This month, we have the opportunity to learn from several artists in a group-style Q&A session.
Please join me in welcoming our Feature Group for October, the Birmingham Society of Botanical Artists!
The Birmingham Society of Botanical Artists (BSBA) was created by the first graduating class of the certificate program in botanical art offered by the University of Birmingham, England. Having worked alongside each other for two years, this class of 12 students wanted to continue to meet regularly so they could continue to learn from each other. They formed the BSBA and now members of the original group, as well as graduates from other classes, meet monthly at the Winterbourne Botanic Garden. Since its creation in 1999, the BSBA has grown to include 50 members, all of whom are actively painting and exhibiting their work.
The certificate program responsible for uniting this dedicated group of botanical artists was cancelled in 2005 because of university budget cuts. Fittingly today, this two-year university program has been replaced with two one-year programs taught by the Birmingham Society of Botanical Artists.
The one-year Certificate Program is a program leading students through the sequence of steps artists complete while creating a botanical painting. Students learn plant morphology, how to create accurate line drawings, how to create three-dimensional forms, and how to work in the field. They also learn how to work in a variety of media. Regular homework assignments and a final project reinforce what has been learned, as does sharing work with fellow students. According to BSBA member & tutor Jeni Neale, the certificate program encourages students to find their own style and to develop their own specialty.
The second program developed by the BSBA is called Aspects of Botanical Illustration. It can be viewed as either a continuation of the certificate program or as a standalone program for individuals who want to learn about botanical art, but who do not have the time to dedicate to the certificate program. The Aspects program is a one-year program composed of a series of monthly classes dedicated to a specific theme (e.g., leaves and stems in graphite, painting shine on leaves, etc.). Neale states the Aspect program “enables students to work on developing their own skills in botanical illustration or to adapt what they have learnt to their own particular area of interest.”
This month we have the opportunity to learn from eight members of the Birmingham Society of Botanical Artists in a group-style Ask The Artist Q&A. Each artist has their own specialty and their own approach to botanical art. You are invited to ask questions about their respective specialties or about how they approach drawing and painting plants.
Artists participating in this month’s group Q&A are:
- Jan Beesley – Specializes in detailed illustration using graphite pencils.
- Julia Blower – New to the world of botanical illustration.
- Dawn Burford – Specializes in illustrating books for publishers in pen and ink.
- Jenny Major – Loves illustrating foliage and non-flowering plants. Dislikes big blousy flowers.
- Jeni Neale – Specializes in colour mixing using just six colours and printing cards of her paintings on her home computer.
- Audrey Richards – Prints her own cards from her colourful paintings.
- Bridget Rochford – Specializes in illustrating wild flowers combining watercolour with graphite in the background.
- Sue Wilson – Loves wet-in-wet for both leaves and flowers. Dislikes drawing, so often does minimal lines and goes straight in with the paint.
Do you have questions about printing or selling note cards featuring your botanical paintings? Looking for insight into how to become a book illustrator? Have questions you have not yet had the chance to ask? Use this opportunity to ask your question(s) and to learn from this diverse group of artists.
Please send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or type your questions in the comment box below. If you type your questions below, please know they will not be published to the Web automatically. Your questions will be added anonymously to the list of questions submitted to the BSBA.
All questions are due October 10, 2011.
Replies from our visiting artists and tutors will be posted on October 24, 2011.
What do you want to learn?
UPDATE: Go to The Birmingham Society of Botanical Artists Answers Your Questions