Plant Choices · Trees

The Crab Apple – Maggie Martin

After doing a variety of different art courses which looked at different techniques and styles Maggie found she really enjoyed botanical illustration. The precision of depicting plants appealed  and she decided the way to improve her work and get expert guidance would be to enrol onto the distance learning diploma with the Society of Botanical Artists.  She graduated in April this year with a Higher Pass; so this is the first time she has exhibited her work.

Maggie chose the crab apple because there is a beautiful tree close by which looked stunning last autumn. However, it turned out not to be the native crab apple Malus sylvestris and the hunt was on to find it.  This proved to be quite difficult but whilst walking her dog earlier in the year Maggie found what she was looking for; a large tree in the front garden of a local house. The lovely man who lived there let her help herself to blossom, leaves etc. and now with autumn nearly upon us its time to paint the ripe fruit.

As she still has a stash of the old Fabriano Artistic paper she worked on that, drawing onto the paper and then painting.  Having easy access to material she has been able to work the piece in four stages to make the combined image.  However, as she tells us below the final outcome was almost a total disaster…

“I have been working on the “Year of the Crab Apple” and completed a winter twig and the spring blossom earlier in the year. I removed the painting from its pad and kept it safe awaiting the summer young fruit. I duly worked on the summer painting last week and put it to dry on my mantelpiece as is it my usual practise as it is a good position to inspect from.  What I had forgotten was that I usually put the whole pad up there not just a single sheet of paper. You have guessed it – the painting slid down behind the fireplace apparently lost for ever! I didn’t scream or swear but came close to tears!

My husband inspected the situation, scratched his chin, took a deep intake of breath in the manner of car mechanics about to write off your car and said he couldn’t see what could be done without major deconstruction of the wall! I said goodbye to many hours of work and was about to send a mail advising that the crab apple was no longer.

Next morning, however, my husband (John) awoke to say that he thought the fireplace may have been added in one piece by the previous  house owners in the manner of a whole structure hooked on to the wall. He approached it with our son and lo and behold it all came off to reveal my painting completely unharmed!

As you can imagine the relief was immense and I definitely won’t be doing that again!”

So lucky to have saved hours of work, probably the most dramatic story so far…unless you have a more bizarre one?

Maggie Martin

Maggie Martin


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