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.

Seeing Butterflies: New Perspectives on Colour, Patterns and Mimicry by Philip Howse.

Seeing Butterflies: New Perspectives on Colour, Patterns and Mimicry by Philip HowseFor a fascinating insight into the bizarre colour patterns of butterflies and moths, visit Dorset County Museum for a talk by butterfly mimicry expert, Philip Howse. Philip will be launching his new book, Seeing Butterflies: New Perspectives on Colour, Patterns and Mimicry, at an event at the Museum on 26th November.

Originally focussing on the death’s head hawk moth, Philip quickly realised that the skull marking, seen from the appropriate angle, was in fact a crude image of the head of a giant hornet.

“From that point on, I found more and more examples of images of parts of dangerous animals: teeth, eyes, claws, beaks etc. embedded in the wing patterns,” said Philip.

Butterfly wings demonstrating mimicry

Butterfly wings demonstrating mimicry

During his talk on 26th November, Professor Howse will explain the reasons for the enchanting colours and designs on the wings of butterflies and moths and discuss survival strategies using behaviour, mimicry and camouflage.

Philip Howse has published several books and numerous research articles on insect behavior and ecology. After a career spent mainly at Southampton University, he has now retired but continues writing about the insects that have fascinated him since he was a boy.

All are welcome to this event which is FREE although donations are welcome to cover costs. Copies of Philip’s book will be for sale during the evening. The talk will start at 7.30pm and doors are open from 7.00pm. For further information see www.dorsetcountymuseum.org.