Every botanical artist needs a good project to get their teeth into! So in late summer 2018, I began such a project and spent 3 months living out of a suitcase, travelling to Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia, researching and preparing plant studies. This was the first phase of such a project, it involves painting plants from all of the countries visited on Captain Cook's voyage of the HMS Endeavour (1768 - 1781) which were documented in Joseph Bank's Florilegium. it will be a 3 year project....maybe more.
Along the way I visited lots of incredible places and met some amazing people, including many artists. After a few days in Bali, I travelled to Darwin, where they have a most beautiful Botanic Garden. I began by hunting down the Australian native, Erythrina vespertilio, which I'm also painting for the 2020 Sydney Florilegium exhibition, so will be painting 2 versions of this one. I travelled Australia visiting many botanic gardens and wild places, receiving great support from the Mount Annan botanic garden with on going updates on the Erythrina.
In New Zealand I studied two natives, one rare and one common, Clianthus punicus, and Sophora tetraptera, the latter and various varieties can be found commonly growing just about everywhere. It's a most beautiful country with equally beautiful plants, I also had the pleasure of running two workshops there, who have the most amazing enthusiasm for plants and painting.
After leaving New Zealand, Indonesia was the last stop. This involved a visit to beautiful Java, where I spent time painting with the newly formed Indonesian Society of Botanical Artists. I also visited Lombok and the Gili Islands, which had recently suffered some major earthquakes before settling in Bali. where I was lucky enough to spend time overlooking the bali jungle, albeit with the odd earthquake and many storms, but plenty of time to finish off the preparatory work.
Returning to a very chilly UK in mid November was hard going and now it's time to finish my preparatory work by transforming the research into finished paintings.