Friday, April 17, 2015

Prizewinners at the Society of Botanical Artists' Annual Exhibition 2015

Yesterday's Private View of the Annual Exhibition of the Society of Botanical Artists was yet again an occasion to meet old friends as well as view some wonderful art in a very well hung exhibition.

This year the exhibition has 603 drawings and paintings in the main display and 18 miniatures and 3D works. These were selected from well over 900 entries.

The layout seems to me to be working better than last year with fewer 'skied' pictures which meant fewer problems with white outs from the lighting.

The theme this year is "In pursuit of plants" and as always it's always fascinating to see how this has been interpreted by the different artists. (Next year the theme is "Shape, Pattern and Structure" which I'm very excited about as it's all the things I like about plants!)

I'm going to focus in this post on the main prizewinners and
  • give a more considered opinion of the work in the show in my post on Sunday
  • highlight those who won a Certificate of Botanical Merit on Monday.
That's because knowing more and more people every year, one ends up spending more time talking and less time looking and because I'm going back to see the exhibition again this afternoon to see the demo about painting on vellum and review the exhibition again so I can pick out the pieces I want to highlight. So sorry not to provide more about the exhibition overall at this stage!

I'll also be highlighting the Tours and Demonstrations dates and members involved at the end of this post

The Exhibition is open from 11.00am to 5.00pm every day between 17 to 26 April 2015 at Westminster Central Hall, Storey’s Gate, London SW1H 9NH.

But first the prizes - and this year, for the very first time, I get a mention!!

Society of Botanical Art - 2015 Awards

Gardener, writer and broadcaster Matthew Biggs to open the exhibition and was very enthusiastic about the standard of work on display. He also presented the prizes.

The Joyce Cuming Presentation Award

This is a legacy from Joyce Cuming – a sterling silver Almoner’s plate. The winner receives a certificate.  It is however one of the awards which are most prized as this one also produces a list of people who were Highly Commended during the selection process.

Gael Sellwood accepting her award - the silver plate of
The Joyce Cuming Presentation Award
The winner this year was Gael Sellwood GM SBA PGCE, FEATC Cert HE(BotIll) for Hydrangea macrophylla 'King George' from her 2014 RHS Gold Medal winning exhibit of autumn and winter hydrangeas (at Malven).

Gael Sellwood holding the Joyce Cuming silver plate high above her head
with her watercolour painting of Hydrangea macrophylla 'King George'

Those Highly Commended included the following artists (attribution is in the caption to the image)

Pteridophytes - Fern (pencil and watercolour) by Lynne Buckler BA (Hons) AssocSBA
This was one of the stars of the show for me - I loved the design and the execution shouted artistic precision!
Roses (watercolour) £400 by Tsuyako Elliott SBA
A lovely delicate painting which tells you a lot about this rose.

Malus 'Evereste' (coloured pencil) £350 by Maya Thomi SBA
A total bargain!

Polly O'Leary DipSBA(Dist.) Assoc ABA 
with (bottom left) the Highly Commended Iris Germanica (Beareded Iris) 
Graphite drawing of Seed of Aesculus hippocastanum - Horse Chesnut by Karen Musgrave Hill

The Margaret Granger Memorial Silver Bowl

This award is given in memory of Margaret Granger for the best picture by a member elected in the last two years.

This was won by Margaret Eccles SBA (for paintings 138-142) which included some really splendid Brussels Sprouts! Definitely a set of paintings worth a closer look.  Her work was also beautifully presented in flat neutral frames.

Margaret Eccles with the Margaret Granger Silver Memorial Bowl and her work
Another one of Fiona Strickland's students wins an award!
Margaret Eccles was presented with her bowl
- to hold for a few minutes before it goes back to the vaults!

Suzanne Lucas Memorial Award 

This award is in memory of Founder President Suzanne Lucas (whose 100th Birthday would have been this year).  The 2015 winner was Linda Alexander AROI SBA for her exhibit of oil paintings on linen.

Linda is one of the few botanical artists who has ventured into the world of the media art societies and has become accepted and, I believe, sells well.  I'm always keen to promote the artist who takes and promotes botanical art within the wider art society world.

Linda Alexander won the Suzanne Lucas Award
This is Purple Iris (oil on linen - £1,950)

The President’s Award for work in other media 

This is a cash prize for work in media other than watercolour - won this year by Penny Brown DipSBA (Dist.) SBA SFP for her multi media cut paper collage works (57-59). Penny told me she generally uses coloured papers made by Fabriano as these are lightfast and adds in small touches with watercolour and/or coloured pencils. She cuts some of the shapes and uses a scalpel for the rest!

Penny is also a former theatre set designer and helps the President out each year with creating the plan of where the paintings go on all the walls - she starts with lots of very small images of every painting and cuts them out and positions them on a model of every wall!  Which is why the exhibition looks as good as it does!

Penny Brown with Clematis florida 'Sieboldii' - a multi media cut paper collage


These are sponsored by companies associated with art materials

Great Art Award

This year's winner of this prize - for an outstanding exhibit - is Beth Phillip GM SBA CBM 2008 and 2010 B.Sc (Hons), Dip Ed. for her outstanding paintings in the 'red' section of the exhibition. I think everybody who saw her magnolia seedheads commented on them - it's a really magnificent image!  These were complemented - to its left - by her two paintings of Sarracenias.

Beth now gets to choose £500.00 of materials from the Great Art catalogue

Beth Phillip's watercolour painting of

Fruits of Magnolia Sprengeri var. diva 'Westonbirt' (£1,495)
- which also won a Certificate of Botanical Merit 
Beth Phillip's watercolour paintings of Sarracenia Hybrids (£1,400 each)

Derwent Award 

This is for an outstanding work in a pencil medium. The winner receives chooses £200.00 of materials from the Derwent catalogue. The winner this year is Carmen Lyons DipFA for (I believe) her body of work.

The Derwent Award for Outstanding Pencil ArtTwo of the four coloured pencil drawings exhibited by Carmen Lyons DipFA
(left) Raspberry and Watercolour Crush £450
(right) Nepenthes truncata £650

Strathmore Artist Papers Award

This is a NEW award for 2015 sponsored by one of the leading makers of fine art paper in the USA.

The criteria for the new award for the most innovative composition are:
  • form within the subject
  • the information the artwork provides about the subject; and
  • the "feeling" for the subject
Linda Alexander being presented with the Strathmore Artist Papers award
Still life with Figs by Linda Alexander
(oil in linen £1,495)
Honorary mentions included:
This was my artwork which got an Honorary Mention

Echevaria Laui by Katherine Tyrrell(coloured pencils)

St Cuthbert's Mill Award

The award is paper to the value of £100 for an outstanding watercolour painting. Julia Patience ASBA won this award for her series of paintings using watercolour and ink. [I'm going to see whether I can get a better photograph of this today]
Two watercolour and ink paintings by Julie Patience
Tours and Demonstrations
Demonstrations and Top Ten Tours
All the tours are FREE however Donations to the Society (which is a charity) will be welcomed.

Top Ten Tours of the Exhibition

In her first year as President, Sandra Armitage decided she's like to trial tours of the exhibition by members and I gather they were a big success - so this year there are MORE tours with different themes!  It's difficult to decide which to pick - I'm drawn to all of them!
  • Friday 17 April,Yvonne Glenister Hammond SBA Light and shade
  • Wednesday, 22 April Angeline de Meester SBA Delightful details
  • Thursday, 23 April Gael Sellwood SBA Vellum and other surfaces
  • Friday, 24 April Janie Pirie SBA Coloured pencils
  • Sunday, 25 April Billy Showell SBA Composition

Demonstrations at In Pursuit of Plants

These will generally commence at 1.30pm
  • Friday, 17 April, 11am—2pm Claire Ward SBA Contemporary watercolours
  • Friday, 17 April, 2pm—5pm Shevaun Doherty SBA Contemporary watercolours
  • Saturday, 18 April Guy William Eves SBA Graphite
  • Sunday, 19 April Simon Williams SBA Gouache (Simon is the Director of the Diploma Course)
  • Monday, 20 April Amber Halsall SBA Acrylic ink: mixing mediums
  • Tuesday, 21 April Ann Swan SBA Combining graphite and coloured pencil
  • Wednesday, 22 April Linda Hampson SBA Exotics in mixed media
  • Thursday, 23 April Sue J Williams SBA Dark flowers and foliage in watercolour
  • Friday, 24 April Janie Pirie SBA Coloured pencils
  • Saturday, 25 April Gael Sellwood SBA Found objects on vellum
  • Sunday, 26 April Billy Showell SBA Glowing watercolour

More information about Botanical Art

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  1. Katherine, congratulations on receiving an Honorary Mention for your work on Echevaria Lauri. The green of the succulent leaves is remarkably compatible with your skillful use of coloured pencil. Well chosen as a subject matter and well deserving of a mention.

  2. Katherine, Congratulations on the recognition you received for your beautiful rendering of Echevaria! Thanks for the review of the prizewinning work--next best thing to being there!


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