Those new to botanical art are often unfamiliar with the differences between botanical illustration, botanical art and flower painting.
This post provides:
What's the difference between botanical art, botanical illustration and flower painting?
On my website I have a page called What is Botanical Art?
At the top of the page there is a summary of the differences between:
Further down the page, I expand on
How do you describe the differences between botanical art and illustration?
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What's the History of Botanical Art?
What is Botanical Art? also provides an introduction to the history of the development of botanical art and illustration and why these differences exist. It provides:
One of the important artists who contributed to the development of contemporary botanical art is Pandora Sellars - who worked as a botanical illustrator for the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew and designed her complex compositions as a trained artist.
She excelled at developing new ways to design botanical paintings to help understand the colour and form of plants in terms of both their flowers and leaves - and has influenced many botanical artists as a result.
I'm very pleased to announce that the Estate of Pandora Sellars and the RHS have given me permission to use an image of the orchid painting which is now part of the RHS Lindley Library Collection on this website. You can see it above. I'm guessing it will be the first view of this work for many people. To my mind, it's a perfect example of how it is possible to combine botanical illustration and botanical art!
This is about how to maintain eye health and how to get prescription eyeglasses which work best for painting detail. It includes one artist's experience of demonstrating to her optician what her prescription needs were - using her paintings and posture.
Working in detail, as botanical artists do, can mean your eyes become strained and deteriorate if you don't look after them and/or use proper lighting, magnification. You can be left feeling tired and unwell.
Obviously, botanical artists recognise the need for:
Investing in a special pair of specs if you are very short-sighted, it was one of those light-bulb moments for me (although it may be obvious to everyone else) and has made a lot of difference. Strangely, the optician was very dubious as to whether it would be worthwhile and seemed quite surprised when I reported that I used them every day.
The Botanical Artists Group (on Facebook) recently had an extensive discussion about eyesight and how best to get glasses which suit an artist's needs. One of the recommendations was to show the optician precisely the range of distances needed for glasses for painting.
So one artist did that - and this is her story of what happened next!
Prescribing eyeglasses for botanical art - Susan Tomlinson's story
This is a follow up to an earlier thread about task-specific glasses for botanical painting. On the very good advice in that thread, I took some of my paintings in to my optometrist to show him what I actually paint.
I think this really helped a lot, because when you say you “paint”, people have a very different idea of what that means from what we actually do. It not only helped him see what I needed, he was also fascinated by the problem of creating glasses that would help me. (He even looked at one of the paintings under his microscope.)
So after trying out a few different powers of lenses, we settled on a pair of bifocals.
This is important, because while I normally wear progressive lenses, he explained that progressives would not have the precision for what I needed.
I told him that I had tried using some reading glasses I had bought online, but that they didn’t help, and he said that the quality of the optics of “over-the-counter” reading glasses is not as good as we need it to be.
Also, we chose
This means that I can’t really use the glasses for anything else, since anything beyond a couple of feet is out of focus for me.
We talked about trifocals, but decided this would make the bottom focal length too small to be useful for painting.
I used the glasses for a couple of weeks and was very pleased. I was able to paint without using a magnifying lens at all, which is very freeing.
It took some getting used to - not being able to see beyond two feet - but I wear the glasses on a cord, so when I need to look beyond, I just take them off.
Today was a follow up and after we talked a bit, he decided to tape a couple of lenses to the inside of the new glasses to see if I would benefit from going to a slightly higher power on the bottom lens. I took them home and painted with them for a while and was amazed. Honest to goodness, these glasses are a miracle.
So I called back and his optician was waiting for my call. He had already spoken to her about a possible tweak to the prescription and she was ready for it.
I mention this because I think that taking the paintings in is really what made the difference. He and his staff are really engaged in helping me get some glasses for painting.
I thought I’d post this in the hopes it might be useful to someone else in terms of:
Finally, I can also report at this writing that my eyes feel much more rested at the end of a long day of painting than they did before I had the task-specific glasses.
...and another thing...
On the basis of all this, I also took my paintings in to my Physical Therapy session a couple of weeks ago. I have been going to PT for a rotator cuff issue associated with a tennis injury, but I kept asking my PT about exercises that might help my posture while I paint.
It didn’t click with him about what I needed until I took my paintings in. Suddenly, that became part of the therapy.
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I knew that the Society of Botanical Artists were planning a video of their annual exhibition. This morning it's finally been published! I've embedded:
Sadly, the SBA will NOT be having an annual OPEN exhibition in England in 2018.
Billy Showell (President Designate) and her team are looking for alternative options for a future venue for this annual OPEN exhibition.
The SBA Winter Newsletter which I received at the weekend indicates there will be a number of smaller exhibitions and satellite events supported by SBA members - such as:
I've now updated my Exhibitions Pages for all known botanical art exhibitions / exhibits - see
Did you know you can get your botanical art exhibition listed?
Just use the form at the bottom of every exhibition page to send me the details.
For those wanting to improve their botanical art knowledge and skills
The Best Botanical Art and Illustration Instruction Books
(including the NEW book for 2018 about
"Botanical Painting" by Margaret Stevens PPSBA)
Botanical Art Classes, Courses and Tutors
around the world
Yesterday Botanical Art Worldwide launched its NEW Facebook Page https://www.facebook.com/botanicalartworldwide/
This is a public page so can be accessed by anybody who is online irrespective of whether they are members of Facebook or not.
If you're already a member of Facebook you can like/follow the page.
As the post below indicates you can also follow events associated with all Botanical art Worldwide via the hashtag #BotanicalArtWorldwide
You can also share your own news - from your country's organising committee or your personal news - if you send a message to the Page (via Facebook).
The equivalent of the RHS Botanical Art Exhibition in Scotland is BISCOT which is shorthand for Botanical Images Scotia.
BISCOT takes place every June at the Gardening Scotland Show held at the Royal Highland Showground at Ingliston, beside Edinburgh Airport. It's the largest plant fair in Scotland.
What makes BISCOT different is that it then moves to and is hung again in the John Hope Gateway Building at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE).
This Scottish based exhibition is held at Gardening Scotland under the auspices of the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society and in conjunction with the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. It is then relocated to the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh for three weeks. It aims to promote excellence in botanical painting and illustration. BISCOT is competitive and certificates are awarded in Gold, Silver-gilt, Silver and Bronze categories. The unique silver Mary Mendum Medal may be awarded for an exhibit of exceptional quality.
Who is eligible to show at BISCOT 2018?
BISCOT runs on the same principles as the RHS Shows i.e. BISCOT has a "qualified" open entry.
The only people eligible to show at BISCOT 2018 are:
The deadline to apply for space to exhibit at this year's Botanical Images Scotia (BISCOT) Exhibition in 2018 is 14th February 2018. i.e. you have three weeks left to get an application submitted.
BISCOT 2018 - the details
How to qualify to show in 2019 and beyond
There is no limitation on where artists live or work.
(International artists who do not live in the EU who are importing art for exhibitions in the EU will need to reference Customs and Excise requirements re VAT - see the section about VAT for Organisations, Exhibitions & Competitions in VAT for Artists on my Art Business Info site)
However if you are not an RHS medal winner (Gold or Silver Gilt) and have not graduated from RBGE Diploma with distinction, you first need to be qualify i.e. be approved to exhibit - and this happens a long time in advance of an exhibition.
The deadline to submit work or images to be considered for assessment for future exhibitions (2019 and onwards) is Friday 25 May 2018.
The following reproduces the details of the BISCOT assessment process - as both a PDF file and details quoted from the file.
SUBMISSIONS: UK residents are required to submit 4 original works.
Please note there is a limitation on "approved to exhibit"
If an artist has not exhibited within seven years following successful assessment, then work must be re-submitted for a new assessment. If the reason for not exhibiting has been lack of space, then the period of eligibility will be extended and the artist will be given priority in the next exhibition.
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This post is about why botanical art does not get selected for open exhibitions with high standards for botanical accuracy.
The Organising Committee of Botanical Art Worldwide 2018 : Thailand Edition has published a list of those who have passed the FIRST stage of selection. The second stage involves selection from actual artwork rather than digital images and associated information.
Their list of those progressing to Stage 2 also very usefully list the reasons why some plants / botanical art did NOT make it to the second round.
In truth, It's a very relevant summary of many of the reasons why botanical art frequently fails to get selected for botanical art exhibitions which ensure botanical rigour in selection. Only the native plant rationale is relevant to this particular exhibition.
Personally, I think it's a very educational listing and could usefully be studied by all students of botanical art.
So - thanks to Google Translate - here are their list of reasons.
Reasons why artworks were not selected
This exhibition is by way of a proper tribute to one of the very best botanical artists - and possibly the best leaf painter ever!
She has a special place in botanical art history as her solo exhibition at Kew in 1990 triggered Shirley Sherwood's interest in collecting botanical art.
She was also awarded the the Jill Smythies Award for excellence in botanical illustration by the Linnean Society in 1992.
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