Yes, it is practically imperative that we move forward in a positive and buoyant manner. It is demanded of us to be happy and upbeat but I find all such carry-on just too energetic. However, I am happy and delighted with news of progress in a project in which I am involved.
The Irish Garden Plant Society and the Irish Society of Botanical Artists are collaborating in a project on Irish garden plants under the working title, Plandaí Oidhreachta: Heritage Plants. Over sixty such plants, garden plants which originated in Ireland, have been selected and will be painted by the members of the ISBA. The resulting paintings will be shown in an exhibition at the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin in autumn of this year while a book with contributions from a number of authors on various groups or aspects of Irish garden plants, illustrated by the work of the artists, will be launched at the same time. I have seen a number of the completed works as well as preparatory work for others and know that this will be a wonderful exhibition and a most beautiful promotion for Irish plants.
Snowdrops are a particular interest of mine and I was delighted that a number will be included in the work – and I have sent bulbs to a number of artists and am especially looking forward to seeing these completed works. I have been able to peep over the shoulder, so to speak, of Shevaun Doherty who is painting two snowdrops from my garden and what has surprised me hugely – apart from the amazing beauty of her work -is the amount of preparatory work which is done long before the painting itself is even started. There are sketches of the flower and foliage from every angle, painting studies to pinpoint the best mixture of colours to achieve a faithful representation of the flower and, especially so with snowdrops, the challenge of painting a mainly white flower on white paper. I have no doubt that I have not adequately described the process but I have been so very impressed by the time and preparation which is put into capturing the character of the plant and then planning a composition which will best show that. While Shevaun is painting Galanthus ‘Longraigue’ and Galanthus ‘Lady Moore ‘while Galanthus ‘Kildare’, ‘The Whopper’, ‘Cicely Hall, and ‘Ruby Baker’ have travelled to other hands.
There will be an opportunity to place a pre-publication order for the book in late spring/early summer and I will post a notice of this at the time. In the meantime I will leave you with photographs of the snowdrops which will feature and recommend you watch out for this book and exhibition.