We may be in the heat of the summer, but that doesn't mean we aren't getting ready for Shevaun Doherty's arrival at the beginning of September. The reality of life on the 'campo' and the fact that all of Spain shuts shop for the first two weeks in August means that we need to organize and plan ahead! Businesses close and the 'Feria' in Malaga sucks in anyone who might still be inclined to try to work.
At the moment our mornings are spent ensuring the irrigation is working properly and that each and every tree gets the water it needs. With temperatures hovering close to 40C / 104F the evaporation rate is extreme so we water three times a day (two of those at night) so the trees don't fry and the fruit stays on the trees. That leaves us free in the afternoons to see to the logistics and preparations for the non-residential botanical art workshops that Shevaun will be teaching.
Shevaun Doherty, who will be joining us on the farm at the end of August, is an award-winning botanical artist from Dublin, Ireland with a dedicated following. She first discovered watercolours whilst living in Egypt, inspired by the beautiful flora of the country and its light. Mainly self-taught, she enrolled on a diploma course with the Society of Botanical Artists, graduating with distinction in 2012.
Since then she has exhibited regularly both in Ireland and internationally. She has also taught at Madrid, Belfast and Edinburgh Botanic Gardens and leads regular workshops at the American Society of Botanical Artists conferences. Shevaun has also taken part in demos at Trinity College Dublin and the Natural History Museum Dublin. This July, Irish postage stamps featured Shevaun's paintings of native bees. Her paintings are also used to promote Ireland's Pollinator Plan.
A vellum tutor for the SBA distance learning diploma, Shevaun also travels extensively giving art workshops, encouraging others to reach their artistic potential and to connect with nature. She is a tutor for the Society of Botanical Artists Diploma Course and London Art College, and has exhibited at the Botanic Gardens Dublin, Palmegarten in Frankfurt and Real Jardín Botánico de Madrid. At La Bonita she will be giving two workshops: 5-day botanical art and 2-day painting on vellum. For more details, please look under 'Join Us / Art retreats'.
Using art to raise awareness about the natural world is something that she feels passionate about. That's why she and I get on so well! When we are together on the farm, you'll find us in some avocado or lemon grove, chatting, photographing, sharing what we each know. As she says: "Botanical art is not just about creating a beautiful painting, it inspires a deeper appreciation and understanding for the natural world around us." To that end, Shevaun will use the plants, fruits and flowers of the natural surroundings at La Bonita to help her illustrate and teach in the gardens of the house. In addition, I shall be on hand to show visitors around the estate and answer any questions they may have about the plants and crops on the farm.