This is the first of three posts with information from interviews with the nine RHS Gold Medallists at the London Botanical Art Show 2017.
I've been interviewing RHS Gold Medallists since 2011 and you'll find a list of previous interviews at the end of this post. This post covers five artists who won medals in 2017:
Upcoming posts will cover
Keiko Fujita GM (Japan - Tokyo)
Keiko Fujita GM lives in Tokyo, Japan. She's been a botanical artist for the last 19 years and prior to that was an interior designer. Her art career started by studying at art school and then her son started to study ecology at his junior high school. His homework involved botanical paintings and that's the point at which she became interested in botanical art. Subsequently she found an adult education night school which provided a class. She is a member of the American Society of Botanical Artists.
Her exhibit is about the Growth of Bamboo in Japan. She chose bamboo as it's a famous plant associated with Japan. Everybody knows about "Bamboo" (eg that it's very invasive) but nobody knows the different species!
She first had the idea for the exhibit seven years ago and started doing her research, finding plants and planning her exhibit. She finally started on the painting two years ago and each painting took about 3-4 months to do.
The paintings she produced:
Mariko Ikeda GM (Japan - Tochigi) - Winner of Best Exhibit 2017
Mariko Ikeda GM's Pandanus won Best Exhibit in Show and, unsurprisingly, it had lots of people looking at it and talking about for the duration of the show! (It's more commonly known as the screw pine).
Mariko took a botanical illustration class with Jenny Phillips in Sydney in 1999. Then studied Art and Design at University followed by a Ph.D in the Sciences of Art at the Graduate School of Comprehensive Human Sciences at the University of Tsukuba. Recently she took a botanical illustration class with Mikeo Ishikawa in 2015.
She lives in Tochigi and has been a Botanical Art Instructor at the Gakushuin University Lifelong Learning Centre in Tokyo since 2006. She's a member of the Japanese Association of Botanical Illustration and the American Society of Botanical Artists. However she has not exhibited widely.
I'm getting a lot of enquiries from botanical artists as to what progress has been made with "the Fabriano Artistico story" and the major change in how the paper behaves.
Below you will find
Fabriano Artistico and Botanical Art - the story so far
Fabriano Artistico has been much favoured by botanical artists for very many years. For many years it has been a surface which stands up to the demands of those wanting to create very precise paintings of botanical specimens
Then something changed. You may not have read my previous posts on this topic.
Plus I did an update for the Society of Botanical Artists Winter Bulletin - an extract from which summarises what has happened since the meeting with Fabriano last summer.
Fabriano have done some trials since the meeting. To date they have been unsuccessful at identifying what needs to be different to produce the old surface. This means no prospect of a change back to the old surface in the near future.
Use a magnifier
This is the magnifier I use. It's extremely portable and inexpensive. The magnifier slides inside the black part for travel (which means it doesn't get scratched) and can be pulled out easily to view the paintings.
There are a number of portable pocket magnifiers on the market.
If you don't have one already, I recommend you get one before you pay another visit to a botanical art exhibition!
Katherine Tyrrell writes about botanical art and artists and has followers all over the world.
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