Thursday, 23 October 2014

RIP Sue Cochrane

It is with great sadness that we share the devastating news that Sue Cochrane passed away unexpectedly around 02:00 this morning, 23.10.14. It is hard to believe the news.

Sue has been such a vital, vibrant member of the BAASA Gauteng community for the past ten years. She has been a committee member, offered her home for meetings, attended almost every course we ever ran, participated in our exhibitions and offered unwavering support to the committee. She has left a large gap in our hearts.

Sue was born in Scotland and grew up in the UK on a farm with a very large English garden. This is where she developed her passion for gardening. She was always growing seeds and cuttings at home and loved taking us around their beautiful garden in Bryanston. As a child she was encouraged to draw and paint, which led her to go to the Central School of Art and Craft studying Illustration, Commercial and Fine Art for a year. She continued to St Martin’s School of Art for a year of Fine Art followed by 3 years in Fashion Design. In 1966 Sue came out to South Africa and had a variety of jobs from fashion buyer and designer for some big companies, to starting a waste disposal company, cooking for an ad and film agency for six years, being librarian for wildlife photographer Peter Johnston to spending years doing animal and house portraits, murals and Tromp l’oeil. She saw botanical art as a natural progression and felt privileged to have studied under several of the world’s best botanical artists. We all were aware of the stunning porcelain dinner service that she decorated.

Sue wrote in her CV for the World Orchid Conference Exhibition:  "I was always mad about gardening and growing things! I still grow plants from seed and cuttings, it helps if you want to paint them. I have always drawn and painted since I was little. I ended up going to the Central School of Art in London in the 60s where I studied Fine Art, Commercial Art and Illustration, and St Martin’s School of Art, to continue my studies. After five years I came out to South Africa in 1966 and started painting detailed murals that took forever as they were very detailed. Painting Botanical works naturally followed on and I have now painted in this genre for about 15 years. I have exhibited at Galleries and Exhibitions and have won a medal at Kirstenbosch every time I have exhibited. I have been very lucky to study under several of the world’s best botanical artists. I love what I do and it gives me immeasurable fun and joy."

Sue’s friendship, laughter, encouragement, loyalty and support for those of us in BAASA will be sorely missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Iain, her two children, mother and her huge circle of friends. May she rest in peace.

Sue at the July BAASA Gauteng meeting

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Botanical Art at the Cavern with Gill Condy & Elsa Pooley 27 Oct – 02 Nov 2014

A unique opportunity to explore the wonderful mountain plants and to spend time observing and illustrating them.

Gillian Condy and Elsa Pooley combine their talents as botanical artists and author of wild flower and tree field guides to provide a memorable botanical art course in the mountains. With excellent meals and teas provided, the participants are free to concentrate on their work and enjoy guided walks with Elsa.

Plant material is easily sourced from the Cavern gardens and surrounding mountains. You will enjoy the famous hospitality of The Cavern, a resort hotel set in a magnificent valley adjoining Royal Natal National Park in the northern Drakensberg. The beautiful thatched buildings are set in colourful gardens, close to wonderful walks in the mountain grassland and forests, along streams and rivers.

Whether you are a beginner or an established botanical artist, attending the course will inform and inspire you. You will have uninterrupted time to work on your paintings, leaving unfinished work in the studio overnight. Art materials need to be supplied by the artists (you will receive a list once you have booked). Additional supplies will be available at the course.

For more info:
To book:

Monday, 13 October 2014

Plants: from roots to riches - a BBC Radio 4 podcast

In this BBC Radio 4 podcast series Kathy Willis focuses on the major breakthroughs in botanical knowledge over the past 250 years as seen through the lens of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. What soon emerges in the Plants: From Roots to Riches story is that the first plant scientists were genuine pioneers. Some, of course, found themselves barking up the wrong tree, or even scraping at the wrong bark. But the real characters are the plants themselves, from the orchid that looks like a bee to the waterlily big enough to sit a child on. Read more on the BBC blog page or download the series here.