Picture yourself being able to depict every tiny detail of a living being onto a surface with just the flick of a brush or pencil. Floral art is exactly that! It is a kind of artistic accuracy while representing plants. Floral art focuses on aesthetics and is subjective. The real art and science of botanical art began in ancient Greece. This is back when people began using illustrations to identify plants and flowers.The oldest surviving manuscript that includes floral art is the Codex Vindebonesis from the 5th century. These were quite crude but still the gold standards of the century.

Floral art may be done using oils, ink or pencil or a combination of all these. The image may be life size or not, the scale is also often shown along with the habitat of the plant, the upper and reverse sides of the leaves, details of the flowers, bud, seed and root system.

What is Floral Art used for?

Floral art is at times used as a type for attribution of a botanical name to a taxon. The inability of botanists to conserve certain dried specimens or restrictions on safe transport. Here the work of the floral artist is used to support the work of the botanists and horticulturists, describing the plant for scientific records and future research. Minute plants that are microscopic are often identified by the botanical artists to overcome the difficulties in using slide mounted specimens. These are represented by them in such detail, that the study of these specimens becomes easy and ideal for restoration.

What is the process of creating Floral Art?

You don’t have to be a floral artist professionally in making floral art. It can be done by somebody wanting to keep a plant journal for the pure fascination of plants and wanting to draw the various stages of growth of plants in the garden. For this, all you will be needing are pencils, watercolour or coloured pencils, paper or a sketch book. To get started, the first step is acquiring a basic knowledge about plant anatomy. A plant is more than just about its petals and leaves.

As for professional floral artists whose work of art is going to be put to use, there are a number of steps in the process of its making. The artist and the scientist have to work in collaboration about the specimen. They need to decide on the details that are to be highlighted in the art. The artist then decides on the tools that he will be using for his artwork.

Sometimes the specimens are brought to the artists in a not very lively or easy to replicate conditions, they can be bent, dried or misshapen, it is the responsibility of the artist to bring the specimen back to life in their art.

Artists will either boil up or soak the material, pull it apart, or even dissect it with delicate care to see how the plant is put together. 
They will measure the specimen to ensure the drawing is to scale, and inspect the colours to make sure their watercolour plate will be true to life. The level of detail is remarkable.

As botanical artists, it is their job to represent nothing but the absolute truth as their work of art is going to be the foundation of further research and study.

October 22, 2021