Nature's backdrop for Botanica 2019 artists at Royal Botanic Gardens

Botanic beauties: Left, Ecklonia radiata kelp (seaweed). Right, Ensete ventricosum abyssinian (banana). Paintings: Amanda Izzard
Botanic beauties: Left, Ecklonia radiata kelp (seaweed). Right, Ensete ventricosum abyssinian (banana). Paintings: Amanda Izzard

Two artists with a knack for nature have been selected for the Royal Botanic Garden’s 20-year-anniversary Botanica exhibition.

Cronulla's Amanda Izzard and Carlton's Catherine Wardrop will feature in the showcase.

About 240 works were submitted but only 120 were chosen - representing 66 artists from across Australia and as far as the UK.

The annual Botanica exhibition began in 1999 as a small-scale event with a small group of volunteers at the helm. It has grown to become Australia’s largest and most successful contemporary botanical art exhibition and raises money for Foundation & Friends of the Botanic Gardens to support vital conservation and plant science projects.

The free exhibition, which brings together the worlds of art and science, has also played a key role in resurrecting an almost forgotten art form, along the way garnering international acclaim for Australian botanical artists.

Progress: Catherine Wardrop works on her artwork that is also featured in the exhibition.

Progress: Catherine Wardrop works on her artwork that is also featured in the exhibition.

To mark Botanica’s 20 year milestone, this year’s event will be curated by Robyn Macintosh, who was responsible for guiding the exhibition through its formative years.

Botanica 2019 will showcase Australian artists, including established and emerging talents in the botanical art world.

First-time exhibitor Amanda Izzard is an archictect who specialises in landscape design. She took a turn to fine arts, print-making and etching, and enjoys dabbling away in her studio.

Regular walks along Cronulla became the inspiration for her latest creations.

"The seaweed I actually found on Blackwoods Beach," she said. "When I took it home I had to quickly take photos of it because it started to shrivel up.

"The seaweed is painted purely with using traditional watercolour methods. I took it further, so there is a photo-realistic look to the plant. It took about four week to paint - it has lots of layers.

"It also had to be scientifically correct because it is judged by scientists who work in the gardens."

See the exhibition from March 30 to April 14.

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