Welcome to the exquisitely delicate beauty of botanical painting .....
A lifelong love of drawing and painting led me to study for a degree in botanical, zoological and medical illustration at Middlesex Polytechnic in 1980. It was a wonderful course with wonderful tutors. Our teacher, Keith Pickard, illustrated David Attenborough’s Life on Earth book, so we knew we were in good hands. It was Keith that taught us the watercolour technique that we all used for botanical, zoological and medical illustration. It’s a marvelous technique and one that I have also used for still life painting and portrait painting. I have been so grateful to have learned the technique that it eventually led to a desire to pass the skill onto others and after becoming a freelance illustrator that is how I became a teacher too.
Botanical illustration is produced for scientific purposes and illustrates a botanical text of some sort, even if it is only the name of a particular plant. If it is only the name of a plant, the illustration will show all of the parts of the plant necessary for its identification. It will also show a specimen that is typical of its type and in perfect condition. A botanical illustration is, at best, also aesthetically pleasing as it is the aesthetics that allow the illustration to be put across to the viewer in the most accessible way possible.
Botanical art is produced for aesthetic purposes although all of the details of a plant have to be botanically correct, but the paintings do not need to show all of the parts of the plant necessary for its identification. Instead, botanical art is expressive and portrays something about a plant and that may be an extraordinary beauty or a remarkable feature or it may portray a collection of different plants that make an aesthetically pleasing painting or the design may enhance the appearance of a plant.
"Producing both of these types of botanical painting has allowed me to enjoy both the focus of botanical illustration and the freedom of expression of botanical art."
"My love of painting has also led to paintings of still life and portrait commissions, I hope that you will enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoyed producing them."