I love books about flowers in art and floral art-making. This post sets out the candidates for a book review this month.
And before you read on....I confess....I'm a dedicated bookworm and have no intentions of ever giving up. I'm so bad that I have to ration visits to bookshops and am only allowed to look on-line once in a while!
My bookshelves are groaning as I've got quite a few(and this is just the flowers in art section!) but no way am I expecting to get to the end of this list this month although I hope to get round to all of them in time. However, for those who are interested you can use the comments function to say which one you'd like to read a review of sooner rather than later.
This list is in order of publication date for the version I have. Expect small shreaks from me - and additions to the list - as I find some which have been lurking at the bottom of piles of "interesting stuff for sorting" rather than making it back to the bookshelves. I'm using non-Associate links to Amazon. The Amazon synopsis if available is shown as a quotation. Note some are better hyped than others!
Flower Painting Paul Riley
(Note: I have the 1990 hardback. The links are to the paperback version. Reader reviews are available on some sites.)
Paperback: 157 pages; Publisher: David Porteous Editions; New Ed edition (28 May 1993); ISBN-10: 1870586107; ISBN-13: 978-1870586108
A step-by-step book which demonstrates exactly how the reader can paint flowers in watercolour. The demonstrations are aimed at the aspiring flower painter, even with little or no experience, covering everything from basic materials to advanced techniques.Botanical Illustration - watercolour techniques Eleonor B Wunderlich; Hardcover: 144 pages; Publisher: Cassell Illustrated (3 Oct 1991); ISBN-10: 0289800625ISBN-13: 978-0289800621 (This seems to be out of print. There is a paperback with a similar name by the same author).
This comprehensive book focuses specifically on the materials and techniques of painting plants in watercolour. Botanical illustrator Eleanor B. Wunderlich shows here how to re-create the many colours and textures found in nature, from the delicacy of a columbine blossom to the rough texture of a pineapple. Flowers, fruit, vegetables, mushrooms, bulbs, roots, ferns, vines, trees and shrubs are all represented by drawings, paintings and step-by-step demonstrations.Painting Flowers Elizabeth Leonard
Paperback: 144 pages; Publisher: Watson-Guptill Publications; Reprint edition (September 1991); ISBN-10: 0823036308 ISBN-13: 978-0823036301 (Note also the review on the Amazon site)
This work is filled with illustrations by contemporary artists such as Charles LeClair, Eleanor Wunderlich and Harriet Shorr, and offers painting ideas and exercises that should encourage a fresh approach to painting flowers. Painting styles are diverse, showcasing pieces in watercolour, oil, acrylic, gouache, casein and pastel. The author gives an overview of the anatomy of flowers and provides sections on flower arranging, botanical illustration, colour and composition. In addition there is advice on selecting format, choosing viewpoint, balancing flowers with surrounding space to evoke particular moods, creating dynamic contrasts and capturing magic in everday floral arrangementsHow to draw and paint wild flowers Keith West;
Herbert Press Ltd (26 Aug 1993) Hardcover: 144 pages; Publisher:in association with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. ISBN-10: 1871569567 ISBN-13: 978-1871569568
Full of botanical information as well as clear step-by-step guidance, advice on basic equipment and how to work in various media (pencil, ink, watercolour and gouache), this book is for the increasing number of beginners and more experienced artists who want to draw and paint with botanical accuracy. There is also a section in which the author reveals his personal knowledge of plant habitats in different parts of the USA, New Zealand and Britain.An Introduction to Drawing Flowers Margaret Stevens
(Note: I have the 1994 edition - which appears to be out of print - but I've supplied links to what appears to be a revised edition)
Paperback: 128 pages; Publisher: David & Charles; New Ed edition (28 Nov 2002);
ISBN-10: 0715315218; ISBN-13: 978-0715315217
Flowers have been drawn and painted throughout history, from Egyptian tomb paintings to the ornate botanical art of the 18th and 19th centuries. For today's artist they are a challenging and rewarding subject and their delicate colours and forms are well suited to the drawing media. The initial chapters concentrate on the importance of observing and understanding the shapes and structures of plants and how they are effected by perspective. Further chapters cover composition and using sketchbook, and explore suitable drawing media such as pastel, ink, pencil and mixed media, the text is accompanied by finished drawing and step-by-step demonstrations. Here is an invaluable book, full of practical advice on how to improve your technique. It clearly explains the principle behind drawing flowers and also suggests ways in which the artist can expand and develop their skills.The Flowers of William Morris (Hardcover) Derek Baker
(Note: I have the 1996 hardback; these are links to the 2006 edition)
Hardcover: 88 pages; Publisher: Barn Elms Publishing (Jul 2006); ISBN-10: 1899531033 ISBN-13: 978-1899531035
This title takes a comprehensive look at Morris's gardens and flowers, setting out to shed new light on the life and work of this passionate yet practical individual. It looks at his childhood, his student days at Oxford before turning to his own homes and gardens such as Red House and the Abbey Works at Merton. Morris's own words and those of his daughter May show his very personal approach to flowers and gardens and how his ideas anticipated the theories of William Robinson and Gertrude Jekyll. The final chapter takes a close look at Morris's use of flowers in his designs. Did he draw the flowers he knew and loved or did he instinctively rely on the timeless wood engravings in old herbals? His lectures on the use of twining stem and curling tendril are a lesson to pattern-makers still.Painting Close Focus Flowers in Watercolour Ann Pember
Paperback: 125 pages Publisher: B.T. Batsford Ltd (April 30, 2001) ISBN-10: 0713486732 ISBN-13: 978-0713486735
This book shows you how to paint close-focus flowers in watercolour by providing easy-to-learn techniques for mingling colours and manipulating light, advice on designing your composition, choosing materials and more.Botanical Illustration Course with the Eden Project by Meriel Thurstan and Rosie Martin
Hardcover: 144 pages; Publisher: Batsford (May 28, 2006); ISBN-10: 0713490055 ISBN-13: 978-0713490053.
This is simply the best and most complete course in botanical illustration ever produced, with each chapter a perfectly constructed and self-contained class. Created in conjunction with the internationally renowned Eden Project—home of the only jungle in captivity—it’s put together by two leading figures in the Project’s famed art school, and uses many beautiful works from its students. Artists and plant lovers will find a wealth of practical information, with easy-to-follow exercises and case studies. The priceless advice encompasses everything from honing observational skills and plant dissection procedures to color mixing and applying watercolor. Adding highlights, producing a pleasing composition, and developing a personal style—all the building blocks for achieving excellence are here.The Art of Botanical Painting Margaret Stevens (in association with the Society of Botanical Artists)
Hardcover: 144 pages; Publisher: Collins (1 Nov 2004); ISBN-10: 0007169884 ISBN-13: 978-0007169887
(Note: I also highly recommend you read the USA reader reviews of this book on the amazon.com page) and my review last year of this book here)
The first definitive instructional guide to the art of botanical illustration, published in association with The Society of Botanical Artists and featuring step-by-step work by members of the Society. This beautifully illustrated book covers all aspects -- from plants and flowers to fruit, vegetables and gardens as a whole. Botanical illustration has been a popular art form for many centuries, with its appealing traditions of detail and beauty. Reflecting continued interest in the subject, The Society of Botanical Artists has, for the first time, decided to put together a practical teaching guide to the art. The Society's membership includes only the most highly-esteemed artists in the field, many of whom regularly teach, and this book reflects that depth of expertise. Packed with demonstrations, step-by-step exercises and stunning illustrations, this is an inspiring, practical guide, as well as a visual treat. Contents include: * Materials * Practical botany * Techniques for drawing, coloured pencils, watercolour painting and gouache * Painting greens & leaf library * Flower library * Composition * Working in the field * Fruit & vegetables * Working with photographs * Flowers in the garden * Botanical illustration * Presentation and framing * Exhibitions -- advice on showingBotanical Art Techniques: 19 Step-by-step Projects in Watercolour and Other Media by B S King (Author)
Paperback: 128 pages; Publisher: David & Charles PLC (24 Sep 2004); ISBN-10:ISBN-13: 978-0715320495
This collection of 19 step-by-step projects will teach the artist simple and effective techniques for creating beautiful floral illustrations using a variety of media. Included are techniques for pencil, pen and ink, watercolour and watercolour with ink, which will enable the artist to create crisp, clean illustrations. These intermediate-level demonstrations will appeal to a wide range of artists, from fine artists who appreciate creating realistic botanical illustrations to decorative painters who wish to include flowers in their designs.Botanical Illustration - Painting with watercolours Siriol Sherlock
Hardcover: 128 pages; Publisher: B.T. Batsford Ltd (27 Feb 2004); ISBN-10: 071348862X ISBN-13: 978-0713488623
In a straightforward style, with simple techniques and various materials, as well as the traditional and more experimental methods, this book shows how to produce botanical illustrations - including foliage, fruits and flowers - from the intricate and exotic to simple wildflowers. Winner of the Artists Choice Award for Art Instruction Book of the Year 2005.A New Flowering - 1000 years of Botanical Art Shirley Sherwood
Paperback: 200 pages; Publisher: Ashmolean Museum (1 May 2005); ISBN-10: 1854442066 ISBN-13: 978-1854442062
This work is an exhibition of one thousand years of botanical art displayed in the Ashmolean's leading exhibition and providing the unique opportunity to compare illustrations by contemporary artists alongside remarkable botanical art of the past. Chosen by Dr Shirley Sherwood from her acclaimed collection of botanical painting and from the rich historical treasures of Oxford's libraries and museums these inspiring plant portraits stand at the interface between art and science. The oldest exhibit is a drawing of a thistle made by a monk from the late 11th century and the most recent painting, by Angela Mirro, is of a rare Peruvian slipper orchid discovered in 2002. By contrasting the old with the new throughout the show, it becomes apparent that the criteria for botanical illustration have not changed throughout the centuries.Here's a few conclusions from looking through them all again yesterday
- the book with the most impressive botanical art: A New Flowering - 1000 years of Botanical Art
- the best botanical art instruction book: The Art of Botanical Painting
- the best book for watercolour macros: Painting Close Focus Flowers in Watercolour
- the book I was most surprised that I didn't look at more often: Painting Flowers