Change – botanical illustration in an age of change
I came across this quote the other day:
“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second,
it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”
Arthur Schopenhauer, German Philosopher (1788-1860)
I don’t know about “all truth”, but happily my digital work has gained support over the years and appears no longer to be laughable. Over the years I have increasingly received lovely, appreciative emails from around the world, from botanists, horticulturists, gardeners, nature lovers, teachers, architects and designers of all sorts, but also notably from some open-minded botanical artists, such as the very talented botanical painter Coral Guest. (Take a look a Coral’s website to get an idea of the quality and scale of her work, but do also make a point of visiting her separate and interesting blog, in which she writes very perceptively about Botanical Art and which I highly recommend.)
I am also delighted to acknowledge the support of the Royal Horticultural Society, by purchase of images and by exhibitions of my illustrations at the RHS Lindley Library, Wisley and RHS Hyde Hall. My digital botanical images have been on show in The Garden Museum and the Linnean Society in London, as well as at the BGBM in Berlin, at the invitation of Herr Professor Walter Lack (botanical art expert and author of Garden Eden). At least two (that I know of) digitally-created botanical illustrations have now been displayed in the dedicated botanical art gallery, the Shirley Sherwood Gallery at RBG Kew – one of mine in their Power of Plants exhibition in 2009 and one by Laurence Hill in their Inspiring Kew exhibition last year.
However, some opposition to my digital images remains, though thankfully it is now more in the sense of avoidance or quiet resignation, rather than of the previous outraged opposition. But, regardless of the fact that groups who provide opportunities for botanical artists and illustrators to exhibit (such as the SBA, BISCOT, ASBA and the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation) still choose to exclude this type of work in their exhibitions, I feel it is self-evident that my images are botanical illustration, no more and no less.