Botanical artist and teacher Leigh Ann Gale is exhibiting her paintings, early student sketchbooks, and some of her students’ work at Horsham Museum and Art Gallery.
The show aims to complement the Capability Brown in Horsham exhibition, which marks 300 years since his birth.
Growing Success – Botanical Art by Leigh Ann Gale and Her Students runs at the museum until March 19.
Botanical art actually dates back two thousand years to the early herbals, when it was common practice to record information about plants to aid identification for medicinal purposes. It wasn’t until the eighteenth-century, when artists such as Redouté and Ehret began painting rare specimens introduced from overseas for florilegia, that botanical paintings became aesthetically desirable.
More recently, botanical art has enjoyed a renaissance and continues to grow as a popular genre of art.
Leigh Ann Gale has been a botanical artist for almost twenty years. She began evening classes in flower painting in 1997, and in 2004 she completed a two year diploma in Botanical Art and Illustration at The English Gardening School, Chelsea Physic Garden. Since graduating, Leigh Ann has been awarded medals for her botanical paintings by the RHS and the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in Cape Town, South Africa, and belongs to the Hampton Court Palace Florilegium Society, the Sydney Florilegium in Australia and the Nyman’s Florilegium Society.
Her work is held in the Royal Archives and the permanent collection at the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation in Pittsburgh, USA, as well as private collections around the world.
Leigh Ann Gale qualified as a tutor in 2008, and teaches botanical art and illustration for all levels of ability. She also teaches the basics of botany; structured exercises help students think ‘botanically’ and analyse specimens in depth, to support accurate rather than impressionistic representation. Leigh Ann also encourages her students to use live specimens rather than photographs for their studies.
Leigh says: “Unlike a photograph, you can learn so much more about the subject by looking at it and handling it, turning it round, taking it apart, studying the colours... It’s amazing how much information can be obtained in this way.”
Several of Leigh Ann’s students have gone on to successfully complete diplomas in botanical painting run by the SBA (Society of Botanical Artists) and exhibit work at their annual exhibition in Westminster.
For more information about Leigh Ann’s courses, visit her website at www.la-botanicalart.co.uk.
Contributed by Horsham Museum & Art Gallery. The museum is open Monday to Saturday, 10am-5pm,
admission Free. Visit www.horshammuseum.org.
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