I’m very happy today because my collection of seed related paintings won a Silver Gilt medal from the RHS. They’re currently hanging at the NEC, Birmingham, at BBC Gardeners World Live. (You have until Sunday evening to see them!)
My exhibit was composed of 8 paintings of seeds, which are part of a Seed Alphabet I painted in 2008 and 2009 for Jelitto Staudensamen, a perennial seed company. There’s one painting for each letter of the alphabet (except X – they couldn’t find a seed named with an X). You can see all of the paintings at www.see-seeds.co.uk. They were painted with the aid of a microscope. There are also three larger drawings, pencil and pastel on paper that I stained with tea. These are of Teasel, Honesty, and an Opium Poppy. I used posh Austrian tea to stain the paper of the teasel (I was still living in Vienna), and PG Tips from Spar for the other two, interestingly I found the PG Tips has a far superior staining effect.
The poppy is on my home page at the moment, www.jmr.org.uk, and the drawing of Honesty is above. Looking at seeds through a microscope is really interesting, they look totally different to what you may expect. I was fairly enchanted to find out that poppy seeds resemble footballs.
The second painting of the pansies is the first study I ever made of flowers, a watercolour that I painted, aged 9, for St Andrews Flower Show. I think it actually won first prize. I remember being very happy that I won, but slightly embarrassed in case any of my friends found out that I painted flowers.