Tag Archives: London

Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens (Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, Sussex, England) is a beautiful park which houses the largest collection of  living plants in the world. The beginnings of this collection were from species brought back by the famous naturalist and botanist, Sir Joseph Banks when he traveled with Captain Cook on his first round the world voyage. If you want to add to the magic of the story, check out Elizabeth Gilbert’s “The Signature of All Things” for a wonderful historical fiction on the beginnings of Kew and beyond.

 My last visit to England was in March during one of  the coldest winters in recent memory. The steamy greenhouses were an especially welcome solace during the still freezing early spring.  The palm house is the largest iron and glass structure in the world with ornate Victorian lines that conjure images of decked out ladies with parasols strolling and sketching.

Signs of spring were everywhere. The crocus bulbs exploded from the ground like a colorful carpet surrounded by newly green grass.  Though I am no plant expert, I love the beautiful shapes and smells of  plants and trees as an inspiration for patterns and color. Kew is a wonderful escape and an interesting slice of history. It’s an easy train ride from London for when you need an urban respite!

*blooms photo repeat

Crocuses, Kew Gardens, England

The materials:

matte medium

acrylic gel medium

I started with brushing acrylic gel medium on the white paper and letting it dry before painting. This gives the paper an interesting texture to start with and gives it some dimension too. It can also act as a mask to preserve layers of paint underneath it. The paint on the layers above will not be repelled but it wipes away more easily to reveal what’s below.

painted background

base layer of painting

You can see how the brush strokes are a bit exaggerated by the gel medium. I let this layer dry completely before I painted the flowers too. I like to scan these textures in before I paint on them further in order to build a library to work with for digital projects too.

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London Calling: inspiration from the V&A

Taken during a 2010 trip to London, this image of an iron window grille was the catalyst for the Patterns Found blog project. I began documenting found patterns in every landscape. Architecture. Nature. Industry. Far from accidental, this particular piece of ironwork resides at the V&A Museum—a deliberate, beautiful artifact on display. If you can’t get there in person, check out their online database for inspiration. I don’t know of a richer resource for textile design inspiration.

London. It’s dear to me for many reasons. My short residence there in my 20s made me more self-assured and adventurous in all areas of my life. Forging out on my own, I had the pleasure of working in the tea room at the V&A Museum. Not only did I get to experience the culture on a much different level than if I’d been passing through as a tourist, but I was surrounded by incredible textiles, jewelry, costumes, and so much more that this wonderful museum holds in its massive collection. Decades later, with my son in tow for the first time, I returned to London. Seeing the city through his eyes renewed my perspective and helped me rediscover the city, the museum, and the visual contrasts in every corner.

*London grille 2 final1 lores

artwork inspired from ironwork, V&A museum, London 2014

This is the design I created inspired by the photo taken of the grille.

Read more for instructions/ materials and more photos…

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