Yep. The annual botanical art exhibition held by the Foundation and Friends of the Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens has been running for twenty years this year and, happily, I will be contributing to the exhibition for my fifth consecutive year! Though, despite my previous years' experience, I didn't really know what I was getting myself into this time (which is all the more reason for me to be grateful to be included)!
With the theme of 'Celebration' in mind, artists were asked to consider creating bold and contemporary artwork that displays the usual requirements of ' technical skill, scientific accuracy and an exceptional and innovative artistic edge'. Interest has been extremely high for inclusion in this milestone exhibition and apparently less than half of submissions were selected! Given the effort made by all the submitting artists and the intense scrutiny the works were placed under by this years curator, Robyn Macintosh and the committee of artistic and botanical experts, I daresay this year is going to be well worth the visit.
I will have one framed artwork hanging in the exhibition, one unframed available for purchase and, for the first time ever, some of my prints as well. I am very pleased to have this much included in the exhibition but it has been no mean feat to achieve! Preparing and submitting my work has been the trickiest this year by far. The previous years' experiences have been as follows:
1. Paint something botanical
2. Submit artwork
3. Wait to hear results.
This year's experience:
1. Took the 'big and bold' brief way too seriously and set the bar extremely high for myself.
2. Fell pregnant again so I had to deal with exhaustion and various other symptoms of pregnancy while trying to work.
3. Spent the majority of my time chasing and entertaining my toddler so painting was only possible during nap times and evenings when I was already exhausted. These limited opportunities to paint extended the overall time it took to complete the artwork by approximately a million fold and ensured that my original specimen was three months dead by the time I actually finished it...making perfection/ accuracy in the work much harder to achieve.
4. Busted my butt getting the art in early for submission only, for the first time in my experience, for there to be controversy around elements of the work and requests for adjustments to be made twice. These said adjustments were harrowing to make on a piece I had already spent so long on and cost me many extra, unplanned-for hours of work and the cost of scanning and rescanning multiple times. (You may be familiar with some of this drama if you follow me over on instagram). Ultimately, the effort I had originally made to have the piece completed early came to nothing.
5. Submitted work for the third time.
6. Received results.
7. Have no idea how I will navigate artwork delivery, collection, or attend Opening Night since I have a habit of having April babies.
In all honesty, I'm not sure that attending Opening Night will be possible for me as it is so close to baby's due date but I refuse to officially make that decision until the time comes. I would love to attend if possible!
As well as the usual annual exhibition shaping up to be a a show stopper, there will also be an additional, exclusive 'Botanica' exhibition held in the Art Gallery of New South Wales. It will be a small, retrospective exhibition with works gathered from those previously displayed in Botanica's twenty years of history. I am so honoured to have a work of mine included in the is exhibition as well! It may not be displaying in a public space in the Art Gallery of New South Wales, but I'm still claiming it as exhibiting there all the same.
So! Lots has been happening and all the beautiful work of Australia's top botanical artists will be on display very soon! If you're interested to see the artwork for yourself, check out the details for the exhibition here. And if you do go, take a picture of my work hanging there and send it to me- just in case I don't get the chance to see it there myself!