sThis is the third of my three book reviews this week. It contains:
Botanical Painting is the latest in the series of books written by Margaret Stevens, past president of the Society of Botanical Artists.
When The Art of Botanical Painting by Margaret Stevens (with the SBA) was published in 2004 it became the standard text for the Distance Learning Diploma Course pioneered by the Society of Botanical Artists - and sold a LOT of copies - and not just to DLDC students!
I initially thought that Botanical Painting by Margaret Stevens (with the SBA) - published by Batsford on 2 August 2018 - was going to be a revamped and revised edition of the first book. That's because:
In this new book the Society of Botanical Artists provides a comprehensive guide to the different styles and methods of botanical painting, harvesting the talent of both Members and Distance Learning Diploma Course students around the world, past and present. Botanical Painting features techniques and materials for all levels and demonstrates how these skills can be used to develop your own expertise
However, I regret to say that, in my view, this book does NOT replace 'The Art of Botanical Painting' which in my opinion remains the better book for instruction.
If limited funds mean you have to choose between the two, I'd recommend you buy the first book rather than the latest publication. It'll also cost you less!
Let me explain why...
The publisher's publicity also suggests......
An inspirational gallery of paintings at the end of the book provides a guided walk around an SBA exhibition.
I should preface the next comments by saying I'm very picky and somewhat direct in my comments. (I should also add it's taken me three days to write this review and I'm less than happy about what I need to say).
The quality of reproduction is excellent - which works in two ways.
The book contains some excellent images of both drawings and paintings. However, overall, I thought it was a shame that the range of artwork in the book
Not all about painting, not all about watercolour on paper
The main benefit of the book is that it recognises that, since the first book was published in 2004, the use of various media has changed. More and more botanical artists are creating botanical art either by using different painting media or by using different supports.
Curiously, despite the title - it's not all about watercolour painting!
For example it includes
There are a number of steps by steps - those I would recommend include
Feedback on DLDC student paintings
One bonus - from the perspective of DLDC students - is that the book includes images of student work by various past DLDC students - with comments about:
On other matters:
In the end, I'm not sure whether this book is supposed to be
I've been a very big supporter of the SBA in the past and I'd LOVE to give ALL the content of this book a thumbs up. However the simple truth is I can't - and I'm very disappointed about that. The reason for writing the review as I have is my total regard for those who want to spend their money wisely - and I won't back away from that.
That said, let's not forget that this is a book which is good in parts. Certainly, in the absence of any books providing decent information about botanical drawing and painting using alternative media, I do think it has something to offer. However it has strong competition from a variety of resources in relation to painting - not least the fact that video is so very prevalent these days and can demonstrate better than a book can what used to be explained in a step by step.
The next book by the SBA needs to focus on
Publisher: Batsford / Pavilion Books (UK and USA)
Publication date: 2 August 2018
Pages: 160 (no details about number of illustrations)
Retail Price: £25.00
Price on AmazoN UK: various - mine was £16.20 (pre-ordered); and there are various prices quoted above and below the listed retail price
Price on Amazon.com: about $35 (used are listed at lower prices)
About the author
Margaret Stevens GM, PPSBA exhibited widely and internationally as a professional botanical artist and undertook a number of important commissions (and is now retired). She is a Founder Member of the Society of Botanical Artists and was its President between 2005 and 2010. She made a major contribution to the profile and growth of the Society of Botanical Artists in guiding the development of its Distance Learning Diploma Course, her role as the First Course Director and the four instruction books about botanical art she wrote prior to this one:You can read my 2009 interview with her A Making A Mark Interview with Margaret Stevens (May 2009) which led to a number of people signing up for the DLDC who are now accomplished artists and teachers themselves.
Three Books and Three Reviews: Conclusion
Katherine Tyrrell writes about botanical art and artists and has followers all over the world.
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