I am usually surrounded by plants and I am fascinated, soothed and centred by them. Sharing this feeling, their fascinating structures and the intricate details that captivate and absorb me when I get up-close, is my aim.
To many people, plants can be unappreciated and simply be background dressing. I believe it is important now, more than ever, to raise the profile of plant life and their place in our ecology. Drawing attention to botany and the beauty found in nature is something I can do through contemporary botanical exhibits. In doing so, hopefully I can remind people just how important plants are to our ecosystem and survival.
My introduction to botanical illustration was through the 1987 Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) festival exhibition “The Botanical Paintings of Rory McEwen”. Entranced, back home, I tried to reproduce dried leaves and sweet peas. Watercolour is not an easy medium, however, and I was not initially able to match my inspiration. But a seed was sown…
Much later I began evening classes in botanical illustration at RBGE. Alicia Salizar, our amazing tutor, examined my first attempts and exclaimed “I know what you want to do!” She showed me how to work with watercolour. She also encouraged me to enter Botanical Images Scotia (BISCOT), the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society’s own botanical illustration competition.
At that show Jacqui Pestel approached me with an offer of a place on the RBGE diploma program. She felt that I could benefit from their first class botanical tuition, along with instruction in botanical illustration technique. I accepted eagerly and graduated with a Diploma in Botanical Illustration from RBGE in 2017, receiving a Distinction and the Eve Reid Bennett Book Prize for Botanical Illustration.
Recent and Current Activities
My Arisaema watercolour series won Gold at the RHS London Botanical Art and Photography Show and at BISCOT in 2019. Following this, the Botanical Artist the journal of the American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA), approached me to write an article on my series of Arisaema in Japanese ink paste.
I took on a commission to illustrate a brand new Arisaema, the discovery and analysis for this plant is so new that it is only know currently as Arisaema sp. nov. In August 2020 this technical illustration was acquired by the RBGE Florilegium.
I was involved in the Flora Scotia exhibition, highlighting World Botanical Art Day in 2018. My painting ‘Dryopteris affinis’ was included in Greg Kenicer’s Scottish plant lore an illustrated flora, (Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, 2018) published in conjunction with Flora Scotia.
I have taken part in a few exhibitions with local botanical art societies.The Edinburgh Society of Botanical Artists (ESBA) annual collaborative winter exhibitions are a great opportunity to see a diverse set of work from graduates of the RBGE Diploma. I have also exhibited with the Scottish Society of Botanical Artists (SSBA) who provide exhibition platforms around the whole of Scotland.
Outside the botanical illustration world, my work was featured in both the Society of Scottish Artists (SSA, 2018/19) and Visual Arts Scotland (VAS, 2019) Annual Open exhibitions. I also exhibit at the annual Pittenweem Art Festival, which is a fantastic collaborative experience.
I have also recently ventured into the world of printmaking with Edinburgh Printmakers. It is always exciting to develop practice, and I really enjoyed trying out new techniques. I am looking forwards to continuing this exploration.
I had a show at the Open Eye Gallery in Edinburgh, in October 2020.
I am currently working on some commissions and I have some ideas for new projects and I am preparing for a few upcoming design and arts fairs.
Best Stand at Borders Art Fair 2023
The W Gordon Smith and Mrs Jay Gordon Smith Award at Visual Arts Scotland REVERB 2022
Gold award, Arisaema infloresence & fruit, RHS 2019
Gold award, Arisaema infloresence & fruit, BISCOT 2019
Open Eye Gallery Award at Visual Arts Scotland ALIGHT 2019 – awarded an exhibition at the Open Eye Gallery.
RBGE Diploma in Botanical Illustration, with distinction 2017
Eve Reid Bennett Book Prize for Botanical Illustration 2017
Silver award, Fernation, BISCOT 2014
Hazlewood M. ‘Japanese Ink Paste’, The Botanical Artist, (issue 4, 2019) (c)ASBA
Kenicer G. (2018) Scottish plant lore an illustrated flora Edinburgh: RBGE
Artist Spotlight, The Bean Bag
Artist of the month, Herbology News
NHS Lothian Art Collection – purchased by the Edinburgh & Lothians Health Foundation
ESBA – Edinburgh Society of Botanical Artists
SSBA – Scottish Society of Botanical Artists
SSA – Society of Scottish Artists
VAS – Visual Arts Scotland
ASBA – American Society of Botanical Artists
SBA – Society of Botanical Artists
I am based in Carlops, south of Edinburgh.
I would like to thank the following people for their support and encouragement: thank you guys!
Alex Hazlewood, Elspeth Third, Donald Third, RBGE, Alicia Salazar, Greg Kenicer, Alan Elliot, Jacqui Pestell, Sharon Tingey, Lizzy Sanders, Claire Banks, Sarah Simblet, James Potter, Darren Layne, Nancy MacDonald, Pamela Richardson, Louise Olley, Claire McGhee, Anne Swan, Janis Bain, Fiona Strickland, Robert Mcneil, Lawrie MaCallum, Andrea Geile, Jason Russel, Lucy Head, and Lara Matthews.
I have other illustration work here if you fancy something different www.treacherous.co.uk