Wednesday, November 18, 2015

About Rory McEwen

I've spent a delightful few hours recently putting together a page About Rory McEwen on my Botanical Art and Artists website.

I'm going to develop a series of pages about various famous botanical artists. I started with Maria Sibylla Merian so decided to do a contemporary botanical artist next - and, of course Rory McEwen was the obvious one to do!  For those who don't know him, he's probably the most revered and influential botanical artist in the UK in recent years.

He died in 1982 - but his botanical art and his legacy lives on.

I'm guessing rather a lot of botanical artists now painting on vellum will have seen his paintings at some point.

A new page 'About Rory McEwen' on Botanical Art and Artists
On the page you can find:
  • a summary of his life as it related to botanical art - plus 
    • a detailed timeline - i.e. I miss out all the musical side of his life and stick strictly to the botanical art
    • references to biographical information elsewhere
  • a summary of his artistic practice - and 
    • links to more detailed comments 
    • plus a few quotes about his value to botanical art
"I paint flowers as a way of getting as close as possible to what I perceive as the truth, my truth of the time in which I live"Rory McEwen 
  • summaries of the important botanical art books
    • ones he collaborated on - Old Carnations and Pinks; The Auricula and Tulips and Tulipmania
    • catalogues of the major posthumous and retrospective exhibitions in 1988 and 2013.
A double page spread from Old Carnations and Pinks
He did the botanical illustrations while studying at Cambridge University
  • lists of the artworks he produced which can be identified (I'm sure there must be many more!)
    • categorised according to a timeline and 
    • then listed using a colour to indicate which exhibition they relate to. This, I think, is an exercise which nobody has done before. I know I was going cross-eyed by the time I finished!  It did reveal very clearly how the thematic series came about - and which subject matter he returned to - or never left.
  • a summary of the main exhibitions. Plus a list of all exhibitions he was involved with - categorised by 
    • solo exhibitions in his life time, 
    • group exhibitions in his life time and 
    • retrospective exhibitions - held posthumously
  • Plus videos which show his watercolour paintings on vellum in all their glorious precision and luminosity.
For true fans I hope you enjoy it. I learned a lot while doing it..... but I still wish I'd found out more about the True Facts from Nature exhibition - the one where everything changed forever....

For those who want to know about the impact he had I recommend you read:

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