"Art is the only way to run away without leaving home" (Twyla Tharp)

Mixed feelings ...


I will admit to missing the continuity of assignment deadlines when we were in the SBA botanical art distance course.   It's been three months since the last artwork was completed and sent away to London for final marks - and both the artworks and I have done a lot of travelling since. The space and time have been very fruitful though and there are a lot more artwork deadlines up ahead - so instead of being daunted by them I will be grateful to have the motivation and appreciate working towards a goal.

The final of the three diploma works to show here is the Mixed Study - a variety of subjects loosely combined to show flowers, stems, leaves gathered together in different perspectives and angles.    I chose plants from my garden - those that were blooming prolifically as I needed to source them easily.  No time for heading out to the garden centre or florist as the final deadline was looming.  I chose a rose, bronze cottonwood, hibiscus and frangipani - it speaks volumes about the kind of summer garden we have and the plants that survive our intense heat. 

                                                 The first stages of the flower heads positioned.
            I had drawn all the elements onto tracing paper and moved them around to find a suitable
         composition so that the colours worked well together and the placement filled the page nicely.

Much time was spent doing colour studies to match the individual hues ...

I used oasis foam supported in a pot and played with the flower cuttings to see how they would appear together.  Here is an unfurling cottonwood bud which I cut and then next to it you can see where I placed my work in progress artwork behind it to see how it would fit in the composition.

 And here is the 'real' flower below drawn and painted into the composition ...

 I became glued to this art table for many days and nights -

my desk started to become quite overwhelmed with paint charts, palettes of colour, water containers etc!  Not to mention the plants, flowers, cuttings, and chaos all over the house ...

 I always try and turn an image of my artwork into a black and white version to check the contrast and tones in a piece ... I was very happy with this one and actually preferred it to the colour piece...

It's good to step away from the artwork during a break and look at it on a computer screen to zoom in and check for any overlooked elements ...

I also like to walk around the artwork to see if it looks 'real' from all angles - the three dimensionality is what brings a painting to life and if it looks like you could pick it off the page then I'm happy.

 Only a little more to go and the artwork was complete.

And voila - joined the other diploma artworks on the long journey from Western Australia to London.
Thanks for joining me on this wonderful journey in botanical art!
I love hearing from you too - your comments are much appreciated x

                                                             All images © Vicki Lee Johnston


  1. Keep blogging, please, Vicki. Love your work. Ruth

  2. Amazing Journey! Your art is beautiful. Hope I achieve your level after I complete the SBA course :) Lori V.

  3. I know what you mean, I too miss our deadlines... Lovely blog as usual. Looking forward to read the next one:)

    1. Thanks Alena ... we have to create our own now ... prioritise :)

  4. Yes, I miss the deadlines as well, and the camaraderie working through the same challenges with others. But onward and hopefully upward, right? I enjoyed this glimpse into your process. Your final pieces are lovely and I think you have developed a recognizable style already!

    1. Definitely onward and upward Janene - appreciate your comments and loved your diploma pieces too!

  5. I enjoyed your journey & the final piece is amazing.. I really like the black & white version too. Thanks for sharing it brightens up my day & I can imagine so many more.! Take care & enjoy.

    1. Thank you so much Pat - I really appreciate your comments - best wishes

  6. Congratulations on not only completing the course but on your very well deserved result. Your final pieces are beautiful and so interesting to see all of the planning and work involved in the course.
    I am sure there will be more amazing work in the future, more relaxing with your own choice and pace. It must be good to look back and see what you have achieved, well done.
    We are enjoying some nice weather, I am sitting in the garden drawing, feathers I think today after a lovely walk on the shore. Best wishes. millyx

  7. Thanks Milly I appreciate your comments, you have been an inspiration to me and I love reading your blog.
    I am looking forward to new beginnings, styles and ideas - and just painting what I want when I want ...
    Good to hear you have nice weather, we are heading into winter now.
    Best to you xx

  8. E' tutto molto molto bello!
    Mi piacciono i vari toni di colore che hai usato e il posizionamento dei fiori!
    Sei una vera Artista!!

    1. Grazie mille Maureen, apprezzo i vostri commenti!

  9. I gaze, as always at your work, in awe.

  10. Hey Vicki - can't wait to see a blog post about this new exhibition of yours... is it close to where you live? Will you be there or are you having to send your pictures to the show? Well done on your huge achievement - second show within a year of graduating - you are on the ball sweetheart! Much love x

    1. Hey Jess, have published it now - it's not far from where I live, in the creative hills community of Western Australia just outside Perth.
      Thanks for your congratulations, has been an amazing year in many ways.
      Big hug xx

  11. It's been much, much too long since I"ve stopped by. I've missed so much! And as usual, looking at your work is such a pleasure, and works magic on my stress levels...

    Very beautiful, Vicki Lee.