Attention Budding Botanical Artists!

hellebore botanical art

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.

victorian botanical art    Peony fine art watercolour print     japanese botanical art

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 - rose    succulent    heliconia

Botanical Art: Getting Started

magnolia by Georg Dionysus Ehret
MAGNOLIA drawing, Georg Dionysus Ehret, 1743. Museum no. D.583-1886. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

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.

Pierre Joseph Redoute
Botanical painting by famous Belgian artist Pierre-Joseph Redoute

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.

References:

http://mnborealart.com/Trees/Botanical_Art_History.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/plants/9924556/Why-botanical-art-is-still-blooming-today.html

Photo Credits: http://www.pinterest.com/ffeaus/beautiful-botanical-art/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *