Sally Arnold grew up in the Karoo, South Africa, studied Fine Art at Cape Town Technikon and the Royal Academy in Antwerp, received a Master’s in Art History from Frankfurt’s J.W. Goethe University and began practising art in Rome in 1994. Fulfilling private and public commissions in Europe, her sculptural work was shown in Frankfurt (2001), Venice (2002) and St Tropez (2006) on international group exhibitions.
A self-taught painter as of 1994, she currently focuses on realist thematic portraiture of flowers in oils, water colours .and coloured pencils. In June 2012 she completed a 2 month residency (working title *bhlo* – blossom/flow) at Combaz 7, Switzerland, where she researched tiny Alpine spring blossoms and related European poetry. Botanical water colours were exhibited at Kirstenbosch Biennale, Cape Town 2013.
Interested in calligraphy, languages, colour psychology and light, her work is reverential towards the organising principles of plants, and builds upon historical draughtsmanship and the phenomenal artistry of natural forms. She currently works from a studio in the Karoo, on a new series of drawings on paper, canvas and wood panels – and occasionally ceramics.
‘Wildflowers on Paper’, Irma Stern Museum – Cape Town
‘Nos meilleurs voeux’, Galerie l’Indépendance, Banque Internationale – Luxembourg
Luxembourg Art Prize 2017
Worldwide Botanical Art Exhibition: South Africa
Sanlam National Portrait Award
Ongoing additions to print editions of limited archival botanical prints (digital)
Born Stutterheim, South Africa 1954
PROFESSIONAL ART TRAINING
Diploma in Botanical Art, SBA/UK 2020
Masters Art History, J.W.Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany 1983
Bursary to Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten, Antwerp, Belgium 1975-6
Diploma of Fine Arts (major: sculpture) Cape Technical College, Cape Town, South Africa,1974
As an SBA/UK distance diploma student due to graduate next month (now deferred) at the historic Artists’ Guild in London, I was delighted that one of my assignments, a botanical study – Nerium oleander – was accepted for the beautiful SBA show ‘Plantae 2020’, traditionally held in the Mall Galleries near Buckingham Palace.
The exhibition presents around 400 artists’ work in varying botanical disciplines. Artists may submit up to 4 works, I submitted two of my best course assignments. For my diploma portfolio I’ve focused on coloured pencil.
Quick info on the SBA course: 12 assignments must be sent at two monthly intervals to tutors in the UK. Tutors are all professional botanical artists with exhibiting and publishing careers. Assignments are marked using a strict system comprising 10 categories. Failure to e.g. correctly label work according to the prescribed botanical system causes a significant point deduction. Three portfolio pieces and a short essay are required for the diploma. Distinction is achieved only with a 90% overall point average. (Needless to say, my visits to the physiotherapist for neck-related stress have incrementally increased over the intense 27 month training period!)
With such excellent training, I began teaching botanical drawing workshops in Europe. I was particularly looking forward to March 2020 at the great German art supply store, Boesner, which offers professional workshops in in-house studios. Botanical art is almost not taught in Germany – but I will have another chance to start doing just this, with a year’s delay, in March 2021. Meanwhile I’m hoping it will be safe to go ahead with a pencil drawing workshop scheduled for Goldfields Centre, Kirstenbosch, on 31 August 2020.
The Coronavirus lockdown has impacted artists worldwide, halting exhibition planning and events, like #princealbertopenstudios, due to begin on 18 June, in Prince Albert/Great Karoo. Yet Nature continues evolving, and we’re blessed to be experiencing beautiful winter Fynbos glories and gardens full of colour. Let’s keep drawing and honouring these exceptional gifts!