Friday, April 07, 2006

Review of the SBA Exhibition

I visited the Society of Botanical Artists exhibition yesterday and was totally blown away by the very fine quality of most of the artwork shown. There are some very impressive and accomplished artists exhibiting with the SBA - including a number of coloured pencil artists.

Most of the artwork is in watercolour with a good showing of coloured pencil and pencil work, although the exhibition also includes work by people painting in oils and pastels. The website while clearly demonstrating the breadth of work fails to reflect so clearly the very high quality of a lot of the work on display due to the small size of the website images.

There is a tendency at times to assume the terms 'botanical art' and floral art' are interchangeable whereas the former includes studies of fruit, vegetables, fungi and all other things botanical. I particularly enjoyed the number of fine drawings and paintings which involved various fruit and vegetables. As Charley Parker commented in his blog 'Lines and Colors' yesterday , roots also make the most fascinating subjects for drawings - and the mandrake root executed by Yvonne Edwards was no exception.

The President's Award went to a very fine pencil drawing of a female arauccaria araucana - which is better know to most of us as a "monkey puzzle".

It was a pleasure to meet Ann Swan who was demonstrating yesterday and to see her coloured pencil and graphite work in person. I was also very taken with the coloured pencil work of Susan Christopher-Coulson. Her prize-winning "Autumn Harvest with medlar" was particularly impressive. Susan's work can be seen on her website Susan Martin's coloured pencil art is large, colourful and had an extremely high quality of finish . Her Vreisea splendens (a bromeliad with the common name of "Flaming Sword") also won a prize.

Eiko Yoshimoto's very impressionistic pastel painting of the Isabella Plantation at Richmond Park pushed the boundaries of the sort of floral painting people might normally associate with botanical art. Other pastel artists included Maureen Jordan and Linda Patterson.

From a personal perspective, I also very much enjoyed chats with fellow artists about the various practical issues that we all have to deal with - not all of which were directly related to the application of pigment to paper!

And for all those who agonise over exhibitions and matting and framing (you know who you are!) I saw some extremely good quality displays yesterday and I'm now totally won over to double matting - in fact I'm off to get some cut this afternoon!

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