Collection: Toni Dade

Since finishing separate courses in both Dance and Natural History Illustration in the 80 & 90s, I have consistently painted, producing a diversity of commercial illustrations and private commissions. I teach a beginner’s botanical art in watercolours class at the 'Escola de Artes de Lagoa'. This year I've also been invited to teach some botanical art holidays at 'Figs on the Funcho' a beautiful location near Messines. I combine these activities with my work as a professional, independent Pilates teacher. A perfect antidote to spending many hours sat at my desk.

 

I have been living in a rural area of the Algarve for 17 years. Walking daily in this landscape has provoked important changes in my ways of observation, helping me choose what I paint. In 2017 my passion for painting botanical subjects began.....I am now completely addicted.

 

My local environment is abundant with so many different trees and plants at assorted stages of seasonal development. Such close access to the seasonal evolution from bud to decay has concentrated my focus and visual response. This has brought about 3 different series of work - Pomegranates, Strelitzias & Magnolia Grandiflora. I find interest & beauty in a plant as it decays and becomes sculptural in appearance.

 

I'm challenged to find the subtle colour changes within a subject. This involves a lot of intense observation to describe colour & detail. I have learned over many years to take time over the initial stage of observation & drawing. Accuracy is intrinsic & attention to detail is essential to a successful piece of work.....but I do love working with colour so much! All my botanical paintings are executed in watercolour. I work mostly with a very limited palette 2 reds 2 yellows & 2 blues. It's incredible the colours you can achieve & I've always enjoyed the challenge this brings. I find my work very therapeutic & a big distraction from life's complications.

 

Prompted by a respected botanist friend I was encouraged to submit my work to the Royal Horticultural Society in 2019 and was accepted to exhibit. From May 2019 to January 2020, I completed a set of 6 paintings illustrating the transformation of flowers to fruit from a single branch of a Pomegranate tree. This series of paintings was exhibited in 2021 at Saatchi Gallery in London & was awarded a Gold Medal. I'm currently working on my next exhibit for the RHS a series depicting the transformation of Magnolia Grandiflora from bud to empty seed pod. I'm hoping to show this next year.

 

 

I've exhibited with the Society of Botanical Artists annually since 2017. I was honoured to be awarded an SBA Fellowship in 2019. A real sense of achievement to be included within a society of so many artists who have inspired me throughout my botanical art journey. I've learned so much exploring different techniques used by other botanical artists and have incorporated and absorbed many new discoveries into my work of the last 5 years. I continue to evolve, learn and grow as a botanical artist.

 

I am a big animal lover & as you see from my paintings, I regularly take on commissions for pet portraits.

 

 

 

 

Exhibitions & Awards:

2021- Royal Horticultural Society Gold Medal

2021- RHS Botanical Art & Photography Show at Saatchi Gallery

2021- “Plantae” Society of Botanical Artists

2021-"Purely Botanical? II" The Association of British Botanical Artists

2020-"Purely Botanical" with The Association of British Botanical Artists

2020- Awarded "The Great Art Award" at the SWA exhibition.

2020-The Society of Women Artists 159th Annual Open Exhibition-online

2020- "Plantae" online exhibition with the Society of Botanical Artists

2019- I was awarded a place to exhibit with the Royal Horticultural Society.

2019-"Plantae" with the Society of Botanical Artists, Mall Galleries, London

2017- "Changing Seasons" with the Society of Botanical Artists, Westminster Central Halls, London