Local artists exhibit paintings of floral life at the Dorset County Museum

Leaves by Carmen Forder © Dorset County Museum 2017

Leaves by Carmen Forder © Dorset County Museum 2017

Currently exhibiting in the Dorset County Museum Tea Room until 9 September 2017, is a collection of floral paintings by the Martinstown Botanical Art Group

The group has been running for about 9 years and exists to nurture and encourage botanical art in amateur artists who love this genre.  They all choose and bring their own subjects to paint and they have a regular tutor who provides personal encouragement and advice, with demonstrations of technique.

Their current tutors are Simon Williams SBA, a nationally known illustrator and botanical artist, and Pauline Trim AssocSBA.

Members of the group are all enthusiastic amateurs, largely retired or semi-retired, who all love painting and learning.  There is a lot of talent in the group. Some of us sell our work or take commissions, others choose not to.

Subject matter is varied within the natural history brief, as we all paint what appeals to us.  We paint mainly flowers but also include other plant life, fruit, vegetables, also butterflies, birds and, occasionally, animals.  Works are mainly in watercolour, gouache or coloured pencil.

The art exhibition is in the Dorset County Museum Tea Room and is FREE to come and view.

Lecture: Taxidermy – Past and Present by Jonathan McGowan

Dorset Naturalist and Taxidermist, Jonathan McGowan

Dorset Naturalist and Taxidermist, Jonathan McGowan

Taxidermy is a skilful traditional craft. It dates not just from the days before the camera and guide book were invented, but is still a highly sought-after profession even today. These skills are needed by naturalists, museum curators, teachers, photographers and interior designers to name but a few. Whilst taxidermy may sometimes be associated with ‘arty’ types, many traditional taxidermists still continue the craft in the most old fashioned of ways.

The art is all about removing the skins of animals, preserving them and recreating a life-like model and mounting it in a natural-looking setting. Taxidermy need not be just about hunting trophies – it is also about safeguarding the memories of loved family pets, or the recycling of dead animals that litter our roadsides from time to time and indeed much vital information can be gained from collecting road kill and passing it on to relevant conservation authorities.

A mounted wild polecat.

A mounted wild polecat.

Jonathan McGowan’s illustrated  talk touches on the history of the craft from the past to the present day, with insights into how it is carried out, the ups and downs (including the perks and horrors) of the trade, and strange oddities of nature.

The lecture takes place at Dorset County Museum at 7.30 on Wednesday 29 May and doors are open from 7pm.  The event is free but a donation of £3 is encouraged to cover costs.

For further information contact the Museum on 01305 262735 or check the website on www.dorsetcountymuseum.org

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