Thursday, September 14, 2017

Original Artworks from the Painting Flowers in Watercolour Book

The original artworks created for my classic book painting Flowers in Watercolour - a Naturalistic Approach, have over the past twenty years been gradually acquired by various Collectors, around the globe.

A few days ago whilst engaging in our thorough re-organisation of the conservation cabinets, the last few forgotten artworks from this part of the book resurfaced.

In 2000, the original works for the book were sent to Italy, and then Hong Kong, for scanning and printing. They then travelled back to the publisher in the UK. The event had left some registration marks and labels glued to the borders of the artworks, and boundaries drawn, plus some scuffing and very minor creasing of the surrounding paper on the Colour Precision Artworks. This said, the actual drawing and painting stayed in good condition.

The last remaining unsold pieces, rediscovered in the cabinet this week, are a group consisting of:

one Precision Painting
one Monochrome Study
seven Line Drawings

All are on paper and were completed specifically for the book

I would like these works to go to someone who will keep them as a set, and I am offering these here at the price of 650 pounds GBP. This singluar price is for all nine pieces, in total

Postage and packing are additional. 
The works are unframed and unmounted.

If you have an interested in acquiring these works, I can be contacted through the Contact page of my drawings website or through my usual email address (for those that know me).

Here are the works:

Strelizia reginae Pages 8 and 123 of the Book (some creases present on the paper)
38x32cm Coral Guest 2000

Tulipa Cultivar Tonal Sketch Page 60 of the Book (some creases on the paper)
28x20cm Coral Guest 2000

Drawing sheet from Pages 48 and 49 of the Book
26x33cm Coral Guest 2000


Paeonia lactiflora 'Sir Edward Elgar' Page 47 of the Book
36x28cm Coral Guest 2000

Lilium longiflorum 'Mount Everest' Page 71 of the Book
34x32cm Coral Guest 2000

Delphinium elatum 'Faust' Page 83 of the Book
38x26cm Coral Guest 2000

 Fritillaria Imperialis 'Lutea' Page 91 of the Book
38x26cm Coral Guest 2000

Canna 'Wyoming' Page 97 of the Book
33x29cm Coral Guest 2000

Camellia japonica 'A.Audusson' Page 105 of the Book
34x26cm Coral Guest 2000

Friday, August 25, 2017

British Botanical Artists at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery Summer 2017

Visiting the show this August, and enjoying being a part of the extravaganza as one of the many visitors attending.  

The British Artists Show at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery, Kew, will run until September 17th 2017. 

The artist, author, and champion blogger, Katherine Tyrrell, has undertaken the herculean task of writing a timeline and review of the show, focusing on the historic content and the artists involved. 

 Read all about it  -  this is an in depth and informed piece of writing! 

Since 1991, Dr Sherwood has commissioned and purchased a number of my artworks. Her collection mostly represents my early and mid career work, and includes some of the pioneering larger pieces. 

A further recent piece was gifted to the Collection in 2015, and is exhibited in the show (see above/right). The show also includes various colour study works.

Much of my work that is present in Dr Sherwood's collection is now being shown on the main wall in the large central gallery, as a part this exhibition.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Updating Website Design

Whilst my Flower painting website is offline, I have recently engaged in some discussion with young designers about website design for professional artists. 

Interestingly, the newer, younger professional artists in their 20's tend to renew a website design every two years, some every year. 

The mid-life professional artists, in their 30's - 50's, tend to keep the same website design for 3-5 years.

The senior older professional artists, in their 60's - 70's plus, tend to keep the same website design for 5 years or even longer.

It used to be that an artist was out of step if their CV or recent work was not updated on their site. In more recent years some designers have concluded from analytics that visitors to a site may notice the actual design first, and register an opinion about an artist by how long the site has been there in its current design state.

If an artist's website is more than four years old (considered by some to be past its sell by date) visitors tend to go straight to the blog posts and news, tending to by pass the images of the artists work.

Different designers have different means of accumulating data, and this information has to perhaps be taken with a pinch of salt. However, having asked my Collectors to answer a questionnaire, I can see that regular renewal of a website design does invoke a more positive impression of both the artwork and the artist.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The Art of Letters and Essays

Letters and Essays associated with the Phenology Cabinet of the Incandescent Petal 
Coral G Guest

This post is a response to the many messages I have received requesting information about the work on display this summer, at the British Artists show at Shirley Sherwood Gallery.

This concerns the letter and essay writing aspect of my work, and that of audio recordings.

I first documented my individual artworks, both flower and landscape, as a child travelling with my family. Thereafter, as a fine art student this form of documentation began to evolve. This addition to my work has taken the form of essay and letter writing, email messages, and greeting card correspondence. This data is stored as both document and image, and is a part of the archive of my work.

The letters and essays that I produce are not sold with their connected artwork. They are intentionally given freely and gratis to the owner of the work to complement the event of the painting or drawing. 

The letters and essays highlight how the strategy of the work extends far and wide, beyond the actual artwork itself. Some letters have whimsical overtones and may relate to my childhood love of the plant and places that are painted, and others touch upon the origins and the processes involved in the individual artwork. Overall this documentation is dependent upon, and linked to, the creation of the artwork and describes the origins of the work itself.

The readers of earlier versions of this blog will know that I have been on something of a mission to encourage new artists to document their work from the beginning of their career. If we do not do this ourselves, an art historian or auction house will eventually do it for us. If you have no documentation, the future descriptions and interpretation of your work will be invented.

Most of my works held in the Sherwood Collection has letter, email, and essay documentation, which is now beginning to be shown alongside the work.

For anyone who is just starting to provide letters of their work, and is not quite sure how to proceed, here is a list of subjects that I consider worthy and which may be of use to you. I am focusing here upon the Botanical Art genre, because the Landscape tradition has been active in documentation for generations.

I have developed this diverse list through personal interest. Your choice is always unique to you, and will be a part of your individuality. 

The Essential Letters of an Individual Artwork

The time, date, and inception of an artwork in relation to the subject matter:
This concerns weather patterns, the qualities of the natural light source when painting in the field or studio, and the seasonal relationship to the subject matter. This also can cover the growth pattern for that year, in relation to other years and other themed artworks that are made over several years. The sudden or occasional finding of a plant subject in a wild place or a garden, which leads to the creation of an artwork, is always of great interest. Art viewers want to know if an artwork is planned or spontaneous in its genesis.

The Source of the Plant and its History:
The description of the plant in its natural habitat or cultivated home, offers an extended history of the subject matter. This touches on its concomitant relationship to other plants and the environment. For example, the documentation of the history of a wild flower meadow will be in stark contrast to that of florist's flowers cultivated in the bulb fields of The Netherlands. Whatever the circumstances are, this is what needs to be documented.

For the love for the plant:
For gardeners who grow and tend their own flowers, as I do, and the artists who travel, the source of the plant subject may be documented in the form of a time lapse essay or audio recordings, and serial note books that give in depth data. This provides a practical, observational, or romantic background. It may relate to an ongoing interest in a specific plant, and the reasons for this particular interest. The description of the origin of the artwork in relation to a continuing personal quest - perhaps from as far back as childhood - are all pertinent. Poems, micro essays, and associated cultural connections, and the artists own background, are all relevant to the final outcome of an artwork.

Material Connections:
The listing of materials used and why, the idiosyncratic relationship of the painting process to the subject matter, and the day to day engagement with the art making process, all bring depth to the viewing of the art image. This may include the referral to additional study or sketching works that support the main art work.

All of the above, may be justifiably used as a puzzle of dimensional understanding in the realities that inform the viewer about an artist’s work. It also bequeaths a powerful background testimony of interest. As a lifetime pursuit, letters and essays also offer an individual artist their own archive to reflect upon beyond the point when work is sold. 

A few words or many, a focus upon the romantic aspects of the work, or the simple collection of accurate data are all options. Whatever you choose, it will all be relevant, forming an engaging, and often enchanting aspect to the legacy of your artwork.


Saturday, July 15, 2017


The website has now closed.

Everything moves forward, and it is now time to reconstruct.

The site held the same design since its inception in 2008 - far too long in design terms to maintain a contemporary appearance.

A brand new website for flower paintings and study work will return in due course and will be further documented to enable Collectors to catalogue their artworks in the context of the body of work as a whole. It will also enable the many students who have an interest in my work, to take on a more in depth study.

The new site will become a sister site to the now active drawings website, which shows my current work.  If you would like to reach the studio, before the new botanical site is completed, please do contact us via the contact page on the drawings website.

The drawings site holds flower and petal drawings, which are outside the conventional Botanical Art genre. These works represent my ongoing commitment to representing the natural world in natural light, and aims to explain levels of reality that go beyond the actual physical appearance of the mineral and plant kingdoms.

Thank you to all and everyone who visited the first website over the years, to all who purchased works of art, and to the many students and artists who have written to me about the on going tradition of precision and study work.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Archive of Drawings - Space Like Black Velvet Series

Blossom Arc in Outer Dark 
Number 1 
Space Like Black Velvet Series 2006-10

carbon charcoal and watercolour wash on paper
150 x 130 cm

Each work in the Space Like Black Velvet Series uses charcoal with watercolour. 

I began working with this as a mixed media experiment, in 1974. 
It was for the development of this technique that I won the Chelsea College of Art Drawing Prize, as a fine art degree student in 1975.

This work is not so much about the tradition of the technique itself, but how it has come to be used in a brand new way. As all artists know, the majority of techniques used for drawing are not new. Rather it is how and why the techniques are put together that holds the potential for something completely new.  

This is a mixed media technique, and is often inappropriately associated with, and labelled as, the chiaroscuro. As all  art historians know, this is not when it actually originated, nor how it first came into use as a methodology.

In addition, the imagery of flowers within a dark background - using any kind of medium or technique - is by no means original, because this too has a history. 

The originality of this particular work lies in how the mixed media technique is united with the imagery. 

The combination of the subject matter with the technique was in itself a unique idea. I brought the two together as a student, and its development can be traced back through my archive to 1975.

In this Series, the work represents a dark space for a light image of a flower. This is not simply a formal concern, rather it holds an ongoing idea and a wish to develop the central image as a light object, which is held within and emerges from, the darkness of space. This is the mystery and the spirit of the work - when the technique fuses with the subject matter in a spectacular way.

Daisy Arc in Outer Dark
Number 2
Space Like Black Velvet Series 2006-10

carbon charcoal and watercolour wash on paper
150 x 130 cm

Coral G Guest
Private Collection

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All Rights Reserved.
All works of art and artist's written material contained in this blog are the copyright of Coral G Guest and associated copyright holders. It is prohibited to copy, reproduce, or other wise use the artist's visual and written material without specific written consent of the copyright holders. Please apply for permission to the contact page of Coral Guest's Website

Thursday, April 27, 2017

SKETCH OPEN PRIZE 2017 - selected!

A 32 x 42 cm sketch book entitled Iceland - Light into Dark by Coral G Guest has been selected as one of the 100 sketchbooks to be shown for the SKETCH OPEN DRAWING PRIZE 2017. This is a travel sketch book containing monochrome drawings using mixed media, including brush drawings in water colour and body colour, charcoal and lead.
The SKETCH OPEN is the UK’s only art prize for artist’s sketchbooks with a dedicated touring sketchbook exhibition. The tour will begin by opening at the Rabley drawing Centre on 21st May 2017, and continue around the UK until 15th December 2017.

The competition and touring exhibition SKETCH, aims to promote the diversity and importance of drawing and the role of the sketchbook in contemporary creative practice. SKETCH OPEN 2017

 ‘The handling of a sketchbook takes us to the heart of the space inhabited by the artist - The turning of a page brings a flow of ideas: fragments of images to come, references to places visited, experiences absorbed and thoughts provoked. It is a unique and privileged position; the prospect excites and the time spent rewards.’ Meryl Setchel Ainslie


   Beneath the waterfall - Seljalandsfoss SE Iceland 
   32 x 42 cm
   watercolour, chalk, and graphite on paper


I arrived at the Private View of the SKETCH 17 show to find the gallery crowded, and yet the space was filled with an intense silence and an atmosphere of heightened concentration. It was really the strangest and most exciting private view that I had encountered for many a year. The sketch books were being observed with the greatest of respect by those present, all wearing archival gloves, and looking intently upon the many books. The Rabley Drawing Centre has an air of isolation that is conducive to the work they exhibit - an extraordinary gallery space in the midst of the beautiful Wiltshire countryside, which has been deservedly successful. Each book on show holds a unique and disparate approach to drawing that is inspiring and thought provoking.

Here are some pictures from the preview of the show:

Rapt in concentration - a view of some of the attendees of the SKETCH 17 private view

A glimpse of some of the books on show

All books exhibited are numbered on the cover 
Those who the visit in person can find my book with the number 29
The above double page show a study of basalt rock (left) from the waterfalls at Hjalpafoss in the Hekla lava plane in SE Iceland.