Jonathan Cooper's Park Walk Gallery typically has a solo exhibition by Rosie Sanders every other year. This Saturday her latest offering - Rosie Sanders - Secret Letters opens at the gallery in Chelsea - just off the Fulham Road.
If you need an excuse - or a temptation - to visit take a look at the paintings on
The exhibition will be an exciting journey of discovery, as each painting will be accompanied by a letter explaining its inspiration and genesis, whether a plant glimpsed in late afternoon light on a woodland walk, or lovingly grown in the artist’s own garden. Each will be enclosed in an envelope hand-made and illustrated by Rosie Sanders, making the show a unique insight into the world of a remarkable British artist.
Read about the box that Rosie commissioned to hold all the Secret Letters - one for every painting in the exhibition
To see more of Rosie's past paintings either visit the paintings gallery on her website or view the past exhibitions on the Jonathan Cooper website. She's been having solo shows there on a regular basis - about every 18 -24 months - since 2002.
Rosie paints all of her large paintings using large sheets of Arches 640gsm/300lb Cold Pressed paper which are available in 101.6 x 152.4 cm / 40 x 60 in; 105 x 75 cm / 29.5 x 41 in and 56 x 76 cm / 22 x 30 in - which she doesn't stretch. You can read more about her large scale flower painting techniques in my MAM blog posts below.
REFERENCE - WEBSITES:
The Best Botanical Art and Illustration Instruction Books is the section on my website which I've devoted to developing a guide to the best instruction / "how to" books available for students and practitioners of botanical art and illustration.
There's an awful lot of books out there.
I hope you'll find my guide useful. Maybe bookmark it for later - or even link to it?
There's more below explaining how this guide to the best instruction books for botanical art and illustration actually works.
A guide to the best "how to" books for creating botanical art and illustration for students of botanical art and and those wishing to develop their knowledge and skills
What does this guide have to offer?
What I've tried to do is:
As a guide I've also included the average ratings out of 5 stars for each book (in the UK and USA). Plus a guide to how to interpret these ratings as they are various factors - detailed in my guide - that influence how many ratings a book has got to date.
The 17th Century watercolours are from the collection of Elias Ashmole, whose collection founded the Ashmolean Museum, and are considered one of the Bodleian Library’s greatest treasures. The Orchard is a practical document that records the size, colour and texture of fruit with their ripening dates. This is the first time they have been lent to an exhibition outside Oxford, and the Museum are displaying them in a brand new exhibition space.
All paintings are watercolours of botanical subjects and birds of Northern Italy by Mary Ann Scott.
Mary Ann is the author of one of the most popular books produced by the SBA for their Distance Learning Diploma Course.
Mary Ann started the Diploma Course course in January 2006 and graduated with a Diploma with Distinction in April 2008 which fast tracked her into membership of the Society of Botanical Artists in the UK.
Note: You can read my review of her book Botanical Sketchbook on this website.
Imagine a meeting between an artist from one of the countries with the greatest sensitivity towards the natural world, and an environment providing some of the the richest biodiversity in Europe.
This is what happened when Mary Ann arrived in Italy, the country with the highest number of plant and animal species in the European Union, and began painting the nature around her.
Well known in the UK as a botanical artist, Mary Ann is the author, with Margaret Stevens, of Botanical Sketchbook. Now, in Italy, she is taking on the numerous plant and animal species that surround her. Certainly, in the UK there are no lack of opportunities, but to be able to observe a Night Heron in detail, it is to Italy, and especially to the rice fields around Novara that one must come. And in the same way, if one wants to see a Scops Owl, the smallest of the European owls, it is the Mediterranean area which provides the most opportunities. For the exhibition, “Living Art, nelgiardino di Mary Ann” watercolours have been painted in which observable plants and animals have been described in a very precise and naturalistic way without, however, creating cold, impersonal images that are perhaps more suited to a textbook for the systematic identification of species. Here, on the other hand, every species retains its personality. At times, the subjects are isolated on a white background to emphasise form and colour; at other times a simple setting is provided, taking into account the preferred habitat of each species.
Although some of the watercolours may be seen as “still lives”, life’s movement is more than hinted at.
The nest, discovered on the ground, is described in detail with the elements which compose it; moss, pieces of bark, feathers, down, tell or suggest a story about a pair of small birds which, instinctively or perhaps from experience, have built a structure necessary for their reproduction. Then, who knows what may have happened? Perhaps the young birds had already flown away or perhaps the nest was torn from the branch by a strong gust of wind. We don’t know the rest of the story and therefore we must imagine it. Whatever our reconstruction of events, the fact remains that as an object this nest is beautiful.
We can make similar considerations for all the other subjects depicted in the exhibition. The watercolours give us suggestions without completing the story, leaving it up to us to contextualise according to our personal sensitivities.
All the works, however, emphasise the great beauty of nature. We know that biodiversity is in danger in most of the world. Many of us are using rational
arguments to try and convince those in power to intervene effectively. We know, however, that rational debate frequently fails. Works, such as those presented in the exhibition, might strike other chords; touch, enchant, even trigger irrational mechanisms of fascination in the mind . If such were the case, art would give no less a contribution to the battle for conservation than the most meticulous scientific research. And I write this as a researcher. It may not be impossible that in Italy, thanks to the work of artists like Mary Ann Scott, awareness may grow of the immeasurable
value of our natural heritage.
It has not been possible to hang more than a small proportion of ‘my’ British artists here as I now have 330 works by 86 painters and so I have had to be fiercely selective.
Katherine Tyrrell writes about botanical art and artists and has followers all over the world.
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