News, News 2016

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’…

Dahliasummernightsquare

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!

News, News 2016, Painting

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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Art Questions, News, News 2016, Painting

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.

fabrianopapermaking

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.

fabrianomeetingtest

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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Art Tutorials, News, News 2016, Painting, YouTube Channel

My first YouTube video

I have posted my first home-made video on my brand new YouTube channel, Flora’s Patch.

It’s the first of a four-part demonstration of a sunflower painting. The demonstration will also be published in Artists & Illustrators magazine in the summer, as a “masterclass”. (That’s what they call it, a bit more dramatic than “demonstration”…)

This first part is all about shadows:

Oh wow, I was just going to include a link but it actually plays the whole thing right here! Unfortunately I didn’t exactly do it on purpose… I’m still pretty pleased.

Enjoy the video, and don’t forget to subscribe if you want to be updated when I post part 2. It’s free, you just need to click “subscribe”.

Happy painting!

News 2016

Liberty London

 

liberty-at-christmas

Regent Street
London W1B 5AH (Entrance on Great Marlborough Street)

 Liberty London just had to be my first sewing shop review. I realise that this is not the most original choice and certainly doesn’t make me feel extra-rebellious, but this is where my textile inspiration really sparked off…

Their Tana Lawn is an iconic fabric that anybody who ever picks up a sewing needle cannot ignore.

 I suppose it might be possible not to like the shop but I can’t imagine how. From the moment you go in (through the flower shop into the scarves hall is the most dramatic way) you have to be mesmerised by the wood carvings, the galleries, the small (ish) themed rooms, the creaking wooden staircases… I still remember discovering the haberdashery department when I first came to London as a student. I was in a foreign country, speaking a different language that I loved (thanks to the singing and lyrics of Robert Smith and Justin Sullivan) without really quite grasping it, yet Liberty felt like home and has ever since. To this day, after the ordeal of the journey to and through London, I walk over the threshold, take a deep breath and instantly I start to relax. The new Alex Monroe jewellery collection, the Liberty print nightwear and lingerie, the haberdashery, the restaurant, the small but magnificent flower shop… where to start?

As this is a sewing shop review, I should probably concentrate on the 3rd floor. The main hall holds the fabrics, organised by type and prints, from ditsy to large abstract. To the side there are a series of smaller rooms hosting haberdashery, patchwork fabrics, kits and sewing notions. Then you move into the yarn hall, with all the wools and cottons, arranged by colour, filling shelves upon shelves from floor to ceiling. The next room is where all the Liberty print accessories are: kitchen things, clothes, stationery, objects of decoration… definitely my favourite floor. Although one floor above there is THE settee. Every time I go to Liberty’s, I pay THE settee a visit. It is made of grey velours printed with a design of large white Romneya, it’s a beauty. I sit on it for 10 minute, imagining it in my living room, then give it a little pat on the arm and say farewell see you next time…

What I also like about Liberty (apart from everything else) is that the decoration changes all the time, so each time is a new discovery.

I usually finish my visit with a snack in the restaurant, where they serve a really nice cake. I savour it while I keep daydreaming about June’s Meadow, Emilia’s Flowers, Hera, Picardie, Wild Flowers, Mitsi and Strawberry Thief…

Pompom rating:

Range of supplies                        4/5

Friendliness                                  4/5

Prices and value                           4/5

Originality and feel                       5/5

Total 17/20 pompoms

Best for:

  • Their famous Tana Lawn
  • Great flower shop
  • People who love a magnificent building full of personality and history, as well as textiles and yarns