Archive | Art and Sculpture

for gardeners interested in art. Sculpture to enhance the garden

Garden Sky and Colour Effects

What colour is the sky? A strange question too a gardener perhaps but there are good gardening reasons for asking.

  • The standard answer from a young child would probably blue and that is what we want in summer as a sign of good weather. In winter it may indicate a spell of sharp frosty days. The sky takes on a deeper blue hue that saturates colours from mid morning to late afternoon.
  • Harsh mid day light produces high contrast between light and shadow. This depend on weather condition, because on a cloudy day the light is diffused.
  • An overcast sky is a result of no direct sunlight moisture in the atmosphere or air pollution that causes haze and the sky to appears to be pale blue or even milky white.
  • In the early morning or at sunset your sky can be red, orange, purple and/or yellow  but where I live, too often it seems  to be grey. These colour  arise from the absorption or not of various parts of the  spectrum. This also has a profound effect on how you see the colour of flowers.
  • Blue and white colours are called cool temperatures that tend to recede in a picture. The warm colours of yellow through to red come forward to the viewer.
  • Clouds are seldom if ever white, have a very close look and you will see lots of shades. Grey may predominate but the variety of shades will be multitudinous.
  • Colour temperature is measured in Kelvins

Other Sky and Plant Pictures Continue Reading →


Photography Tips For Gardeners

Think before you Click

  • It may seem obvious but think why you are taking a photo in the first place. Is it a documentary record, a social occasion, a personal pleasure or a potential item for publication and wider use.
  • Plan your viewpoint and composition using important features and eliminating unwanted items. Framing subjects and using items, even those behind you, may improve the image.
  • Do not be tempted to cram in too much detail that causes conflict or unneeded complexity.
  • Think about texture, shape, patterns and perspective in addition to the all important colour.
  • Check the light and how various shadows will fall. My shadow features in too many photographs

Close up Tips

  • Getting close and personal can reveal details of plants not normally inspected such as shapes patterns and colour contrasts. Small sections of a bigger subject can be very interesting.
  • It may be necessary to use a tripod to keep the camera still
  • Also consider wind breaks as shelter or supporting methods to hold plants still.
  • Macro facilities on a digital camera or extension tubes on SLR’s help get really close.
  • Use small apertures to get a depth of field. Hold the camera parallel to the most important feature of the photograph.
  • Take several shots and be patient

Other Gardeners Photo Tips

  • Use low view points.
  • Highlight contrasting colours
  • Try   unusual compositions and repetitions repeatedly.
  • Droplets of water on flowers may improve and freshen up the image. Spray drops of glycerine if you are very keen.
  • I need to practice what I preach by keeping a record of what, where and when an image was taken and published.





Artistic Gardeners Meadow Vista


Fritillary, Buttercups, Bluebells, Tulips and Narcissus all in the same shot, what more could you ask.

Well the star of this show is probably the grass. The grass is understated and not throttling the flowers. The sunshine is highlighting a grassy area near where the photographer has chosen to stand. The grass stops the mixture of colours and shapes from fighting one another bringing some harmony.

Artistic Comment

The photographer has found  a relatively low position to capture the flowers at the front of the photo. The dark trees provide a suitable back drop and contrast. Overall the composition works despite the complexity and variety of the flora. The depth of field allows enough focus highlighting the tulips. The eye of the curious looker is drawn around the image.

The garden designer has composed the image mixing blues, yellows and purples with the spring-fresh greens.The maintenance gardener has enabled the themes to work.

Not quite a meadow more a wild patch created with tlc.


Botanical Illustration and Gardener’s Art Books

Book Cover

For something a bit different this book on botanic art covers some of the unusual colours from black flowers, plants and seaweed like strange green, blue and puce pink.

Contemporary Botanical Illustration with the Eden Project: Challenging Colour and Texture by Rosie Martin and Meriel Thurstan

For more see below

Alternatively look at the illustrations in Mr Marshall’s Flower Book

Book Cover

Books from the art world

The quality that you might expect from Kew

Book Cover

For a how too guide I am currently using this library book as my step to step guide.

Book Cover Continue Reading →


Marianne North Botanical Traveller

Book Cover

Botanical Traveller

‘Marianne North, an unmarried middle-aged Victorian lady of comfortable means, set off in 1871 on her first expedition to make a pictorial record of the tropical and exotic plants of the world. Marianne produced more than 860 paintings which are housed in a special gallery at Kew.

Biographical Notes

  • Marianne North was born in 1830 in Hastings where her father was a well to do member of Parliament.
  • She traveled  with her father until his death in 1871 after which, at the age of 41, she visited North America, Jamaica and Brazil.
  • In 1875 she visited the Americas, Japan, India, Ceylon, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Later visiting Java, Seychelles and Chile. All the while she was painting the species and specimen plants she discovered.
  • A variety of plants were painted in situe and five were named after her.
  • The majority of her paintings were given to Kew Gardens and she funded and organised  a gallery in which to display them.
  • The gallery is unusual because it contains 832 paintings almost her entire work.
  • The Marianne North Gallery is one of the most popular attractions of Kew Garden and the paintings still remain in their original Victorian arrangement.
  • Whilst in USA she became friendly with Edward Lear, U.S. President Grant, and Charles Darwin. Julia Margaret Cameron photographed her in Ceylon.

Mangrove swamp Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; (c) Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew (book); Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation














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