Highlights of her career in botanical art and education include:
The English Gardening School was the first school to offer a serious, structured botanical art course based on historical and scientific traditions. The original course was devised, introduced and taught by Anne-Marie Evans
Below are sites online which reference Anne-Marie Evans
Changes to the submission process
The Society of Botanical Artists (SBA) last week published its call for entries for its 2016 Annual Exhibition which takes place, as usual, at Central Hall Westminster in London in April 2016. The theme this year is "Shape, Pattern, Structure" which I personally think is very likely to produce some fascinating entries with a more contemporary feel.
While the exhibition venue and dates remain the same as usual, the submission process has changed.
I've written an overview of the whole process on my main blog ( see Making A Mark: Call for Entries: Society of Botanical Artists' Annual Exhibition 2016 ) and below I highlight and comment on the main changes - relating to:
Fees have changed
Instead of having a very complex range of fees covering (a) submission and (b) hanging - both of which varied by size - there is now just one fee which covers everything irrespective of size.
I have to say I think this is a major improvement. The "one-fee-for-everything" is
Digital entry has been introduced
I guess the fee change was inevitable given that the Society is also following the trend of switching to digital entry already adopted by many other national art societies and major art competitions in both the UK and across the world.
A number of art societies have now introduced digital entry for their open exhibitions. This is a process which has been happening over the last five years or so and is now becoming the accepted way of entering work in many prestigious exhibitions from the RA's Summer Exhibition to the open exhibitions of many of the other national art societies.
In this instance the SBA is using 2016 to pilot the process with non-members. From 2017 I understand that digital entry will be mandatory for both SBA members and non-members - which gives members a long time to get their skills up to speed or to identify people who can help them with submission.
There is no absolute requirement to use digital entry if the timescale and implications of the change make it difficult for anybody. However there are significant advantages to using this method of entry
Advantages for artists
The major advantage for artists is that digital entry cuts down on their expenses.
The one requirement that it's essential for artists to get to to grips with is how to photograph and manipulate artwork so that it is suitable for submission - and I'll be writing more about this.
Obviously digital entry will not suit everybody right away. However older artists who are not computer savvy will usually have somebody amongst their family, friends of local art group who can help them out.
Advantages for art societies
I don't know the exact reasons why the SBA are bringing in digital entry
The major advantage of this method of entry - for an art society - that I know about are as follows:
The timeline for submission has changed
This is one aspect of the Call for Entries which I think needs to be reviewed in the light of the experiences this year and may well need fine tuning next year.
While the process for entering work via the Receiving Day remains the same as last year, the timeline for submission via the digital entry process is tight between the call for entries and the deadline for submission. The caveat of allowing non-members to continue to use the normal Receiving Day process is very helpful in avoiding any problems this year for those who find the new process 'strange'. (On a personal basis, I'm expecting to enter works using both methods!)
I know the timescales have been partly influenced by the introduction of a very nice new website in order to facilitate the digital entry.
For the next exhibition in 2017, I'd like to suggest that the SBA should aim to emulate the sort of timescale and notification provided by the FBA Societies where:
The Annual Exhibition will be on display - as normal - in the Aldersgate Room of Central Hall Westminster, Storey’s Gate, London SW1H 9NH between 15th and 23rd April 2016.
I look forward to seeing many of my readers there - and all the work of course!
One very important aspect of botanical illustration is making a record of important heritage plants and trees.
This is the first in a series of posts I intend to write about important botanical paintings - or opportunities to paint plants to record an important event or a transformation.
Last month it became apparent that an important opportunity may exist in Scotland for those who might like to record an ancient tree that is apparently changing gender - from male to female. This October it grew three red berries!
The Fortingall Yew
The Fortingall Yew is an ancient heritage tree (Taxus baccata) of international importance. It's believed to be one of the oldest trees in Europe and is almost certainly the oldest tree in the UK.
It's estimated to be around 2,000 years old but could be as old as 5,000 years. It can't be aged on the basis of tree rings as the trunk has changed over time. The trunk was measured as being 56 feet by Thomas Pennent in 1769. However the centre has rotted and it has now split into several separate stems or offshoots.
The tree is rooted in Fortingall churchyard between Killin and Aberfeldy in Perthshire.
A tree that is changing sex
The reason the tree has been getting a lot of coverage across the world of late is that it's apparently changing sex!
An article Oldest Yew changes sex (23 October 2015) in the Botanic Stories blog of the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh triggered the interest. As it indicates
....the Fortingall Yew is a male tree. Yews are normally either male or female and in autumn and winter sexing yews is generally easy. Males have small spherical structures that release clouds of pollen when they mature. Females hold bright red berries from autumn into winter. It was, therefore, quite a surprise to me to find a group of three ripe red berries on the Fortingal yew this October when the rest of the tree was clearly male.
Apparently gender morphing by yews and other conifers is not unheard of but tends to be associated with the crown - although there are a few species which routinely grow both male and female parts.
In this species gender change is rare. In this particular instance just one branch has decided to be female - and grow three bright red berries in October - while the rest of the tree continues to be a traditional male!
It'll be interesting to see what happens next Autumn and whether the berries appear again.
I suggest botanical artists form an orderly queue next October to paint it!
BBC | Berries show ancient Fortingall yew tree is 'changing sex' (2 November 2015)
Visit Scotland: How to get there
Rory McEwen studied the Carnations drawn and painted by Georges Ehret while he was at Eton. His art master was Wilfrid Blunt who was, at the time, writing "The Art of Botanical Illustration" (Chapter 12 is all about 'The Age of Ehret')
Did you know you too can study an original Georg Ehret Carnation - in Gouache and graphite on vellum - via an image uploaded to the Google Art Project by the Getty Institute. You can also download it for your personal education - without charge - from this page on the Getty website
If you click on the image and zoom you can see all the marks made in very high resolution.
The Lindley Library at the headquarters of the Royal Horticultural Society specialises in botanical art and garden history. The botanical art collection of the Lindley Library is the home of the artwork purchased from artists displaying at the RHS Botanical Art Show - as well as many treasures produced by artists in the past.
It is often a place of reference for botanical artists wanting to find out more about a topic they are interested in.
However, anybody wanting to pay a visit to the Lindley Library this winter - or during the RHS Botanical Art Show in February - will need to have a rethink as it will be closed.
The RHS have announced the arrangements for the temporary closure of the Lindley Library while they undertake a major refurbishment project. All the botanical art has been packed up and sent off to safe and secure storage!
You can find details of the arrangements and dates online in Lindley Library closure winter 2015/16 (pdf file)
The works include:
I've created a new page - About Arthur Harry Church - botanist and botanical illustrator (1865-1937) - in the Past Masters section of this website for the botanist and botanical illustrator Arthur Harry Church.
It will be of particular interest for those more interested in the scientific and botanical side of botanical illustration - or interested in the famous past masters of botanical illustration.
Church was a Lecturer in Botany who spent his entire working life at the University of Oxford. His particular interest was the anatomy and morphology of plants and flowers and he produced excellent illustrations of the anatomy of flowers.
He was the proverbial "past Master" when it came to dissection and preparing specimens for illustration and he developed very many illustrations to accompany his lectures.
He published towards the end of his life - however his insistence on the quality of publishing required for his illustrations meant that there was only limited publication of his illustrations in his lifetime.
The Natural History Museum now houses The Arthur Church Drawings Collection. This contains 773 original watercolour drawings for the book that never happened "The Hundred Best Flowers".
Those who have seen his drawings are almost always amazed at the profiles he produces and their descriptive power.
The new page includes links to where you can read his original books ONLINE - including his botanical memoirs and his Part 1 of Types of Floral Mechanism.
This website includes a list of all known Florilegium Societies across the world.
Florilegium societies around the world
One of my aims is to compile a reference page for all the Florilegium Societies around the globe
I've got a number of references to Florilegiums on the website. These include:
I'd love to hear about any other groups which have been set up which have not responded my searches online.
Membership of a Florilegium Society
The route to becoming a member of the different groups varies and is not as straightforward as joining an ordinary botanical art society.
Typically groups are looking for competent botanical artists who can contribute botanical illustrations at an appropriate standard - and can make a commitment to producing a specific number of illustrations within a specific timescale. Again this caries from group to group.
Most welcome enquiries however please note that it's not unusual for access to membership to be via invitation only.
I would comment that it would be really nice if all Florilegium Societies made sure that they have very clear and accessible statements as to who is eligible to join and how to go about this.
Books about Florilegia
One of the interesting conundrums of the Society supporting the development of a Florilegium is how best to make it accessible to a wider group of people.
My personal view is that it's disappointing to think of so many people putting in so much effort only for the drawings and paintings to be archived and a select few only brought out periodically for exhibition.
What I am noticing is that the more well established Florilegia are now beginning to do or think about action with respect to two things:
In the next post in this series I'll highlight other botanical art groups.
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