Marie Bogoyevitch is a very talented and patient artist. Her love for painting and drawing combined with her work in biomedical science has lead Marie to develop an emerging practice in stippling art. Typically working in the large scale of A1 size, Marie spends over 100 hours per piece to carefully and accurately depict the fine details of Australian native plants and their anatomy.
We are in awe of Marie's work and her meticulous approach to natural history illustration, and have been very lucky to reproduce and print her originals over the last year. We are excited to have gained an insight into her process and interests regarding natural history through this interview. Read on to find out more about Marie's beautiful work.
Tell us a little bit about your creative background. How did you get into stippling art?
I could not describe my family as arty, but my parents and teachers were always very encouraging and supportive. And so, my father would bring home boxes of computer paper for me to draw on the unused sides and spaces. On a family trip I persuaded my family to visit the National Gallery of Australia, and I vividly remember those brilliant colours of the Monet water lilies as well as the striking black and white photo-like qualities of Chuck Close’s huge portrait “Bob”.
At school, I loved painting and drawing, but was too nervous to think that art could be a career option. Instead, I left art to pursue biomedical science, thinking that I could always come back to art. Fortunately that is now happening.
I’ve been lucky to attend some excellent workshops in recent years in Melbourne, Beechworth and Canberra, mostly based on botanical and natural history illustration. So, that is how I discovered this use of myriads of black ink dots, stippling. At first this process seemed so alien to me, because there were no lines. But stippling has gradually crept more and more into my thinking, and now I am fascinated by the use of dots to build tones and textures. By working on a large scale, there is also an interesting abstraction in being lost in these dots. I am planning to continue to use ink and stipple to explore the details of some amazing Australian native plants in the coming year.
What drew you to natural history illustration as a focus in your work?
I love art in all its forms and have been fortunate to live and work in London, as well as travel throughout Europe, Australia, and parts of Asia. This not only reinforced my fascination with the visual arts and its long history, but also the natural world with its diversity of plants, animals and environments. My scientific training in recording and observation has probably helped me, but discovering the details and beauty in the details in plants and marine life has been a real revelation. Whilst I love watercolour painting with all its delicate colours and transparency, I am really enjoying the use of ink in natural history illustration, whether it be ink pens on paper, scraperboard where the black ink is scratched away to reveal the white clayboard beneath the surface, or ink and coloured pencil on drafting film.
What are your favourite tools of the trade?
I have always had a soft spot for pens, paper, paintbrushes and paints, so I could spend hours just looking in an art shop, the old-fashioned newsagent and now online. So, I have quite a collection of tools and surfaces in my studio cupboards! For my current focus on stippling, I am mostly using Fabriano Artistico Hot Press Watercolour paper (640gsm) that has a lovely creamy colour and a beautiful smooth texture but it’s tough enough to endure the many hours of pen work for my larger works. As importantly, my must-have pen is the Rotring Isograph 0.13mm, plus the 0.4mm for some of the deeper shadows. I love just how the 0.13mm pen feels on the paper and stippling with its tiny tip feels like sprinkling the finest ground black pepper over the page.
As to your works on scraperboard and drafting film, do you reserve these mediums for a particular subject matter/outcome or do they work in tangent with your stippling art?
My initial feeling has been that these different media are ideal for particular subjects, especially the scraperboard work that allows development of striking details in white subjects such as sea urchins and shells. However, I am looking forward to trying some cross-over of subjects too, particularly in presenting more Australian plants using these other techniques.
You mentioned recently that you are submitting some work for an exhibition in October. Can you tell us about what you’ve been preparing for the show and where/when it’s being held?
I am making my first submissions to the biennial “The Art of Botanical Illustration Exhibition” at the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne. This juried exhibition, which will run in Domain House from October 13-28, has a focus on composition and artistic merit but also has strict criteria for botanical accuracy; usually less than half of the entries are accepted for the final hanging. I have completed two large-scale A1 size works with the subject of the Kurrajong (Brachychiton populneus). This is a really beautiful Australian native tree, found naturally in the semi-arid regions of southeast Australia, but that is also widely planted throughout Melbourne parks and gardens. The flowers are delicate and bell-shaped, but these ultimately form large dark pods. Apparently, you can roast and crush the seeds from inside these pods to make a coffee-like drink! So, one work is a traditional botanical view, and the other is a magnified and cropped view of these curious seed pods. If these are accepted for the exhibition, there will be an opportunity to sell other unframed works, so I am currently working on additional smaller scale works, all in stipple ink, to be presented as unframed prints.
How have you found having your art reproduced and printed at Image Science?
The team at Image Science has been super to deal with - efficient, knowledgeable, friendly and producing really top-quality prints from my work. It is always such a pleasure to see the final prints on the lovely bamboo paper.
How has being able to create prints from your original artworks been influential to your art practice?
I develop a strong relationship with each large-scale work – the time and energy in the >100 hours of stippling work means that each one is very precious to me. Therefore, the prints of these works provide an excellent solution for sharing these details by allowing a reasonable price point for sales and with scaled versions being more approachable in size for everyday framing at home. Printing is therefore allowing me to devote that time to large works, but also providing the possibilities for disseminating my work more widely.
Where can people purchase your work?
I am still pretty new to this art world! I am currently developing my portfolio of work, and to date have mostly sold the prints at exhibition venues. By early next year I hope to have set up online sales, but at the moment it’s best to contact me via my Instagram account.
What do you have planned for the rest of 2018? Do you have any other exciting exhibitions, commissions or pieces you have in the pipeline?
My first large-scale stipple image of the coast banksia, Banksia integrifolia, will be included in the 2019 calendar produced by the Royal Botanical Gardens. So, it will be exciting to see that calendar go on sale later this year. Apart from that, most of my time will be now devoted to completing several smaller stipple works to complement the pair of Kurrajong images by October. I then plan to return to the series of large-scale works, choosing subjects that suit this paired presentation of traditional botanical versus the enlarged and cropped view. There are so many wonderful Australian native plants, and it is a real delight to try to present their beauty to a wider audience.
To keep up to date with Marie's work and for any print inquiries, follow Marie on Instagram at: @marie.bogoyevitch.art