Friday, March 31, 2006

The Society of Botanical Artists is 21!

The Society of Botanical Artists is 21 and is holding its 21st anniversary open exhibition in the Lecture Hall of Central Hall, Westminster from today - Friday 31st March - until Sunday 9th April. Admission is free and all work is for sale - although I'm not sure whether it's possible to purchase on-line.

Over 700 pictures are going to exhibited and the link to the exhibition (above) provides images of some of these. A number of these push the boundaries of what many people might think a conventional botanical flower drawing or painting should look like. I'm personally very pleased to see that there's room for all manner of interpretations. I'm currently planning to visit the exhibition next week to see whether any of the work I'm producing might fit within their range.

The SBA website also provides:

Last year I bought Margaret Stevens' excellent book and practical instruction guide "The Art of Botanical Painting" (produced in association with the SBA) without realising that this is now set as the basic text for the Diploma course. It's a truly comprehensive and very impressive volume covering :
  • the nature of botanical art
  • materials - the discussion of various supports is particularly helpful
  • plant anatomy
  • drawing techniques
  • a very good section on foliage colour and mixing greens
  • an excellent 'library' section on the colour palette required for mixing the colours of many diufferent flowers (there are sub-sections covering flowers found within each main colour)
  • composition
  • examples of various drawings and paintings using different materials - including coloured pencils - hence my interest. Many of these include a step by step guide to how they were accomplished.
  • issues and practicalities associated with working in the field
  • building a library of references
  • botanical illustration
  • painting fruit and vegetables
  • painting flowers in the garden - with a gallery of the sort of paintings which can be submitted to the "Flowers and Gardens" annual open exhibition. These are very similar to the paintings shown on the website.
  • and final sections covering presentation, framing, exhibiting and selling.

I personally think that anybody really interested in drawing or painting flowers would find this text to be absolutely invaluable even if they're not wanting to reach SBA standards. I learned an awful lot from it. I've included a link to this book in the new resources section relating to all things floral in the right hand column, along with links to the SBA and the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.

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