Botanical Bites – my new painting series

holly-cropOn this brisk and sunny Sunday afternoon I should be outside enjoying the fresh air and doing some gardening… But I went clubbing on Friday night and went to an ice-hockey match last night. Two late nights in a row, I’m too old for this. So today, I am sprawled out on the sofa in front of the fireplace, making some crochet snowflakes instead of enjoying the plein air.

I also started a new series on Instagram called Botanical Bites.

I will regularly upload short videos showing painting in action.

I have just uploaded the first one, the painting of a wet-in-wet holly berry. All videos are less than one minute long, just a little bite, easy to swallow! Here is a link: https:www.instagram.com/sandrinemaugy

Every so often I will gather a few bites together and make a video for my YouTube channel.

Let me know what you think. Do you like the idea?

Happy painting!

 

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Launching my Etsy shop Flora’s Patch

Hello everyone,robinapplique20163ginkgoleaf02-framed

The first of December seems like a fine date to launch my new Etsy shop!

I would have liked to fill it more before launching but I will keep adding things on a regular basis. I am using this new platform to sell small paintings (easily sent in the post) and some of my crochet and textiles patterns and creations.

Here is a link:

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/FlorasPatch?ref=hdr_shop_menu

I hope you like it and happy browsing!

Crochet and textiles on Flora’s Patch blog

A warm hello on this grey and cold Sunday afternoon…

robinapplique20163After lots of thinking about how to juggle my “art life” with my “textiles and crochet life”, I have decided to start another blog, dedicated entirely to Textiles and Crochet. If you are interested in all of it, it means that you will have to subscribe to the art blog here AND follow Flora’s Patch blog on WordPress. But the good side is that subscribers and followers won’t receive notifications about things they are not interested in: you can choose art here on my official website, or textiles and crochet on my other blog, or both if you want to see what I am up to in both worlds.

Here is a link to Floraspatch Blog on WordPress:

https://floraspatch.wordpress.com/

I hope you enjoy it,

Happy reading and Happy Making!

 

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Sunflower video- 4th part posted on YouTube

Good morning!

I posted the fourth and last part of the sunflower demonstration on YouTube. (Finally!!)

Here is a link:

I hope you enjoy it,

Happy painting!

Supermoon gazing at West Dean Gardens

I am spending a few days at West Dean College, teaching two courses in a row with a day off in between. Today I can have a lie in, admiring the ceiling in my beautiful tower room, taking the time to feel all Rapunzel like. I will go for a few walks, eat the gorgeous food in the restaurant, sit by the giant fire that burns night and day from mid-November to the end of winter in the Oak Hall, doing crochet in a big armchair while getting roasted and generally being lazy.

For a few days we have a Supermoon to admire at night. The biggest this century apparently. I went for a long walk in the arboretum last night at sunset and took a few pictures I was quite pleased with…

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… until I came back and my friend Stephen Tattersall, who is a security guard here, showed me his.

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Isn’t this an amazing picture?

Don’t forget to go out and watch the skies tonight. The full moon will coincide with the perigee and we won’t get our moon this bright and this close again in our lifetime. I suppose we should also skip under the moonlight through the dewy fields while wearing nothing but a garland of autumn leaves but we don’t want to catch a chill… so let’s just wrap up warm and look up.

Happy moon gazing and happy skipping if you’re up for it!

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The end of the Society of Floral Painters

Saturday 5th of November was a sad day for flower painters.

After 20 years, the last AGM of the Society of Floral Painters took place in Salisbury, a last chance for old friends to say goodbye. There were many a tear shed as members and committee members expressed their affection, pride, gratitude and sorrow for a beautiful society that helped and supported so many of us.

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My first memory of the society was in 2002, when I became a member. I was doing a degree in community art work at City College and as part of the degree I took three art units. The art teacher disliked my work and was always very, very mean to me. He used to say things like “You have a lot of talent but you are wasting it on painting flowers!” I couldn’t understand how such a passion for the natural world could be a waste but I would still come home in tears.

The morning of the SFP assessment, I talked to my paintings and even promised a passionflower watercolour that I would keep it forever on my wall if it got me in. I delivered my paintings and waited anxiously. At the end of the day, Vivien came out of the judging room, looking very tall and serious and ballet teacher-like and walked towards me. I felt like I was 10 years old and about to find out if I was going to move up to the next ballet grade. She gave me a little smile and said, “You’ve been a very good girl.” Relief and happiness washed over me. I could have kissed her (Although I didn’t because the “good girl” reference did not help with the “being 10 years old” feeling). Vivien and I became great friends and I have hugged and kissed her many times since…

After I became an SFP member, the teacher at college couldn’t hurt me as much with his vitriolic comments. I was protected, sheltered by a group of like-minded people who understood and admired my work in a way he never could. I thrived within the SFP haven. At my first Mottisfont exhibition, Sue and Roy Lancaster bought one of my paintings and I launched into this unexpected artist career.

The starting point was the SFP and the reassuring idea that there was a place for me in the art world. I kept my promise; the passionflower is still hanging on the wall.

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All present yesterday have similar memories: warm welcome, friendly support, a launch pad for a career, meeting friends with the same passions, a dedicated committee organising exhibitions to show our work, Caroline’s beautiful handwriting… The Society of Floral Painters was some or all of this to each of us and we will all remember something different. The one last thing we all have in common is the sadness of losing this amazing, beautiful society.

This is truly the end of an era…

 

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Artists & Illustrators Magazine is 30 years old!

Artists & Illustrators Magazine is 30 years old… Happy birthday!

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To celebrate this anniversary edition, they are publishing 30 painting challenges in their October issue, which is out now.

I am so pleased to be part of the celebrations, having written 3 of these 30 challenges: painting a botanical quince (number 1), painting a field study of a Japanese Anemone (number 5) and painting an autumn leaf (number 26).

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Challenge number 1

I remember writing my first piece for A&I magazine, in 2005. We were just minutes away from jumping into the car to catch a ferry to France for Christmas when Mr Flora’s Patch answered the phone. He said “It’s Artists & Illustrators Magazine for you…” It was completely out of the blue and I thought it was about my subscription, so I replied “We don’t have time, tell them I’ll phone them when we come back. “ But he wasn’t sure: “I don’t think it’s about a subscription…”

So I took the phone and was surprised to find out it was the editor himself. You would think that a big magazine like that would have someone to deal with subscriptions… But it wasn’t about that. Somebody had pulled out at the last minute and he wanted to know if I would be interested in writing a piece about botanical painting. The catch was that I had only one week before the deadline. So I ended up taking my paintbox to France with me and spent my Christmas holiday painting and writing between bites of Brussels sprouts and mouthfuls of chocolate bûche. A few days after sending in my article I received another phone call from the editor asking, “Did you enjoy doing this? Because I would like you to write more for us…” Since then I have written more than 50 articles and I have worked with 4 successive editors: the original contact was with John, then Lynne, then Steve and now Katie. Painting and writing are two big passions of mine so this is pretty much my idea of a perfect job.

I hope that you enjoy the 30th edition of this great magazine and good luck with the challenges!

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Instagram and interview

What a miserable, cold and rainy Sunday for Mr Flora’s Patch’s birthday!

We thought we would stay at home, doing some gardening and relaxing, avoiding the Bank holiday traffic and general busy-ness of the week-end, but our outdoors chill out plans are rather ruined…

Two bits of news today:

  • I started an Instagram account. Considering my general aversion to social media, this is unexpected. At the Hampshire Artists Open Studio exhibition in which I am taking part, there is an artist called Adam Lay, who manages the media side of the exhibition. He converted me to Instagram. He was very eloquent about it. I cracked. It officially went on line last night and so far there is only one picture and two followers, so it is looking a bit empty. If you have an Instagram account, please go and have a look and follow me; it will make me feel less Instagram-lonely…
  • The Bitterne Park Info website, a really good local website in the area I live in, published an interview and article about me today. If you feel nosy about what I like and dislike, what I read and listen to, you can find it here: Bitterne Parker Sandrine Maugy. They even asked me to tell a joke!

For reasons above I am off duty at the Lockerley exhibition today, but I will be there tomorrow from 10am to 12am and from 2pm to 4pm. Last chance to visit and see me paint this Dahlia ‘Summer Night’…

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One last thing: I added a photo to my white lavender post… I won’t say what it is but it is cheeky beyond measure.

Happy Sunday!

Hampshire Artists Open Studios 2016

This year I am taking part in HAOS away from my studio! I have been invited to join a group called ArtSeen. For many reasons, it made more sense to exhibit with a group this year so I accepted their kind invitation.
The event will take place in Lockerley, a pretty village not far from Romsey.
This is my first textiles exhibition, so I will be selling the things I am making with all my Liberty and FrouFrou fabrics and linen, which is mainly bags and accessories.
I will also have some paintings on the walls, folios in a stand and some greetings cards in a rack.

The exhibition runs from the 20th to the 29th of August from 10am to 5pm and the exact address is Lockerley Village Hall, Butts Green, Lockerley SO51 0JG.

I will be there most days from 10am to 1pm demonstrating with my sewing machine, but do check with me first if you wish to see me!

If you would like to join us for the preview, please RSVP to artseen@artseen.org.uk

HAOS 2016 invite

I am looking forward to seeing some of you there!

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What DID happen to the Fabriano Artistico paper?

On the 12th of July there was an intriguing meeting at the top of a spiral staircase, at the R.K. Burt (paper suppliers) warehouse in London: a handful of botanical artists, the boss Mr Burt himself, as well as Giuseppe and Chiara, marketing directors from the Fabriano mill.

The aim of the meeting was for the artists to voice their concerns about the latest batches of Fabriano Artistico: it seemed that our beloved paper had changed, getting more unpredictable, rendering duller colours and generally messing up our washes. Botanical artists are a notoriously picky bunch, but when so many agreed that something was wrong with the paper, the Fabriano managers decided to act, with the help of Mr Burt and art blogger Katherine Tyrrell. I must say that I hadn’t been affected by this plight as much as some others, because Fabriano is not the only paper I use, so I am still working on old, trouble-free stocks.

The meeting

The morning was dedicated to an exposé on paper making by Clifford Burt. It was fascinating – that is a Mr Spock level of fascinating. My inner geek was in seventh heaven as we were shown slides of 19th century machines Brunel would have been proud of and the whole process was explained to us in detail. Extremely large cylinders, cast iron wheels, massive levers and gears, steam and dials, it was all there.

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The 1850’s machines that are used to make the mould-made paper are also used to make bank note paper. As this is done on tender and renewed on a regular basis, the process has to be extremely efficient in order to stay competitive. Giuseppe finished the morning meeting by explaining the changes that were made to the machines recently: in order to facilitate the insertion of plastic strips in the security papers, a device was added to the machines at the beginning of the paper making process. It seems that this has upset the fragile balance of the robust yet delicate machine’s internal workings and they are now regurgitating an altered paper, deemed inferior by the old Fabriano Artistico fans.

Blind test

After a light lunch, we proceeded to a blind test of anonymous papers, coded for identification by the organisers. When Mr Flora’s Patch saw the photos, he laughed at me, saying I looked “dangerously excited”. This is pretty much exactly what I was. The blind test was tremendous fun and as it turns out was also worthwhile and productive. Chiara and Giuseppe were worried that we would all find different results, especially as we were working in different media. Going around the table, Ann Swan, Morryce Maddams and Katherine Tyrrell were working in coloured pencil; Polly O’Leary, Elaine Searle, Dianne Sutherland, Gael Sellwood, Sandra Armitage and Billy Showell and I were painting in watercolour.

We tested the papers from different brands and different batches for resilience, ease of lifting, colour saturation, behaviour of washes and glazes as well as reaction to different techniques.

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The results

I was actually surprised at how consistent the results were: we all identified our favourite as the old Fabriano Artistico Hot Pressed. We also all had problems with the more recent batches. This was exactly what Chiara and Giuseppe wanted: a clear description, illustrated with our painted swatches and notes – which they took away back to the factory- giving them a much better idea of what has changed and what they are aiming for with their modifications. As they described it, their job is now to reverse engineer a paper that will be back to the pre-2014 standards. They gave me the impression that they truly cared about this and that they would work on it until they can give us our old favourite paper back, which I trust they will. A quick tip on the 2016 batch: I tried painting on the back and it gave me much better results than painting on the top. So while we wait for the 2017 batch, this might be a way to alleviate our predicament.

My thanks again to the organisers of this enlightening day, to Clifford for hosting the event, to Chiara and Giuseppe for listening to us and to the other guests for the good company.

Happy painting!

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