One of the Hatchery artists had shared references of useful books about botanical art. I ordered them and they arrived today.
A New Flowering: 100 Years of Botanical Art by Shirley Sherwood is a catalogue of an exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum Oxford in 2005, consisting of a selection from Dr Sherwood’s collection of art, and some others from Oxford museums. It is a comprehensive summary of what most of us would expect botanical art to look like, and excellent from a historical point of view.
The other suggested book, Just Draw Botanicals by Helen Birch (Quarto Publishing 2020) is an excellent insight into contemporary forms of botanical art using modern materials. It contains over 90 different approaches to botanical art with notes about the materials, methods and artists. A fabulous book for inspiration and sources of techniques to tyr out.
In the same week, Hay on Wye Festival (online) focused on the Wordsworths. Dorothy’s poem Floating Island mentions how insects have their own small world, and also how things in nature appear, then are gone, but fertilise the ground. This re-enforced in my mind the issue of ephemerality, which I am beginning to realise is at the root of much of my work. The ephemerality of sunlight, of ripples in water, of smoke and mist, and of course of flowers. I doubt that I would have realised this without the opportunity of Hatchery to stop and reflect.
The paintings I have produced are not expressive of ephemerality but of substance in the insect world. However, I now have a starting point to move on from, with ephemerality at the centre.