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Botanical Art: Perception of Nature



Dear Friends:

The term “Masterpiece” does not necessarily set the standard for all art that came before or after the present time.  When reviewing the history of botanical art, which began on cave walls and in the early herbal journals, we are sure to understand that the basis for the use of the term then was perhaps the sheer understanding of the necessity to record botany.  The actual ability to render more than “acceptable” drawings developed as the need developed – and then so did the appreciation and the acclamation for the artwork.


Exploring further the term “Masterpiece,” once again we are made aware of that moment in time that made it possible to achieve such a state in art.  Skill, awareness, tools, techniques are thus products of time and place.  And therefore, our grand selection is based at every step by the influence of the moment.


Botanical art has enjoyed a wide history of accomplishment.  Most of the early renderings were in fact accomplished either by the hand of a botanist or with the direction of a botanist.  These early achievements were thus   dictated by the need of the botanist and he or she ruled when it came time to deciding how the plant portrait should look.  The artist had no say in the matter.  By the 19th century botanical art was enjoying itself not only as a science, but also as an art form.  Artist’s made their own selection and design decisions till remaining scrupulously close to realistic plant portrayal.


Those of us who are now enjoying the work and art of botanical drawing and painting are remaining strong to our vision of realism.  In the 21st century realism and modernism unite to open the way for distinctive artistry and botanical artists are among the many who uphold a broad view of contemporary realism.  No longer constrained by illustration itself, botanical artist’s through their vibrant perception of nature, reveal familiar forms and patterns with precision and beauty – a task no less daunting that a “masterpiece” of another genre, another time.


Today, in our present time, more and more awareness of this beautiful art form and the demands it takes to accomplish it, have lessened the challenge of obscurity and increased the appetite of knowledge for masterpieces by contemporary botanical artists.

God bless, OM



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