Meet Botanical Artists - the series

Posted by Michael Best on July 29, 2014 0 Comments

Meet Botanical Artists - a series of posts about and for people enjoying botanical art.

This series will feature people of diverse locations, backgrounds, ages and occupations that have one thing in common – traditional botanical art. The underlying message is that the joy of botanical art is available to absolutely anyone of any skill level. It can be as intense or as relaxed as you wish to make it. Here is one of those stories . . .


Barbara Ann (Bee) van Blomestein, Calgary, Canada.

Bee was born in Zimbabwe (then Southern Rhodesia) where she attended grade school before completing her teacher’s training in Grahamstown and Cape Town, South Africa. Later, after raising a family, she completed a fine arts degree at the University of South Africa.

Bee has had a life-long interest in art. She recalls from her earliest days that she was always looking for opportunities to illustrate her school work. One of her illustrated school books so intrigued a teacher that it was taken on a tour of the country. Later while involved with theatre she undertook big painting challenges doing stage scenery up to 26 feet tall. During her long and varied art career she has sculpted and painted in various media such as oil, water colour and coloured pencil.

In her earlier years she exhibited in the National Gallery of Zimbabwe before moving to South Africa where she participated in group and solo exhibitions.

From 2002 to 2011 Bee travelled in England, Southern Africa and Canada. During that time her preference was to paint plein air. When she moved to Canada permanently in 2011, she attended a botanical art class conducted by Margaret Best and became intrigued by the genre to the extent that botanical art became her artistic focus. She has since participated in botanical art exhibitions in Waterton and Toronto.

Bee says that she loves botanical art because it complements her life-long interest in botany. Art history is also a passion and botanical art with its historical roots fits well with that too. She says that it has become an integral part of her life and that she paints almost every day. She enjoys the stimulation received from attending classes and participating in the local botanical art group’s activities.        

Her advice to anyone considering trying their hand at botanical art is to take the plunge regardless of what your skill level may or may not be. Bee advocates attending classes with one or more recognized teachers to get off on the right track and suggests that a botanical drawing class is a good place to start. “And then,” she says, “practice, practice, practice.”

Here is a botanical watercolour piece by Bee van Blomestein - Indian Corn . . .


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