Monday, 25 August 2014

Drawing from nature BAASA Gauteng outing - 23 August 2014

A crisp, cold August day had 14 BAASA Gauteng members visiting Jenny Hyde-Johnson in the Cradle of Humankind to listen to her stories about how she went about planning her paintings for past Kirstenbosch Biennales. The discussion (detailed below) was to be followed by sketching in the veld from which Jenny draws her inspiration for her botanical work. Let me hasten to add that Jenny is a three times gold medal winner at Kirstenbosch so we were eager to sit at her feet and learn some of her secrets.

In the veld we visited a lovely sinkhole that is very characteristic of the dolomitic area. The beautiful trees surrounding the sinkhole and protected within it included an Acokanthera and an impressive Olea growing out of the sidewall of the sinkhole itself.

Looking down the sinkhole
New life emerging

From there we went to find some delicate pink Harveya growing hidden amongst the grass on a slope (these are normally cream coloured, so the pink ones added a frisson of excitement), which also had numerous Ficus trees clinging to rocks with their new red foliage adding colour to the winter browns.
Pink Harveya
New leaves - Ficus ingens

Finally Jenny took us to a spot overlooking a lovely valley with the rolling hills all around and the Magaliesberg mountains forming a backdrop in the distance. What a peaceful place to sit and do some meditative sketching. It was over all too soon.
Meditative sketching

Back: Sue Cochrane, Angie Hill, Jenny H-J, Gill Condy, Helene Joubert, Karyn Bell
Front: Lucia Hickman, Isabelita van Zyl, Annatjie Greyling
Sketching in the veld (not in photo): Jocelyn Colombick, Brenda Shafir, Gwenda Caplan
Photos: Ingrid Howes & Angie Hill

Honorary Life Membership of BAASA Awarded to Jean Powell

We are proud to announce that Jean Powell has been awarded Honorary Life Membership of BAASA for the role that she has played in tirelessly promoting this art form and her generosity of time in encouraging and helping students and botanical artists in KwaZulu Natal.

Jean Powell

Jean has been the inspirational backbone of BAASA KZN since it was established in the late 1990s and has tirelessly collated the workshops in this region for many years. Less well known to us is her involvement with other artist groups in KZN: she has been an active committee member of the KwaZulu-Natal Society of Artists (KZNSA), closely involved with the Friends of the Durban Art Gallery and other bodies, and has taught and helped countless young people to develop their skills and talents. Her love of plants can also be seen in her own original (non-botanical) artworks on paper and glass.
Jean Powell receiving her certificate from Elsa Pooley

After studying architecture and design in Britain, Jean worked in Kenya before coming to South Africa, where she taught at the University College for Indians on Salisbury Island, Durban. She went on to teach textile design at the University of Durban Westville, before moving to the then Natal Technical College. She is one of a group of dedicated artists who developed the talents of various communities in Natal under trying circumstances.

Jean with some of the KZN Artists

Jean has been an indefatigable proponent of botanical art and has never flagged in her support and efforts to find ways to display this art form to the public. She has taken a keen interest in botanical art since the late 1960s and 1970s when she was involved in NSA (Natal Society of Artists) botanical art exhibitions. She found ways to introduce botanical art to her students once BAASA was established and created a competition to encourage them to participate in the BAASA annual exhibitions. Many of her past students have become BAASA members and botanical artists, a tribute to her influence and teaching.

We are honoured to have Jean as a Life Member of BAASA.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Which pencil to use?

An informative post on types of pencils to use from Dianne Sutherland's blog.

Posted: 03 Aug 2014 08:52 AM PDT
Continuing from the last blog post I'm still working with graphite, this time for the Nature Sketchbook Exchange Project. It seems appropriate to do a bit more than just drawing a picture because it's a sketchbook project, so over the last couple of days I've been experimenting with a few different pencils brands.

Sketchbook pages, experimenting with different brands of pencil
There are a number of pencils to choose from, all of which are suitable for botanical read more go to Dianne's blog at

And don't forget to check our Resources page for more links to useful websites.