Highlighted Piece: Dandelions with Alison C. Board

27th May 2021 Estimated reading time: 3 mins

The event is now in full swing and I have had a wonderful time seeing lots of people face to face AND enjoying chatting to you all via virtual platforms. We worked so hard to get everything to come together and it all seems to have paid off which is marvellous – thanks to Team Ali as always.

After my previous posts regarding highlighted work, I thought I would throw back to a subject I have painted right since I taught myself to use watercolours – Dandelions. Not in flower form but in their seed phase, those beautiful, fleeting and ethereal structures that look like they will be the easiest thing in the world to paint but trying to capture their fragility is a lifetime’s work.

Hundreds of years of art history has shown us that artists return time and again to a particular subject, they might wish to capture a change in weather, season or perhaps it’s a draw (pardon the pun) to the subject for personal reasons. Why do I return to Dandelions almost every year? I’m not sure that I know, and so in writing this, it has made me have to think this ‘out loud’, as it were.

Perhaps it’s their structure? The incredible construction of individual seeds tethered to the centre point, waiting for a breeze, gust of wind or animal to brush past them and help with their reproduction.
Is it their resilience? I seem to be very good at growing them in my lawn and fought for many years to try to conquer them before one day reading about what great pollinators they are for bees. Then I became a chicken owner and they are fabulous for chicken health, supplying them with pretty much every vitamin they need including calcium for aiding with eggshell construction. Therefore, I no longer try to rid them from my lawn, they are welcome at my house for the bees and the hens – that’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

Is it simply because I want to try every different way of painting them? You have probably realised by now that the experimental process of combining materials is so exciting to me and maybe it’s that dandelions provide the perfect foil for that creativity. Every exhibition I do will see a dandelion or five paintings and this year is no exception, I have three in the show:

As I write this, ‘Brightest Blue’ and ‘Blown by Gold’ have both sold in the exhibition, but I wanted to share an opportunity to see me actually painting ‘Brightest Blue’ as it was used in the DVD that accompanies my book. When the SAA kindly invited me to film a new DVD as a companion to ‘A Beginners Guide to Watercolour with Mixed Media’ I just knew that I had to paint a Dandelion for it as they have been a constant source of artistic comfort throughout my career.
You can purchase the DVD from The SAA here.

Either way, I hope that you enjoy painting them as much as I have done over the years. Let me know if there is a particular subject that you seem to return to and do you know why?
Tomorrow I’m going to be sharing the story behind my ‘Last of the Summer Sun’ painting, the crazy narratives myself and Beez write for our dogs and a few of the techniques I used to put the story together.
See you tomorrow, Ali

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