The NEW SSBA Botanical Art Introductory and Intermediate courses in the south (Dumfries) and north (Aviemore) of Scotland are now available for
The courses are open to both SSBA members, other individuals and art groups in the south and north of Scotland who are interested in learning and developing their botanical art skills. The aim of the support is to provide better tuition in areas where it has been a scarce resource in the past.
The courses are spread over two Academic Years: Year 1 2022-23 and Year 2 2023-24.
Funded by the Finnis Scott Foundation Botanical Art Prize 2022,
You can find details - including venues and suggested accommodation on:
I got into botanical art because of my mother. The fact that this website exists starts with her.
Every year when I was young, Mummy always ordered an RHS Desk Diary. These had botanical illustrations at periodic intervals throughout the year. We were both intrigued by them and loved the illustrations of flowers, fruit and vegetables- particularly those by Redoute. Every year I looked forward to seeing her new one to see what new pleasures would be inside. Over time, once the diary was finished, plates were removed and inserted into frames and hung on the wall.
She also enjoyed art and I remember artwork she did for her local Women's Institute involving plants from every season. She was also very encouraging about my own artistic endeavours.
Then there was her love of plants and gardening and visiting gardens. As an adult, I lived in London and she continued to live in Cheshire. Most of my visits to her involved very long visits to plant centres, planting the garden and even longer visits to various gardens near her home in Cheshire. Latterly, as we both became less mobile together, we became very appreciative of gardens on the level - and rollators!
Nowadays I'm rather less mobile and mother (in her late seventies) is even less so. For those who like visiting gardens but have difficulty walking, Tatton is an excellent place to visit as it provides electric wheelchairs of the sort you see many older people now using to do their shopping. Mother whizzed around gravel paths and on and off grassy banks in one - she even managed the steep slope at the side of the Italian gardens! Fortunately I managed to persuade her to sharpen all my pencils for me before she started getting too ambitious!
I liked the way she always called plants by their correct Latin names and I now wander around gardens and identify plants as I go with names which just pop into my head. My knowledge of most of them can only come from listening to her over very many years.
As she became older and more arthritic, we devised new ways to garden at her home to take account of her mobility. I ran around uprooting weeds, pruning and generally licking the garden into better shape while she she sat in one spot filling the garden rubbish bin and making me cups of tea!
I saw her in June and spent some of my time moving all her big plant pots around so she had the best view of all the plants which were blooming just beyond the huge sliding windows which provided her with such an excellent view of her garden.
(She was tickled pink when my sketch of her garden (see below) was given the double page spread introducing section 2 "Deciding what to draw" in my book about sketching!)
(below) Further to yesterday's post A NEW Giant Water Lily - discovered and illustrated by Lucy Smith, some of you may be interested in video of some of the challenges of illustrating water lilies
Channel 5 have been collaborating with Kew Gardens to create an excellent series called Kew Gardens - A Year in Bloom which aired for the first time last year 2021. It's about the work of the gardens - and the people who work within it - who of course include botanical illustrators.
Episode 3 included a section on the work of Lucy Smith, one of Kew's freelance botanical illustrators, and the challenges she has faced when trying to get specimens of giant water lilies to draw and then paint.
This YouTube video (below) - posted by Channel 5, is has been compiled from extracts from Episode 3 of their series and is called "Trying to catch the night-time bloom of the Waterlilies"
In it you see:
The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew have today announced the publication of a paper about the discovery of Victoria boliviana a brand NEW Giant Water Lily. Moreover it is now officially recognised to be the LARGEST in the world.
Oddly, the newly-named Victoria boliviana has actually been sitting in Kew’s Herbarium for 177 years - alongside Victoria amazonica and Victoria cruziania..
A multi-disciplinary team of Kew experts - spearheaded by botanical illustrator Lucy T. Smith and Kew's tropical horticulturist Carlos Magdalena - have now revealed the plant to be new to science – the first giant water lily "discovery" in more than a century..
The paper’s authors decided to name the species in honour of Bolivian partners and the South American home of the waterlily where it grows in the aquatic ecosystems of Llanos de Moxos.
The announcement is of particular interest to botanical illustrators for two reasons:
You can read Lucy's account of the project in her new blog post on the topic - which she has been writing for the last four years - and provides the botanical illustrator's perspective on this amazing story of plant discovery - see Victoria boliviana - a new species of Giant Waterlily | Lucy Smith Blog (4th July 2022)
Delimitation of the Giant Water Lily Victoria:
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