Thursday, January 14, 2010

Society of Botanical Artists - Silver Jubilee Exhibition

2010 marks the 25th anniversary of the Society of Botanical Artists (SBA). Today I'm covering the details of this year's annual Open Exhibition and how to enter your botanical artwork.

It's also going to be an aide-memoire for me as I had two pieces accepted for this exhibition last year!

Silver Jubilee Exhibition - April 2010

The Society of Botanical Artists’ annual exhibition always provides a really stunning showcase for contemporary botanical art in the UK. It's one of the biggest art society exhibitions I visit each year and usually features at least 700 selected works by contemporary botanical artists.

Work shown includes a wide variety of styles and techniques. Some of the work featured is submitted by overseas artists (and I've provided a photographing service for art bloggers who get their work included in the past!)

As in previous years, the Silver Jubilee Exhibition will be held at the Lecture Hall, Central Hall Westminster , Storey’s Gate, London from Friday 16th until Sunday 25th April 2010. Opening times will be daily from 10am to 5pm including Sundays and admission is free.

With the exception of memorial or special exhibits all work is for sale.

Sir Roy Strong, Hon. D.Litt., Ph.D., FSA., FRSL - former Director of both the National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria & Albert Museum and ex President of the Garden History Society - will open the Exhibition at the Private View on April 15th at 3.30pm.

Conservation and Magonolias

The SBA has been placing an increasing emphasis on the environmental and conservation aspects of its constitution. This year the SBA intends that this particular exhibition will include a number of paintings of Magnolias and help to draw attention to their threatened survival in the wild. Many familiar varieties, are now a rarity in their native habitat.

Demonstrations and the Distance Learning Diploma

The exhibition will also include:
  • daily demonstrations by artists working in different media. I've always found the artists who demonstrate to be very helpful and informative and I'll publish the list of who is demonstrating nearer the date of the exhibition.
  • an area of the exhibition which is reserved for work by the Distance Learning Diploma Course students from around the world. This was hugely impressive last year. Anybody contemplating doing the Diploma Course should definitely pay a visit.
Course 7 of the Distance Learning Diploma starts in January. The recession has not had an impact on the numbers enrolling and the SBA is already getting enquiries for Course 8 which will start in January 2011.

Call for Entries

An overview of how to exhibit can be found on the SBA website. However the application form and general conditions of exhibition are very detailed and you MUST get hold of these prior to submission.
  • The receiving day for the Silver Jubilee Exhibition will be 15 February 2010 - in the Aldersgate Room of Central Hall Westminster, London. There are no regional pick-up points.
  • UK exhibitors should send a stamped, addressed envelope to the Executive Secretary. I've found that you can also get a schedule emailed to you if you ask Pam nicely! :)
  • Overseas applicants should email their request to the Executive Secretary SBA (info[at]
  • all work needs to be for sale
  • work must be botanically accurate (ie impressionistic studies are not admissable) but apart from traditional botanical illustration work can include plant portraiture or reflect the habitat or environment in which it grows eg in a garden or a rainforest
  • works in any medium and on any material may be submitted - pictures, sculpture, miiature work, glass engraving, ceramics, jewellary, carving, metal-work or other
  • the subject should be shown life-size, miniaturised or enlarged to scale.
  • up to five works may be submitted - ALL are subject to selection and ALL must be for sale
  • There is a submission fee of £5 per work and a hanging fee commencing at £14.50 per work if the work is chosen for exhibition.
  • Works are selected on 16th February 2010
  • Collection of unaccepted and unsold work is on 27th April 2010 between 11am and 3am. (This means that your work is not available to collect for c. 10 weeks even if it is not selected)
Popular media for 2D work has in the past included watercolour, acrylic, coloured pencil, graphite, pen and ink, pastel and oil.

To become an Associate of the SBA (and hence at some point be considered for membership) you must have submitted five works and had ALL five works accepted for two consecutive years: that is 10 out of 10 paintings accepted in total over two successive years.

For all the coloured pencil artists who read this blog please note that last year's SBA exhibiton was actually the largest exhibition to date of coloured pencil artwork anywhere in the UK!

Last year's exhibition
My botanical art 'resources for artists' websites

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