The botanic arts are alive and well in Yorkshire. Not surprising when you consider the gardens we can explore from which to take our inspiration. There are many artistic forms your botanic art work can take and you can experiment to find your own personal satisfaction or take a local course.
Some History of Botanic Arts
The Arts and Crafts Movement enjoys current popularity and often used organic shapes and forms in the work. From this developed the beginning of an Art Nouveau style that can be recognized during the 1880s with many references to botanics. However botanic art goes further back:-
Hands on gardening can be an art and therapy and has been for centuries. Some part of this story is told in ‘Gardening Women: Their Stories from 1600 to the Present’ by Catherine Horwood from Amazon.
‘At the age of seventy-two, Mary Delany, (1700-1788), embarked upon a series of nearly a thousand botanical collages, or ‘paper mosaics. Delicate hand-cut floral designs, made by a method of Mrs. Delany’s own invention, vie with the finest botanical works of her time. More than two centuries later her extraordinary work continues to inspire.’
Mrs. Delany and Her Circle (Yale Center for British Art) by Mark Laird and Alicia Weisberg-roberts
Courses Training and Learning
The Northern Society of Botanical Art was formed In January1993 by a group of people with a common interest in plants and flowers. They originally attended classes in Botanical Illustration at Sheffield University.
The Society of Botanic artistsrun many courses throughout the year including several in Yorkshire locations:
JACK BECK HOUSE – Yorkshire Dales Watercolour flower painting with Janet Whittle SBA.
HARLOW CARR – RHS gardens Harrogate Botanical and flower painting courses and workshops with tutors Susan Christopher-Coulson SBA, Colin Swinton and Victoria Street.
UNIVERSITY OF SHEFFIELD A variety of Courses in Botanical Illustration. Contact Institute for Lifelong Learning.
Check your local paper and library for other courses or join a local art group.
Forms of Botanic Art
Drawing and painting spring to mind when you first consider botanic art. There are some vivid and detailed drawing of plants and flowers that educated and illuminated botany for years.
Then no local art show would be complete without a display of carefully replicated flowers in various mediums.
Sculpture is another form where botanic art can come into its own. Whilst the sculpture above is of birds there are floral tributes in the Himalayan sculpture park near Ripon.
Collages, textile design and decoupage are other forms of art relying on botanic subjects.
Growing your own flowers and plants is not classed as an art form but I would argue that garden design certainly should be. In the meantime you may wish to buy some raw material for your own art work from Thompson & Morgan
flower by artfulblogger CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Painted by jenrock CC BY-NC 2.0
Painted eucalyptus by littlevanities CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Century Plant (for my Ma on her Birthday) by montethrasher CC BY-NC-ND 2.0