March Monthly Challenge

Armed Bird’s Nest in Acacia Bush, Chile
Marianne North
Oil On Paper
About the Art
The scientific accuracy with which she documented plant life in all parts of the world, before photography became a practical option, gives her work a permanent value. A number of plant species are named in her honour, including Areca northiana, Crinum northianum, Kniphofia northiana, Nepenthes northiana, and the genus name Northia.

Kew Gardens claims that the North Gallery (situated in the east section of the gardens) is “the only permanent solo exhibition by a female artist in Britain”. In 2008 Kew obtained a substantial grant from the National Lottery, which enabled it to mount a major restoration of both the gallery and the paintings inside.

On the back of paintings and backing boards other works and sketches were revealed, showing North’s preparatory practice and her reuse of materials throughout her artistic process.
Conservators also discovered that North would sketch out designs in ink before applying her oils, which she then squeezed straight from a tube onto the surface of the painting. She also wrote onto her works noting colours for her final paintings and observations of her travels, such as a description of a sloth which records its idiosyncratic way of moving and its tastes for local foods.
These insights enable us to gain a better understanding of both this inspirational woman’s life as a traveller and her artistic process. This conservation work not only secured the future of these artworks and their iconic gallery building, but also unlocked secrets of Marianne North’s incredible life journeying with her paints across the world.

About the Artist
Marianne North (1830-1890) was a remarkable Victorian artist who travelled the globe in order to satisfy her passion for recording the world’s flora with her paintbrush. The result of these epic journeys can be seen in the Marianne North Gallery at Kew, where tier upon tier of brightly coloured paintings of flowers, landscapes, animals and birds are arranged. There are 832 paintings, all completed in 13 years of travel round the world.
Marianne was devoted to her father Frederick North who was Liberal MP for Hastings. When he died in 1869 it had a profound effect on her, for until then all life had centred on him.
In 1871, Marianne at the age of 40, began her astonishing series of trips around the world inspired by earlier travels with her father and the exotic plant collections she saw at Kew. Her words on embarking on this new period in her life sum up her excitement: ‘I had long dreamed of going to some tropical country to paint its peculiar vegetation on the spot in natural abundant luxuriance.’
Between 1871 and 1885 she visited America, Canada, Jamaica, Brazil, Tenerife, Japan, Singapore, Sarawak, Java, Sri Lanka, India, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, the Seychelles and Chile. Often she would stay away for long periods. In India she visited a number of regions over a period of nearly 18 months; in Brazil she spent 13 months travelling into the interior and making long and arduous journeys across very rough terrain. Marianne was fortunately well connected through persons within her father’s political circle and was able to contact many useful people who supported her in her travels.
She was invited to dine with the President of the USA and the poet Longfellow and was able to stay with a range of well-to-do acquaintances such as the Rajah and Rani of Sarawak. In the UK she also had many supporters, including Edward Lear, Sir Joseph Hooker (Director of Kew) and Charles Darwin, the latter encouraging her to visit Australia to paint their extraordinary flora.
Notwithstanding these ‘introductions’, Marianne was rare among women of this period – travelling unaccompanied and visiting areas virtually unknown to many Europeans. She was at her happiest when discovering plants and painting and spent nearly all of her time abroad in the wild, surrounded by the habitats and plants she longed to capture in oil paint.
Some of the plants she painted proved new to science and one genus and four species were named in her honour. She took a year off from travelling in 1881-1882 to arrange her pictures in the Gallery, which was built at her own expense and designed by James Ferguson, the architectural historian.
Eventually feeling tired due to her extensive travelling, and with failing health, Marianne North retired to Gloucestershire, where she died on 30th August 1890. Her legacy lives on in the gallery, providing visitors to Kew with the chance to explore the amazing ‘snapshot in time’ represented by her paintings.
Kew, Royal Botanic Gardens
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How to Enter the Monthly Challenge:
1. You need to have a Pinterest account. Go get one ASAP if you don’t have one already. It’s easy, fun and inspiring.
2. Email us at [email protected] to get added to the monthly challenge board.
Subject: Monthly Challenge Board Request
You will be emailed an invite to the board within 48 hours. Accept the invite and you are ready to pin your entries.
3. Two ways to pin your entry to the board:
Pin your photo from the internet (on your blog, Etsy shop, etc.)
Add your photo directly from your computer

Create something using an art bead that fits within our monthly theme. We post the art to be used as your inspiration to create. This challenge is open to jewelry-makers, fiber artists, collage artist, etc. The art bead can be created by you or someone else. The challenge is to inspire those who use art beads and to see all the different ways art beads can be incorporated into your handiwork.

An Art Bead must be used in your piece to qualify for the monthly challenge.

***Beads strung on a chain, by themselves and beads simply added to wire or cord will not be accepted.***

Please add the tag or title MAR ABS to your photos. Include a short description, who created the art beads and a link to your blog, if you have one.

Deadline is March 31st
You may upload two entries per month.


• Beads Makers Pinterest Board – Art beads must be created by you and fit the Art Bead Scene’s monthly challenge theme. They can be made for the challenge or ones you have made before. Two entries per month are allowed. 
One entry will be picked by the editors each month for a free month of advertising on the Art Bead Scene. Bead entries have to be pinned by the 30th of the month.
Beads only – do not post jewelry on this board. If a post doesn’t fit the challenge it will be deleted.

Monthly Challenge Recap
• Please post at least one single shot of your creation on the Pinterest Board. This will be used to make a collage for the Monthly Challenge Gallery. Every creation will be added to the collage, regardless of a blog post. So everyone gets included!
Your entry must be on Pinterest 2 days BEFORE the recap to be included.
• Be sure to share with us the name of the art bead artist in the description of your photo so that if you are selected for the weekly Perfect Pairings on Friday, both you as the designer and the art bead artist can get the credit you both deserve!
• An Link Up button will be added to the bottom of the Monthly Challenge Recap post. Here you will be able to link up your blog post if you have one.  Be sure to hop around and see all the great inspiration and leave some comment love!
• The Monthly Challenge Recap with Blog Tour will be posted on March 31st.
Monthly Challenge Winners
• One prize winner will be selected at random from all pictures posted on the Pinterest board.
• One prize winner will be selected at random from all blog posts added to the hop for the Monthly Challenge Recap post. So if you want to be in the pool for the second prize, be sure to use the Link button at the bottom of the post to share your process and inspirations!
• Winners will be randomly chosen from all the qualifying entries on February 1st.
Perfect Pairings: Designer + Art Bead Artist
• Perfect Pairings focus on both the jewelry designer and the art bead artist. 
• Be sure to point out all the art bead artists in your work in the description of the photo on the Pinterest Board. Links to their website or shop are appreciated. That way we can all find new art beads to love!

• From all the entries during the month, an editor will pick their favorite design to be featured every Friday here on the ABS, so get those entries in soon.

What is an Art Bead?
An art bead is a bead, charm, button or finding made by an independent artist. Art beads are the vision and handiwork of an individual artist. You can read more about art beads here.
***A bead that is handmade is not necessarily an art bead. Hill Tribe Silver, Kazuri ceramic beads or lampwork beads made in factories are examples of handmade beads that are not considered art beads.
Beaded beads, stamped metal pendants or wire-wrapped components are not considered art beads for our challenge.***

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