Thursday, 25 September 2008

Botanical Illustration by Valerie Oxley

Valerie Oxley is a member of both UKCPS and the Society of Botanical Artists and specialises in botanical illustration.

She also teaches across the UK and this week saw the publication of her long awaited book Botanical Illustration. This will be particularly welcomed by Valerie's past and present students who have been urging her to write about the subject for many years!

Botanical Illustration by Valerie Oxley
Crowood Press (September 2008)

Valerie's botanical art credentials are impressive. Valerie developed the Diploma in Botanical illustration at the University of Sheffield, Department of Lifelong Learning (TILL). She's also the Vice-Chairman of the Northern Society for Botanical Art and the Chairman of the Florilegium Society at Sheffield Botanical Gardens.

Her new book has been written for students of botanical art - for those new to this aspect of art as well as for those with some experience wishing to develop their expertise. It deals with the practicalities of botanical art and the related botany of the subject and covers the following topics:
  • the history of botanical illustration,
  • the botany of plants and flowers,
  • materials and equipment,
  • preparation of plant material,
  • observation techniques,
  • starting to draw,
  • developing tonal studies,
  • preparing to paint,
  • colour theory,
  • painting techniques,
  • what to paint and how to paint,
  • alternative media including coloured pencil techniques,
  • correcting mistakes and
  • finishing touches
  • photography and computers.
If you're interested I'd recommend you take a peek inside the book by using the Search Inside facility on the Amazon website.

It is also very well illustrated with over two hundred colour illustrations by over fifty artists, including a full page illustration of Carlina involucrata by UKCPS member Eleni Mcloughlin and coloured pencil drawings by Susan Christopher Coulson, Vivienne Brown, Jane Cowan, Helena Anderson and, of course, Valerie herself!

Coloured pencil matters and techniques which are covered include dry and water resistant coloured pencil techniques, pen with coloured pencil (and Eleni's illustration), Papers, Drafting Film, Erasers, Pencil Sharpeners, Blenders, Indenters, Embossers and colours that resist, removing coloured pigment, use of the grisaille approach and dealing with wax bloom. There is an eight point suggested "working method" and finally a bit about fixative and storage and a mention of water soluble pencils.

You can also find out more details about Valerie's workshops on the Workshops page of the UKCPS website. This also provides details of courses run by all other UKCPS members who teach - or at least the ones UKCPS has been told about! ;)

Book Details: Botanical Illustration, The Crowood Press, (September 2008) ISBN 978-1-84797-051-0

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