Did you know it can easily take more than 50 hours to complete a relatively small botanical art drawing or painting? That’s intense.
Why bother spending so many hours drawing a rose in such exacting botanical detail when one can use their iphone to take a photo of it (then use cool filters on Instagram to make it look even ‘better’)?
In a society that is all about rapid gratification, focusing our mind’s eye on the small details of a flower stem or single leaf can invoke a zen-like meditative quality.
Furthermore, the sheer intensity of analysing and honouring an object from nature in a drawing of botanical perfection is often said to create a unique ‘bond’ between the artist and their subject.
Botanical Art v Floral Art
Contemporary botanical art is often described as having a dual focus: science and art.
The ‘challenge’ of botanical art compared to simply ‘floral art’ however, is that it requires a ‘dedication to acquiring knowledge about plant forms and the delicacy of their structure and their life cycles, as well as developing techniques in a variety of media used in the aesthetic representation of this knowledge’. (1)
Botanical Art: Getting Started
Formal definitions aside. A careful study of plants is essential in botanical art. The chosen subject has to be accurately sketched with precision so the genus and species are clear, yet also display an appealing composition. Typically the subject is drawn against a blank backdrop, using the likes of graphite, watercolour, coloured pencil, pen and ink.
Keen to have a go? Check out our list of inspiration and resources below…
Contemporary botanical artists are often influenced by 18th-century masters such as Pierre-Joseph Redoute and Georg Dionysius Ehret.
Books worth referring to for inspiration are:
The Golden Age of Botanical Art by Martyn Rix
The Illustrated Herbal by plant historian Wilfred Blunt, with Sandra Raphael, a study of the development of herbals, their decorative, botanical and medicinal interest.
The Art of Botanical Painting by Margaret Stevens, published in association with the Society of Botanical Artists.
The Catalogue of Botanical Prints and Drawings from the National Museums of Wales by MH Lazarus, includes works by Ehret and Redouté.
Photo Credits: http://www.pinterest.com/ffeaus/beautiful-botanical-art/