Friday, 17 August 2012

What's in a name

The next SBA exhibition has the theme of 'the Language of Flowers'. It's a term called floriography invented by the Victorians and used to send coded messages to express emotions and feelings using flowers.
 This beautiful daisy chain is the SBA 2013 logo and is by Susan Christopher Coulson; a superb coloured pencil artist.
The exhibition is in April next year so we all have some time to work on this theme. No real ideas yet though!

Floriography is interesting but I'm also interested in the actual Latin or Greek name given to a plant species.
This is the 2 named system using genus and species names, called ' the binomial system of nomenclature ' invented by Carl Linnaeus in 1753.
It's an international way of recognising species; the genus is a family name of related species like 'Veronica' and the specific name can be anything from a species trait like 'hederifolia' - ivy-leaved, to a place name like 'americana'.

My latest sketches are of the wildflowers Centaurea nigra and Centaurium erythraea.
 The history of the genus names Centaurea and Centaurium are from classical Greek legends about the centaur Chiron,  who was an ancient herbalist who used these herbs to cure and treat disease.
Also nigra means black and erythraea means red, for the pink flowers?
Centaurium is used medicinally today, in liver and digestives aids, for arthritis and even a treatment for anorexia.

Other than this not much time for painting at the moment with work pressures but have taken a few insect photos.

 Common blues mating at Ynyslas, making the most of the rare August sunshine.

And a female Beautiful Demoiselle looking gorgeous!


  1. A very interesting post Claire and your latest paintings are beautiful. :)

  2. Loved the butterflies - so delicate and beautifully colored. Thanks for sharing the photos and the information :)

  3. I loved all your different orchids. When I was young we used to have many growing but they are quite rare now. The marshland and some nearby sand dunes, both protected areas are a place to spot one. We saw some different dragonflies the other day , great photograph.

  4. I share your fascination with the Greek and Latin names, though I always have to look them up - they tell us a lot about the flowers.

    Lovely sketches. I particularly like the knapweed - one in light, one in shade.

  5. Hello Claire! When I read about you and I think about everything you do and then how you write and you paint ... Stunning CLAIRE!!!

  6. Hi Claire, great blog topic, I love the stories behind the naming of plants too. The piece bu Susan C-C is just lovely, such a cute idea for a composition.
    Lovely photos and sketches as always. xx

  7. Lovely Blog Claire...I must start thinking about The Language of Flowers too!!! Don't have a clue at the moment! LOve all your studies :) x