Sceitse – June Update

We’re now accepting all submissions for our sketchbook project, please see the recent email from Elaine about how to send your sketchbook pages.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, we will need a lot of time to put the project together, so we’re asking members to make sure that we receive their pages by the end of June.

Small works will not be required until just before the exhibition, probably in October.  They need not be directly related to the sketchbook page, but must be botanical and must not have been exhibited at the NBG previously.  All small works should be framed by the artist.

Irish botanical artist awarded Margaret Flockton Award (Sydney, Australia)

We’re delighted to report that Irish botanical artist and ISBA member Deborah Lambkin has won a prestigious international award from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney for excellence in scientific botanical illustration.

The Foundation and Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney, has awarded the Margaret Flockton Award for Excellence in scientific botanical illustration to RHS Orchid Artist (Irish Botanical Artist), Deborah Lambkin.

The award was for her drawing of a new species of Gastrodia orchid from Madagascar which was chosen from 63 illustrations from 46 artists from 21 different countries.

Ink drawing of Gastrodia orchid. Copyright 2020 Deborah Lambkin

A new species of Gastrodia orchid from Madagascar, illustrated by Deborah Lambkin

The Margaret Flockton Exhibition is a yearly exhibition held at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney and showcases work from the world’s leading scientific botanical illustrators. The exhibition is now in its 17th year and attracts submissions from artists worldwide. Deborah is the first Irish artist to ever participate in the event.

The award commemorates the contribution Margaret Flockton made to Australian scientific botanical illustration. The Maple-Brown Family and the Foundation and Friends of the Botanic Gardens sponsor this annual, international award for excellence in scientific botanical illustration.

Visit the exhibition online here: 2020 Margaret Flockton Award exhibition at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.

Irish botanical art at the National Gallery of Ireland this Spring

Free exhibition Drawn from Nature opens on 7 March 2020

Drawn from Nature: Irish Botanical Art opens at the National Gallery of Ireland on 7 March 2020 and runs until 21 June 2020. Admission is free.

Pioneering Irish artists are at the heart of the National Gallery of Ireland’s new free exhibition Drawn from Nature: Irish Botanical Art. From William Kilburn to Lady Edith Blake, the exhibition celebrates artists who made significant contributions to art, science, and our understanding of the natural world.

Curated by Patricia Butler (Guest Curator), assisted by Janet McLean (National Gallery of Ireland), Drawn from Nature features art spanning almost 300 years, from the 1720s to 2019. Contemporary artists include ISBA members Mary Dillon, Shevaun Doherty, Deborah Lambkin, Siobhán M. Larkin, Margareta Pertl, Yanny Petters, Susan Sex, Jane Stark, Lynn Stringer and Holly Somerville.

A volume of designs by William Kilburn (1745-1818) will be on display for the first time in Ireland as part of the exhibition. One of the most eminent calico printers of the 18th century, Kilburn was born on Capel Street in Dublin and later settled in London.

Works by painter and geologist George Victor du Noyer (1817-1869) will also be on display, including studies of mushrooms and apples which he documented for the Ordinance Survey and the Geological Survey.

painting of apples by George Du Noyer

George Victor Du Noyer (1817-1869)
Engl. King. King. Musk. Turnip. Black annat. Winter Rose, 1837
Courtesy of the National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin

Over 15 women artists are highlighted in the exhibition, including Ellen Hutchins, known as Ireland’s first female botanist. Hutchins discovered many seaweeds and mosses before her death in Cork at the age of 29.

Many of the drawings, watercolours, prints, and books will be on display for the first time at the National Gallery of Ireland during the exhibition. Works from public and private collections include selections from the National Botanic Gardens (Glasnevin), National Museums Northern Ireland, Royal Botanic Gardens (Kew) and the V&A (London).

Janet McLean of the National Gallery of Ireland commented:

While many Irish botanical artists ventured across the world, others barely stepped beyond their townlands. This exhibition highlights how they are bonded by a common curiosity in nature and a compulsion to record it.

It celebrates centuries of looking closely, drawing carefully, and treasuring the complex beauty of plants.

Guest curator Patricia Butler, author of Irish Botanical Illustrators & Flower Painters, on which this exhibition is based, commented:

There is currently a vigorous revival of interest in botanical art worldwide and this exhibition pays tribute to the extensive and distinctive Irish contribution to the area. I hope that visitors to the Print Gallery in the National Gallery of Ireland will enjoy exploring the work of over 30 artists ranging from the relatively unknown to the widely acclaimed.

See nationalgallery.ie for more details and check our calendar of events on this website for two interesting talks related to the exhibition: Talk & Tea: Irish Botanical Art and Irish Contributions to Curtis’s Botanical Magazine.

New year, new decade, lots of news

We’re well into 2020 already – a new year and a new decade. Our Sceitse/Sketchbook project is going well and the hand-in day has been planned to coincide with our AGM on 21 March. Visit our project page for updates.

Members, don’t miss the AGM, when our guest speaker will be Yanny Petters who’ll talk to us about her working methods for making her paintings on glass.  The Shirley Sherwood Gallery, in Kew Gardens in London, is currently running an exhibition called Modern Masterpieces of Botanical Art which includes Yanny’s life-size portrait, on glass, of a teasel!

In April we’re delighted to host Sarah Morrish who will travel over from the UK to provide two one-day workshops to members on Pen and Ink methods in botanical illustration.

Also in 2020, the National Gallery of Ireland is holding an exhibition called Drawn from Nature, which provides an interesting historical perspective on botanical art in Ireland over the centuries, right up to contemporary work (including some ISBA members):

Take a closer look at Irish botanical art in Drawn from Nature. Spanning almost 300 years, artists include William Kilburn, Ellen Hutchins, George Victor Du Noyer, Lady Edith Blake and Wendy Walsh. These pioneering men and women have made significant contributions to art, science and our understanding of the natural world. Inspired by Patricia Butler’s book Irish Botanical Illustrators and Flower Painters, the exhibition features prints, drawings and illustrated books from public and private collections in Ireland and the UK.

Curator | Patricia Butler (Guest Curator), assisted by Janet McLean (National Gallery of Ireland)

Sceitse: November Update

We hope you had a lovely summer and that you’ve all been busy working on your sketches for our latest project!

Get-together 23 November 2019

If you’d like to get together with other members, meet up for coffee, or if you have some questions about the Sketchbook Project, you can meet with members of the Sketchbook Committee and the ISBA Committee for chat and advice in the Curvilinear room from 2.30 to 4.00pm.

Sketchbook key dates!

Pages for sketchbooks are to be handed in at our AGM which will probably be held in March 2020.

We have a date pencilled in for the Sketchbook exhibition: it will be held in November 2020 in the National Botanic Gardens. This exhibition will showcase the botanical artist’s sketchbook.

Small works at the exhibition

As you know members who participate in the Sketchbook project will also be invited to hang one piece of finished work at the 2020 exhibition. The work should be no larger than 500mm x 550mm framed.

Sceitse/Sketchbook – updates

All members should have received updated guidelines for our Sceitse project through the post. We’ve also added these guidelines to our Sceitse project page and you can find a link there to download and print them too.

Sceitse/Sketchbook – our new project: Workshop supports

Our new project is underway and all members have been informed through our AGM and in correspondence since. We held one workshop for members in the Spring, given by ISBA member Noeleen Frain (many thanks for Noeleen for a great day!) and we’re holding another now in early Summer: Claire Ward comes to us from Wales and will conduct a workshop in the National Botanic Gardens Curvilinear Room on Thursday 16 May. The cost is €35 and places are limited to 12. There are still some places available, check the event listing for more details, including how to apply.

Opportunities for ISBA members

Spring is in the air, and along with the lengthening days and warmer temperatures, we’re receiving new opportunities for ISBA members.


Firstly, the call is open for entries to Botanical and Floral Art at Bloom. The deadline is 29 March 2019. You can keep up to date on Facebook or on the Bloom website.


We’ve been contacted by a number of different organisations/galleries here in Ireland with queries about possible collaboration. Below we’ve listed three such opportunities. We’re leaving it up to members to contact any of the organisations themselves. If you do decide to contact them and all goes well, do let us know!


Old Weir Lodge Hotel, Killarney – Contact: Niall O’Donoghue
email: info@oldweirlodge.com
This is a small hotel in Killarney which is currently being renovated.  They would like to feature some prints of native plants on their corridor walls. Ideally the prints would be similarly sized (approx A3 portrait or square).


Excel Exhibition Space, Tipperary – Contact: Carissa Farrell
email: carissafarrell@tipperary-excel.com
Carissa is the Venue Director of the Excel in Tipperary Town which has a gallery and would be very interested in holding a group botanical art exhibition in 2019.


Shanbally House and Gardens – Herb Dispensary
Also in Tipperary, Shanbally House and Gardens is currently under restoration. As part of their work they plan to create a small herbarium and they would like to collaborate with botanical artists–who have an interest in medicinal herbs–to create some artwork that will showcase in the house, can be sold in the house and made into cards/notepaper etc. They would like the artwork to complement the work they are doing of growing, promoting, preserving and processing these healing plants. We’re in contact with Shanbally House at the moment with a view to their providing a tour for interested members in the summer. Once dates have been arranged, we’ll announce the event here on the website and will be in touch directly via our members’ email list.

Éireannach goes west…

Paintings from our Botanical Art Worldwide exhibition, Éireannach, are currently on display at the North Mayo Heritage Centre. You can combine a visit to the exhibition–which runs until 31 October–with the upcoming Enniscoe Biodiversity Blitz:

To find out more check the Centre’s press release and the agenda for the day.

Protecting your Art – A Short Guide for Artist

Many thanks to June Wright for this post on something all artists should know more about – protecting our art! After graduating in Classical Animation in the early 90s, June began her animation career in Don Bluth Animation Studios in Dublin and has since worked in the US and Europe with many film studios over the years including Fox Animation in Arizona. She has also lectured in Traditional Animation and Digital Design. Currently, June is working as a Product Designer for clients based mainly in the UAE and Hong Kong, such as Legoland Dubai, The Louvre Abu Dhabi and the tallest building in the world ‘The Burj Khalifa’. She has been an artist all her life and loves botanical art and drawing portraits, using coloured pencil, graphite and  watercolour.


As an artist, when you create a painting, your intention may not be focused on its commercial value; however once you start to exhibit and sell your art, it is in your best interest to become aware of the potential positives (and not so positives) that may occur as a result of exposing your work to the grand public.

There can be a lot of confusion–still–on the ownership, legal aspects and expectations of how your work may be used. Therefore, in order to protect your art, it is important to know the fundamental guidelines both for protecting your original images and commercialising your work.

Selling Original Art – Who Owns What?

When you sell an original painting, it’s important for both you and your buyer to be aware that the ownership rights of the painting’s image do not transfer with the physical painting itself and unless it is specifically requested and agreed upon in writing between the artist and buyer before the sale, all rights remain solely with the artist. A painting is sold on the basis that although the buyer will own the original piece of art for their enjoyment, they will not own the rights to make any commercial gain from its image in the future. This is irrespective of whether the painting was bought from the artist’s own collection, through a reseller or gallery, or on a commissioned basis.

Following any sale of their art, the artist can still go on to create prints of the painting and use the painting’s image for further commercial purpose, as and however they wish. If the current owner of a painting wishes to reproduce the painting for any purpose commercially or non-commercially, they must first request written permission from the artist.

Reproducing your art in print format

If someone wishes to reproduce your painting in part or full, for example, within a book, magazine, online or on products, they must obtain written permission from you prior to doing so. It is solely at your discretion whether you choose to allow use of your images for payment or for free, however if you are unintentionally lax in protecting your art, not only can you lose out commercially, but your painting may be used in a way that may harm the integrity of the work or your reputation as an artist and what you stand for. You may have to consider whether it is most suitable to agree a one-off fee for a single-use permission or create a licencing agreement for more complex or larger-scale use.

Licencing your art commercially

If you are approached with a request to reproduce your art, especially for commercial purpose, it is normal to licence art for certain agreed usage. This will protect you from any unauthorised commercial use of your art. In most cases, it is normal that the artist agrees an initial licencing fee, plus royalties per sale of each item containing your image. A possible circumstance is where the image may be used, for example, on greeting cards, homeware, fabrics, prints etc.

Some artists may allow non-commercial use of an image for free (in which case, it is a good idea to make sure you receive an artist credit), but commercial use should be considered carefully in advance, in order to prevent the artist being poorly compensated, where no clear written terms were agreed by both parties prior to the handover of any imagery.

Terms between the artist (the licensor) and the individual or company requesting permission to use the painting’s image (licencee) should generally cover at least the following and should be agreed in writing and signed by both parties:

  • Fees agreed: initial upfront fee and/or percentage of royalties that will be paid per piece sold.
  • Permitted usage: most licences are limited to a certain amount of reproductions within any given specified format. For example, if you agree permission for your painting to appear only on mugs, another agreement would need to be further negotiated where the licencee wishes to later add the image onto plates.
  • Duration of licence for its specified use: you may want to limit the time of specified usage to a certain period or time-frame.
  • Territorial restrictions: whether the use is limited to one location or country, or whether it is allowed to be used worldwide.
  • Termination basis: for larger agreements, it could also be worth adding the basis in which the agreement can come to an end, such as a certain period of notice for either side.

Online Protection

Online, the potential for unauthorised downloading, sharing, or misuse of your paintings is fairly high. It is natural to want to share images of paintings online, whether it may be to contribute and participate in the larger art community and art groups, or to gain wider audience exposure and build a fan-base of admirers for your art through social media platforms etc., but no artist wants to see their art stolen or misused for the commercial gain of another, without prior consideration for its use. Although the internet proves to be the easiest, most cost-effective way to reach people with your art, this undoubtedly leaves you wide open for the misuse and theft of your intellectual property.

The fact is that no matter what lengths you go to, there is no 100% foolproof way to prevent images being saved and shared over the internet; but weighing it up, it’s usually better to take a couple of simple measures to minimise these risks, rather than to deny yourself such great opportunity of exposure to a world-wide audience for your work.

Watermarks

The easiest forms of reducing the misuse of your art online would be to add a copyright warning on or beside your image, or better still, add a minimally-invasive watermark over the image itself, before uploading it to the internet. This at least means that if an image is shared, your name is attached to it and at least travels with your picture which can have its own advantages, as it may even attract new viewers to your site to view more of your work.

There are many apps both for iPhone and Android that will allow you to easily place a watermark over your image. They allow you to experiment with suitable placement and opacity of your watermark, so that it won’t interfere too much with the enjoyment of viewing your paintings online. If you don’t like to obstruct your image at all though, you can still use these apps to add your copyright and contact details more discretely to the side of your image before sharing.

Resolution

It is often a fear for many artists–especially those less familiar with computing and digital imaging–that once you upload your images online people may just print out copies of your work. In addition to adding watermarks, a good way to enure your image is not going to be printed successsfully from the internet is to make sure it is only uploaded at 72dpi instead of full resolution of 300dpi required for full print quality. Many social media platforms will automatically compress your image on upload, meaning a low resolution image is all that is seen online. Although your image will still appear nice and clear for online viewing, once it is printed, it may be too pixilated to reproduce at any great quality.

Angles

Another good option, is to take a photograph of your work at an angle, for example, on your desk with pencils or paint brushes on or next to the painting itself. This means that viewers online can still admire your work, but again, can’t print it out for use as a straight-on image.

The above measures are often enough to show the average person that you are serious about protecting your images and may at least make them think twice before using your art without your permission.


Hopefully this has given somewhat of an introduction into how you can protect yourself from unauthorised copying or misrepresentation of you and your art and may have broken down some of the confusions and misconceptions associated with the commercial and legal side of being an artist. The information given is not intended as definitive legal advice, but as an initial guide to how you can begin to better implement the safe sharing and comercialising of your art. www.junewright.com