Cabbage & SBA Diploma Portfolio & Graduation

I posted about finding this cabbage at the farmer’s market and my preliminary drawing here. I got top marks from the SBA tutors for this painting which is ironic since when I first did it, I thought it was a complete failure and started on another vegetable painting to send in instead.  I quickly realized that I did not have time to do another one since I had already spent so many hours on this one.  So I put the cabbage painting away and tried to put it out of my mind while I worked on my other two portfolio paintings.

When I got this out a month later, I liked it better but saw some areas to tweak, then I put it away for another few weeks, then got it out and tweaked it some more–just a little more shading here and there, and little more definition on the ruffles, etc.  I must say it has grown on me…and now I am scratching my head over why I didn’t like it in the first place.  I hope I can remember that it is important not to give up on something too soon, with a little more work and some objective distance, it might turn out okay after all.

Do you find your perspective changes when you go back to your artworks later?

Brassica ‘Deadon’

Studying botanical art has been a long-time dream of mine, but unfortunately such programs are fairly scarce and located too far away for me to participate.  When I heard about the Society of Botanical Artists Distance Course in the UK, I immediately sent off my application with a sample of my work and waited with baited breath to see whether I would be accepted. I first heard about the program in October, was accepted by December, and started in January–now that is fast action, isn’t it!?  It is hard to believe that I am graduating now.  In some ways…many ways…I will miss the course but look forward to growing more ‘in my own style’ and subject matter choices.  I am not sure where that will take me but I hope to continue to focus mainly on Pacific Northwest natives.

This is my third painting for my graduation portfolio.  I am pleased to say that I got a good response from those evaluating my work, and actually am graduating with a “Distinction”–my feet have barely touched the ground since I found out!

Addendum: Tutor’s Comments:

I already noted my marks for this above.  My tutor was very kind in her comments, saying the cabbage is firm and the colors delightful also noting the good tonal values throughout.  The evaluating botanist also made complimentary comments.
This was by far the most difficult painting for me of the entire course.  I almost gave up on it, and actually started something different, but quickly realized that time did not allow me to start over.  I was thrilled with my evaluation but still have trouble looking at the painting without grimacing as I remember all of the hours I spent shading the ruffles and veins…and the time pressure of getting it all done in a month.


  1. And another lovely painting, it’s a wonderful cabbage – you did so well completing all three to such high standards.
    Congratulations on your Distinction Janene – it has been a pleasure working through the course with you.
    I like the new header and title on the blog too – and look forward to more beautiful art from you.
    See you at Graduation!

    • Vicki, you are so kind! I look forward to following your blog as well and know that your future as a botanical artist will flourish. See you soon!

  2. Yet another stunner Janene – beautiful purples – not surprised you got top marks. Can’t wait to see you in a fortnight. Well done!!!!

  3. Oh Congratulations on your graduation ‘with distinction’!!!
    I love this piece. The cabbage has come alive and is just perfect in its color, folds and ruffles. So glad you waited on it and then continued.
    Very often in my sketches I am immediately dissatisfied and then after a later look seem more content with it.
    Love too the header and new ‘sketches and botanical art’ designation!

    • Thanks so much, Deb, so glad you like it! For some reason, its hard to be objective at first. I think part of it is that the works seem to have a ‘mind of their own’ to some degree. They don’t always turn out how I initially pictured, but different isn’t always bad.

  4. Congratulations Janene, beautiful artwork ! I love the purples on the cabbage, so fresh. I am particularly drawn to the Fritillary – one of my favourite plants.

  5. Janene,
    Congratulations on completing your (very labor-intensive) degree and doing so with Distinction! That is quite an honor, coming from a country with such a strong history in botanical arts.
    Your cabbage is beautiful. I love the colors and how the ruffled leaves seem to be unfurling as I look at it. I don’t think I’ll look at a cabbage the same way again, thanks to you.

  6. woo hoo distinstion! That’s fabulous.

    Love your cabbage.


  1. […] of Botanical Artists in the UK and began blogging my way though my studies from beginning to end. The intensive diploma course spanned 27-months, and left me with little time for anything besides […]

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