More Student Stories
Jane Roxburgh (UK)
Jane has been busy developing her work with support via the the Advanced mentoring programme for the last two years. During that time she has produced an impressive body of work and been successful in having work accepted into the RBGE Florilegium, she also successfully applied for and became a Fellow of the Society of Botanical Artists and last year was also accepted to exhibit by the RHS picture committee. She is an avid gardener and has a great passion for the plants that she grows.
Following a successful career as a textile designer, I was looking for a new focus and was delighted to be accepted to the Advanced Course in Botanical Illustration with Dianne Sutherland.
Dianne offers extensive tutorial work, hundreds of hours of detailed instructive videos, and printable documents to supplement the learning around different topics and modules to all of the students.
The Advanced course is especially structured in terms of personalised mentoring appropriate to the style and circumstance of each individual student. Her comprehensive critiques (which often many pages in writing and full colour edited visualisations) have been so insightful in offering immediate solutions and also learning curves for future paintings.
Dianne is almost continuously and most generously available for questions, comments, approvals of draft compositions, and advice about ongoing projects. Her helpful suggestions at each stage have prevented all sorts of calamities in respect of drawing, compositional, colour and botanical accuracy.
Moreover Dianne’s constant encouragement to move forwards, even in the face of quite terrifying challenges, and her innate belief in our abilities has encouraged me to undertake projects aimed at a fully professional level, which I would have not believed possible at the outset of the course.
For one painting, which was later accepted for the RGBE Florilegium, everything needed to be researched and painted during the first lockdown, when all of the national botanical gardens and reference libraries were closed. Dianne’s botanical knowledge being at the highest level, her advice on locally available plant species and their correct nomenclature was invaluable.
With Dianne’s advice and reassurance I have been accepted to the “approved artist list” of the Royal Horticultural Society, and I have been elected a Fellow of the Society of Botanical Artists. These openings should provide further interesting pathways.
On other occasions she has advised against unsuitable courses of action, which has been equally helpful, as her unique vision for each student focuses on our own individual strengths.
Ultimately this course has opened to me exceptional opportunities and given me the confidence to develop my personal style, always underlined with botanical accuracy. The course does require lots of application and self-motivation, which in any case are key attributes to every successful artist. However the effort put in is has always been richly rewarded by the exceptional standard of teaching. It’s also been delightful to make friends with botanical artists in other parts of the world.
Paeonia suffruticosa "Sakura Jishidi' by Jane Roxburgh
Passiflora caerulea by Jane Roxburgh
Clematis 'Tie-dye' by Jane Roxburgh
Sandunmali Kulasekara (Sri Lanka)
Sandunmali has been a joined the Advanced course in 2018, she began at the same time as Jane Roxburgh so it was fitting to put them on the same page.
It's always good to see an artist find their niche and to develop it, and Sandunmali has worked extremely hard to complete works in pen and ink and colour, which have been accepted and exhibited into major shows, including the prestigious Margaret Flockton exhibition (2021 and 2022) and the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh Florilegium 2020. In 2022 she was accepted by the RHS picture committee and is currently working on an exciting and unique project.
A Sri Lankan born artist, Sandunmali currently lives in Doha, she studied biology and trained in tissue culture at the University of Colombo in Sri Lanka before becoming a plant tissue cultures specialising in native medicinal plants and agricultural crops. She also trained at the Royal Botanic Gardens Peradeniya where she specialised in Orchidaceae.
She strongly believes that it is our responsibility to protect and promote the importance of such such plants, and her passion for plants continues to grow.
Pheonix dactylifera by Sandunmali Kulasekara (2022)