The Exhibiting Excellence Awards at the Society of Botanical Artists' Annual Exhibition were introduced by SBA Council to highlight
Below I provide:
I've chosen an image below for the Introduction of the two artworks which got an award for Exhibiting Excellent in Dry Media (Graphite) - hung next to one another.
Plantae 2023 Exhibiting Excellence Awards
The EXHIBITING EXCELLENCE at Plantae 2023 cover a variety of differentiating factors:
The numbers after the title of the artwork below refer to the number in the Catalogue for Plantae 2023.
Exhibiting Excellence: Colour & Composition
There were two awards for colour and one for composition.
Inspiring Use of Colour
Canna Lily (102) by Janice Gazetas
(watercolour on paper)
Janice Gazetas BSc (hons) PGCE SBA Fellow has always loved drawing and painting. Born in 1951 and brought up in Lincolnshire. She studied Botany and Zoology at University before training to be a teacher. She has worked as a Research Scientist and after having two children, trained as a teacher. got her PGCE and specialising as a science teacher in a Primary School. Like many, she returned to painting only after she retired. She became a Fellow of the SBA in 2019.
I am interested in the complex and unexpected, both in structure and colour.
She has exhibited previously with the Society of Botanical Artists, the Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour, Society of Women Artists in the UK and the Botanical Art Agency Of Korea in Korea.
What I liked about her Canna is that it very much reminded me of those that I enjoy in the tropical Garden at Great Dixter which is a real challenge to walk through once they're full on in midsummer with the leaves twisting and turning.
Her botanical paintings are typically complex, bright and intense. However, I found one of her other paintings in the exhibition - a close cropped view of eucalyptus trees - caught my eye every time I walked past and insisted I looked at it - and yet this was relatively subdued compared to her normal botanical paintings.
Inspiring Use of Colour
Red Maple (23) by Yoona Chea
(Watercolour pencil on paper)
Yoona Chea grew up in in her native South Korea but is now based in the USA. She was recently made a Fellow of the SBA. She says....
"Plants are the perfect art. I draw using a watercolor pencil. My technique is to delicately draw, and when I express and draw those perfect plants, I feel like I'm one step closer to the art of nature. It's always hard to express nature that is near-perfect, but the sense of accomplishment when you observe and express things well is truly amazing. Expressing nature with beautiful paintings is a great inspiration to me."
Most innovative composition
Physalis alkekengi (161) by Suha Kim
Suha Kim majored in interior design at Kookmin University in Seoul, South Korea and worked as an interior and architectural designer until she got married.
Suha is a self-taught botanical artist. She has some large and impressive artworks in a series about the Date Palm Tree in Plantae 2023. Besides The Society of Botanical Artists, she has also exhibited with The International Botanical art Show Korea Competition and The Botanical Artist Society of Korea Competition
Exhibiting Excellence - Depiction of Wild Flora
DEPICTION OF WILD FLORA
Forget-Me-Nots by Christopher James
(acrylic on wood panel)
Most of us think of Forget-Me-Nots as garden flowers. However they've escaped to gardens being a very prolific self-seeder. Their correct name is Myosotis which is a genus of flowering plants in the family Boraginaceae.
Christopher James has painted a very small painting which is akin to a jewel. You'd be very happy with it in your wall near your desk! Last year it was shortlisted for the British Art Prize 2022 in association with Artists And Illustrators Magazine.
He studied art in Hull and paints in acrylic on a wood panel. He's a member of the Rye Society of Artists and has exhibited his work notably at The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, The Towner Gallery Eastbourne, Royal West of England Art Academy Bristol, Orleans House London, Aberdeen Art Gallery and at the Arts Club Mayfair.
I cannot express how thrilling it has been to have a painting accepted and hung at the SBA Exhibition Plantae 2023, and then to receive an award of excellence is such an honour and very exciting!
DEPICTION OF WILD FLORA
A few of my favourite things (86) by Louise Gammage
This is a compendium and compilation of various items of a natural history or botanical kind. It very much reminds people of my age of the 'nature table' at primary school!
Louise Gammage is a first time exhibitor. She was born in 1961 in Boston, Lincolnshire. She attended Lincoln College of Art and subsequently developed a career working in animation, commercials and feature films. In 1992 a job opportunity took her to Canada where she now lives and continues to work in the animation industry.
Louise particularly admires the botanical art and artists of the past (Joris Hoefnagel, Giovanna Garzoni and Durer) who focused on the exquisite and intimate details and small wonders. For her painting 'A Few of a Favourite Things' she had in my mind the following lines by Blake.
'To see a world in a grain of sand,
She was inspired and encouraged to exhibit at Plantae 2023 after completing Shevaun Doherty's 'The Botanical Elements' course.
Note: Louise agrees with me that she really does need to sort out an online presence! Keep an eye out for her!
Exhibiting Excellence - Contemporary Botanical Art
CONTEMPORARY EXAMPLE OF BOTANICAL ART
Aristolochia salvadorensis (5) by Julia Assenbaum
This is a large painting which relies very much on tonal gradations to tell the story of the structure and shapes of this plant.
Julia Assenbaum is
The Fragrantarium - Olfactory Realism, Art, Conservation and Science, is a cabinet of the weird and wonderful. It's a multi-sensory experience, concentrating on the olfaction.
NOTE: I have a bit of a problem with the name of this category.
Being produced now makes ANY artwork "contemporary".
I think maybe it might be better phrased as "Innovative interpretation of botanical art"
i.e. highlighting somebody who is bringing something genuinely new to botanical art.
Note that I'm not 'knocking' Julia - but people have been painting large paintings for quite a while..... I also definitely saw artwork which was genuinely new in this exhibition....
Exhibiting Excellence - Dry Media (Pencils)
DRY MEDIA - GRAPHITE
Charlie's Sunflower (9) by Katy Bennett
There's rather a good story behind this drawing!
My son Charlie gave me a pot for Mother’s Day that he had decorated and planted with a few sunflower seeds. One surpassed all others to grow over 8ft, with a flowerhead 45cm diameter! It must have been a rogue variety as the others were tiddlers. I said Charlie should shimmy up like Jack and check out the land of the giants at the top. We dried it out indoors for a few weeks before harvesting the seeds, which is when I started photographing and sketching. It will be interesting to see if the seeds yield another giant this year!
Katy Bennett is a first time exhibitor at Plantae 2023. It's also her first time ever exhibiting ANY ARTWORK in public! She did well:
Katy has always loved drawing and painting since she was tiny but career / family got in her way of pursuing as she got older. However she was determined to continue with her drawing - and noted that botanical art was becoming very popular! In 2019, Katy applied for the Society of Botanical Artists' Distance Learning Diploma Course and graduated with Distinction in June 2022.
DRY MEDIA - GRAPHITE
Yew Tree (67) by Guy W Eves
This is an absolutely fabulous pencil drawing in graphite which is well worth spending some time on if you get the chance. I could have done with it being hung somewhat lower so people could appreciate its utter complexity in terms of the habitat within the tree. I do hope it goes to a very good home as it really deserves to.
Guy William Eves was brought up in Suffolk and studied at the Ipswich School of Art in the 70’s and graduated in Fine Art & Design and thereafter pursuing a career in design.
He is a Fellow of the SBA having been elected to membership in 2011. He was elected as a painting member of the Chelsea Physic Garden Florilegium Society in 2009 and is now a Fellow of that Society and the Editor of the CPGFS Newsletter.
He is renowned for his stunningly detailed and exquisitely observed and expertly executed botanical drawings. He has a solid block of supporters who relish his expertise in graphite and his meticulous attention to botanical accuracy. He has won numerous SBA Certificates of Botanical Merit. He also exhibited at the 13th Hunt International in 2010 and two of his drawings are now in that collection.
He has an upcoming exhibition at The Aldeburgh Gallery (Thursday 24th to Wednesday 30th August 2023).
DRY MEDIA - COLOURED PENCILS
Callistemon (56) by Melinda Edstein
Melinda Edstein grew up in Sydney with a keen interest in nature, science, and art. In 1982, she graduated from Sydney University in 1982 with a first class Honours degree in Veterinary Science. She then worked for many years as a small animal vet - and also married and raised raising four children. Finally she decided to pursue her interest in art.
DRY MEDIA - COLOURED PENCILS
Sacred Lotus / Nelumbo nucifera (165) by Yeonuk Kim
Yeonuk Kim lives in Korea. She majored in bioengineering in college and bio education in graduate school and then taught biology to students in high school. Through using a microscope, she became interested in the minute parts of plants which led to growing, observing and then dissecting plants as she became more interested in their structure and function. She aims to draw and paint at life size and mainly uses water-based coloured pencils and a water brush for finishing work. She has mainly exhibited in Korea
Exhibiting Excellence - Wet Media (Paint & Ink)
WET MEDIA - WATERCOLOUR
'Madresfield Court Grapes' (285) by Liz Shippam
Liz Shippam is a well established and popular botanical painter based in West Sussex. Her preferred subject matter is fruit, particularly soft fruit such as grapes and berries. She is particularly expert at capturing the subtle changes which occur during the growing and ripening process.
Lizis a Fellow of the Society of Botanical Artists, a member of the American Society of Botanical Artists (since 2014), and regularly exhibits in New York, London and with Chichester Open Studios in Sussex. This is her Facebook Page
This particular painting has been purchased and I believe it is joining an important collection.
WET MEDIA - WATERCOLOUR
Black Mission Fig (345) by Fiona Wheeler
Watercolour and coloured pencil
Fiona Wheeler is a Fellow of the Society of Botanical Artists and was elected to membership in 2013. She lives in Surrey. She studied General Art & Design and Graphic Design at Epsom School of Art (now The University for the Creative Arts) in the 1980s. She had a a career as a Finished Artist with various design companies prior to becoming a full time mum to two children.
Her love of painting was re-awakened following a weekend botanical painting course at Wisley Gardens (under the tutelage of the late botanical artist Pauline Dean).
Fiona works primarily in watercolour but has recently been experimenting with coloured pencil.
WET MEDIA - INK
Series of Trees (310-313) by Pamela Taylor
(pen and ink)
Pamela Taylor has a particular talent for drawing trees in both great detail and pen and ink! She is a Fellow of the SBA and has exhibited with SBA every year since 2012. She is also a founder member of ABA and was awarded a Silver Gilt Medal for her drawings of trees by the RHS.
Drawing such trees and the plants in my local area enables me to study them in detail and to learn so much about their biology and how they grow. Pen and ink is ideal for depicting the gnarled old trunks of trees and also their twigs and leaves, creating images that are full of the character of the individual specimen and show that it is more than just a tree.
WET MEDIA - OILS
Broken Tulips (241) by Ginny Page
(oil on panel, 11 x 14" / 28 x 36 cm)
Ginny Page is a first time exhibitor. She comes from Lincolnshire where she started painting age 10, and studied at Lincoln College of Art and Design, but has lived in Denmark since 1985. She's a realist oil painter. Ginny works in oil on canvas or panel and uses a realistic but naturalistic style. Elements are painted with intense observation and accuracy.
She went to see the SBA exhibition for the first time last year and loved it! She then met Sian Tillott (SBA Fellow) at the Royal Society of British Artists exhibition in March who gave her some very good advice by encouraging Ginny to send in paintings for the SBA exhibition.
Ginny is a member of Member of The Society of Women Artists (SWA) in England and
The Danish Women’s Artist Association (KKS - "Kvindelige Kunstneres Samfund") in Denmark. She's currently exhibiting in
Exhibiting Excellence - Artist's Chosen Media
ARTISTS CHOSEN MEDIUM
Fabulous Ferns (46) by Charlie Davies
Etching / Hand Pulled Print
Charlie Davies is a painter, designer, jeweller and printmaker. She grew up in Oxford and now lives in Oxfordshire. She originally trained as a textile designer but now divides her time between her family, painting, printing and silver-smithing. She developed her printmaking skills with Oxford Printmakers, particularly soft ground etching
I'm going to be writing more about Charlie Davies later so I'll leave it there for now.....
The next blog post will be about those who were awarded Certificates of Botanical Merit.
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