Fiona Strickland's first solo show The Vital Moment at Jonathan Cooper's Park Walk Gallery in Chelsea opens to the public today (20th October) and continues until 12 November 2016.
I visited yesterday afternoon and had a close look at the paintings on display. You can see images and details of the paintings by clicking The Vital Moment link above.
Fiona's very fine botanical paintings in watercolour are painted on either Fabriano Artistico or Kelmscott Vellum. I've only seen her large works before and it was interesting to see her new range of smaller works done on vellum - two of which I particularly liked. So much so I kept going back for another look at Almost Over and Open Absalom.
The majority of paintings feature tulips at different stages. However the exhibition also includes an Iris, a Hippeastrum, autumn leaves and notably the amazing painting of a Rhododendron which won the top prize at last year's 18th International Exhibition by the American Society of Botanical Artists in New York. (see Fiona Strickland wins The Hort's "Best in Show" Award at 18th Annual International)
Below is a slideshow of images in the exhibition which give you a sense of the relative size of some of the paintings. (Click the 'play' button).
I was very impressed by the presentation of the paintings and their walnut frames.
The vellum has been gallery wrapped which gives it the appearance of a an oil painting. The watercolour paper is not matted and rather than being float mounted it is very flat and I suspect is dry mounted. It certainly looks very contemporary and unlike the traditional presentation of watercolours.
Both paintings and their presentation are obviously appealing to the collectors as five have sold before the exhibition had formally opened!
About Fiona Strickland
I've been following Fiona Strickland's amazing artwork since I saw her very first exhibition at the Society of Botanical Artists. You can read my interview with back in 2012 - see A 'Making A Mark' Profile of Fiona Strickland. This includes an explanation of her working practices.
Below you can read what the Gallery has as her bio and the background to this exhibition.
Strickland trained at the Edinburgh College of Art under Dame Elizabeth Blackadder, who instilled in her a dedication to composition and mastery of negative space that continues to inform her practise. Of equal influence in Strickland’s work is her passion for and fascination with the Golden Age of Dutch art, and a major inspiration for this exhibition is the seventeenth-century Tulip Book of Jacob Marrel, which she recently studied at the Rijksmuseum. Indeed, the tulip in its myriad of forms will be a key focus of the show, which will include many varieties grown by Strickland in her garden in Scotland, such as the English Florists’ Tulips beloved of fellow artist Rory McEwen, whose paintings Strickland first encountered while a student in Edinburgh.
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Katherine Tyrrell writes about botanical art and artists and has followers all over the world.
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