Wednesday, 12 December 2018

How one scientist transformed scientific art

On October 23rd 2016, Rene Martin, a PhD student studying the evolution of deep sea fishes at the University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute, decided to create a hashtag on Twitter for the sole purpose of motivating herself to draw every week.

The hashtag quickly picked up steam as other scientists also had a creative itch and began to contribute and promote the weekly ritual. After two years of tweets, #SundayFishSketch has become more than a hashtag. It is now a rallying point for a community of ichthyophiles who every Sunday share their passion for art and fishes on Twitter and Instagram. This past week alone, tweets with the hashtag reached more than 50,000 unique accounts on more
Follow the Sunday Fish Sketch on Twitter here: #SundayFishSketch

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Strelitzias of the World - new publication

Strelitzias of the World (R445) by Himansu Baijnath and Patricia McCracken is published by the Durban Botanic Gardens Trust. The book features more than 200 historic and contemporary illustrations of these much-loved plants.
A number of the illustrations were taken from our own Botanical Art Exhibition earlier this year and feature artworks by several BAASA members.
Find Strelitzias of the World at Exclusive Books (stores and online), as well as the bookshop/visitor centre of Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden and the Durban Botanic Garden. To order directly from the Durban Botanic Gardens Trust, send an email to
An interesting article entitled 'Strelitzia: The Puzzle of the Robberg Bird of Paradise' which references this publication was recently published in the online Wild Card magazine - read it here

Saturday, 29 September 2018

Seeking cover photographs for future editions of PlantLife

PlantLife online magazine is looking for readers who would like to contribute a cover photograph for a future edition of PlantLife. View the original PlantLife post here.

The photograph should be eye-catching and should depict some aspect of the many wonders of southern African plant life, or scenery portraying rich biodiversity. Or it can be a a photograph of a botanical artwork.

Any photograph used for such a cover illustration will be acknowledged on the front cover.

Photographs should be 300 dpi resolution and be jpg files of not less than 2 Mb. 

And, of course, if any readers have interesting information to share with PlantLife subscribers in the form of an article, please let me know at the address below. The editorial team is looking for contributions from the Botanical Art community, so here's an opportunity to showcase your work and ideas!

Submissions should be sent to

Saturday, 7 July 2018

PlantLife: Botanical Art Journal

A message to BAASA members from Graham Grieve,
the new e
ditor of the journal, PlantLife:

The Dawn of the Digital Edition is coming!
Dawn at Msikaba River mouth
The journal, 'PlantLife' up to now has been a glossy, hard copy journal published rather infrequently in recent years. I am taking it back to its origins as a more informal means of communication between amateur plant lovers and botanists.
It is to become a free-subscription fully electronic journal and I expect the first edition to be "published" around the end of July 2018.
You can subscribe by going to the PlantLife South Africa's website and fill in your email details in the "Follow by email" box.

I would like to encourage BAASA members to use PlantLife as a place to showcase their work. If any BAASA member would like to contribute, they can contact me at
For more information follow the link below: 

Friday, 15 June 2018

The Public's Choice Competition at the Botanic Art Worldwide Exhibition 2018

Public's Choice First Prize winner, Ingrid Howes,
with her vibrant portrait of Carissa macrocarpa

We have always wanted to run a ‘Public’s Choice competition’ during one of our exhibitions, so we were delighted that we managed to do it this time.
Ingrid Howes found us some wonderful prizes from Herbert Evans, Johannesburg’s major art store, who in turn approached a few of their suppliers, including Winsor and Newton, Faber Castell and Arches.
The response was wonderful with around 900 entries and interestingly, the results see-sawed from week to week. Here are the final results:

Ingrid Howes               Carisa macrocarpa      39 votes    Winsor & Newton field watercolour set
                                     BAW 109

Gail de Smidt              Scadoxus puniceu       35 votes      R1000.00 voucher from Herbert Evans
                                     BAW 066

Farhat Iqbal                 Strelitzia nicholai          27 votes      Faber-Castell colour pencil set
                                     BAW 123

Sibonelo Chiliza          Strelitzia nicholai          24 votes      Arches pad of paper
                                     BAW 037

Sibonelo Chiliza          Scadoxus puniceus       24 votes
                                     BAW 038

Janet Snyman              Gasteria rawlinsonii     22 votes
                                     BAW 201

Janet Snyman              Cheiridopsis speciosa  20 votes
                                     BAW 199

Jenny Hyde Johnston   Adenium multiflorum   19 votes
                                      BAW 120

Elbe Joubert                  Erythrina latissima      19 votes
                                       BAW 127

Eric Judd                       Adansonia digitata      18 votes
                                       BAW 133

Congratulations everyone on your beautiful paintings!
The public member winning draw was Keith. He wins Shirley Sherwood and Martyn Rix’s book, ‘Treasures of Botanical Art’.
To our prize winners, congratulations and enjoy your prizes!

Sunday, 10 June 2018

The Explorers' Club visits the Botanical Art Worldwide Exhibition

Whether you are interested in pictures of plants or not, the visit to the botanical art exhibition on 18 May was captivating. The exhibition included artworks by 82 South African botanical artists, with over 800 digitally displayed artworks from 25 countries taking part in this first ever simultaneous worldwide exhibition of contemporary botanical art.

Monday, 4 June 2018

Botanic Art Worldwide Exhibition - the journey...

Getting ready

Preparations began the week before. Unwrapping the artwork was very exciting.
View more photos here

Opening night!

Said Gillian Condy, Exhibition Curator:"I have never seen such enthusiastic crowds at any opening. There were hundreds of them, and then the public streamed in at six o’clock. It was so exciting. Very memorable."

View more photos of the opening here


Walkabouts, artists demos and more have been going on throughout

See more here

The Artworks

Some of the Artists with their wonderful artworks
More photos here

And here we have a link to our presentation of the artworks on You Tube

Our online catalogue can be accessed here

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

The Shot Hole Borer Beetle Crisis

We are on the brink of an ecological disaster...

...all because of the Shot Hole Borer beetle. Trees are dying and FABI has indicated that natural control is not in the pipeline at present.

The Polyphagous Shot Hole Borer is a species of Ambrosia Beetle, belonging to the weevil family.

These foreign beetles, identified in 2017 by Dr Trudy Paap of FABI (Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute), are killing trees in towns from Johannesburg to Knysna. Whilst the beetles are mainly affecting urban trees, there is a real possibility that they could reach the veld.

Please read on...

Monday, 28 May 2018

Botanical Art Worldwide Activities - Saturday 26th May

It was a busy day at the exhibition again!

Walkabout led by Ann Harris Deppe who runs a botanical art school in Johannesburg

Ann explains some of the finer points of one of the artworks

Janet Hughes preparing for her art demonstration 

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Sharing and Learning!

Gill Condy demonstrating at the exhibition yesterday morning:

More student visits too!

Art students from Destiny Academy, Gateway

Studying the brush strokes on Anja Black’s Serruria florida painting

Saturday, 26 May 2018

Botanical Art Worldwide Exhibition - Review

This article by Graham Wood can be found on the 'Wanted' online magazine



Words: Graham Wood
24 May 2018
Adenium boehmianum, Bushamans Poison by Gillian Condy
The opening of Botanical Art Worldwide at the Everard Read Gallery on May 17 must be one of the most packed-to-the-rafters I can remember going to. By all accounts, there has been a steady flow of people through the gallery since that night.
The exhibition’s popularity took me by surprise but maybe it shouldn’t have. There is something undeniably zeitgeisty about botanical art. It represents a crossover between art and science, which has been a prominent theme in recent contemporary art (probably in a way that is much more authentic and historically rooted than quite a few of the more recent, trendy attempts to do so). It also straddles the overlap between art and craft – because what we call botanical art now, was for a long time considered simply botanical illustration, a skill purely in the service of scientific study...

Friday, 25 May 2018

Art Students Visit the Botanical Art Worldwide Exhibition

The exhibition has an important educational aspect

Art students from St Mary’s Waverley in Johannesburg

Students from St. Stithians on a guided walk

Students studying Sibonelo Chiliza’s graphite drawing of the Scadoxus puniceus

Art students studying the fine detail of the works

View photos of more activities:
Walkabout with Vicki Thomas - Walkabout with Elsa Pooley - Art demos 1 - Art demos 2

Botanical Art Worldwide Day: art demos - afternoon

Pearl de Chalain also teaches colour pencil techniques in Johannesburg

Ann Harris runs a botanical art school in Johannesburg so is happy demonstrating 

Karyn Wiggill, one of our younger artists, a skilled graphite artist and miniaturist

View photos from the morning demos

View the first walkabout with Vicki Thomas

View the second walkabout with Elsa Pooley

Botanical Art Worldwide Day - second walkabout

The second walkabout led by Elsa Pooley for Botanical Art Worldwide Day last Friday

Elsa captivating her audience

Elsa speaking with Gail de Smidt

Jenny Hyde-Johnson speaks to the audience

Moving through the gallery - there's still plenty more to see!

View photos from the first walkabout with Vicki Thomas

View the morning art demos

View the afternoon art demos

Botanical Art Worldwide Day: art demos - morning

Sandie Burrows working on one of her Drift Seed drawings. Sandie works in colour pencil

Janet Snyman demonstrating her beautiful watercolour skills

Johannesburg artist Julie AhFa also working in watercolour

Young Zimbabwean artist Liberty Shuro drew a lot attention with his graphite work