Over time, rather than being isolated in their studies and studios, they've come up with a few ways to keep in touch over the 27 months as they work their way through the various assignments and their portfolio and the work for assessment at the end of the course.
One is the Facebook Group for Botanical Artists (3,426 members as of today - and climbing all the time). Another is blogging and there are now quite a few botanical art blogs!
Then they started to share the feedback they got - plus tips for how to do things - and the process they were using to develop their artwork....
I've been watching and reading some of these blog posts for a long time. It suddenly struck me that they were a resource that could be lost if not made a tad more accessible. (For example, just as they are always lost forever if similar posts are made on Facebook - because that archive is not easily accessible if at all)
Hence why I've now created a new page devoted to blog posts about SBA Diploma Assignments on my new website Botanical Art and Artists.
Each of the assignments is listed in order:
- they include the outline of what is involved in each assignment
- this is followed by blog posts which relate to this Diploma assignment (note the numbering has changed of late)
|Artwork produced by the SBA Distance Learning Diploma Students|
- as seen at this year's SBA Annual Exhibition
I'd like to thank all the ladies whose blog posts have been included on the page. The name of the blog is indicated in italics. Those whose names are highlighted in red were awarded a Distinction for their Diploma.
North America - Canada & USA UK
I learned a lot from this exercise
|Vicki Lee Johnstone - with her Diploma with Distinction|
It's something to do with the commitment and the approach to research and preparation.
It's also something to do with the character of an individual who does NOT choose the easy option but rather chooses a challenge.
It reminded me very much of the character of and the processes employed by the artists I meet who win RHS Gold Medals for their botanical art.
The next lesson I learned is that just as the standard of Diploma work produced at the end of assignments has progressively improved in recent years, so too has the standard of work produced for the Diploma assignments.
What struck me very forcibly is that it's never too early to start taking this form of art seriously and that putting time, effort and research into the process of producing an artwork pays off in the long run.
Before long they're going to have to start a pre-Diploma Certificate Course to get people up to the standard they need to be to take on the Diploma!
The final lesson was the sheer pleasure to be gained by following somebody's journey and watching them improve how they work and what they produce as a result of a structured process of learning. As somebody who has a degree in Education and qualified as a teacher a very long time ago, that's an experience I never ever tire of.
This Diploma course has had a hugely positive impact on the calibre of work shown in the SBA's Annual Exhibition.
It also generates tuition fee income for the society which is paid over in fees for those who teach and assess the course.
I'm just left wondering why more art societies don't develop their own Diploma Courses......
A Making A Mark Interview with Margaret Stevens is the interview I did back in 2009 with the past President of the SBA Margaret Stevens PPSBA, FSBA. Margaret was the first Director of the Course. She was also the person who got it off the ground and the person who wrote the four SBA books which are set texts for the Diploma Course. It's an education in how to get an art society involved in improving standards of artwork.