Botanical art -
Gillian Rice, “Desert Bluebells,” 2016, watercolor on vellum. All images are from the “Botanical Art Worldwide: America’s Flora” exhibition

Spotlighting the ephemeral beauty and variety of plant life, two botanical art exhibitions opened at the Leigh Yawkey Woodson Art Museum recently.

“Botanical Art Worldwide: America’s Flora” highlights U.S. indigenous plants — from cacti and trees to woodland flowers — with a goal of increasing appreciation and understanding of the world’s plant diversity and its interconnectedness. An array of North American flora, both familiar and rare, is meticulously depicted in watercolor and other mediums. Curated by the American Society of Botanical Artists and the United States Botanic Garden, the exhibition is part of a worldwide project emphasizing the importance of conserving botanical diversity and linking people with plants via botanical art.

Betsy Rogers-Knox, “Woodland Wildflowers,” 2016, watercolor on paper

“Flora, Fauna, Font: Illustrating the Alphabet,” features Kandis Vermeer Phillips’s illuminated alphabet adorned with plants, mammals, and insects. Phillips integrated extensive research into the history of medieval illuminated manuscripts — embellished with luminous colors — into an alphabet primer for her granddaughter. She combined decorative letters with representations of flowers and creatures found in her garden and during family travels. This exhibition was organized by the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Derek Norman, “The Longleaf Pine Revisited and Revered,” 2017, watercolor, colored pencil, and graphite on paper
Lynne Railsback, “Oak Leaf Lace,” 2017, watercolor on paper

Related Botanical Art Events

On July 17, 2019, enjoy “Art 101: Botanical Art Gallery Walk,” which features a virtual walk across the American landscape; plants from all regions are represented in “America’s Flora,” part of a worldwide initiative celebrating native plants. Join Museum educator Lisa Hoffman to learn more about botanical art during this gallery walk that includes “Flora, Fauna, Font,” too.

During a “Botanical Art” artist residency, August 1–4, Wendy Brockman leads a gallery walk, studio workshop, and in-gallery painting demonstration complementing “Botanical Art Worldwide.” Known and admired for her elegant and exacting depictions of bird nests, Minnesota-based artist Wendy Brockman shares her expertise and enthusiasm for botanical art. A grant from the B.A. & Esther Greenheck Foundation supports the Wendy Brockman artist residency.

“Art Beyond Sight,” on Saturday, August 17, 10:30 a.m. to noon, is designed for individuals with low vision or blindness. Participants join Museum educators for a multisensory exploration of the galleries followed by hands-on art making inspired by “Flora, Fauna, Font.” Call the Museum at 715-845-7010 to register.

During “Art 101: Master Gardener Garden Walk,” Wednesday, August 21, 12:15 to 1 p.m., join master gardeners for plant-life insights while strolling the Museum grounds.

Linda Medved Lufkin, “Bloodroot,” 2017, watercolor and gouache on vellum
Margaret Farr, “Dogwood, Fall and Spring,” 2015, watercolor on paper
Milly Acharya, “Trumpet Vine,” 2015, watercolor on paper

Both exhibitions remain on view at the Woodson Art Museum through August 25. For more information, visit

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