I went to the Preview of the RHS Botanical Art Show last night. Mostly to be able to have a chat with friends because they'll be very busy for the next two days. I also wanted to be able to have a quick look around the artwork before I get seriously stuck in to my review of the show and interviews with RHS Gold Medal-winning artists.
However I didn't get all the way round after I found the Best Exhibit and Best Painting - which happen to be opposite one another! (Expect big crowds in this area tomorrow and Saturday)
Best Exhibit in Show 2017
Some of you may recall that I said on Wednesday in Artists' Exhibits in the RHS Botanical Art Show 2017 that....
I'm always more interested in what's novel or unusual. The first one which jumped out at me was the Pandanus (Mariko Ikeda) - which I know can make for a very striking painting.
I also said I was looking forward to seeing this exhibit. Naturally I had a big smile on my face when I saw that Mariko Ikeda had not only won a Gold Medal for her exhibit of Pandanus - she had also won the Best Exhibit in Show.
Her display of Pandanus is quite simply stunning in design, technical quality - both botanical and artistic - impact and presentation. Everybody was talking about it!
More of this when I do my interview with Mariko.
However one thing I'd like to say now. I was very touched when talking with Mariko, when she explained how much she had found my previous reviews and posts about the RHS Botanical Show to be very helpful in her preparation for this show. This is why I do what I do......
Best Painting in Show
Right opposite Mariko is Bridget Gillespie with her exhibit of Root Vegetables: Lifecycle. It's another really splendid exhibit. I saw the first painting as I came round the corner and told myself I'd found one of the Gold Medal exhibits - and so I had. However in the middle of the exhibit is a really wonderful painting of beetroot - complete with seeds!
Bridget has won two previous Gold Medals for Plums and Pears - the last one being eight years ago. We discussed how much the show has changed in the last eight years!
Coming up in the next few days on this blog will be:
I now have the list of the exhibits for the RHS Botanical Art Show 2017 - to be held at the end of this week in the RHS Lindley Hall in Vincent Square London.
You can find the list below my commentary on the exhibits being displayed this year.
You can find our more information about the artists in RHS Botanical Art 2017 - Selected Artists.
The show is open to the public 24–25th February 10am–5pm. Free Entry - no ticket required
Casting my eye over the list of exhibits I see we will be viewing the usual orchids, roses and camellias as we do most years.
However I'm always more interested in what's novel or unusual. The first one which jumped out at me was the Pandanus (Mariko Ikeda) - which I know can make for a very striking painting. I've got a feeling either Kew or Shirley Sherwood have one in their collections. Here's an example of what I mean.
Another one which was going to be really interesting is Plants of the Holy Qur'an (Sue Wickison GM) - however Sue has had to pull out at the last minute
mainly because I haven't got a clue what these might be but am interested to find out. I couldn't wait so started looking this up on Google and it seems they're a popular topic for academic papers! However one source says there are 22 identifiable plants belonging to seventeen plant families while another says there there are 54 ! I shall wait for Sue to pronounce on the topic however I think I might arrive armed with a list of what I think she might have painted (e.g. Olive, Fig, Pomegranate, Date Palm, Zinger and Allium).
I note that we also have two lots of bamboo and I can't remember a single bamboo submission in the last 10 years!
I looked up Claudine Paquin's Plants of ‘Margredi’, dry grasslands of Friuli as it sounded like a bigger project - and I was right. There's a major restoration project going on so I'm assuming the two might be connected.
Shirley Slocock's Wayside Tracks and Verges appeals to me as it's not going to be cultivated flowers so much as "found" flowers. I assume these will be wild plants - but who knows?
Plus a further display which will not be judged
In terms of different ways of categorising exhibits I make that:
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First I have to apologise to five RHS Botanical Art Gold Medal Winners from last year:
Mea culpa. My only excuse is that I've never before had to do 13 interviews one after the other and then write them all up - besides extracting all their top tips! Then do the blog posts and the website updates.
I guess I'm not surprised I forgot something but I am very sorry it was this blog post.
The good news is that it is now published. My red exhibition/interview book gave up all that was required of it and my braincells remembered more bits as I finished it off! (If you see a woman clutching a red Moleskine at the RHS Botanical Art Show this week it's probably me!)
See Interviews with RHS Botanical Art Gold Medallists - from the UK and Europe
There is more good news (for me).
Yesterday this website exceeded 4,000 pageviews on one day for the first time. Google seems to a big fan of this website and traffic in 2016 has been very good (see chart). After nearly two years, Botanical Art and Artists is now approaching two-thirds of what Making A Mark gets after 11 years of blogging!
Given that this website is now well and truly established - and doing rather well in the comparative rankings of botanical art websites - in future I will be moving virtually all botanical art blog posts to the news blog on this site.
Last night I left Leafscape, the first solo exhibition of watercolour paintings of leaves by Jess Shepherd (aka JR Shepherd), at the Abbott & Holder Gallery in London with the knowledge that she had sold 19 of the 31 watercolour paintings of leaves in the exhibition.
You can see photos of some of the paintings in this review and you can see them all on the Leafscape page on Abbott and Holder's website. For the record:
The exhibition is on at Abbott & Holder, 30 Museum Street, London WC1A 1LH until 6pm Saturday 25th February 2017.
The story started when Jess was an Assistant Curator at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery at Kew and spent an entire summer in 2013 with The Colours Of Reality exhibition by Rory McEwen. Rory of course painted leaves towards the end of his life.
They proved to be a huge inspiration for a botanical artist who was already interested in and painting leaves. - I remember well the Monstera, the Broccoli, the Cos and the absolutely enormous 'Green Giant" coffee arabica plant!
Last year, I spent some time with Jess while she told me her plans for this major solo exhibition. I do very much remember trying to talk her out of planning to exhibit at the RHS Botanical Art Exhibition (next week) at the same time as she had this exhibition!
Over the last year I've watched as the project to develop the paintings for the exhibition gathered apace. Followed by the crowdfunding Kickstarter initiative to develop a properly printed book/catalogue for the exhibition.
In celebration of the Leafscape exhibition, I would really like to produce a limited edition, linen bound, hard-back book that presents all of the paintings and the environmental soundtrack of all the outside sounds from where each leaf was growing at the time it was found.
Her target was £8,500 which would allow the book to be published.
However, the Kickstarter was a roaring success, she got 439 backers who pledged £24,867 to help bring this project to life - and I was one of them! As a result the hard back copies of the book had sold out before the exhibition even opened!
She now has another Kickstarter going for a softback follow up of the book and the copies are limited to 500. 71 have already gone so click the pic below to go there if you're interested.
I talked to the Gallery Director last night about Jess and her Leafscape project and exhibition. He told me that they are very happy with the sales on the PV night but that these were not unexpected.
The reasons why they were very happy to back Jess and give her an exhibition were that:
Those of us who contributed to the crowdfunding for the book will be getting our books very soon as per our commitment.
I highly recommend that anybody coming to London next week for the RHS Botanical Art Show on Friday and Saturday also make an effort to travel across to Museum Street and see this exhibition. Let it kickstart your efforts towards a solo exhibition!
Look out for another blog post from me about Jessica Shepherd and how she got from behind the desk in the gallery at Kew to having a solo exhibition in a gallery in Museum Street opposite the British Museum.
This summer, Jess is going to be the artist in residence at River Cottage HQ during June and July. Lots more leaves to paint there!
When she finally gets to exhibit at the RHS, I just know it's going to be spectacular!
If you'd like to follow Jess in future ventures see:
'Prelude to Spring: Botanical Art in Vermont' opens tomorrow in Brandon, Vermont.
Venue: Compass Music and Arts Foundation, Park Village, 333 Jones Drive (PVT), Brandon, VT 05733
Dates: February 17 - April 1, 2017
Reception: Friday, February 17 from 4-7
This is an exhibition of botanical artwork by three of Vermont's finest botanical artists who produce artwork in response to careful observation of plants and flowers. All three are members of the American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA) and its New England chapter (NESBA).
The NEW Association of `British Botanical Artists (ABBA) today announced its Call for Entries for the UK contribution to the Worldwide Botanical Art Exhibition in 2o18.
In Ruskin's footsteps - "Linking people to plants through botanical art"
The exhibition is OPEN to:
Eligibility: Artists can enter one country’s exhibition, and that is the country of the artist’s primary residence. If an artist’s country of residence is not holding a worldwide exhibition, and the artist has some connection with the UK, the UK can invite the artist to submit an entry to the British exhibition.
The Call for Entries provides all the details that artists need to know at this stage.
Here's the basics of what's required
All entries will be juried by a prestigious team of professional artists, scientists and curators (to be announced at a later date). The paintings will be assessed according to:
In terms of dates there is no time to lose! If interested please note the following dates for the two stage application/submission process
I'm just really pleased to see this exhibition get off the ground. I was involved in getting it started in the Autumn and wrote a very long brief for what needed to be done - which was an awful lot!
Many congratulations are due to all those involved in making the exhibition real and finding a venue (which is really not easy in May!) I know for a fact that there must have been an awful lot of work involved to get this far.
Below you an find a list of the artists exhibiting RHS Botanical Art Show 2017 at the RHS Lindley Hall in London at the end of this month.
The list is organised by the country of origin and/or where they live. In total there are 29 artists (35 in 2016) from 10 different countries (10 in 2016).
The number per country is as follows:
I've highlighted previous Gold Medal Winners by 'GM' after their names. I've also commented on those I know and those where I was able to find some information about them
The link in the name of the artist is to their own website or a website which is representative of their work.
Details of the exhibition
The exhibition opens with a preview on Thursday 23 February 6-9pm. All tickets £5. There are then two full days on Friday 24 and Saturday 25 February (10am-5pm). Free Entry. No ticket required.
Thailand (but living in Scotland)
in addition Barbara Oozeerally GM - is organising a tribute memorial display for the plantsman John Gallagher who died last year.
For information about the other exhibitors see yesterday's post - Who's exhibiting at RHS Botanical Art (London) 2017?
RHS Botanical Art Shows - Reference
RHS Botanical Art Shows are juried and the process of applying and being selected takes some time. However this is one of two of the most prestigious botanical art shows in the world.
This website has two pages helpful to those wanting to exhibit at RHS Botanical Art Shows
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Katherine Tyrrell writes about botanical art and artists and has followers all over the world.
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