Billy Showell BA SBA
Billy has become an internationally known botanical painter and illustrator and tutor and is based in Tunbridge wells, Kent, UK.
Originally Billy trained in fashion design and illustration, she quickly turned to her first love, painting and illustration. Her works are distinguishable by her striking, fluid and sometimes unusual compositions; she has won various botanical awards, an RHS SGM, 7 SBA Certificates of Botanical Merit and a Gold medal from the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society as well as many awards for ‘People’s Choice’. Billy’s work is held at Kew Botanic gardens, the Hunt Institute USA and in the Shirley Sherwood collection; her work is also held in many private collectors worldwide.
Billy has also created over 150 species illustrations for the international Fragrance Federation and has painted many illustrations for commercial food companies. Alongside Billy’s painting and illustrating, she is also a prolific and highly respected teacher. Teaching at her studio and regularly across the UK as well as America, Russia and Australia and many more. Passionate about sharing her tips and skills, Billy has produced four best-selling books on her painting style; she also runs a successful and the popular online tutorial watercolour website, ‘The Billy Showell School of Botanical Art' www.billyshowell.com. Billy held the post of President of the Society of Botanical Artists together with Gael Sellwood 2018-2021.
‘At the heart of my work is the love of plants, the love of watercolour and the desire to bring as many people to this art form as I possibly can. On occasion, my work can be seen as light-hearted as my compositions are joyous but over the 24 years I have been painting and teaching I have introduced this love of painting plants to huge numbers of budding students, sharing what I do is my passion and loving what you do is my mantra. Botany brings enlightenment and painting helps spread the word and the pure joy of composing encourages me to challenge the expected within my genre.’
Billy Showell Fine Art
With a passion for fashion, plants and family, I have been working with new vigour. Home is a very important part of my life; I have worked hard to inspire my sons to be creatives as I was supported this way by my dear parents and husband. With major changes in my life, I began to assess what identifies my character and what influences my choices.
My career in art began in fashion, following many early years of knitting together making art and sewing. I collected objects that intrigued me and began to knit them into my designs to create a story through my work. I have now taken these same themes into my paintings; the collection began with a plethora of botanical shoe inspired compositions and then morphed into a story of the Dressmaker.
'The Dressmaker's Painting Collection'
I am the Dressmaker, having moved to new surroundings and beset by change in demanding times and yet loving that nature is everywhere at my new home, the desire to collect and harvest plants from the garden is overwhelming. I use these to decorate and inspire my work but also to connect with nature and connect home to place, like bedding in, planting old roses into new soil.
The first idea to materialise was the hanger, intricately observing flowers tied to a rustic hanger as though to dry. I then added tools and found objects to the hanger to compliment and balance the design. The hangers are a chance to celebrate the changing seasons and objects that play a part in my working and personal life.
The second idea is the Dressmaker’s treasures - items found in boxes or out on walks - assembled to conjure memories of childhood, garden and home. Like the contents of a child’s pocket so intriguing and demanding that they be carefully rendered. A lead toy, a plastic ‘Gonk’ or a paper butterfly made from a sheet of music, laid out with seeds or ribbons dried flowers and pins, each item treasured for the memories they evoke.
The third set of images are the beginning of another new dressmaker series, the concept that is sparking new ideas on adornment. Floral studies transform into unusual brooches or a corsage, botanical studies that ignite the imagination to inspire garment design.
Being an artist that relishes the captured moment in the life of a flower, it is fascinating to me that now that I am combining this love with images of objects that capture who I am at this time in my life.