Sunday, April 29, 2007

Society of Botanical Artists - Flowers and Gardens Exhibition 2007

The annual Flowers and Gardens exhibition by the Society of Botanical Artists at Central Hall Westminster maintained its very high standard this year and reflected the Society's willingness to include a wide variety of approaches and media for the representation of botanical art including fruit, vegetables and fungi as well as flowers and gardens.

On display were 728 drawings and paintings, 11 Miniatures, and 26 sculptures. As last year, most of the artwork in the exhibition is executed in watercolour. Other media used included Pencil, Coloured Pencils (including watercolour pencils) Acrylics, Pastels, Ink, Oil, Lino Cut Prints and Gouache on black paper (Sally A Keir - very striking if rather unusual),

Prize winners are as follows:
  • The Joyce Cuming Presentation Award: "The Foxglove, Summer and Winter" Brigitte M Daniel SBA GM CBM 1997 ans 2006 (whose work on auriculas can be seen in a photo on my blog post about the RHS Winter Show here)
  • The St Cuthbert's Mill Award: "Dark Red Amaryllis" Christopher Ryland SBA - who provides courses at his studio in Sudbury, Suffolk (Runner Up: Marjorie Collins) I was struck how both winner and the runner up has produced very large works displaying very saturated colours covering the whole paper - but then this is an award by a company which would be keen to see artists demonstrating what can be achieved on paper.
  • The Margaret Granger Memorial Silver Bow: "Hippeastrum" (watercolour) Masumi Yamanaka SBA SGM - this combined a watercolour painting of two stalks and flowers with a pencil drawing of the bulb and roots
  • The Daler Rowney Choice Award: "Amanita Muscaria" Reinhild Raistrick SBA GM CBM2002 - who I had the pleasure of meeting and who teaches Botanical Art at the Cambridge University Botanic Garden - but beware courses get booked up fast and I think all 2007 courses are now fully booked.
  • Ling Design Greeting Cards Award: "Paeony 'Festive Maxima' " Elisabeth Sherras Clark AssocSBA ASBA SFP FCPGFS SM. Her "Rosa 'Heritage' " was the runner up for this award - together they make a nice pair in colour terms.
  • The President's Award for work in media other than watercolour: "Autumn Scrapbook" (Watercolour and collage) Jan Harbon AssocSBA SFP SGM CBM2006
(Note: GM means Gold Medal (RHS); CBM means Certificate of Botanical Merit)

In addition various artists were awarded a SBA Certificate of Botanical Merit for works which are strictly of botanical value with work being judged by an expert in the botanical field.

One of the things which struck me this year was how much thought some artists give to the composition and presentation of their work. Sue Vize (who is not a member) produced five very eye-catching pieces focused on seeds, pods, bulbs and nuts in pencil. Others chose less obvious botanical subjects such as the decaying leaves drawn very effectively by Carolyn Worby. I'd like to highlight the impeccable standard of the works on display. It's always very pleasing to see work which is well presented.

Orders were being taken for the new SBA book "The Botanical Palette" written by the Society President Margaret Stevens and to be published by Collins on 1st October 2007. This focuses on how to achieve the right colours and features 16 detailed step-by-step demonstrations, a number of helpful projects and a gallery of finished paintings. If this book is the same standard as Margaret Steven's previous book "The Art of Botanical Painting" then I predict that this will become a 'bible' as a reference source for botanical artists and students. Fans of botanical art may be interested in the image to the left - which becomes much larger if clicked and provides details about the book and order form.

Reinhild Raistrick's new book on African Violets was also available at the show.

The SBA website provides: Next year's Flowers and Gardens exhibition will be at Central Hall Westminster from April 18th to 27th 2008. The website provides information about how to become an Associate Member and how to exhibit.
Do note that the Annual Open Exhibition is as it states, open to non members. The Executive Secretary can be approached at the earliest opportunity for an exhibition information sheet and an entry schedule. Your request will be held until January when all schedules will be sent out. You may submit up to five works.
Note: The artwork on the front cover of the catalogue is "Three Strelitzias" by Susan Christopher-Coulson BA(Hons) SBA SFP GM CBM06. The work has been executed in coloured pencils andis for sale. Contact the SBA or the artist for further information.

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  1. Some lovely work here. I'm doing a day workshop in botanical art this summer at the Harcourt Arboretum, which is part of Oxford University Botanical Gardens. Can't wait!

  2. Katherine I put 3 huge photos of flowers on my blog tonight. I took them at the plein air outing on Wed. I have more but haven't put them on the RIL yet. Finally learned how to get up close and personal with my camera. Something else I learned on Wed. And I have had the camera about 6 yrs or more. Now I can get close pictures of flowers and also my bird without them being blurry.

  3. Lucky you Dave! I must check whether I've got the Oxford Botanical gardens in my squidoo lens sharing links to information about botanical art

    Jeanne - I'm off to look at your lens. I predict your work will come on in leaps and bounds now that you have a group to work with and people who can show you how to do things helpful for your art in a 'face to face' way. It's always good to learn things on the Internet (or from books) - but it's also good to get involved with learning with and from others.


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