Shevaun Doherty SBA
Like many artists, I have loved art ever since I was a child. Growing up in an artistic home, there was always plenty of encouragement, but as so often happens, my life took a different route. It was only when I moved to Egypt from Ireland in 2005 that I started to paint in watercolours, painting the flowers and insects that my young daughters found in the gardens there.
I have always had a keen interest in the natural world, so when I visited the Shirley Sherwood Gallery at Kew Gardens, London in 2008, I realised that I wanted to be a botanical artist. I was mesmerised by the work that I saw there- the intensity of the colours and the meticulous detail was awe-inspiring. At that time, I was still living in Egypt but discovered that the Society of Botanical Artists offered a Long Distance Diploma Course. I enrolled, and I never looked back!
Botanical art needs patience, skill and an appreciation for nature. It is a form of visual storytelling, where the role of the artist is to describe how the plant grows, looks and feels. Each piece takes careful research and planning, because as well as being aesthetically pleasing, it has to be scientifically correct.
I normally spend a week doing studies and colour matching, and then can spend anything from two weeks to a month on a painting. I work with magnifiers so that I can see the finer details like the hairs on the leaf, or the tiny spots on a petal. I love the challenge of getting the details just right, and I’m constantly learning amazing things about the natural world. How wonderful it is to watch a flower slowly unfurl, or a bee combing pollen from its fur!
Since graduating with a distinction in 2012, my life has blossomed. I now live in Kildare, Ireland and work full-time as an artist and art-tutor. I have won many awards, exhibiting regularly in Ireland and internationally, and have met some truly inspiring people through my art.
Using art to raise awareness is something that I believe in. Botanical art often focuses on details that are otherwise overlooked and try when possible to include interesting information about plants and insects on my social media posts. My proudest achievement to date has been designing a set of postage stamps for Ireland featuring native Irish bees. http://www.anpost.ie/AnPost/MainContent/About+An+Post/Media+Centre/Press+Releases/2018/celebrating+Irelands+native+bees.htm
I also designed the logo of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, a nationwide plan to make Ireland a place where pollinators thrive and survive. More bees mean more beautiful gardens! I am a Bee Warrier!
Teaching is very rewarding. I love sharing my passion for art and nature, and really enjoy encouraging others to reach their artistic potential. I am now the vellum tutor for the SBA DLDC, the very course that started me on my journey. I travel extensively giving workshops and demonstrations. In January 2019, I will be launching my own online course and feel very excited by the possibilities. I am really looking forward to the year ahead.