In this post you'll find a list of the botanical artists winning medals at the Botanical Art at the Bloom Show in Dublin - plus a brief profile of each artist winning a medal. The exhibition also includes paintings by floral artists but this post is limited to the botanical artists.
This year, Bloom - the largest gardening festival in Ireland - was held at the OPW Visitor's Centre, in Phoenix Park Dublin between 1st and 5th June 2017. Today is the last day.
At the end, there is a commentary on how this botanical art show compares to others and a suggestion for possibly how the show might develop in future.
I'm always pleased to see Shevaun Doherty progressing in her career as a professional botanical artist and tutor. Shevaun enrolled for the Distance Learning Diploma Course (DLDC) in Botanical Illustration run by the Society of Botanical Artists after reading A Making A Mark Interview with Margaret Stevens - my interview with Margaret Stevens PPSBA, FSBA the then President of the Society of Botanical Artists and the Course Director for the SBA Diploma. The major advantage of the course for Shevaun was that she could do the assignments while living in Egypt! On one memorable occasion she completed her assignment on carrots while Egyptian uprising (and their version of the Arab Spring) Egyptian Spring made lots of noise outside her window!
As a result I've followed her career. Shevaun graduated the DLDC with a Distinction in her Diploma and has gone on to win a number of awards and medals. She is now the vellum painting tutor for the Distance Learning Diploma Course offered by the Society of Botanical Artists.
This is her fourth Gold Medal at Bloom - and her first Best in Show.
Siobhan Larkin was the Winner of Best in Show last year - and the year before! She has also exhibited at the 15th International Exhibition of Botanical Art & Illustration at the Hunt Institute of Botanical Documentation in Pittsburgh, PA. She works in watercolour pencils - but she's not a fan of being online - hence no website.
Holly Somerville is is an Irish botanical artist, illustrator and teacher. She has academic accreditation to be a botanical artist from both the science and artistic perspectives. She has an MA in Botany from Somerville College, Oxford and a BA in Visual Communication from Edinburgh College of Art, where she specialised in illustration and photography. In the past she has worked in the herbarium of the Botany Department of Trinity College, Dublin. She has produced very many botanically correct pen and ink drawings for publications about Irish Flora and researchers at Trinity College and other universities around the world.
Silver Gilt Medal
Lynn lives and works in County Wicklow. She studied Fine Art at DIT College of Marketing and Design in Dublin as a mature student and graduated with a first in painting. She regularly holds botanical art classes and exhibits her work at various plant fairs in Ireland (see website for details). She won an RHS Silver Medal in 2013 when she exhibited six paintings about Kilmacurragh and the Plant Hunters from her long term project to paint plants from Kilmacurragh (part of the National Botanic Gardens). She's a member of ISBA and ASBA.See An Interview with Lynn Stringer
Nayana Sandur was born and raised in India but now lives in Limerick with her husband. She is a software engineer by profession. Her botanical watercolour paintings are completely self-taught.
Jane Stark is a botanical artist living in the west of Ireland. A graduate of the Ontario College of Art in Toronto, Canada, she has worked in graphic design and natural history illustration in Canada, the US and Ireland, specialising in high quality publication design. She is a founding member of the Irish Society of Botanical Artists (ISBA) and is currently President of ISBA. She has also been a leading light in getting the two ISBA books published Aibítir: The Irish Alphabet in Botanical Art and Plandaí Oidhreachta, Irish Heritage Plants. She is also the curator of the annual Claregalway Botanical Art Expo, held in conjunction with the Galway Garden Festival at Claregalway Castle.
Future developments for Botanical Art at Bloom - a Commentary
Bloom is an annual show run in much the same way as the major shows run by the other national horticultural societies - the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society (RCHS).
By way of contrast, at Bloom the artwork is assessed on a "per painting" basis. In this respect, the system of assessment works in much the same way as most art shows. It's certainly a valid way of testing competence in botanical art.
However I cannot help but think that maybe the accommodation for the exhibition limits the scope of the botanical art show and prevents the inclusion of portfolios of botanical paintings and illustrations because of a lack of space.
While I appreciate that Bloom is a very young show in comparison to the others, it would be wonderful to think that Bloom will, at some point in the future, aim to elevate its botanical art show to be on a comparable level to those run by other 'neighbouring' horticultural societies.
One option might be to have a proper botanical art show at a different venue (maybe the Botanic Gardens at Glasnevin) in advance of Bloom and then to bring only the best work to the Bloom show for exhibition.
I'm sure there are other options which are worth a second thought...
Thanks to Shevaun Doherty for the pictures
Katherine Tyrrell writes about botanical art and artists and has followers all over the world.
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