Archive for category Author: Christina Hart-Davies

The Whole Story || Christina Hart-Davies

Books from Two Rivers Press arrive with very little flourish and, it should be said, no loud thump onto the mat. Moderate in format and extent, they pack a lot more punch than you would expect and this is one of the most eloquent works on botanical illustration I’ve seen.

To be clear, this is not an instructional book as such, although “the inside story” sections do include concise step-by-step exercises. The bulk of the book is devoted to examples and explanations of the subjects illustrated. And what a range of subjects it is. The book is subtitled “Painting more than just the flowers” and Christina includes leaves, ferns, lichens, bark and fungi as well as the creatures that inhabit the natural world: butterflies, bees, birds (represented by a feather), even a cat.

Much of the charm of the book stems from the fact that the paintings are not just dry specimens for the botanical specialist but living tableaux that appear to have been plucked – or rather borrowed – from their natural habitat. There’s an immediacy that stems from some very careful brushwork and use of colour.

If you’re looking for a book that will teach you, this is probably not it. If you want one you can learn much from, though, it absolutely is.

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The Greenwood Trees || Christina Hart-Davies

This celebration of native British trees has been inspired by the 800th anniversary of the Forest Charter. Coeval with Magna Carta, this document established the right and responsibilities of the king, nobles and commoners. It covered activities such as hunting, gathering wood, coppicing and pannage – collecting the acorns that fed domestic pigs. In many ways, it was the more important of the two charters, certainly for the daily life of the majority of people.

Trees have been central to the life of man for millennia. They provide food, fuel, shelter and even medicine. Although we now build mostly in brick and stone, our houses still contain a great deal of timber. In the course of this, myths, legends and tales have grown up and forests have acquired a life that takes them from the physical to the spiritual world.

This delightful book celebrates the role of trees and illustrates them with superb watercolours that show form, structure and detail as well as the way trees change through the seasons. Although it is not an art book as such, the quality of the work will inspire any botanical painter and show what can be done with simple materials.

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