The collection is now complete: I have the Spring collection of botanicals which closes the circle of the seasons for my prison project “One Year”.

I collected the plant samples last Tuesday outside HMP Dartmoor, put them in plastic bags and then photographed all the different plants:

Initially, I photographed them against a black backdrop which was quite dramatic:

Then I realised it would not be in keeping with the other seasons’ images so I had to replace the black with white:

They both have their charms. It took for ever to change all the backgrounds.

Then came the stewing which I was dreading because the last time I did this in the Winter, the whole house had the foul smell of forest-floor brews for days. This time, however, there was a really lovely, fresh smell emanating from the kitchen & I realised that the only remarkable difference was that this time there were stinging nettle branches in the mix. It has made me go & forage for some more samples & see if I can make some freshly-brewed tea!

The mix boiled for ages, partly because I had forgotten about it, and then I let it go cold so that I could blend it & make my traditional blobs with it and then photograph them.

When I was blending the mix, I realised that the pine cones would not oblige so I had to pull them out:

Cooked cones.

The resulting blobs, made with my smartphone, threw up a pretty consistent dye colour on cartridge paper:

I love the sculptural qualities of this one which for me assumes mythical properties.
I used kitchen towel to dry the blobs I had put on a transparency sheet to photograph it on my scanner. When I saw that the pattern of the paper had transferred to the cartridge paper, I sprinkled black pepper over it to capture the pattern, which I quite liked as it reminded me of the work of Catherine Pickop which we saw at the London Art Fair in January.


I am glad I have now finished the seasonal blobs and that they have turned out so well. The blobs too have come out quite well in terms of changing colours brought about by the different botanicals available at different times of the year.

Summer 2018
Autumn 2018
Winter 2019
Spring 2019

I am always surprised that I try to make sense of my photographed blobs rather than just accept them as photographic evidence of my research into a place in time / time in a place. For example, the image below to me looks remarkably like a rabbit. I have very primitive print-making skills which means that my visual perception does not allow me to imagine how to put down a ‘blob’ so that when it is seen on a printed surface, it is a back-to-front version of the blob. For that reason, and because, as a result of my experience with printed rather than a digital photograph, I love print making, I am starting a printmaking course in Cornwall in October!!

Spring Rabbit.

6 thoughts on “The last botanical dye painting for 2019

  1. Good to see you’ve gone through all the seasons now. that last one looks like a rabbit to me as well. Goodness knows what a Rorschach analyst would say about that.

    The printmaking course sounds just right for you.

    Happy Easter.


    1. Thanks, Sue. I don’t see it as coming to an end as much as closing that chapter. I was so glad to be able to see time in terms of place this way. Just glancing at the botanicals collected at any one time makes me see how logically the colouring of the blobs follow on. I have had one printed very large & I love it. I would love to have an exhibition just of the small selection of 4. Dream on !!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s very interesting visualising time through colour like this. Hadn’t thought about it like that before.

        Hopefully one day you’ll get to do that exhibition. I’d definitely visit!

        Liked by 1 person

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