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 have combined this with my work as a professional, independent Pilates teacher. A perfect antidote to spending many hours sat at my desk.

Since moving in 2005 from Dorset, UK to rural South Portugal I have continued to share my time in this way. Living and walking daily in a natural landscape, abundant with so many different trees and plants at assorted stages of seasonal development, provoked important changes in my ways of observation helping me choose what I paint. I'm always accompanied by my dogs & sometimes a cat. I'm a huge animal lover & often get commissions for pet portraits. 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 the Pomegranates, Strelitzias & Magnolia Grandiflora. I find particular interest & beauty in a plant as it decays and becomes sculptural in appearance. As an artist I'm challenged to find the subtle colour changes within the subject. This involves a lot of intense observation to describe colour & detail. The pet commissions enable me to have a little break from that intense scrutiny of the minute detail. All botanical studies take a lot of looking!

Prompted by a respected botanist friend I was encouraged to submit my work to the RHS in 2019 and was accepted to exhibit. From May 2019 to January 2020, I completed a set of 6 paintings illustrating the transformation of fruit from a single branch of a Pomegranate tree. This series of paintings was exhibited this year at Saatchi Gallery in London & was awarded a Gold Medal.

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.

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