COP26_Logo_II.jpg
Call for Entries 
Opening Date for Submissions - Sunday 9th May, 2021 - Now Open
Closing Date for Entries - Wednesday 15th September, 2021
Exhibition Opens 1st November, 2021

In November this year COP26 ( United Nations - Climate Change Conference ) in Glasgow Scotland, will bring together the nations of the world for one of the most important international meetings for the future of our planet.

Inspired by COP26 the Association of British Botanical Artists is excited to announce that their major exhibition for 2021, ReflectionS, will focus on the crucial role that plants play in the health of our planet.

The title of the exhibition has been choosen because we would like artists to Reflect on the subject and composition they have submitted that best represents the exhibition aims and to Refect on the words that would describe their visual imagery.

COP26 has six major themes and the theme that is relevant to this exhibition is:

“ Nature - to safeguard and restore natural habitats and ecosystems to preserve the planet’s biodiversity “

 

The Association is currently in discussion with the conference organisers to bring together a digital collection of our members botanical art that will reflect the pivotal role that plants play in preserving the planet's biodiversity.

 

If chosen by COP26, a juried selection from this collection will be displayed on a large screen in one of the conference zones.

We would love to see your entries for this significant exhibition so make sure you download our information pack using the link at the top of the page.  This pack contains important information and it is essential that you read and understand the submission criteria before you submit your work.

Because we are asking for members to develop a visual story around their submission we will be holding a number of  Question and Answer Sessions on Zoom in February, March and May to help clear up any questions.  The dates are posted below.

If you have any questions before then have a look through the Q&A section below for an answer or please do not hesitate to contact us.

This Q&A will be updated as questions come in so we can share them with all our members.

The ABBA Team

May 2021

britbotart@gmail.com

We would also like to get an idea of the level of interest in submitting artwork for this exhibition so if you do think you would like to submit your work after reading the information package then just:

REGISTER YOUR INTEREST HERE

Live Question & Answer Sessions

These Q&As will be live Zoom Sessions at the times and dates shown below.  The Zoom link will be the same for all sessions so if you have any questions after reading all the information come join us and hopefully your questions will be answered.  You can also send questions in advance stating which session you will attend together with your question(s). 

 

Send your questions to britbotart@gmail.com.

Session V

Tuesday 11th May  8 - 9 PM  British Summer Time (BST)

Session VI

Friday 14th May  2 - 3 PM   British Summer Time (BST)

ZOOM Link - All Sessions

ReflectionS - FAQ

Are there any standard sizing you are setting for the artworks and the technical spec for the digital images?


ANSWER - The size doesn’t matter as long as you are aware that it will be shown on a 65” screen if we get into COP and hopefully at other venues if these can be negotiated, subject to COVID. The digital specifications are going to be added to the general material as a separate page.




Is work going to be for sale?


ANSWER - We have the possibility to have an online eCommerce store but we would need to bring more volunteers on board to help manage it. We may include artists contact details for personal sale of your artwork but this will depend on the final template we choose. We are certainly looking at this option.




How can I label multiple plants on an image?


"I am currently working on a series of habitat paintings and plan to submit a Wildflower Meadow picture showing several species growing together. My question is about labelling. With more than a dozen different grasses and flowers portrayed in a tangled group it’s going to be difficult to label them individually without marking the painting with a ‘Key’ which I’m not keen to do (but will if I have to) I can list them but of course the list won’t indicate which name belongs to which plant." ANSWER - Produce an outline with numbers and then a list of names this can be published as a link to your work on line.




I’m thinking of possibly illustrating an aspect of ancient woodland?


"The veteran tree’s in my most easily reached ancient woodland are mainly beech and English oak, native, but have been pollarded from pre Reformation up until about 1890. Does this make their habitat inadmissible?" ANSWER - You have an interesting and appropriate idea. It’s about ancient woodland, which is rare in this country, and it’s protection because it was of use to humans. The story is very appropriate. We only protect what we can use.




Can fungi form the main part of a picture?


"You say that fungi may be included (good news so far) but it is not clear whether they can form the main part of the picture. The note attached to this section offers a definition of botanical art which refers only to plants, and of course fungi are not plants, but a separate kingdom, though they were considered plants during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. However, 90% or more plant species would not fl ourish without co-operative relations with fungi. Fungi are being affected by pollution and climate change, and this in turn affects their fungal partners. This is the story I would be interested in addressing--though a limit of 50 words will be a bit of a challenge." ANSWER - We made a decision for the last exhibition to include Fungi and Algae in our exhibitions even though it makes it difficult to get our definitions correct. (See our blog post on the conversation surrounding botanical art. )
Your story is exciting and we look forward to seeing your completed piece.




Can I submit an historic habitat (although not native) creating a healthy ecosystem?


Living in Worcestershire I am surrounded by old apple, pear and plum orchards. They are an historic habitat (although not native) creating a healthy ecosystem.
My idea is to illustrate a fruit tree branch in flower/fruit with the addition of lichen, mistletoe and perhaps fungi which provide food for a variety of wildlife.
ANSWER - As the focus of the exhibition is on native plants, the brief accompanying, your ‘story’ should explain how the ancient orchard environment is important for native species to thrive.
This managed environment enabled their growth and spread because the orchard has been managed for food. The natives should take centre stage whereas the fruit trees are the reason they have survived, they are also part of the story.




Can I illustrate Bushy Park as an ancient park dating back to Henry VIII?


"Hampton Court Palace is on the River Thames - Bushy Park is an ancient park dates back to Henry VIII time. Rivers running through it man made lakes and ponds. Trees planted very early Hawthorn ad Lime: rare plants like Mugwort, etc. Acid grassland with Ancient Ant hills" ANSWER - Rich Native Biodiversity in an ancient protected landscape would be interesting.




Can I use Horse Chestnuts and lichens as my focus?


"I am starting work on some horse chestnut buds on twigs with lichen to add to a painting of an opening bud already completed. I see lichen as relevant to the exhibition as their sensitivity to air pollution means they make great air quality indicators. There are several types of lichen on the twigs I have collected so I need to identify their specifi c attributes in relation to pollution. My specimen comes from a road side tree but is also near farmland and a river. My main concern is the criteria of native plants. Horse chestnut trees are said to have been introduced from Turkey in the 16th century, originating from the Balkans. I don’t know if the tree I have taken specimens from is self-seeded or planted but I guess the origin of the species means they are non-native, so not meeting the exhibition entry criteria. Could you clarify that for me? If it is the case, I will rethink options but feel limited in choice." ANSWER - We really like the idea of the lichen on the twig & the message of indicator species telling us something about the local environment! My thought would be to look for an Ash twig to paint, they should be coming into flower soon where they look quite dramatic and it’s not something people are used to seeing – lichen frequently grow on ash and it has the added story of ash die-back disease & being a native species. If no Ash available, then Elder is a good shrub for lichen too, as is hawthorn, and both have good stories attached to the shrub species as well as being able to tell the lichen indicator story. Lots of info about on the internet about lichens being indicators of air quality - top end of this from the natural History Museum is quite interesting https://www.nhm.ac.uk/ discover/nature-and-pollution-what-lichens-tell-us-about-toxic-air.html Yes Lisa is correct in that Horse chestnut is not native but does self-seed in the UK (termed a neophyte) https://www.brc.ac.uk/plantatlas/plant/aesculus-hippocastanum I would say it was a great concept for a painting and worth a bit more searching to see if the story can be told with a native tree or shrub and lichens.




Can I represent a plant that is in danger of extinction?


"Regarding the representation on the sheet I would like to have more information. For example if I was an important plant for a local butterfl y, can I put the butterfl y in the work and represent not only the butterfl y but also the caterpillar. Thank you very much for the great opportunity you give us. I'm very enthusiastic about the work to be done and to be able to give voice to the plants that risk no longer being." ANSWER - In this exhibition the plant needs to take the forefront. So you will need to be able to explain in your 50 words why it is becoming endangered. Is this plant the only host food plant for this butterfly? If so that would mean that without it it won’t survive in your area. If you are in doubt about the latter then it’s better to leave it out.




Is there an acceptable level / balance of painting from still life/live specimen vs. reference photos?


"If using reference photos must they be your own from the field?" ANSWER - Your image should be botanically correct. Paining a plant(s) can't always be completed from life as it might be endangered/protected e.g. SSSI and you can't take any part of a specimen home. So it is acceptable in that case to use photographs for reference. You do need to be very careful that you completely understand the plants morphology and are not liable to make botanical errors. For paintings you could cross check what with historic line drawings and herbarium specimens online.
Using reference photographs: these should be your own but it is acceptable to check the botanical information etc using others work but not copy unless you have permission to use their images. The problem with not seeing the plant(s) is that you may not get a complete understanding of how it grows etc. If you work slowly or are restricted to painting at weekends then you will have to rely, in part, on photographs but as many find sketches and notes you can make from life would be most useful.




I would like some clarification on point 2 of your Specific Criterion?


"Living in South East London I am not sure how this criterion can be met in a Metropolitan area." ANSWER - Metropolitan areas of SE London offer different challenges to our native plants. However, many have adapted amazingly, living in cracks in concrete, verges thriving as street trees. There are also old cemeteries which can offer undisturbed grassland habitats to a host of plants. Some have been studied and plant lists created. Pamela Taylor wrote a good blog post about the plants she saw during her daily walks in an urban area, this may inspire you. https://www.britishbotanicalartists.com/post/look-to-see-a-countryside-diary You could also focus on lichens etc on native trees?




Would a background be acceptable to indicate the habitat?


"Would a background be acceptable to indicate the habitat, or should I rather construct an idea that will work on white paper & no background." ANSWER - A background would be acceptable but it should not distract from the ‘plant/ alga ‘ being featured




Would any marine plant be acceptable - like any type of Algae; Kelp (Brown Algae) or Seagrass?


ANSWER - Yes that would be acceptable https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seagrass https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelp




Would it be acceptable to include an ocean Animal / Fish / Mollusk etc?


"Would it be acceptable to possibly include an ocean Animal / Fish / Mollusk, shell etc..whom is dependant on these “plants” for survival to tell a narrative, or should we rather focus on the plant only?
Should we be allowed to include this, I assume it should not be the main focus of the image - which should remain botanical, but it can maybe be brought in subtly to strengthen the story?"
ANSWER - Yes it would be acceptable but the plant/ alga should be the main feature e.g. the plant image could be full colour and the associated other species could be in sepia or graphite etc. ** This question also applies should I choose a Land Plant with an endangered creature or insect dependant on it, how much space would be acceptable for those pollinators, or creatures to take up on the painting,




Would it be acceptable to have to work mainly from a photo as reference?


"Would it be acceptable to have to work mainly from a Photo as reference to stay true to the plant form and colour under water or in the wild, to also protect the species. I have an underwater camera to be able to take my own reference photos with, so the work will still be my original IP." ANSWER - This is a question we have been asked before and our reply is below Your image should be botanically correct. Painting a plant(s) can't always be completed from life as it might be endangered/ protected e.g. Underwater, Site of Special Scientific Interest and you can't take any part of a specimen home. So it is acceptable in that case to use photographs for reference. You do need to be very careful that you completely understand the plants morphology and are not liable to make botanical errors. Using reference photographs: these should be your own but it is acceptable to check the botanical information etc using others work but not copy unless you have permission to use their images. The problem with not seeing the plant(s) is that you may not get a complete understanding of how it grows etc. If you work slowly or are restricted to painting at weekends then you will have to rely, in part, on photographs but as many rough sketches and notes you can make from life would be most useful. This will also apply should I decide to rather use a Field Plant & creatures etc, is it acceptable to work from photo references mainly to be able to use more rare species as subjects from the ‘wild"?




Would it be advisable to work in a 16x9 type landscape format?


"Would it be advisable to work in a 16x9 type Landscape format (probably 4K / Big Screen size) rather than Portrait should there be a chance of the artwork to be displayed at the COP26 exhibition?" ANSWER - Either landscape or portrait is acceptable as the way it is displayed with the story will be individually designed for each image and will be built from a standard template.




Can I illustrate the variety of wild flowers that grow in Hartslock nature reserve near Goring and Streatley in Oxfordshire?


"The reserve is on a chalk grassland sloping towards the River Thames and is full of national rarities including the monkey orchid. A rich variety of wild grasses and other flowers also thrive on the thin soil which, in turn, attract lots of insects, featuring a variety of bee species and butterflies. I believe the wildflowers could make a beautiful composition and the aim of the illustration would be to highlight the importance of conserving the habitat of lowland calcareous grassland because of the wildflowers and insects it supports." ANSWER - This will make a perfect focus for your artwork. If you do choose to add any of the associated insects please ensure that your plant (s) are the central feature.