Fiona Strickland: Tulipa Exhibition opened last week at the Jonathan Cooper Gallery in Park Walk, Chelsea. Below you can find my review and images of the exhibition and what Fiona told me about her painting when we met up for lunch on Thursday last week. Plus more about Fiona and the presentation of the paintings at the end.
This is Fiona Strickland's second - and much awaited - solo exhibition after The Vital Moment in 2016. So much so that Botanical art collectors and lovers of heritage tulips had bought a number of her paintings before Tulipa opened!
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND botanical artists pay a visit. It's a rare exhibition of botanical artwork of a very high quality. I'm very sure that all those who work in vellum and all those who aspire to do must surely want to visit - because Fiona sets a benchmark which has been rarely equalled or exceeded. Besides - I also know a number of botanical artists, like me, are also botanical art collectors!
Do not forget your magnifier to see if you can spot her brush strokes!
You have until 26 September to visit the Exhibition (and must book a visiting time in advance due to social distancing requirements)
If you can't get to Chelsea you can either:
I went to see Tulipa on Thursday but met up with Fiona Strickland and her husband Robert McNeill for lunch in Chelsea beforehand. We had a wonderful catch-up since our last "chinwag" at the RHS Botanical Art Show in 2019 and I asked her about the exhibition.
This exhibition of stunning tulips should have been held in prime Tulip season back in Spring. However it was not to be. Like so many others, this exhibition was opening late - having, of course, been postponed due to the Pandemic.
It has been more than two years in the making - tulips only bloom in the spring!
The timescale was in part determined by Fiona's decision to paint some of the English Florists' tulips which are only available from the Wakefield and North of England Tulip Society - who have been showing them since 1836! This is the sole surviving Tulip Society in the UK - which grows heritage tulips (including English Florists' Tulip which are characterised by the flamed and feathered markings caused by Tulip Breaking Virus - which made them highly valued during Tulipomania). They also supplied Rory McEwen with tulips for his paintings. Indeed two of the tulip paintings in the show are of Tulipa ‘Rory McEwen’, a Bybloemen Flame tulip that was named in McEwen’s honour. One on Kelmscott Vellum and one on Rory McEwen Kelmscott bequeathed to her by the Hunt Institute where his vellum supplies now reside.
Like Rory McEwen before her, having learned of its work Strickland became a member, and was delighted to be gifted prize- winning tulips from its annual show to depict in her work. Carefully transporting them home in the brown beer bottles in which they are exhibited, after painting these perfect specimens Strickland could not bear to part with them, and has preserved their dried forms in her studio. Catalogue
There are eighteen watercolour paintings of tulips in this solo show - predominantly English Florists' Tulips - of which thirteen have now sold.
The Spring Exhibition at the Jonathan Cooper Gallery in Chelsea is celebrating botanical art with an ONLINE Exhibition - due to the constraints imposed by the lockdown.
Fiona Strickland (six works) - Fiona is a world renowned botanical artist and tutor who lives in Scotland. b.1956 in Edinburgh , she received a Post Graduate Diploma in Fine Art at Edinburgh College of Art. Her watercolour paintings are complex and very detailed and demonstrate her amazing control over multiple layers of transparent watercolour to create her intense colour and beautifully rendered tone for the smallest details. She has exhibited internationally and has won several awards including a Royal Horticultural Society Gold Medal (2008) and The Hort's "Best in Show" Award at 18th Annual International in New York. Her botanical artwork is much in demand and is included in premier collections around the world - including the RHS Lindley Library, the Shirley Sherwood Collection and the Hunt Institute of Botanical Documentation and numerous private collections in Europe, USA and Australia. Jonathan Cooper represents her in the UK and the works in this show feature single blooms of spring flowers - tulips, poppies and hippeastrum.
Colour is Fiona Strickland’s signature approach to botanical watercolour. Her attention to detail and technical virtuosity in the use of transparent washes - used to build her vibrant paintings - highlights her skill in handling colour. Strickland's emotive response to the visual elements of colour, tone, texture and movement in the plant world is captured in her very personal approach to botanical painting.
Note also that Fiona Strickland's second solo exhibition "Tulipa" at Jonathan Cooper - which was due to be held this May - will now be held between 4th - 26th September 2020. It will feature 18 paintings in watercolour on vellum. I'll be writing more about this in due course.
Rosie Sanders (six works) - Rosie lives and works in Devon and is well known for creating large to very large paintings of intense colour in watercolour on a variety of paper (Arches, Saunders Waterford and Richard de Bas). In London, her works is available from Jonathan Cooper's Park Walk Gallery and the works in the exhibition are priced between £3,800 and £34,000. She is a self-taught artist who started as a freelance botanical artist in 1974. Since then she has won five RHS gold medals and researched, written and illustrated a number of books including one on Roses and another on The English Apple. She exhibited with the Hunt Institute of Botanical Documentation in 1992 and her work was in the very first exhibition at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art at Kew (and a number of others since). Her work is included in numerous collections and she has been commissioned to produce paintings for both the Queen and the Queen Mother.
Beverley Allen (six works) - was born in Sydney in 1945 and is now one of the leading botanical artists in Australia. has exhibited annually at the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney ‘Botanica’ Exhibition since 1999 and internationally including New York, Washington, Chicago, Amsterdam, Tokyo, Kyoto and London - winning prestigious awards. Her paintings are included in the Highgrove Florilegium and in the collections of the Royal Botanic Gardens in both Sydney and Kew Gardens, the RHS Lindley Library, the Hunt Institute in Pittsburgh. Her paintings in the exhibition are in watercolour on Arches paper, mostly at 50 x 40cm (£3,800 - £8,500)
I'm a very big fan of comprehensive and well organised catalogues of art materials. I like people who take the trouble to provide information about the paints and other colour media that artists use - including pigment numbers and lightfastness ratings.
I also know from talking about the art materials used for botanical art with very many botanical artists that there's a keen interest amongst very many artists about what's best, what's on offer and what's new.
"New", of course, is a relative term. If you've not previously been aware of a brand, colours, associated materials then it's "new to you".
Which is long way round of identifying that Jackson's Art have produced an extremely impressive 132 page guide in its Watercolour Catalogue 20/21. I've never ever seen one before that beats this one - and I've looked at lots over the years.
It's not available as a document. It's only available as a digital file. I don't blame them - it would cost a lot of money to produce as a print document and maintain the very necessary print quality on the colours and shades. Viewed on screen, what colours look is entirely down to how good your screen is and whether it is white balanced.
The American Society of Botanical Artists have now been announced the Awards for artwork in the 22nd Annual International Exhibition at the Marin Art & Garden Center in California.
BELOW you can click on:
Marin Art and Garden Center Best in Show Award ($500)
I have to say I was hugely impressed by this painting when I saw it online for the first time and it seems a very worthy winner of Best in Show to me. I always think of this plant as a bit of a drama queen whenever I see it in gardens and Linda has caught that flavour and colour with her dynamic composition and very controlled colour palette. I also really loved her 'bad hair day' analogy about the complexity and structure of the leaves in her back story!
Her backstory provides a wonderful insight into how she approached painting a plant such as the Eryngium alpinum.
In 2018 I was shopping with Marilyn Garber at our flower wholesaler for the subject of the next class I was to teach at the Minnesota School of Botanical Art. It was entitled Enlarging Scale & Format. I was to teach my students to use a gridding system and enlarge a small subject by three times, which would use most of a full sheet of paper. I was looking for a plant that would offer my students enough complexity and detail that they would need to be very diligent in ‘mapping’ out the placement of their lines within each grid space and achieve a complex, but obtainable challenge. When I found the bouquets of Sea Holly, Eryngium alpinum, I knew that I found something that would work beautifully for our purposes. READ MORE
Linda uses the traditional technique of developing layers of transparent washes, then using a very small brush to develop detail, colour and form using the drybrush technique. She's been working as an Instructor at The Minnesota School of Botanical Art since 2016. Prior to this she worked for many years creating customised murals for clients. Linda has previously had work in and was awarded a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Portland School of Art, ME. in 1982. She has a strong exhibition record with ASBA in recent years.
Brooklyn Botanic Garden Award for Print or Drawing ($500)
Patricia and I were emailing backwards and forwards yesterday about another matter and she never said a word about her award!
ASBA Eleanor Wunderlich Award ($500)
Svetlana Lanse is a professional artist and art teacher living in Saint-Petersburg, Russia. She graduated from Higher School of Folk Arts (institute) where she learned about botanical art by copying artwork by Pierre Joseph Redouté and Maria Sibylla Merian. She is currently trying to popularise botanical art in Russia using Instagram (@botanical_watercolor) and has more than 85,000 followers. In May 2018 she was juror of Botanical Art Worldwide exhibition (Russia) with Alexander Viazmensky, Natalia Alatortseva, Yaroslav Bazanova and Darya Fomicheva.
Richmond and Lili Bates Award for Excellence
Katherine Tyrrell writes about botanical art and artists and has followers all over the world.
BAA Visitors so far....
since June 2015
Subscribe to BAA News
Blog posts are emailed to you when you
It will NOT be used for anything else and will NEVER be given to anybody else.
You can unsubscribe at any time
© Katherine Tyrrell 2015-18
Unauthorised use or duplication of ANY material on this blog without written permission is strictly prohibited. Please also respect the copyright of all artists featured here.
What's your news?
This blog highlights news - in brief - about botanical art exhibitions around the world.
Use the Contact form to tell me about an exhibition and provide a summary of relevant information. If listing your event I will ask you for relevant images.
The Best Botanical Art Instruction Books
Tap the pic to check out my recommendations
The Best Books about Botanical Art History
Tap the pic to check out my recommendations
Workshops, Classes & Courses
Find out about botanical art workshops, classes courses offered by various organisations and artists in:
Read other Botanical Art Blogs
READ Blogs about botanical art and/or by botanical artists & illustrators
BAA News Archives
This page Botanical Art & Artists on my main blog has an archive of blog posts about past exhibitions of the Society of Botanical Art and Artists
News Blog about artists, awards, exhibitions etc.
Please send me .
- news to share
- info. about exhibitions
- any suggestions for what you'd like to see on this website
- Best Books about Botanical Art History
- History of Botanical Art
- Botanical Art Online
Contact me if you'd like to promote workshops and courses on this site.
This website is free to you but not for me! (See Affiliate Income below)
Cookies, Personal Data & Privacy tells you how this site relates to and impacts on you and your privacy - and your choices.
Product & company names may be trademarks of their respective owners
About Affiliate Income: This website has been created to share information not to make a profit. I am an Amazon Associate and earn from qualifying purchases (e.g. books from Amazon) which helps offset costs associated with maintaining this very large website.