What a year we’ve had! While the world was shutting itself down and setting up a new kind of life, individually it was quite something too. The change was sudden for all and no doubt frustrating for many. I must admit, in the beginning I did enjoy the stay-at-home policy, as a person living in the middle of the forest on top of a mountain. Forests and mountains were my home, and my home was large enough to explore all the wild flora in the different seasons.
I have spent much of my life traveling around the world, so for me this was an opportunity to actually stop, be calm and in one place, and it was truly a joy to watch and observe how the season changes over the months staying in one place. Pure joy! But as I said, this was in the beginning. After months, my feelings started to change and I could no longer suppress that desire for action! All I needed was a trigger and that came in the shape of the de Candole family. Despite all the other cancellations in life this year, James and Rachel were insisting on making this course happen! And it did.
All my classes before and after this master class in Copsa Mare have been cancelled for 2020. This master class was the only one full and there were no cancellations, yet! All the attendees were waiting till the last minute with a hope that they could go to this magical land. Constantly changing regulations in each country finally affected us, and everyone was forced to cancel the course, except one; dearest Curzon Tussaud. I had received this sad, but hopeful email from James saying, ‘So it seems probable that it shall be just the two of you. Rachel and I would be delighted with this – we could all have a lovely holiday with some teaching of course, but perhaps less intensive, and with a day trip or two we have in mind?’ My immediate answer was ‘yes’ of course, and thanks to Curzon’s determination, this course was going to happen even though she was going to be in quarantine for 14 days when she traveled to Romania.
Then action! It was such a great feeling to be able to go somewhere and especially if the place is very surreal. It is easy to believe that you are living in a fairytale story in Copsa Mare surrounded with vast meadows, endless forests. And, it was October so we met carpets of Crocus banaticus which was certain to be our main teaching subject.
As James said, it was a lovely holiday with some teaching in it. After we had collected samples of C. banaticus, Curzon and I were spending a decent amount of time painting this beauty in a very relaxing atmosphere of our art class ‘pod’. The pod doubled as a tailor atelier for Fred, the son of the de Candoles who is looking to master tailoring. It was nice for me to have him there during our workshop, as the teaching became more of a holiday with some nice music and drinks after each dinner. It was actually interesting to see how entirely different subjects, being a botanical artist and a tailor, can be very similar in some ways; you aim to create perfect finished piece and it is always about millimeters. Species are classified by their sizes, and if there is a little mistake in size in your plant portrait, it will not be the perfect one. You fix that mistake if you can, but what if the mistake is irreversible? Start over again? Or try to achieve the perfect one in the next piece of work? It was a good reminder to myself finding and keeping to that thin line between being a perfectionist and getting things done. And, I think this is what mastering is; knowing when it is done, even if it is not perfect, embrace it while you continue to seek, and work hard for, the perfect one.
Apart from the painting in the cosy atmosphere of the pod with a view of old Saxon houses, days were sweet with some trips around the meadows and while we were on foot, Rachel and Fred were on their horses, choosing between Thimble, Millie, Rebeta, Nemesis and Robinia. Unlike last year, this year I had a glimpse of the endless forests where you can easily walk and collect mushrooms for lunch. Dinner times were another joy of the days where James was making sure we were drinking enough and had some very good wine and Rachel was bettering this with the delicious food she was preparing. For sure you can leave this place with a great new recipe! We even played a card game, ‘Racing Demon’, after the dinner for (very) competitive fun!
I very much like to have such balance in my life, a bit of work, with other things and if I can combine all of these then that is an A++ for me. Such balance is needed and I seek for it in every work project I take on.
So this was the first course that had actually happened in 2020 and fingers crossed there will be more workshops held by amazing tutors in the following years. If you would like to experience being in a fairy tale story as well as learning how to paint plants from the experts, this is for you my dear plant lovers!
We have already set new classes for 2021;
If the dates are not good for you, check many other courses will take place in 2021!
An incomplete field trip
January 22, 2021
A GIANT FERN - Thyrsopteris elegans
January 06, 2021
Artist in Residence – Transylvania
August 20, 2020
An Iris field trip
June 24, 2020
Little Blue Book - Omphalodes cappodocica
May 12, 2020
March 29, 2020
Summary of Mexico
November 16, 2019
The book is out!
September 23, 2019
Turkish Silk Road
July 27, 2019
Once again - Transylvania Meadows!
June 14, 2019
April 21, 2019
A Plant Trip to the East of Anatolia
June 27, 2018
Titan arum triptych
May 21, 2018
Artist Residency in Denver Botanic Gardens
November 13, 2017
My Most Challenging Paintings
October 17, 2017