Artist's great love of plants

PAT English described her first botanical art classes as 'disastrous' at the launch of her new exhibition at the Little Gallery in the Hain Centre on Friday.

Mrs English, of Numeralla, started learning botanical illustration at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne in 1989, and is this month's 'artist in the spotlight' at the Little Gallery.

Mrs English developed a love of and fascination for plants while living in Darwin in the 1960s and 1970s, and later in Canberra. While living in Canberra she undertook studies towards a Horticulture Certificate at the School of Horticulture, Weston.

"From my personal perspective, as a qualified horticulturist, when I heard that it was possible to have lessons at the Melbourne Botanical Gardens in Botanical art, I immediately enrolled in classes," she said.

"I have always had a fascination with plants and didn't know the first thing about painting them. My first classes were pretty disastrous, but gradually I caught on to some of the techniques."

Allan Hood from Cooma Rural, a close friend of Mrs English, officially opened the exhibition and said she had great attention to detail and fine art skills in her paintings.

Mrs English said the precision involved in painting plants was one of many things she enjoyed about botanical art.

"I think that my pleasure in painting plants comes from a few different things. I love the precision involved - it suits my particular turn of mind.

"It's such a thrill to manage to mix the right colour for a petal, stem or leaf.

"Some flowers, such as poppies, have transparent petals, and its a fun challenge to demonstrate this in such a way that the viewer understands that is is transparent.

"I try to show the habit of growth where possible - whether upright or hanging such as draping branch or vine.

I also love to show the beauty of the plant."

The exhibition is on at the Little Gallery in the Hain Centre durinig February.

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