08-26-2014, 12:13 PM
The information in this thread is not total but it has been added by Botanical Artists (as opposed to 'flower painters').
Strict rules apply to Botanical illustration and can be found via books and online - as we find relevant information, we will add it .
08-26-2014, 12:21 PM
Here is another painting I have done in my series of six florals.
Reference photo thanks to lisilk who is an amazing photographer. Check out her reference photos.
8 x 10 on Strathmore Bristol Vellum paper
Winsor Newton Watercolour paint
All comments welcome, I love botanicals but I don't know all the rules that apply so any help or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. :)
By Botartist, Karen Taylor -
Hi Sandy, my name is Karen and I am a botanical watercolor artist and teacher. You mentioned that you did not know the rules of botanical art. Basically, it is "absolute accuracy in form, colour and texture." Depending on the botanical society you might belong to, all the other rules vary. Most agree that the plant cannot be in any container - it must be surrounded by blank space or it must be "in situ" meaning it must be shown as it grows in its natural/native habitat. Many groups do not allow insects, etc. unless they are the specific pollinators of the plant depicted. The other thing you might want to know is that most botanical artists paint from real life not photographs. This is especially true when submitting art for juried shows. Many judges can immediately spot a painting done from a photograph. If you would like more information, contact me. Don't hesitate to ask for help, either. I usually check my email daily.
and again -
Hi, Green Ink. Yes pencil, pastel, watercolor, acrylic - what ever you like. Most botanical illustration is done in pencil or waterbased media like watercolor and gouache. Many of the traditional illustrators do the illustration in pencil and perhaps only one flower in colour.
If you want to see the best contemporary botanical images in the world, look up Shirley Sherwood's books: A Passion for Plants isbn 0-30436-166-6 ; Contemporary Botanical Artists ISBN 0-297-83600-5.The first book has some wonderful pencil drawing by Mariko Imai.
The best advice I can give to any botancal artist is to learn to see. Not paint what they think is there but to really look at the plant. To begin try drawing from life - that way you can really examine the plant from all sides and understand how it is put together. This is a great help when you down to the actual drawing.
Good luck. If you need help or more info, don't hesitate to contact me.
Question by a member -
Can you tell me what clues a judge uses to spot a painting done from a photograph?
Response from Karen -
Hi Sandy and Marilyn, Many judges can tell if something is drawn from a photograph in several ways. When a camera takes a photo, it captures only one distance in perfect focus. Anything behind it begins to blur - the farther away, the more blurred it becomes. The human eye captures all distances in focus (barring someone not wearing their glasses. When a person paints from a photo, the area in focus can be depicted with great accuracy and detail yet as you move farther into the painting, the detail diminishes. If you work from life, all parts of the plant will be very accurate and detailed. Also, the camera can fool you - for example, you might think that a certain leaf is attached to the stem you are painting. In reality, that leaf belongs to another stem. If you work from life, you can't be fooled as you can examine the plant, with a magnifying glass if necessary, to understand fully the plant's construction. As well, a photograph is flat - many artists can make their painting look three-dimensional but few can do it as well as a painting from real life. The last clue is colour. Botanical illustrations must be absolutely accurate in colour. If for example, the green foliage is a shade too gray, a botanist might assume that the plant is suffering from disease. Good judges know their plants inside and out and can spot an inaccurate colour from miles away. Thus, if you paint from photographs and it has not been checked for colour correctness, you can be off by a mile. Have you ever seen a photo with a paper bar with coloured boxes/stripes on it? These coloured strips are standardized so that when it is developed/printed, the colour in the photo can be checked against an actual test strip in hand. As I have said before, painting test colours on scrap w/c paper against the actual plant is your best insurance in getting a very accurate colour for your painting. Hope this helps. Happy painting!
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