Sunday, April 17, 2016

Prizewinners - Society of Botanical Artists' Annual Exhibition 2016

This post is about the prizewinners at "Shape, Pattern, Structure" the 2016 Annual Exhibition of the Society of Botanical Artists.  This year there are 573 paintings, drawings and prints, 10 Miniatures and 17 works in three dimensions (glass, sculpture, jewellery).

Julie Whelan won the Margaret Granger Memorial Silver Bowl
for the best painting by a member elected in the previous two years
The show is on at the Central Hall Westminster in London (opposite Westminster Abbey) until 23 April . It's open every day from 11am to 5pm and admission is free.

Details about the demonstrations and tours during this next week are at the end of this post.

the entrance to the SBA "Shape, Pattern and Structure" Exhibition
Watercolour paintings by Sharon Fox are either side of the entrance


Today this post is about Prizewinners - with a post about those who won the Certificates of Botanical Merit tomorrow.

I'm afraid I'm missing a few images. I had intended to go back on Friday and fill in any gaps I found when I downloaded my photos on Thursday night. However my knee had other ideas and did its very best to try and dislocate and I'm unable to return until my knee brace arrives!  If anybody else has got images of the prizes missing an image please let me know!

The Joyce Cuming Presentation Award

This is probably one of the most prized awards and is a sterling silver Almoner’s plate which is a legacy from Joyce Cuming. The winner also receives a certificate. Judges also produce a list of people who were Highly Commended during the selection process.

This year the prize is awarded to Janet Pope who was unable to attend the ceremony due to illness.

Exhibit by Janet Pope SBA
Those identified as highly commended for this award are:
Botanical illustration of Spanish Aquatic Flora by Marta Chirico
ink on polyester paper (3 x £650)
Dawn Wright with her painting of Landurrows's Little Treasures
Her other paintings are in the column to the right

Kelp and Bladderwrack by Christiana Webb

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. As a prize it's an excellent incentive for a new member to create a memorable impression.

The 2016 winner is Julie Whelan SBA who was accepted as a full member of the SBA this year. (see below and the picture at top). Julie's paintings are most unusual as they form the basis of a pattern repeat using botanical art as the motif.

She researched all the motifs and processes used by William Morris when producing his floral artwork for decorative purposes and then proceeded to compose a design which worked. She described it to me and lost me about halfway through! It's very complicated! (If you're intrigued, the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow provides a pdf file about Working with Pattern)

Watercolour Paintings with pattern repeats by Julie Whelan
Dahlia El Paso £450Lonicera periclymenum 'Seronita Florida' with a ruby throated Hummingbird £450
Magnolia x soulangeana 'Satisfaction' £450
Jasminium officinale with Hummingbird Hawkmoth £450
Passiflora caerulea 'Bluecrown' £450
I thought they were very impressive and very nicely presented. I'd like to see larger versions - and I'm guessing they may prove very attractive to those who like to find an application for pattern repeats!

Suzanne Lucas Memorial Award

This award is in memory of the Founder President Suzanne Lucas who had a very clear view that the portrayal of plants need not be highly scientific and illustrative.
To incorporate more recent techniques and styles in a broader interpretation; combining the scientific and representational, giving a rich and varied view of the wonderful world of plants.
Suzanne Lucas, Founder President 1915 – 2008
Margaret Stevens with Julie Whelan
at the Diploma Graduation Ceremony in 2012
(Courtesy Julie Whelan)
The 2016 winner is Past President Margaret Stevens (2005-2010) for her very major contribution to the continued development of the SBA - in terms of:

  • her development of the Distance Learning Diploma Course (which she was Director of for many years) and 
  • her authorship of four different books published on behalf of the Society of Botanical Artists to support the learning of students on the Diploma Course (see SBA Books

Margaret is now retired and has mobility problems and I haven't seen her since she last came to the exhibition to launch her last book on Plant Forms in 2012.

It's also now some years since I sat in a hotel bedroom in Bloomsbury on May day in 2009 and interviewed Margaret Stevens on the afternoon before the Gradiation Ceremony for Diploma Students in 2009.

However I do know for a fact that there are current members of the Society who were stimulated to sign up for the Diploma Course as a result of my blog post which resulted from that interview!

So here it is again - as my mark of respect to a great lady - A Making A Mark Interview with Margaret Stevens (May 2009) - for:

  • those who read it the first time round and have gone on to become members of the SBA; and
  • those who have never knew Margaret Stevens - but have read her books and followed the course she developed!

Marion Perkins receiving her award from
Dr. Stephen Dowbiggin, Principal of Capel Manor College

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 Marion Perkins SBA FRSA MIL for her body of work in egg tempera on gesso (Cat. 371-373).

I'm always surprised that more artists don't adopt egg tempera for their botanical artwork given the way it lends itself to precision and detailed work.


These are sponsored by companies associated with art materials.

Great Art Award

This year's winner of the Great Art Award - for an outstanding exhibit - is Enzo Forgione SBA for a body of work (5 oil paintings on canvas).

Winner of the Great Art Prize
Enzo Forgione with three of his paintings - Orchids in oil on canvas
I always say I'd like to see more botanical art done in oil - and Enzo has produced some very striking work which is well executed. He specialises in orchids and always works in oil.

The Derwent Award (for work in pencil)

The Derwent Award is for a body of work in a pencil medium.  This year it's been awarded to the Korean artist Eun Young Song whose drawings are all in coloured pencil. The drawing which is most noteworthy is the one which also picked up a commendation for the Joyce Cuming Award and a Certificate of Botanical Merit (below).

Winner of Derwent Award
Helianthocereus macrogonus cv. crista
 by Eun Young Song
coloured pencils

Strathmore Artist Papers Bursary (for composition)

Strathmore Artist Papers are sponsoring an artist bursary this year, which alongside professional marketing support, they will give £400 worth of Strathmore Artist Papers for the winning artist over the course of a year.Strathmore Art News 
This is an award by one of the leading makers of fine art paper in the USA - the winner gets £400 of artists papers. 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
The 2016 winner is Flowers of the Summer Moon (watercolour and gouache) by Cheryl Wren (568) 

Winner of Strathmore Artist Papers Bursary
Flowers of the Summer Moon by Cheryl Wren
(watercolour and gouache)
Those artists getting an honourable mention for their composition (which I got last year!) are:

    St Cuthbert's Mill Award

    The award is paper to the value of £100 for an outstanding watercolour painting and this year this award was won by Sarah Wood SBA, Dip SBA for her body of work 546-647.

    This is Sarah's blog on which she posts about her works step by step and explains what she is doing.  It's worth noting that Sarah also exhibits (and sells) her work with the Royal Instutute of Painters in Watercolour.

    Rhododendron moupinse by Sarah Wood
    Pencil, watercolour and gouache)

    Tours and Demonstrations

    All the tours are FREE however Donations to the Society (which is a charity) will be welcomed.

    Top Ten Tours of the Exhibition

    The tours are always popular. Here's who's doing tours for the rest of the exhibition.
    • Monday 18th April Amber Halsall SBA
    • Wednesday,  20th April Sandra Wall Armitage PSBA
    • Thursday, 21st April Billy Showell SBA
    • Friday, 22nd April Billy Showell SBA


    These will generally commence at 1.00pm
    • Monday, 18th April Amber Halsall SBA Mixed media
    • Tuesday, 19th April Dianne Sutherland SBA Graphite
    • Wednesday, 20th April Sandra Wall Armitage PSBA Composing with watercolour
    • Thursday, 21st April Billy Showell SBA Watercolour
    • Friday, 22nd April Billy Showell SBA Watercolour
    • Saturday, 23rd April Ann Swan SBA Coloured Pencils

    More information about Botanical Art

    My dedicated botanical art blog - you can subscribe via email

        More about the SBA Annual Exhibition

        Society of Botanical Art: Exhibitions 2016

        Society of Botanical Art: Exhibitions 2006-2015


        1. I wonder if you have access to a breakdown of the demographics of the artists by country? Just curious.

        2. Thank you for this write up Katherine, I was late and missed most of the announcements.

          I am one of those artists who read your interview with Margaret (having seen your post about Shevaun's purple carrots under fire) and decided to apply for the course. So my thanks go to all three of you!

        3. I didn't realise you were another one Polly - great to have added another fine artist to the group stimulated by that blog post!

        4. Linda - I don't have a breakdown but I do know that a number of international artists send their work every year

          The SBA has a great solution to those sending artwork from overseas. There is a member who arranges temporary framing for them!

          You should get hold of an application form for next year and send some work in 2017!

          1. I did have a piece in the current show, a Strawberry. I was guided through the acceptence process by a very competent SBA member. I just wish I could have come over to see the show.

        5. Thank you Katherine-wonderful blog post.

        6. I saw it Linda - and also have a photo of it on the wall. If you contact me with your email address (contact me via email - see side column or via Facebook Message) I'll send you the photo


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