The Art of Botanical Painting
An Artless Arrangement
Recently I've enjoyed reading The Art of Botanical Painting
and The Challenge of Landscape Painting, but I realise
that the approach of each has shortcomings for me (although
I'd recommend both books as accessible and inspiring discussions
of their subjects).
In Botanical Painting no plant is ever allowed to be as
relaxed, shabby and messy as the verge I drew, even in the chapter
on working in the field. The plants in the botanical portraits all
look as if they've been told to 'sit up straight and sparkle!'.
In Landscape Painting no landscape is allowed to be just
what it is without the burden of expressing the artist's emotional
response to the scene, or acknowledging how Cézanne might
have analyzed it or attempting to come to terms with the challenge
from abstract art.
For me, it's so refreshing to just look at these fading
daffodil leaves and upcoming weeds and seedlings without worrying
about the great traditions of art and botanical illustration.
As Alan Watts succinctly put it, "This is It".
The Challenge of Landscape Painting
Ian Simpson, Collins, 1990