Throughout most of my adult life I have been a visual artist who is passionate about nature and ecology. The work that I have done in the past always had something to do with the environment because it’s what I care about. About 10 years ago a few things happened that influenced this current body of work: I bought a house with a beautiful old garden, I enrolled in a 3-year horticultural program at the Barnes Foundation Arboretum School to learn how to restore this garden, and I found and became a student of 2 teachers was always seeking:
A 5th generation Qigong Master from China and a Guru from India who teaches Classical Hatha Yoga.
How the work began. As a 3rd year Horticulture student you have to design a garden I was restoring my garden I fell in love with native plants and their life histories. I wanted to record this information and to advocate for nature, and do it in a way that was educational and entertaining. My early work were mounted plants specimens, also called herbarium or natural history specimens but later evolved into quirky documents that explored all the parts of a plant – not just the anatomical parts, but also the medicinal, historical, ecological and the spiritual parts. These documents became ethnobotanical works on paper, and I became a botanical investigative reporter. For inspiration I looked into the past, at ancient herbal manuscripts, historical botanical art and illustration, and herbarium or “natural history” specimens, and other visual art history.
I like to juxtapose elements in a composition so the work becomes a visual puzzle, with the hope of evoking a sense of wonder and mystery in the viewer, and mirroring the way I feel about the natural world. I am in awe of its beauty and it power to sustain and heal. I also want people to enjoy the humor of my work because it’s part of who I am. My technique is a combination of several different media including collage, digital imaging, archival inks, gouache, acrylics and colored pencils. I also use digital scanning to record specimens, because I like using the technology of the moment, and what’s revealed during this process can be extraordinary. Accuracy was always the aim of the historical botanical illustrator, and I like staying true to this tradition. After printing, each piece is individually hand-embellished, and published in an edition of eight to ten.
This body of work is a continuation of a theme I call” The Document Series.” My subjects are the plants of the world that I enjoy learning about. The intention of my work is two-fold: first, to create art that celebrates, engages and enlightens people about the wonderful and to share the curious things I’ve learned about plants and the natural world,