Did you know that the earliest discovered botanical illustration dates to the year 512, in a medical book that described the difference between plants in different regions? Recently, there has been a renaissance of sorts in botanical art. Not only is it a popular form of wall art, but it also reflects concern with how the natural world is swiftly changing and should be recorded for future generations. Today there are many organizations around the world devoted to recording plant life, teaching others to be botanical painters, and spreading this knowledge to the world. Here are three things you can learn from botanical arts societies.
1. Coursework from the Royal Society of Botanical Artists
After several years of publishing successful texts on botanical illustration, the Royal Society of Botanical Artists in England realized that there was a calling for a distance learning course, based on the book they helped publish, The Art of Botanical Painting. Since 2005, the distance learning diploma course for botanical artists has been available. Each course lasts for 27 months. Another book was completed in 2012, which featured the works of many students and tutors of the course.
2. Several Tips for Botanical Artwork
According to Shevaun Doherty, one of the benefits of belonging to such a society is the tips you can get from other illustrators. There are many tips you can easily access, though, online. She shares several artist recommended tips. One recommendation is to draw different pieces of the composition out separately on tracing paper, and then move them around on white paper to find the best arrangement. According to another artist, putting a teaspoon of brown sugar in the bottom of a vase makes flowers last longer.
3. Bonsai Art
Right now, over 100 examples of bonsai art are available for viewing at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. Bonsai is also known as the art of sculpting and growing miniature trees in pots. There is an emphasis on care and careful shaping. Many of the bonsais are over 100 years old. Bonsai can be a good introduction into botanical art, since it can be recorded without worry of the plant dying or drooping as a cut flower might.
What are your thoughts on botanical art?