What was really great (and the reason for this post) is that the notice from the gallery included links to two YouTube Videos about Rosie and her work. Both are really excellent (links below) and are definitely recommended viewing for all botanical art lovers whether artists or collectors. Watercolour artists will also find the way she works on very large sheets of 640 gsm Arches paper interesting. It's always fascinating to see somebody who works in a way which breaches the boundaries of the usual and traditional.
Screenshot from video 2
The two videos, made by Tod Grimwade for tozimedia are
- Rosie Sanders Part 1: The inspiration behind her work where she talks about her garden and why she finds flowers inspiring - and shows us a number of very large works
- Rosie Sanders Part 2: Rosie at work in her studio where she shows us her studio, her techniques for the way she works and the brushes she uses for watercolour painting on this scale. I anticipate a few surprises for traditional watercolourists!
Using videos to promote an artist's work
One of the reasons for highlighting Rosie's work today is to pose a question. Why don't more artists provide videos of their work and themselves at work in with the invites to their Private Views? I'm not a huge fan of Private Views because it's actually very difficult to get to talk to the artist. However having a video enables me to understand perfectly why an artist is inspired by their subject and to learn something more about how they create it. Plus seeing the work in the artist's home creates an incentive to come and see it in the gallery.
Rosie Sanders (b.1944) lives and works in Devon. She was recently elected a member of the Linnean Society. Self taught, Sanders has gone on to win several awards including; the Royal Academy miniature award in 1985 and five Royal Horticultural Gold Medals. In 2008, her work was included in the inaugural exhibition at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art, Kew Gardens.
I first got to know her work when she was painting apples and exhibiting with the Royal Horticultural Society.
She is the author of The English Apple which includes her wonderful studies of old and current varieties of apples and currently commands prices over $150 in the used books market. A revised and expanded edition of ‘The English Apple’ is also being published in October 2010 by Francis Lincoln in association with the Royal Horticultural Society. The new version includes watercolour illustrations of 144 varieties of apple together with a detailed description and brief history of each variety as well as expert advice on growing apples. It could be regarded as an investment!
She's known for pushing the boundaries of ‘botanical’ painting. Her close-ups of flower heads are painted on a hugely magnified scale. Paintings can be as large as 5ft across and up to ten times bigger than the flowers she is depicting. She works in bold and saturated colours in watercolour on arches paper, building tension by leaving much of the background bare and rarely allowing the flowers to touch.
She emulates the dramatic lighting seen in the work of photographers such as Stieglitz and lights her flowers from behind with bright light to reveal the translucency and texture of the flowers’ petals.
What I like best about her work is that she thinks about flowers pretty much in the same way as I think about flowers. However I completely fail to articulate why I do what I do when drawing flowers and it's a revelation for me to hear somebody expressing my thoughts on screen!