This weekend I attended a workshop at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park to get inspiration for new designs of botanical wallpapers. The workshop was led by Sue Salmon, medical herbalist and Talya Baldwin, botanical artist.
At YSP they are really interested in the Art of Wellbeing, and what better way to combine the two than spending a weekend in the beautiful setting of 500 acres of parkland, surrounded by internationally significant artwork, working with two leading experts in their field. Sue can find medicine in any patch of scrub, and she has such a wealth and knowledge you’re sure to come away feeling better – and that’s before you’ve even sampled the various teas and tinctures.
Talya is an artist and illustrator who draws using inks, paints, biros, coloured pencils, pastels, wax crayons and felt tips – and the results are remarkable. She enjoys the drawing process as a way of recognizing the subject and enjoys sharing this approach with others.
Talya and Sue were both on hand all weekend and helped and guided with Sue helping with identifying and collecting medicinal plants from around the park. Tayla guided us through the traditional process of botanical drawings of the specimens collected and offered a wide range of materials and techniques.
“I cannot rest, I must draw, however poor the result, and when I have a bad time come over me it is a stronger desire than ever.” Beatrix Potter
As a professional artist and designer this workshop was an amazing exercise and so good for me as I find myself spending more time these days on business and admin and less allowing myself to play and immerse myself into my creativity. I decided to sign up to this course to allow myself the time to forget all I know, a gift to myself, to move away from my comfort zone of geometric ink drawing and really learn to look in detail. This turned out to be a very revealing exercise as I found it hard to break away from my drawing style that is designing for printing. I noticed how I have lost the skill it takes to really look and copy and have rekindled the desire to reignite this skill and passion.
“It is only by drawing often, drawing everything, drawing incessantly, that one fine day you discover to your surprise that you have rendered something in its true character” Camille Pissaro
Over the weekend I found myself drawn to looking closely at the beautiful delicate white flowers of Allium Ursinum, Wild Garlic which is growing in abundance at the moment and the flowers are in full bloom. Through a magnifying glass these flowers look stunning. I found myself slipping into my usual style of drawing rather than going down a traditional botanical approach mainly mainly because I wanted to start something for screen printing some botanical inspired wallpaper.
Allium Ursinum – Wild garlic
On the second day I focused on moving away from my drawing technique I feel so comfortable with and step out of my comfort zone to experiment with water colours, Brusho and adopt a more traditional botanical drawing approach. I was really drawn to the delicate tiny flowers of Wood Forget-me-not, Myosotis sylvatica.
This exercise has opened up a new direction for me and with the introduction of new printing techniques I am looking forward to experimenting with more softer, subtle colours and pattern repeats that create a more hand painted effect.
The overall weekend was fantastic, really inspired and well supported. It has made me look at things in more detail and marvel and the intricate details in flowers, the petals, the leaves and the pollen. Today I walked through the park on the way to my studio and stopped to inspect the flowers.