Friday, April 08, 2011

Review: Society of Botanical Artists Exhibition 2011

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the Private View of the Annual Exhibition of the Society of Botanical Artists. "The World of Plants" exhibition continues until 17th April and I'm planning a return visit before it closes.

The World of Plants is an exhibition within the exhibition
- note how large some of the work is!
all artwork copyright the artists
all photos copyright Katherine Tyrrell - with the kind permission of the SBA
More of "The World of Plants"
Here's my impressions - and then a lot of photos of the exhibition.
  • the location of the exhibition has changed.  It's moved downstairs as their normal room is needed for the Synod.  However I have to say that I think the exhibition space has improved.  It's not competing with the very dramatic carpet in the Lecture Hall and there's much more space to look at the works - and there's an awful lot of work to look at.  The exhibition includes 719 drawings and paintings in total plus the miniatures and the 3D work.
  • the standard has improved yet again.  It really is amazing how much excellent botanical artwork there is in this show.  The Society's policy of pursuing the Distance Learning Diploma Course is now paying dividends and I gather the course is as popular as ever.  Places are getting snapped up earlier and earlier each year.  Here's an example of a work done by a student on the Diploma Course and an example of work by a past student who is now an Associate of the SBA.  Both works are top notch.
Part 1 Botanical illustration - Paphiopedilum 'Lawless walkure'
by Rocco Amico DipSBA (Distinction)
Rhubard by Marion V Wilson DipSBA (Distinction), AssocSBA
  • The World of Plants part of the exhibition is fascinating - it seeks to portray the very wide range of plants and the various countries and continents that they come from.
  • This is a truly international exhibition in terms of both subject matter and artists
  • There seemed to be an awful lot of hairy furry textural plants this year.  It's wonderful looking at the delicacy and skill with which various artists have tackled this particular challenge.
  • I also noticed a lot of seed pods!  Part of the trick of getting noticed is about drawing or painting botanical subject matter that nobody else is painting!
  • Coloured pencil artists should definitely attend to see coloured pencil artwork at its very best.  Particular work of note were the displays by Ann Swan, Susan Christopher Coulson and Janie Pirrie.
Coloured Pencil Artwork by Ann Swan SBA GM - including Collection No II Summer Seed Pods
WINNER of the Susanne Lucas Memorial Award
Coloured Pencil Artwork by Susan Christopher Coulson
WINNER of the Derwent Award for "August Bloom" (top right)
Winners of the various Awards were:
  • The Joyce Cuming Presentation Award: A legacy from Joyce Cuming – a sterling silver Almoner’s plate.  The winner receives a certificate.  Sue Wickinson SBA GM for Arisaema tortuosum
  • The Margaret Granger Memorial Silver Bowl: (this is awarded to a member within 2 years of becoming a full member) went to Mariko Aikawa SBA for Tillansia xerographica
  • The Suzanne Lucas Memorial Award was won by Ann Swan SBA GM for a body of work
  • The President's Award for Work in Other Media Cash prize for work in media other than watercolour - Guy William Eves SBA for a body of work in pencil.  This Bird of Paradise is one of his works
Body of work by Guy William Eves SBA
WINNER of the Presidents Award
  • The Margaret Stevens Award given to an artist whose work reflects their concern for the environment - this was awarded to Reinhild Rastrick SBA for her work Sasmontha,mus rivae, Tanzania
  • The Derwent Award went to Susan Christopher Coulson VPSBA, SFP, GM,  for August Bloom
  • The Great Art Award was won by Fiona Strickland DA SBA GM for her Leucospermium
  • The St Cuthbert's Mill Award for an outstanding watercolour painting has been awarded to  Angela Stanford for her huge and lucious goache paintings of Sarracenia I and II.  Annie is featured in Country Living Magazine's May 2011 issue.  I also loved her hydrangea.
  • Certificates of Botanical Merit were also awarded to various artists who I'll write about next week (after I get back from a short trip)
Angela Stanford winner of the St Cuthberts Paper Mill award (Sarracenia 1 and 11)
my work is on the right - the three works in the column
    Exhibition Details

    The Exhibition venue is in the Aldersgate Room of Central Hall Westminster - bang opposite Westminster Abbey where they're getting ready for the wedding!

    It is open every day between now and Sunday 17th April between 10.00am and 5.00pm. Admission is free but the catalogues cost £5. The SBA produces one of the best catalogues of any art society ans does it all from scratch in six weeks.


    There are daily demonstrations by SBA members working in different media.  I've always found the demonstrators at this show to be evry, very helpful indeed.  The participating artists are:
    • 9th April - Gael Sewllwood SBA - working on vellum
    • 10th April - Joyce Rogerson SBA - miniature painting
    • 11th April - Mary Lasserson SBA - Coloured pencils
    • 12th April - Jennfier Jenkins SBA - Botanical (11am - 3.30pm)
    • 13th April - Simon Williams SBA - Gouache (12-5pm)
    • 14th April - Julie Small SBA - Pencil
    • 15th April - Billy Showell SBA - Watercolour
    • 16th April - Kate Nuttall SBA techniques learned during the Distance Learning Diploma course
    • 17th April - Gillian Jeffey SBA - on-glaze china painting
    and finally.....

    Suzy Herbert will be well known to UKCPS fans of her artwork with dry wit.  It seems as if she has some new fans because not only did she have all her work accepted into the show but her Sharon's Kiwi Granny (behind her head below) sold within a few hours of the Private View opening.

    Suzy Herbert with her artwork - Sharons Kiwi Granny is behind her head
      Apologies to those who were waiting for this review today.  Yet again the Residents Association had first call in my time today and with "heads down" we got our written submission about something very important to our area in on time as a result!

      I'm now away for a few days - but come back on Monday when I have a treat scheduled for those who are interested in creating a body of work.  It's called How do you share what you do as a painter? and it could change your life.....

      2010 exhibition
      2009 exhibition
      My botanical art 'resources for artists' websites


        1. It's wonderful for you that your beautiful work is part of this lovely show. Congratulations.

        2. Thanks for giving those of us who could not attend a view of this exhibition! I enjoy reading both your review of the exhibit and seeing a few works up close. It is especially interesting to read how the exhibit has changed since last time, and also what some of the main themes are amongst the artists!

        3. I've been looking forward to this review Katherine - many thanks! I hope to make an actual visit one day.


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