Back to Back Issues Page
Painting Tips, Issue #008 -- Art in Nature
August 20, 2008

Spring she has sprung here in South Africa. My garden is bursting back into life and I had decided to meet my daughter in the Botanical Gardens for the most pleasant of days browsing through trees and plants from all over the world in the most pleasant of surroundings. Daughter mine, being of artistic bent travels with pencil and sketchpad and had a ball sketching away.

Then as fate would have it their was a HUGE flower show at the Pavilion, one of our big malls. Well that was just delightful the funniest was a dog made of chrysanthemums, the best for me was a huge balancing floral interpretation of "Bold and Distinctive", but what must have been very difficult and was done in such a masterly fashion was to interpret a painting in flowers! Usually we interpret nature not the other way round...

All in all it is a great time to do a spot of botanical art work, painting or sketching and South Africa has an abundance of fascinating plant life to inspire anyone from the finest of artists to those who enjoy more chunky palette knife work there is something here for all tastes.

FLOWER OF THE MONTH Victorian botanical collectors took large amounts of plant material back to Kew Gardens in London in the nineteenth century. Much of this genetic stock came from the flora kingdoms of South Africa. There has been much hybridisation with varietals made to suit every climate producing many of the common garden plants that are grown around the world today.. One of these plants, which is the international flower for August, is the Gladiolus, from the Latin word for a sword and part of the Iris family.

They vary from very small, fragrant spikes to spectacular giant flowers. The South African species were originally pollinated by long-tongued bees, but nowadays sunbirds, moths and long-tongued flies do the business, and attract butterflies which offer just another lovely painting moment.


Vincent van Gogh summed it up very well with this advice "It is not the language of painters but the language of nature which one should listen to; the feeling for the things themselves - for reality - is more important than the feeling for pictures."

Come on a botanical drawing frenzy
in South African

Please pass me around!
The more folk that read this, the more fun it is to produce other letters. May I trouble you to share it with anyone you feel might enjoy it? They will appreciate your effort, and so will I. They can get future copies free by clicking the link below.

Back to Back Issues Page