Ruskin wrote of flowers ‘it is difficult to give them the accuracy of attention necessary to see their beauty without drawing them’. If you love flowers then through botanical illustration you start to observe their beauty even better. Some members have said ‘you are teaching me to look’ and good observation is the key to Botanical Illustration. This is probably the primary difference between Flower Painting and Botanical Illustration; detail matters. Botanical Illustration is broader than detailed flower painting; it covers anything from the world of botany, not just flowers, but also fruits, seed heads and even fungi. This is quite a specific art form owing to its concentration on botanical detail, but a relaxing and enjoyable one.
The first group was formed in September 2000 and in January 2015 a second group for beginners was formed.
Botanical Illustration 1 - Ongoing Group
During the year we work through the four conventional media for Botanical Illustration: graphite pencil, pen & ink, coloured pencil and finally water colour. Each year the course follows the same pattern to enable new members to fit in easily; however the topics are sufficiently broad for continuing members not to be working on the same species each year unless they so wish. We share information about books, courses and exhibitions covering any aspect of Botanical Illustration.
The group meets fortnightly in Holwell Village Hall. The hall looks rather rustic but it provides a happy meeting place for the members. There is always lots of chatter and interaction between members since looking at one another’s work is part of the learning exercise.
Botanical Illustration 2 - Beginners Group
This group initially covers a two-year period. We explore graphite and coloured pencil studies from January to July and progress, in September, to watercolour and briefly pen and ink. We take plants, flowers, fruits and vegetables, both in and out of season, and each member of the group aims to replicate, as carefully as possible, the study before them. In order to encourage, inspire and broaden the experience, group activities also include a variety of references to botany, books written by successful botanical artists and exhibitions which may arise. Currently, the group is run primarily for beginners; where it leads in the future will be dictated by group members.
The group meets in the Raleigh Hall fortnightly on Tuesday mornings between 9.45am and 12pm.