In 2018, there will be a national jury show of botanical paintings at the Canadian Museum of Nature.
My goal is to get a piece in accepted by the jury and displayed at this event. The challenge is to find something that is artistically different, but still acceptable to the strict conventions of botanical art.
While I accept the need for the focus of the work to be on the plant, and that the plant needs to be accurately rendered in terms of scale, physical structure, and colour so that the audience can tell one plant from another; I reject the notion that backgrounds need to be white and the plant isolated from any other details.
I believe that plant lives within a dynamic environment that gives meaning their form and function. So, while some plants thrive, others are endangered. Particularly, when plants come into contact with urban development.
This clash between nature and man allows me to explore my other interests of urban landscapes and architecture.
I am inspired by the works of Martin Johnson Heade, Margaret Mee, and Marianne North. These are artists who make the world within which plants live relevant to their artwork.
Unfortunately, I am not confident that the botanical societies will provide me the space to create work that will be shown in their exhibitions.
Without their support, I feel it will be very challenging to get acceptance by more traditional artist galleries. Traditional landscapes and still life paintings is not my goal. I want to create something that is contemporary and exploring the issues of today.
The submission deadline is January 2018, so in the meantime, I need develop my approach and painting skills to the point where I can accurately render native plants in oils.