View art and nature in harmony

Bontanical artists Mary ONeil and Sharon Fox have works on display
Bontanical artists Mary ONeil and Sharon Fox have works on display

Two local artists with a real love for nature feature in a new exhibition which pays tribute to Falkirk botanical legend George Forrest.

Following last year’s highly successful Strictly Botanical exhibition, the Park Gallery in Callendar House is hosting Enchanted Forrest: An Exhibition of Botanical Art until October 16, displaying work by members of the Scottish Society of Botanical Artists.

The exhibition gets its name from Falkirk-born botanist George Forrest – the so called Indiana Jones of the plant world – and a large number of the flowers which add colour to the grounds of Callendar House were specimens he collected during his early 20th century adventures in Western China.

Included among the new exhibition is work by Larbert’s Mary O’Neil and Sharon Fox from Brightons.

The two women both study under internationally renowned botanical artist Fiona Strickland at Larbert Library and both came to realise their artistic ambitions slightly later in life.

Retired teacher Mary (75) has been painting botanical subjects for more than fifteen years and has been selected over the past two years to exhibit with the Society of Botanical Artists, winning a Highly Commended certificate for her work.

She said: “I took Higher art at school, but it was more by chance I got into this than anything else. Plants have always been a big part of my life and the class run by Fiona Strickland is like my lifeline.

“Seeing what everyone else is doing – you can learn a lot just by watching other people.”

Graphic design graduate Sharon (45) took up botanical painting four years ago. Her paintings were recently shown at the Society of Botanical Artists Annual Exhibition in London and she was singled out as an artist to watch.

She said: “I’ve always been drawing ever since I could hold a pencil and at the moment I’m fascinated by Fibonacci – the sequence of numbers in nature in spiral form. It’s great for Mary and I to have the support of the Park Gallery and this exhibition.”

Visitors to Enchanted Forrest can cast their vote for the Barrie Scott and Co People’s Choice Award. Voting slips will be available in the Park Gallery for people to fill in and pop into the box provided.

Visit www.falkirkcommunitytrust.org for more.

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