Thursday, October 12, 2017

Watercolour paintings of flowers sell well

Flower paintings are hugely popular with the public. Watercolour paintings of flowers also sell well - particularly when executed by experts.

I find it such a pity that leading open exhibitions of watercolour paintings (by the RWS, RI and Sunday Times Watercolour Competition) don't include more paintings of plant life in general and flowers in particular.

I'd love to know why there's a dearth of flower paintings in watercolour shows - when some of the best watercolour painters in the country paint flowers!

I can't help but think that this is down to one of three reasons
  • Panels of Judges who don't like, don't understand or don't rate flower or botanical paintings - and don't care what the public like!
  • Well regarded flower painters and botanical artists who don't enter open exhibitions and art competitions for watercolour paintings - because their work doesn't get a good reception. (I've heard this story so many times re experiences in the past)
  • Or it just doesn't occur to artists who paint flowers to show their work outside a friendly environment - which is typically one which involves a lot of women! (I spend a lot of my time encouraging those who create artwork about plants and flowers to enter open exhibitions and competitions - and those that do generally do well, except when they come up against a panel of judges who make some very odd decisions eg STWC in 2017.)
My own view is it's probably a combination of the above.

This will never change until great flower painters who produce excellent work start entering the open exhibitions of other art societies and art competitions.

Here are two exhibitions in London this week.

Watercolour paintings by Rosie Sanders
The first is the Rosie Sanders: Secret Letters Exhibition at Jonathan Cooper's Park Walk Gallery just off the Fulham Road in Chelsea. (Prices are between £3,800 and £18,000). 16 out of the 26 paintings had sold when I visited on Tuesday this week. More will have sold before the exhibition closes on Saturday.

This is a video of my walk round the exhibition on Tuesday this week.



Rosie is yet another female painter who ALWAYS paints what she loves and ALSO knows how to create and present work which sells (see blog posts at the end re other women who've had virtually sell out shows in the recent past)

As a result Rosie has a solo show at this gallery every 1-2 years. (Note: Jonathan also shows other artists covered on Making A Mark in the past - who have won the BP Portrait Award and the ING Discerning Eye competition)

It's simply not the case that watercolour paintings don't get shown by galleries or, alternatively, don't find buyers (see yesterday's post). The issue is the image that is created and the expertise used in creating that image....

The second exhibition is Changing Seasons - the Annual Exhibition of the Society of Botanical Artists which has its Private View today and opens to the public tomorrow until Saturday 21 October. It's open every day 11am to 5pm and I'm expecting to see some excellent work.

However most of these artists will never dream of showing outside group shows organised by those who understand their work.

I'm off to see this exhibition shortly (it's at Central Hall, Westminster - opposite Westminster Abbey) and will be highlighting prizewinners and reviewing the exhibition on my botanical art news blog on my website Botanical Art and Artists later this week.

[Note: This website is fast catching up with Making A Mark in terms of traffic - because that's how popular this sort of art is!]

Those who are smart can do both exhibitions in one day this week!


More women artists who know how to paint what they love and sell it!

Three more women artists who have organised and held their own solo shows and sold virtually all the work
plus another botanical artist who has had a very successful solo show of watercolour paintings of flowers in Chelsea Fiona Strickland exhibition at Park Walk Gallery

All the artists share an ability to understand that they have to create their own future. Others can help them - but they have to make it happen!

1 comment:

Coral Guest said...

Thank you for making this interesting point Katherine.

It may be that many Botanical Artists see themselves as leaning towards illustration rather than painting, and so do not enter art competitions.

I exhibited at the Sunday Times show in 1995, and there were not many botanical subjects exhibited then either. It may be that the precision style of many botanical artists is not so well favoured by the judges as the other more free style work which shows a great deal of watercolour panache.

The fine art aspect of Botanical Art, perhaps needs more development or understanding from the Illustrators. The word 'Aesthetics' is often used as a means to describe the aspect of botanical art that is not strictly illustration. This comes across as a euphemism for decoration, or concern for beauty or what is pleasing to the eye.

Aesthetics is a developing branch of philosophy and a serious issue for many artists. Fine art differs from illustration simply because it has a different content.

The content of Botanical Fine Art may be emotional, intellectual, philosophical,or environmental - anything that expands the reality of what the plant material means to the artist or the statement they need to make as an artist.

This issue that you have raised is maybe about identity and security and where botanical artists, as well as competition judges, feel botanical art belongs. I feel Botanical Art belongs in both the bigger picture of the art world as well as the smaller enclave.