Where can you see botanical art in the UK? Well according to my website in rather a lot of places! So much so I've had to reorganise my website to make the information easier to access.
So below is a guide to the various pages sitting under the UK tab on the Exhibitions Menu. One of the pages has also got a new URL!
The main page has a form and guidance to tell you how to tell me about an upcoming exhibition. If you provide good quality information and images you may also get a blog post about your exhibition!
Information about botanical art exhibitions in the UK
How do you become a botanical illustrator? What does the job involve?
How do you get a job in botanical illustration at one of the major botanical gardens that employ botanical illustrators?
Below is a 5 minute video created to illustrate a career in botanical illustration. It features botanical illustrator Catherine Wardrop, who is one of two botanical illustrators employed by the Royal Botanic Garden in Sydney. She works at the herbarium and prepares black and white illustrations in pen and ink for botanists and publication in of Flora of New South Wales revisions, Flora of Australia, Telopea and other scientific journals. She also curates key Margaret Flockton works.
Note: the video is old but the principles of the approach to creating a botanical illustration for a scientific publication remain the same.
It shows techniques used by botanical illustrators - including
You must love both nature and detail and have a number of drawing skills to be a professional botanical illustrator. Skills required include:
The video finishes by explaining her educational background and how she got a job in botanical illustration. Catherine has a a first degree in printmaking and a Diploma in Plant and Wildlife Illustration from Newcastle University in New South Wales.
[Note: Newcastle University has a Degree in Natural History Illustration. This page outlines requirements and the core and optional courses for the degree.]
More about jobs in botanical illustration
The School of Botanical Art and Illustration (SBAI) at Denver Botanic Garden won an RHS Gold Medal for their exhibit of Rocky Mountains: Plants and Fungi at Altitude at the 2017 RHS London Botanical Art Show at the end of February
It's really difficult to win an RHS Gold Medal.
It's even more difficult if you are trying to win as a group - where every single artist has to achieve the GM standard. That's because Gold Medals are awarded on the basis of the weakest image in the portfolio and you can't afford to have any one artist not meet the mark.
That's by way of a preamble to explain why what the School of Botanical Illustration achieved was very significant.
Each of the images had a very detailed label and explanation about the plant including:
The images were then ordered (left to right) by elevation.
You can find/see:
The exhibit was made up of nine drawings and paintings by the core of teachers who regularly provide botanical art and illustration instruction at the Denver Botanic Gardens School of Botanical Art and Illustration and two alumni They are:
Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski, the Manager of SBAI brought the exhibition to London and talked to me about what's involved in creating a group exhibit.
The aim of the exhibition was to show the quality of the School and the calibre of its instructors. The best way to do that was to go to somewhere completely neutral and see what they thought - and where better than the RHS Botanical Art Show!
The feedback she got about the exhibit was firstly that it was very rare to have a Gold Medal winning exhibit by a group. (I know I've seen a number which have done well - but fallen short of a Gold Medal).
In terms of queries from the public, everybody was very interested in the variety of media used eg the frosted mylar used for coloured pencil which gives the impression of vellum.
What it takes to produce a good group exhibit
We talked about what Mervi found essential to getting the exhibit together at a standard which made it possible for them to win Gold.
The Margaret Flockton Award is for Excellence in Contemporary Scientific Botanical Illustration - and entries for the 2017 Award open and close very soon.
Some consider it the premier award for strict botanical illustration for reproduction in scientific journals. A lot of the people who enter are professional botanical illustrators working for or with botanical gardens all over the world.
It's also a valuable Award given that
Illustrators from around the world submit scientifically accurate drawings that accompany the published taxonomic description of the plant, clearly highlighting all of the distinctive features of the species. Original taxonomic illustrations are highly detailed black and white drawings primarily undertaken in pen and ink, pencil or digitally rendered.
Call for Entries: Margaret Flockton Award 2017
Entries for The Margaret Flockton Award 2017 have to be submitted between 1 Feb and 28 Feb 2017.
Works must have been produced after February 2015 - but there has been an important change for the 2017 Award.....
Changes to note: 2017 Margaret Flockton Award and Exhibition
The Award is
Works selected for exhibition will be on display later this year in May at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.
Hopefully the move to digital entries will mean that we might also see the exhibition travelling to other parts of the world where entries can be printed and mounted or framed for exhibition.
I know I'd love to see the Margaret Flockton Award exhibition either at the RHS Botanical Art Show or at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery!
Think of Botanic Gardens in London - and you think of Kew. However there have also been a number of important botanic and physic gardens in London associated with gardeners, herbalists and horticulturalists, such as John Gerard, Phillip Miller and William Curtis, that have played an important role in relation to the development of botanical art and associated botanical books.
I've been spending the last month or so researching these gardens - and their locations - and references to them on historical maps - and today I'm announcing a new page for my website - Botanic and Physic Gardens of the past in London
Botanic and Physic Gardens of the past in London excludes Kew but does include:
The Gardens of John Gerard
Each section includes a brief history of the garden, a plan of its location where possible, a plan of its layout if available and what's happening at that location today. Plus references to the Botanical Publications and significant related botanical art associated with its originator or that particular garden.
If you're visiting London in the near future you might like to take a look at some of the locations where important gardens related to botanic art were developed in the past.
Below a few words about Jacqui and the courses...
Jacqui is relatively quiet online - even if the delivery of one of her courses relies on technology called Propagate which facilitates a Virtual Learning environment. She doesn't have a website, doesn't tweet (she's done two to date) and is fairly quiet on Facebook!
She started at the RGBE in 1997 as Artist in Residence. The handbook for the Diploma Course she runs provides a brief about course tutors - including Jacqui - so here's the official version - which now needs some editing at the end! :)
Jacqui Pestell trained at Trent Polytechnic and Goldsmiths in London, majoring
Back in 2004, the RGBE's bulletin was announcing that
The botanical art classes have become one of the most popular fixtures on the Garden’s Adult Education programme
Nowadays I often find Jacqui popping up in posts about projects being undertaken by the RGBE - such as the recent Floral of Nepal botanical illustration project and exhibition.
As you'd expect from a teacher who is delivering courses which support online learning, Jacqui is not averse to doing a video!
Below are a couple of videos involving Jacqui - from which you can see she's very much up for exploration and trying new things - including practices and media associated with other countries when it comes to botanical art.
The first is a video of Jacqui painting on Lokta paper during a visit to Nepal for the Flora of Nepal project recently undertaken by botanical artists based at RGBE.
The second is a video of how she and Sharon Tingey produced a 'Thangka' after their visit to Nepal. It's the Nepalese version of an ancient Herbal - a way of identifying plants from simple portrayals.
Jacqui is also a member of The Edinburgh Society of Botanical Artists - which acts as an Alumni Association for graduates of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh's botanical illustration diploma course.
The RGBE Diploma, Certificate and Short Courses in Botanical Illustration
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Katherine Tyrrell writes about botanical art and artists and has followers all over the world.
© Katherine Tyrrell 2015-17
Unauthorised use or duplication of ANY material on this blog without written permission is strictly prohibited. Please also respect the copyright of all artists featured here.
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This blog highlights news - in brief - about botanical art exhibitions around the world.
Use the Contact form to tell me about an exhibition and provide a summary of relevant information. If listing your event I will ask you for relevant images.
2016 Workshops, Classes & Courses
Find out about botanical art workshops, classes courses in 2016 offered by various organisations and artists in the UK and USA
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