Monday, 14 April 2014

At the RHS (By an Exhibition Newbie)

This weekend has been so full of inspiration, my mind is buzzing with excitement and new ideas. Saturday saw myself and my good friend Sarah Morrish of The Natural Year having a fabulous day at the RHS London Orchid and Botanical Art Show. It was lovely to meet up with new friends and to put faces to familiar names. All of the artists were so knowledgeable, and happily shared their experiences of preparing for a large show and what the judges had critiqued them for. Quite overwhelming, the generosity of others.

All set for a day of fun.

Of course, I didn't take enough photos and I must remember to take a proper notebook and more business cards to these sort of things. Just handing out an email is difficult as you can never seem to put your hand on a pen when you need one. Comfortable shoes and lots of water are also a must as I felt like I had walked miles and talked forever. Luckily my good old plimsolls held up their end.

Surprisingly this was actually my first visit to the RHS Lindley Halls for this show and the visual treat of seeing so many styles of botanical painting was stunning. It was interesting to see the amount of graphite artworks on display, colour pencil was beautifully represented by Gaynor Dickeson's stunning Malus paintings and Dianne Sutherland showed her skill of working on vellum with her stunning Snakes-Head Fritillaries. Having seen these pieces take shape over a number of weeks, you tend to feel quite maternal towards the work of friends, and I of course would have awarded Golds to both Gaynor and Dianne. Who knows what goes through the mind of a judge?   

Wild flower and plant habitats were also on show with, Wild Orchids of Britain by Valerie Dugan and Plants from the Woods and Forests of Chile by Isik Guner who won the award for Best Botanical Painting. Sunflowers, anemones, grapes and winter branches all added to the unusual mix, although the large trees 'inhabiting' the hall's display areas did distract somewhat and cast unsightly shadows over some of the pieces making it difficult to fully enjoy the viewing experience.

More Silver and Silver-Gilt medals were given out this year, with fewer Gold medals than 2013 being awarded. The quality of work was amazing, so it must be a very difficult task to decide who gets what. As a mere observer, I cannot really tell the difference between a Silver-Gilt piece and a Gold. It really must be the minutest things that the judging panel spots and it's quite a daunting prospect to think that I would like to put my own hat in the ring.

To make a superb day even better, Sarah gave me the most gorgeous gift. This little box with stunning pyrography details, complete with acorns and beautifully finished with lining paper will take pride of place in my new studio, and will only contain beautiful things. Thank you Sarah for a most special and memorable day.

Complete with acorns

Lots of space for little treasures.

Useful Link:

Making a Mark: RHS Botanical Art Show 2014 - Medal Winners 


Polly said...

Lovely post Jarnie,and wonderful for those of us unable to be there, to hear your impressions of the exhibition. Feeling quite envious of artists who live in or near London right now.

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

It was an early start on the train Polly, but we were determined to make it this year.