Being asked to teach botanical art outside of my home environment is always exciting … I agree with delight, and then I start to think. What can I say to fellow botanical artists to stimulate and help them with their artwork?
A successful short lecture takes a great deal of analysis and research. I love being totally submersed in the subject: questioning the rules, looking at other artists’ works, analyzing how it was achieved from a technical basis and recognizing the sort of emotional response I get as a viewer.
There are so many types of botanical artworks: careful scientific studies, grand displays of plants in vivid glorious colour, gentle little observations of plants most people would overlook, and all sorts of things in between. Once I have found a theme that interests me, I tag all sorts of images and gradually sort them into categories, discarding some along the way until I have about twenty slides which demonstrate my analysis best. When the time comes to speak alongside the slide show, I find it easier to ad lib straight from the heart, but can only do so because of the deep interest I have in looking at the world of plants through my own and other artists’ eyes.
The joy of all this preparation is that I learn so much myself, and have a visual feast along the way.
My next teaching session is in a couple of weeks in the UK, so I hope I can bring something worthwhile to the artists. Wish me luck and clear thinking!