Botanicals ablaze

Mother's Marjorelle Chair by Grace Green croppedWith an evocative sense of heat and botanical aromas imbuing every artwork, Grace Green’s paintings bring a hit of gorgeous colour to chilly days.

“I’ve always been preoccupied with colour, pattern and texture,” she admits. “As a child I was always drawing. Art is something that’s followed me through all my educational decisions, I took BTEC art and design instead of A levels, and at 16 I knew it was the only subject I wanted to pursue. Both my parents went to art college and my brother too, it’s almost as if I didn’t have a choice!”

Herbaceous Hot House 1 by Grace Green

Herbaceous Hot House 1 by Grace Green

Grace’s vividly fecund paintings are the result of hours of experimentation with different hues.

“I enjoy the way two colours sit with one another more than anything,” she says. “When I left college I went to India for three months, at the time I was unaware of how much it would influence my love for colour. Now I choose my holiday destinations by looking at how colour is used within a country. Nature is so vibrant and not afraid of colour either.”

Herbaceous Hot House 2 by Grace Green

Herbaceous Hot House 2 by Grace Green

It’s abundantly clear from her creations that the natural world is a driving force when it comes to composition.

“I appreciate the contrast between linear structures and organic plant forms, as a reminder of constraints that are placed by man over nature,” she comments. “I notice different patterns next to one another in everyday set ups and it reminds me that pattern is everywhere. When looking under the microscope at something that to the eye seems flat or single tone, you see its make up is so intricate. When I paint I let my minds eye imagine these shapes which allows me to free flow forms next to painted shapes that one can understand.” Continue reading

Seeds of art

Hyacinth watercolour by Gill Martin

Hyacinth watercolour by Gill Martin

“I don’t consider myself particularly creative, more as a recorder of natural things so that the viewer sees them afresh but also to give them a place,” says botanical artist Gill Martin.

Gill sees nature as a direct connection to art, and vice versa. “Art makes me really look at things and appreciate their beauty; I love that I can just be walking down a street and find a leaf or twig or something else that just makes me feel I want to draw it.”

Almond by Gill Martin

Almond by Gill Martin

It’s a symbiotic process than began early on in her life. “I drew and painted from a very young age and did Art A-Level along with Sciences, which led me down the path of a career in dentistry; the drawings I did at school were always close observational, usually in pen and ink.”

Throughout her time working as a dentist, Gill’s artwork was, in reaction to this “very concise occupation” far more abstract than it is today. “I produced large pieces, stained glass and printmaking – it was almost like an antidote to the dentistry,” she comments. “After I retired from my profession I decided to do a long distance four-year distance learning with the Society of Botanical Artists and felt very much back with my natural inclinations.”

Poppy and Cherry by Gill Martin

Poppy and Cherry by Gill Martin

In particular she finds herself attracted by unusual shapes and forms. “Although during the course I had to do many flowery subjects, I have found that I am more interested in subjects such as individual leaves.”

Examples of this include an intricate drawing of a seedpod completed while in Australia for her son’s wedding.

“The course assignment was fruit, but all the fruit I looked at seemed very boring. Then I realised that the fruits of various trees were far more interesting! I think that I really like looking at the ground, or other places where perhaps things crop up unexpectedly.”

Australian Seedpods by Gill Martin

Australian Seedpods by Gill Martin

Using watercolours, coloured pencils and graphite pencil, Gill’s beautifully precise art has been exhibited in London, at Bristol Botanic Garden and in the BV Studios where she carries out much of her work.

Eucalyptus Leaf mixed media by Gill Martin

Eucalyptus Leaf mixed media by Gill Martin

She relishes the ability to show people the natural world in a fresh way by focusing in detail on small, easily overlooked elements. “I love the achievement of highlighting something that most people wouldn’t notice; nothing gives me greater pleasure than to find a fallen leaf amongst many others and then making a beautiful drawing or painting of it so viewers think, Wow, look at that leaf!”

Find Gill and her work at www.gillmartinillustration.co.uk.

Know an artist you’d like to see showcased on SkyLightRain.com? Give me a shout at judy(at)socketcreative.com.