Contemporary Botanical Illustration With The Eden Project || Rosie Martin & Meriel Thurstan

This is the successor to Rosie and Meriel’s deservedly popular Botanical Illustration Course with the Eden Project, which appeared a couple of years ago. Rather than simply give us more of the same, this time the pair have concentrated on a wider variety of plant material and also foliage and have also extended their reach to some of the colours that students of the previous book reported that they had trouble with. Thus we get subtle shades of blue and pink, the huge variety of greens and even that forbidden territory: black.

Although the intention here, as before, is to make the book accessible to the more general painter, there is no compromise on the quality of the artwork and the authors are fortunate in having access to some fine contemporary botanical artists (hence the title), who provide excellent examples of both their subject matter and what can be done in the medium. Although the progress of the book is not step-by-step as such, there are several places where stage illustrations are used and there are frequent analyses of colour and palette that manage successfully to get to the heart of the matter.

This is very much a book for the serious and more experienced flower painter. Where the previous book provided an introduction for those who already had some facility, it would be a good idea to have studied at least one other manual before attempting this one. Let’s face it, there is a great number of books out there and you’re spoiled for choice and suitability! Given that, it’s quite an achievement to produce something that adds to the canon without duplicating what’s already there.

Batsford 2008

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