS, both of whom have been juried into the ING Discerning Eye exhibition. Then I have just seen a copy of the CPSA magazine "To The Point", which contains pieces by myself and Katherine that the CPSA used to comment on the recent discussions about use of photos. Which I do not intend to get drawn into again. Talking of drawing, the October edition of Leisure Painter magazine (out now) contains the third in my series of four articles, this time about using tools such as a blender, embossing tool and the Derwent eraser.

And finally - back to our very first exhibition. This took place at Patchings Farm in 2001, and our very first AGM was held there on a Saturday. The following day I got a call from Patchings - a lady had turned up for the AGM, she had come a long way, and would I like to meet her. It turned out she had come a VERY long way - it was Takako Ikuta, from Japan. I was delighted to meet her, brought her home for tea, and have kept in touch ever since. I was very excited to get an e-mail from her just this week to announce that she has formed the Japan Colored Pencil Society. Now look what we done! When their website is launched - hopefully next month - I will ensure Katherine features it. At present they only have 22 members, but they are up and running. I remember what that feels like, and wish them all the luck in the world. Well done Takako - I hope you know what you have let yourself in for!

Thanks to all who have helped make this Society what it is today, to all who have supported me personally, and I leave you with a song:

Of all the money that ere I had, I spent it in good company
And of all the harm that ere I've done, alas was done to none but me
And all I've done for want of wit, to memory now I cannot recall
So fill to me the parting glass...

Goodnight and joy be with you all.

Monday, 8 September 2008

More Bits

I apologise for posting infrequently. As I have said, I have health problems, and actually my wife has health problems as well, and I would prefer someone else to take over this blog as soon as possible as I have neither the time nor the enthusiasm that this deserves. However, a couple of things have forced me into blogging again.

First congratulations to Gayle Mason for becoming a full member of the Society of Feline Artists. This is a juried position, but I have no doubt the jury found it an easy decision in Gayle's case.

Second, following some discussion of photo use on the Yahoo group recently, I refer everyone to Katherine Tyrrell's extremely interesting and informative blog post about what appears to be possible copyright infringement at the American Watercolour Society Exhibition. If you get the chance, read through the links from this post, especially the thread at Wet Canvas. Please note that copying from photos is an issue that it seems ALL art societies are having to come to grips with, and is not confined to the UKCPS.


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