About Yanny and her work
Yanny Petters is a botanical portraitist from County Wicklow in Ireland. She works exclusively from life, either in her studio in Glendarragh, Newtownmountkennedy, County Wicklow, or out in the midst of her subject's habitats. Yanny paints in a variety of media, including oils and water colours, and she produces exquisite drawings and fine art nature prints. She also specialises in Verre Églomisé, or painting on glass, an old and rare technique she has been developing and adapting to suit her plant portraits since her years working as a sign writer in the 1980s. Her paintings are in a number of important collections including the Dr. Shirley Sherwood Collection at Kew Gardens, London, and the Office of Public Works in Dublin. She is a member of Visual Artists Ireland, the Irish Society of Botanical Artists (ISBA), the Water Colour Society of Ireland and the Dublin Painting & Sketching Club.
In the Hedgerow Foxglove, Bindweed, Spindle
'Field of Vision'
botanical treasures in focus
A solo exhibition by Yanny Petters at the Olivier Cornet Gallery in October 2021.
Over almost two years we have had to look at our surroundings in a new way, reducing our field of vision due to the world wide Pandemic.
Through Yanny's love of Irish wild plants she would often travel around Ireland to gather drawings for her work, but instead she seized upon this opportunity to explore those plants that are closest to her in her garden. When we look at our immediate surroundings we don't have to go far to find wonderful and fascinating things. Yanny says, "my work raises awareness of the beauty 'under our noses' and of the delicate ecosystems which we ignore at our peril".
The exhibition included at least 70 tiny Verre Eglomisé paintings proportionally similar in shape to glass slides used in a microscope and presented in sets of three reflecting their relationship with each other.
Each piece is drawn from nature and represents a close look at wild plants in the garden, native plants which all too often go un-noticed, but which are part of delicate and precious habitats.
Each painting is 21cm x 8.5cm on 4mm glass and includes acid etching, drawing, painting and gilding in a technique of Verre Eglomisé which Yanny has been developing over the past 25 years.
When Yanny was a child her parents gave their children a microscope. Yanny was fascinated by the detail of tiny objects they looked at, a view of the minutiae that makes up our surroundings.
Things they examined included petals, leaf cells and seeds, shining a light on their structure and intense colours.
Yanny was also curious about the tiny glass slides, how the scientific process of examination worked and the design of such an instrument which opened her eyes to a new world.
For this body of work Yanny was inspired by this memory and our recent interest in wild plants and habitiats.
Yanny is delighted and honoured to have had two of her works acquired for the Irish nation by state cultural institutions in 2020. The National Museum of Ireland has acquired Hand Fan for Habitats and The Plants We Played With has been acquired by the National Gallery of Ireland.
Hand Fan for Habitats 2020
Wood, Verre Eglomisé 37cm x 62cm
Raising awareness of habitat loss due to climate change. Habitats represented from left to right on the fan:
The Burren - Bloody Cranes Bill, Woodland - Bluebell, Grassland - Red Clover, Bogs - Bog Bean, Heath - Bog Asphodel, Hedgerow - Bramble, Fen - Ragged Robin, Sea Shore - Sea Campion, Wetland - Marsh Marigold
The Plants We Played With 2015
Acrylic on Gesso panel, 134cm x 90cm
First exhibited in 2015 with the Olivier Cornet Gallery at VUE in the RHA as part of ‘Hopscotch’, an exhibition about childhood memories & children's games.
Also exhibited as part of Drawn from Nature, Irish Botanical Art, at the National Gallery of Ireland in 2020.
Plant common names:
Common Nettle, Broadleaved Dock, Hogweed, Dandelion, Common Poppy , Daisy, Ribwort Plantain, Cleavers, Cock's-foot
'Drawn From Nature'
at the National Gallery of Ireland
Yanny was honoured to be part of the exhibition in the National Gallery of Ireland, 'Drawn from Nature' which opened on the 7th of March 2020 and ran until August 30th. She had two paintings in the show, 'Bee Orchid' and 'The Plants We Played With'.
Curated by the historian and author Patricia Butler with the National Gallery's Janet McLean, the exhibition spanned many years of botanical art, including some of Ireland's leading contemporary practitioners. More information can be found here.
Botanical artists make a vital contribution to our understanding of plants all over the world, for science, horticulture, medicine & folklore as well as for our pleasure in the beauty of garden cultivars. Vitally, this age old tradition continues in light of the threat to our precious habitats, be it the jungles of Borneo, or the Burren of County Clare, the artist's skill in depicting the minute details of plants helps to record these wonders of nature.
Yanny has long admired the work of George Victor Du Noyer, William Kilburn and Wendy Walsh amongst many others which she read about in Patricia Butler's seminal book 'Irish Botanical Illustrators and Flower Painters’ about 20 years ago.
The exhibition featured the work of Yanny's fellow Irish artists Lynn Stringer, Holly Somerville, Shevaun Doherty, Jane Stark, Deborah Lambkin, Siobhán Larkin, Margareta Pertl, Susan Sex, & Mary Dillon in the print room at the National Gallery.
Yanny is proud to be part of the great blossoming of botanical art in Ireland since the establishment of the Irish Society of Botanical Artists in 2014.
Yanny with her painting on glass 'Bee Orchid'.
'The Plants We Played With'
'Hedgerow, stories from a linear world'
Solo exhibition 2019
In her exhibition at the Olivier Cornet Gallery artist Yanny Petters presented a series of Verre Eglomisé paintings, watercolours and drawings from that iconic element of the Irish countryside, the Hedgerow. Exploring her local hedgerows she drew on this many-faceted world to create gilded and painted treasures to inspire the viewer, that we might seek out the wonders of what we so often discount as a bunch of weeds! The hedgerow goes back a long way in our history, dividing and yet holding together a rich habitat that remains after our forests were cleared. Land boundaries can be traced back to Neolithic times and the 12th century Townland boundaries are the country’s longest standing land divisions.
At a time when farming practices are changing in scale many of these valuable habitats are being removed. While we might plant new hedges, it is the ancient ones which support up to 3000 organisms from flowers and trees, birds and animals to insects and microscopic creatures, without which our land would become desolate.
As we become more concerned about a changing climate we will look to hedgerows to serve as windbreaks, to shelter our livestock, reduce soil erosion, aid drainage and provide homes for beneficial predators who protect our food crops from pests. These harbours of biodiversity should be cherished for the health of our future generations.
In her work, Yanny raises awareness of our wild plants, opening our eyes to a myriad of wonders in our local environment. It's not just a bunch of weeds, but truly amazing and beautifully evolved species living in symbiotic harmony.
The exhibition ran from 13th October to 10th November 2019.
Summer in a Hedgerow
Watercolour on Arches paper 78 x 58 cm
Teasel in Kew
In 2019 Yanny's painting, 'Teasels for Finches' was included in Modern Masterpieces of Botanical Art at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery, Kew Gardens, London. The exhibition featured 265 botanical paintings by 144 artists from 36 countries. It was a great honour for Yanny to be part of such an auspicious show.
'Hedgerow' solo exhibition April-June 2018
Yanny's solo exhibition at The Seamus Ennis Arts Centre, Naul, Co. Dublin, took place from April to June 2018.
In this exhibition at the Seamus Ennis Arts Centre Yanny presented a series of monotype nature prints and drawings of the plants associated with that iconic element of the Irish countryside, the Hedgerow. 12th Century Townland boundaries are the country's longest standing land divisions which support up to 3000 organisms, from flowers and trees, birds and animals to insects and microscopic creatures without which our land would be desolate.
A Hedgerow is not just a bunch of weeds, but truly amazing and beautifully evolved family of species living in symbiotic harmony.
Hedgerow Bank 1
Monotype Nature print A/P 66 x 45 cm
Golden Fleece Merit Award
Yanny was delighted to be awarded a Merit by the Golden Fleece Awards in 2017. It was a great honour to be recognised in this way and helped Yanny focus on the next stage in her Verre Églomisé work. You can read more on the Golden Fleece Award website.
“Come with me, I’ll show you something beautiful”
“Komm mit mir, Ich zeig' Dir ‘was Schönes”.
Yanny's solo show at the Olivier Cornet Gallery October/November 2016.
Twelve glass paintings inspired by and in memory of the artist's mother Wilma Petters.
Teasel for Finches (November)
159cm x 48cm 2016
Dr. Shirley Sherwood Collection, Kew, London
66cm x 45cm 2015
Rosehips with Palm Fronds (October)
60cm x 38cm 2016
Group show, 'Republic' at the Olivier Cornet Gallery July 2016
Yanny chose to depict the Easter Lily in Verre Églomisé as she wanted to reflect the nearness of Harry Clarkes' studios at 33 North Frederick Street, just around the corner from The Olivier Cornet Gallery. The Clarke Studios were damaged during the Easter Rising. The St. Gobnait window, in the Honan Chapel in Cork, was in the making at the time but thankfully was not damaged. Clarke's works for Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner were destroyed at the time.
Yanny's technique picks up on the drawn designs for stained glass, known as Cartoons, the translucence and use of deep blues and the use of seemingly random devices to 'fill' small spaces between designs which are part of Clarke's work. The designs in acid etch indicate a shadow of the Arts and Crafts Movement which spanned the period from 1880s to 1925. All in all the piece is inspired by the meanings attributed to The Easter Lily which were the reason for Cumman Na mBan's use of it as a symbol of remembrance for those who died during the Rising.
Calla Lily Easter Lily
Verre Eglomisé 2016
80cm x 28cm
Water Colour Society exhibition prize
Yanny was thrilled to be awarded the Whytes Auctioneers prize at the Water Colour Society of Ireland's annual exhibition in September 2015 for her painting of a Calla Lily. The award was presented by Ian Whyte.
Success at Bloom 2015
Yanny was awarded a gold and bronze medal and a Best In Show commendation at the third annual Botanical and Floral Art in Bloom exhibition at Bloom 2015, the flower and garden show held in Dublin every June bank holiday. The gold medal (and Best In Show) in the floral category was for her block print 'Meadow with Plantain and Speedwell'. The bronze medal in the botanical category was awarded to her watercolour study 'Apple Malus'. Yanny was thrilled and honoured to receive these accolades for her work, particularly as she has been experimenting with block printing techniques.
Yanny with her gold medal and best in show winning print.
Yanny's bronze medal winning water colour 'Apple Malus'
Botanical Art In The 21st Century exhibition
Two of Yanny's paintings on glass, 'An Irish Meadow' and 'Common Moss' were selected for the exhibition of works from the Shirley Sherwood Collection Botanical Art In The 21st Century in Kew Gardens, London, which was held from February 6th to August 10th 2014.
An Irish Meadow
Verre Eglomisé 2004
79cm x 41cm
Ribwort Plantain Plantago lanceolata, Narrow-leaved Bird’s Foot Trefoil Lotus tenuis, White Clover Trifolium repens, Brown Bent Agrostis canina, Slender Brome Bromus lepidus, Moss Eurynchium praelongum and other grasses.
Common Moss Polytrichum commune
Verre Eglomisé 2003
45cm x 45cm
Two of Yanny's works, 'Wild Strawberry' and 'Self Heal', which were acquired by the Office of Public Works (OPW) during her 'Floral Alchemy' show at the Olivier Cornet Gallery in 2013, were selected for the 16th Art of the State Exhibition 2013 'Encounters'.
'Encounters' is part of a series of annual joint art exhibitions organised by the Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) in Northern Ireland and the OPW in the Republic of Ireland with 40 works (20 from each collection) selected from both collections. Each art work was paired with one from the other collection, creating a dialogue between the pairings.
The exhibition toured Ireland by travelling to four destinations, two in Northern Ireland and two in the Republic. Destinations were Derry, (City of Culture 2013), Lisburn, Cork and Limerick.
An exhibition of Yanny's Verre Eglomisé panels depicting selected Irish wild flowers and plants was held at the Olivier Cornet Gallery, 1 The Wooden Building, Exchange Street Upper, Temple Bar, Dublin 2 between April 24th and May 24th 2013. The exhibition was opened by Dr. Hilary Pyle, HRHA.
You can learn about Yanny's use of the Verre Eglomisé technique and its fascinating history by clicking here.