Jan 29th, 2016

Student & Teacher Art Show

art by Gail Goodrich Harwood - a Magnolia grandiflora made of wool felt in white and green.

Magnolia grandiflora in felt, by Gail Goodrich Harwood

As I walk through the Botanical Illustration & Art: Student and Teacher Exhibition at Ginter Gallery II, I see a contrast to the blanket of white snow just outside the windows of the gallery — a spectrum of color and intricate, yet delicate textures. I can’t help but feel as if I am walking through the seasons and the memories of our artists’ favorite flora — from spring ferns to summer zinnias and autumn persimmons. The exhibit features the work of 18 student and teacher artists and displays an exceptional attention to detail.

One part of the hallway in Gallery II of the Kelly Education Center.

The hallway in Ginter Gallery II in the Kelly Education Center.

Each work is accompanied by an artist statement that brings the work into focus in a more personal context, outside of the techniques they have learned or taught in class.  Juliet Kirby, instructor of our Botanical Illustration class, explains the process of her watercolor illustration: “I grew up in England and loved the huge and beautiful peonies that grew in my mother’s garden. Moving to Virginia, I decided to grow their more exotic cousins, the tree peonies, which have enough flowers and beautiful foliage.” Kirby says that since the bloom for peonies is extremely shortlived, she draws it one year, and then paints the colors the next year.

by Juliet Kirby

A soft pink peony flower surrounded by large green foliage. “Paeonia suffruticosa” by Juliet Kirby.

Students in our classes overcame processes that were once intimidating. Patrice Mason writes of her crisp illustration, “The process of pen and ink intimidated me due to its permanence; it was never one that lent itself, for me, to correction or alternation once the ink was applied. However, with the patient instruction and expertise of my instructor Lorraine Brevig, and the enthusiastic inspiration provided by Judith Towers, I am much more at ease with the process of applying ink to film and now have a much greater appreciation of the medium.”

by Patrice Mason

A detailed pen and ink illustration of fern foliage. “Japanese Holly Fern: Crytomium fortunei” by Patrice Mason.

Gail Goodrich Harwood has both a botanical illustration and needle-felting work in the show. The felt piece in the show displays imagination beyond the two-dimensional and a whimsical study in materials. “The magnolia is a fascinating subject, so bold and sculptural — and therefore the perfect subject for the sculptural needle-felted technique learned from instructor Judy Thomas.”

Of course, this is only a small snippet of the range of work in the exhibit. Visit us in Gallery II in the Kelly Education Center to view all 20 works in the show.

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden offers many opportunities to explore botanical subjects through art including offering a certificate in botanical illustration. We teach other expressive art forms such as needle-felting, embroidery, and natural dyes in “Art in the Garden” classes. These classes support the Garden’s mission to connect people and plants to improve our community. With the care and attention to detail in this exhibit, it is easy to see this art is a true labor of love by our artists and teachers. Exhibit runs now through March 13, 2016.

In conjunction with the show, please join us as instructor Judy Thomas gives an artist talk: Following in Bartram’s Footsteps, on Sunday, February 21, 2016 at 1 p.m. in Classroom 1 of the Kelly Education Center. Talk is included with regular garden admission. No registration is required.

About Roxy Hojat

Art Exhibit Coordinator & Graduate Assistant at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

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