Meet Botanical Artists - the series

Posted by Michael Best on August 05, 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 another of those stories . . .


Babette Blindert, Calgary, Canada.

Babette Blindert describes herself as someone who had no ability for art at all. She says that she was one of those kids at school ignored by the art teacher because “she didn’t know what she was doing.” That all changed in 2000 when she was gifted the book, Drawing On The Right Side Of The Brain.

Based on a belief that there is nothing that she cannot learn, Babette set about using the book to teach herself to draw. For seven years until she retired from her profession as a tax accountant, she drew for about three hours a week. Since 2007 she has been devoting about twelve hours a week to her art.

Recently she saw a notice for a Drawing with Dimension class with Margaret Best at the studio where she paints regularly, and signed up. The concept of botanical art appealed to her because she describes herself as slow and detail oriented. Prior to trying her hand at botanical art Babette had painted portraits, landscapes, flower paintings, and architectural paintings. She has worked in watercolour, acrylic and, more recently, coloured pencil.

Babette has some interesting observations as someone new to botanical art. She says that although she finds drawing from live plant specimens to be challenging, she believes that art is all about observation and unless one actually draws the live specimen one doesn’t observe all the important details. When she attended her first botanical art drawing class she drew an apple which she describes as a ‘patient’ object that does not deteriorate quickly and consequently allows her to take her time. She says though that in her second botanical art workshop at the Waterton Wild Flower Festival this June, she found it frustrating at first because the plant changed in the course of the workshop. She says that in such a case a photograph or two can be handy in supplementing the original sketches.

At the moment Babette does art for her own enjoyment and has no immediate plan to exhibit or sell. She loves the process of painting and losing track of time as it absorbs her attention to the exclusion of everything else. She does however add that while she does not particularly have any ambition to exhibit, selling a piece would be great for the acknowledgement alone.

When asked about the encouragement that she would offer to anyone toying with the idea of trying art, botanical art specifically, she says that she firmly believes that it is not talent that gets you there, but work. That, she says, is the first message she has for anybody who says that they wish that they could do art but that they have no talent. She says that she tells people that she had no talent whatsoever but that she worked at it. Her advice is, “Just start. Take a sketch pad and sit in the garden and start sketching.”

This is the graphite drawing of an apple that Babette produced at her first Drawing with Dimension botanical art class. She says that it still amazes her when she draws something that she can actually recognize . . .



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