Young artists inspired by nature
Images of Climate Change and Amazing Nature – two of the categories of this year’s National Galleries of Scotland’s annual Art Competition for Schools and Families – are brought to life by some of Scotland’s budding young artists.
The two botanical themes were supported by the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in a celebration of its 350th anniversary year, and entries by Charlotte Buchanan (13) and Mustafa Ezzo (14), from Edinburgh and Jack Wallace (14) of Orkney, were singled out for further accolades by Jacqui Pestell MBE, Director of Botanical Illustration at the Botanics.
Charlotte and Jack tackled the thorny subject of Climate Change with Jack depicting a lone tree in a desolate landscape while Charlotte’s image shows the loss of fragrance to a masked figure. Mustafa’s celebration of Amazing Nature invites the viewer to look up through a canopy of trees.
Reflecting on the works, Jacqui commented on the high standard of the entries: “Charlotte’s artwork is a powerful and striking piece, using monotone and strong tonal changes, which get darker as they reach the rubber mask. The brightness of nature is seen in familiar flowers painted with rich, colourful paint. Her image suggests many things – including the attire of the Covid pandemic and the climate emergency – some of the big questions for today.
Image by Charlotte Buchanan
“Jack work creates a mood of heavy thoughts – of what will become of our environment. The painting is in black, with shades of grey and glimmers of white. The paint is applied with passion, with broad marks creating a depth in those rain-filled clouds. The light exists on the horizon in a distant place – but in front of us the dead tree. Simple and suggestive – I love it.
Image by Jack Wallace
“Mustafa’s composition is powerful, with the simple yet hugely powerful circle of trees guiding the eye into the centre and up into the blue sky. The texture of the bark is lovely seen against the fabulous textural canopy. I loved the way in which the yellows and greens mix together to create such a great effect. It is an incredibly uplifting and optimistic painting.”
Image by Mustafa Ezzo
The two Edinburgh winners were invited to the Botanics to receive their prize of a family membership to the Garden and were treated to a private tour of Florilegium: A gathering of flowers, the art exhibition at Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. Jack’s alternative prize of books from the Botanics shop was posted to him in Orkney.
Jacqui concluded: “It’s wonderful to see how the amazing diversity of nature has inspired these talented young artists to create such powerful images. I look forward to their artworks being included in an exhibition some day.”
The 53 winning artworks are being exhibited at the National Galleries of Scotland until Saturday 9 June 2021 and can also be viewed online.
Botanical illustration has historically been used as a way of teaching about the beauty and intricacy of plants and the archives of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh are filled with treasures of botanical illustration. Today, the RBGE Certificate in Botanical Illustration and the Diploma in Botanical Illustration help to teach the fundamental techniques of paint and pencil, using plants as our core subject. Find out more about our courses.
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