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Magnolia Blooms – Inspired by Mary Delaney

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“People who seem to spring into artistic action were in fact, quietly preparing for years.” – Mary Delaney

Mary Delaney was born in Coulston, Wiltshire, England in the year 1700. Her family was well established and during her youth she studied history, music, needlework and dancing.

At the age of 72 she began her life’s work creating 985 life-size, three-dimensional, scientifically-correct botanical prints now held by the British Museum. She was the first artist to utilize the art of collage.

By placing one piece of paper upon another she sometimes built up several layers and in a complete picture there might be hundreds of pieces to form one plant. It is thought she first dissected each plant so that she might examine it carefully for accurate portrayal. Mary’s works used background paper washed with india ink, then treated with size to make them shiny. She dyed the collage bits herself or found wallpaper remnants and created her mosaics.

We were inspired by spring and the beauty of magnolia’s to create our pieces this week. Students used old gift cards to scrape paint across the watercolour paper to create their backgrounds. Next they drew their branch and used blending techniques with acrylic paint to create their blooms.

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