I've been asked by the Society of Botanical Artists to do a talk about "How to Exhibit at the RHS Botanical Art Show" on Wednesday 18th May 2022.
Below are details about the talk - which is open to all.
TALK: How to exhibit at the RHS Botanical Art Show
“We are delighted to have been awarded this year's botanical art prize. It will enable the SSBA to grow by introducing beginners and other artists in the north and south of Scotland to the joy in capturing the beauty of plants in the fine detail of botanical art, and hopefully inspire them to continue learning."
WHAT THE JUDGES THOUGHT!
The judges thought that the entries were of a very high standard. However, they particularly liked the SSBA’s plan to
“We are delighted to award the biennial Finnis Scott Botanical Art Prize to the Society of Scottish Botanical Artists, to help in their work enabling Scots outside the central belt to participate in the creation of botanical artworks, with all the benefits that come with that.
The Society won the prize against very stiff competition from other groups in the United Kingdom. We wish the SSBA good fortune in their endeavours."
Ursula Buchan, Chair of the Finnis Scott Foundation
“The Prize is unique in that it offers the opportunity for dedicated botanical art societies and similar groups to apply for funding to develop projects they wouldn’t otherwise be able to carry out. The botanical artist often works alone, so the opportunity to work in collaboration as part of a group can be incredibly inspiring.”
Sandra Wall-Armitage (one of the Judges)
The Society will present an exhibition of 50 recent botanical paintings linking the historic Banks’ and Solander specimens held in the National Herbarium of NSW with the Living Collection of the three Gardens. This project was created to mark the 250th anniversary of Captain Cook’s voyage in the Endeavour in 2020.
The majority of the Banks and Solander specimens represented in the new works were collected at Botany Bay and the remainder from several locations in Queensland. Fresh plant material was sourced in many ways; with the co-operation of the botanic gardens in Cambridge, Oxford and Kew in the UK and a specialist nursery in California as well as from the three Gardens of the Trust in Australia. One artist sourced seeds from Western Australia and grew them in Cambridge; another painted from plants on the Amahlongwana River in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. In Australia, some material was obtained from specialist nurseries and grown on at home; naturally, many grow in Sydney and the areas of collection in Queensland.
The Florilegium at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney by Dianne Sutherland (one of the artists)
The Portfolio category is different because it offers entrants the ability to:
* Submit a portfolio of work based on a minimum 6 images. The submission must form a series OR have a distinct common theme. It should include a hanging plan with a 250 word statement describing the work.
* From entries submitted, an initial shortlist is created having been assessed by our panel of Portfolio judges.
* All photographers shortlisted for the Portfolio category, are then invited to prepare their work in print, ready to hang their entry for exhibition at an RHS show.
* Exhibits in the portfolio category are judged as a whole against a set of RHS criteria at a designated RHS show.
* The RHS medals offered are Gold, Silver Gilt, Silver and Bronze
* A ‘Best Portfolio Photography exhibit’ with a prize is awarded to the most outstanding exhibit.
RHS Photographic Competition: Portfolio Category 2022 (PDF Guidance)
Who are the judges?
Portfolio is judged by members of the RHS Portfolio Judging Panel. Panel members come from a wide range of backgrounds, some are professional plant and garden photographers, others are photographers working in other fields such as architecture. Others have their background in plantsmanship or gardening but all have a keen interest in photographic art and plants. Judges are selected each year and they do change year on year depending on their availability.
Portfolio is judged against a variety of criteria including the technical execution of the photography, how the portfolio hangs together as a whole, how the portfolio is presented and the horticultural content of the images........
Rules for the exhibition will be provided once date and venue are confirmed.
All photographs must be mainly of plants, flowers or gardens or some aspect of botany or horticulture, including fungi and lichens. This may include people in a horticultural environment. Images which include other aspects of garden wildlife such as birds, mammals or invertebrates must ensure that they are balanced with sufficient plant content and that the wildlife content is not dominant.
I hope that people will enjoy this portfolio of tree portraits, some ancient and others that help to make the rich tapestry of British Woodlands.
Narrative of Paul Mitchell's exhibit label
Gold medals are only awarded to exhibits of the highest standards.
The decision to paint pollen grains too much research and thought. To paint something which is invisible to the naked eye, to capture is structure, form, beauty, colour and shape was a deeply exciting project.
Andrew Brown developed his skill in botanical illustration through his doctoral work on palynological vegetation history and during a career as an educator in the independent school sector. After retirement, he devoted himself to illustration fulltime. His detailed paintings of Alaskan wildflowers based on drawings done from life, have been exhibited at the Society and elsewhere. Other paintings have been selected for inclusion in limited edition botanical works, such as the Highgrove Florilegium. The black and white illustrations accompanying new species descriptions and floristic treatments demonstrate his skill in depicting detail, as well as the overall aspect of a plant, ensuring they are both faithful to the specimen from which they are drawn and aid in identification. He also contributes to the promotion of excellence in botanical illustration through his participation in societies and in botanical illustration workshops.
Citation for 2022 Jill Smythies Award
An exhibit is only as good as the weakest painting.
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