Friday, February 23, 2018


Placed in natural daylight

Painted directly from life

Depicted life-size  

Through spontaneous inspiration

Its fast

Its magical

It is..... 

The SEED                                                

Many of you who know me will recognise the Study Works from a project on Seeds that began in 1993, which became a series of rapidly drawn and painted observational images. 

Visit the second half of the Study Work page at the brand new website and see these wonderful natural forms.

As more seeds come forward, from far away storage and into the bright natural light of the studio, the project is growing again and emerging from its rest. Watch this space for gradual and intermittent snippets of news, as we work in the silence of the studio.

Seed Pods from Papua New Guinea
watercolour on paper

View the new website and take a tour of the extraordinary paintings and drawings. 

Read all about it at the wonderful world of


Saturday, February 03, 2018


The new website is here .....

Celebrating the plant Kingdom 

through the life and work of the

painter and draughtswoman

Coral G Guest

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Name Says It All

It has been over twenty years since artists began using websites to showcase their work. The way they present their name, and in particular the typeface used for their name, makes for interesting study.

If we look at the very well known and famous in the creative arts, you may have noticed that over the years of having an online presence, many have kept the same typeface for their name, even though their website designs have changed in style and have been redesigned and upgraded.

At the beginning of my career, I accepted what still sounds to me like a good piece of advice. This was to carefully choose a type face for my name, and to stay with that typeface for the whole of my career.

I chose a classic typeface with a serif, and I'm still using it. It has altered a little, and I have sometimes included my initial, but basically the styling has remained essentially classical.

Here are a few incarnations from my personal typeface timeline, with their subtle differences of what is basically the same idea. Seeing them all lined up, seems like its verging on ego mania, but it does make an interesting point of how a type face can absorb subtle alterations in boldness, colour, and letter spacing etc, and yet still hold the same impression.

Catalogue from Swann Gallery 1986

Painting Flowers book in 2001

CORALGUEST Website 2008

C O R A L   G   G U E S T  Website 2015


And the new site to come? The typeface will be much the same as the drawings site. The colours and the styling in general are almost neutral, also similar to the drawings website, and used simply as a showcase for the work.


Saturday, November 11, 2017

The Art of Copying

This blog is sometimes been archived on draft for a number of reasons.
Firstly, if I am travelling and not able to keep watch over things, or if something happens like an excess of copying comes to light, it closes whilst the situation is observed.

Currently, much of the archive is closed. This relates directly to what has arisen in this past month.

Most proffessional painters have originality as their ultimate aim. All art students have this awareness drummed into them from an early stage in their education. This is because to be original is the only way to really make your mark on art history. The issue of copying, plagiarism and the stealing of ideas and imagery is one thing, influence is another. All art students are expected to learn through influence, but this is also expected to drop away as originality emerges.

Each month here in my studio we do a digital reverse image test, and also receive digital notifications of where the images from my website and blog have been copied and or pasted.
This is on the rise as a problem, for many artists who have not only their imagery stolen directly but their ideas also copied.

Last month two commercial companies cut and pasted my images from another art website, and placed these images on their own commercial websites in the USA and in Indonesia. Both were using these images to sell their products. They were both discovered and consequently removed these images.

This is just the tip of the iceberg and the problem is on the increase. I am told there is now technology to remove watermarking and take screen shots directly and then increase the resolution of an image, flawlessly. In addition, this kind of act is detrimental to any company who legitimately purchases the rights to imagery.

In my world, it has recently come to light that some of my writing on this blog has been used by a PhD student as a part of their dissertation. This has been reported to me by their tutor.
Also, some of the writing on this blog has been taken and translated into a book and published in another language, in another country. This came back to me via someone who understood that language.

What many don't seem to grasp is that I allow the use of my imagery and my written words, if permission is applied for. It would appear that what some people want to do is actually take what is not theirs, and put their own name to it.

On each of these occasions, I was informed by well wishers and generous people who don't like to see this kind of thing happen.

I also have seen a rise in the number of emails from young artists who's work has been plagiarised by older more successful artists. Understandably, this is very alarming, and I tend to view this habit as a kind of intimidation.

I know from how many times I have been copied that it is damaging and difficult to come to terms with. I have replied in person to all those who have contacted me who have been plagarised in this way, and asked me for help in how to cope.

My personal approach is to forgive, because I see that plagiarism in the fine art world is often an unconscious act. One that is a desperate form of aggression. Both plagiarism and the stealing of imagery is the opposite of generosity.

If I could give every desperate artist a free idea of originality I probably would. But first they would need to understand that giving and receiving are separate from the desperate desire to be famous.

Given the above, I have been advised to have the new website password protected.
This is so that I can have control over who views it.

I am told that things are going this way for more and more artists. Looking ahead, my view is that a password can also hide copying, so this may actually not be the way forward.

We know that with this issue a culture change is being demanded.
Thank you to all the kind and loyal people who have informed me of what has been going on.

On reflection, I will carry on being open, and placing security as a priority.

Currently the copyright notice for the new website is being composed, and this makes for interesting reading.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The Progress of the New Website

Some Thoughts on Magenta

It is a fabulous experience to show case the work in a brand-new website design. In what is becoming an entirely worthwhile process, pages are progressing towards their goal of working individually and as part of a whole.

The professional art world is a highly competitive arena, and I have always tended to overlook that. Being a romantic, I look at nature from this point of view. I understand art, and the world of plants and landscape, and the effects of natural light, as something precious, something to be shared and honoured. For me art is often about what I can give and offer, rather than what I can get. The process of talking and writing about my work, is partly the result of a need to communicate, a need to explain and describe what is driving the work forward.

This is like running a knife edge of sorts. We are all aware that if artworks depend on an artist's talking-up their work, in an egocentric way, that the work diminishes when the artist is no longer there to present the work and tell us how amazing it is. Without continued marketing some art looses its pulse. Its wise to remember the polarity of this extreme, which is manifest in those artists who choose not to publicise or communicate - they are hardly seen or understood.

Balance is different things to different people. Marketing is directly related to whom we come to know is looking at our work and if they will continue to look at it for years to come, or just for today.

Long term projects are a key point here. Those of you who viewed the Phenology Cabinet at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery at Kew this summer, will have seen that this artwork was worked on from 2006 to 2014. This piece is an expression of - amongst other things - my long term interest in, and fascination for, the colour Magenta.

Along with the colour White, Magenta has been a focus of my creative depiction of the plant kingdom for many a year. I return to this colour over and over again, exploring its meaning and its light and its hue, simply because it has never been something to do just for a while. The colour Magenta has become a meaning-full expression of the life of a petal whose hue is inexorably reflected in the sunrise and the sunset. Magenta continuously, continuously renews itself.

Given this fact, the new website will have a subtle Magenta theme to it. Perhaps a little like the original site, but more so. This is reflected in both tints and shades, as well as with pure intense colour.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Flower Painting in context

Flower Painting is an aspect of Fine Art, and lives within the domain of the Painter.
For the serious artist, Flower Painting is not only about observation, it is also about content. The description of Flower Painting as decorative, pleasing to the eye, or as having aesthetic concerns, is an aspect of the truth but it is by no means the entire truth.

Flower Painting, as a fine art, holds a message that is filled with purpose. This message depends on the criteria and the intent that the artist has, and the statement they want to make. Their statement may be philosophical, emotional, ecological, spiritual or any number of concepts that relate to the flower image. The priority of the fine artist is to convey this content within the bigger picture of the art world.

For any artist who defines Flower Painting as only being about aesthetic concerns is denying its seriousness and reducing its history. I see this as a dumbing-down not only of the Flower Painter but of the complex reality of the Flower itself. Seeing Flower Painting as only about producing a pleasing image exposes a lack of awareness as to how fine art fuses content or how a message is fused into an art work.

Flowers have often been associated with still life in Western Art, and the flower stayed there for much of the 19th and 20th centuries. Historically, this was not always so. Through the many efforts of contemporary Flower Painters, it is now no longer only associated with either still life, or illustration.
Flower Painting, even as a part of the still life genre, never has been exclusive to making only a pretty picture.

Botanical Art and its Relationship to Flower Painting

I believe that a Botanical Illustrator is a Botanical Artist. I also believe that a Flower Painter is a Botanical Artist. This is to name but two kinds of creative artists who work with plant life.

If an artist declares that their way of working is governed by a particular style of painting that is specifically termed Botanical Art, then by so doing they are denying every other artist who works with plant life the right to call themselves a Botanical Artist.

The problem I am highlighting here, is that Botanical Art is used often used as both an umbrella term as well as a term to describe a specific style of painting. If the definitions here are unclear it is because the Botanical Art world cannot resolve or agree on this issue. Confusion will continue, until an agreement is made as to the definition.   

The problem is sometimes exacerbated when websites and books use the phrase Botanical Art as an umbrella term, and then revert back again to describing Botanical Art as an actual style of painting. Hence, definitions are blurred and confusion diffuses into the bigger picture of the art world.

The terms have not been thought through. For those who have made a decision that it is a style of painting will forever be at logger-heads with those that see Botanical Art as an umbrella term. So where does one go from here?

It is well known that I absolutely adore Scientific Botanical Illustration, and that my understanding of the definition of Botanical Art is broad and comprehensive, and not limited to a particular style of painting. To reiterate: Botanical Art for me is an umbrella term that covers all aspects of creative and artistic work that involves the plant kingdom. In my opinion, Botanical Art is not and never will be a specific style of painting.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Charcoal Dust

Space Like Black Velvet Series 2 
The Potential Irradiation of Particles as Tulipa 'Triumph' 
charcoal with watercolour wash on paper
70 x 50 cm
Coral G Guest


Having developed the use of charcoal and watercolour wash in combination, since 1974, I look back upon a long personal and professional history. 

A few years ago, I sought the advice of a kindly and well known charcoal artist on their use of fixative, as I did not generally employ it. I received the most helpful advice, but in the end decided against using the fixative, as it had the effect of turning the dark black of charcoal into more of a satin-like surface, which reflects light. I felt this was not my style. I sustained my original practice, wherein I had already determined a way to create the blackness of the charcoal as an entirely stable mat surface. 

In addition to this, the eternal problem with charcoal is that it will drop dust. After it is framed, the drawing may shed this charcoal powder continuously. This powder then accumulates within the lower inside edge of the frame, between the artwork and the glass. Framed artworks of the experienced charcoal artist tend not to reveal this kind of problem. The management and elimination of this problem, during the creation of the work, is a sign that the artist understands their medium well enough to stop the build up of fall-out dust before it actually happens. 

I am often asked by Collectors to comment on the charcoal techniques of other artists, and I always decline to comment. Discernment is a personal choice, and can be achieved by comparing works by different artists in the way an art historian might do. Artists themselves tend to enjoy talking about their work and often welcome questions about their process. The Collector has the task of reassuring themselves that the work they are purchasing is authentic in its understanding of a technique.

'Charcoal has a nature that is rich in its darkness.

I have named this Space Like Black Velvet.

If this velvety texture of the darkness is not preserved, the surface of the drawing loses the sense of space it creates. Consequently, the image located within the black then appears rather like an object falling backwards into darkness. However, if the mat blackness is maintained, the image has the sense of emerging from a dark space. The discerning eye and mind will always recognise the difference between these two momenta.

I offer my monochrome drawings as a representation of my experimental techniques, when I feel they are developed enough to represent my ideas. I see myself as the the first artist to develop the combination of mixed media to create a dark space for a light image of a flower, which is held and emerges from the darkness of space. 

This is a rare subject to think through,and it is based upon my need to investigate how form relates to, and is inseparable from, space. I understand how my ideas connect to the techniques I have developed. This is not simply a superficial issue, it is a profound awareness that holds a monumental meaning for me. I am aware that this work has been seen by many of my contemporaries, who are perhaps now beginning to look deeper into the meaning of light and dark, possibly by following this lead'. 

Coral G Guest 2015

This quote is the copyright of the artist Coral G Guest and may not be copied or used without permission.

See the Drawings website for more

                       Space Like Black Velvet Series 2 
                    The Irradiation of Particles as Tulipa 'Triumph' 
                    charcoal with watercolour wash on paper
                    90 x 70 cm

                    Coral G Guest