Artist's Statements

In 2011, Debbie received the Julius Brown award from the American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA) to paint endemic and endangered plant species as well as birds and pollinators in the El Dorado Reserve in the highest part of the Andes near Santa Marta, Colombia, SA. She began this project in 2009 upon receiving a previous grant from the ASBA. Her works from the reserve were displayed at an International Summit for South America’s top reserve managers from Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil and Bolivia in September, 2010. In addition, she displayed works from the reserve at the Colombia Ambassador’s residence in DC (May, 2010) honoring ProAves, Inc. and The American Bird Conservancy. She has spoken to several art and business groups concerning her ongoing project.
She was invited to participate in the “Lucy Meriwether Marks: Virginia Planter and Doctoress” exhibit at the Jefferson Library at Monticello, 2009. In 2006, she was included in the Corcoran Gallery of Art’s “Botanical Treasures of Lewis & Clark,” as well as an exhibit at the US Botanic Gardens. Two of her giclee prints were included in an exhibit at the National Agricultural Library’s “Lewis & Clark.” Debbie has won awards for her art and has been in several shows and galleries throughout the greater DC area. Her commissioned work includes the British Ambassador to the United States, in 2011.
Debbie’s undergraduate degree is in Art Education and she holds a certificate from the Corcoran College of Art and Design in Botanical Art and Illustration. She holds a Master of Arts in Behavioral Disorders which is reflective of an earlier career. Her professional affiliations include ASBA, the Botanical Art Society of the National Capitol Region (BASNCR) and Studio 155.  
• Drying Garlic, 2011, watercolor on paper
I have always been drawn visually to garlic. I love the softness of the curves and the strength of the bulbs. The long slender leaves, which sometimes curiously coil, are intriguing when one sees them planted in abundance. The Pre-Raphaelite artists were fond of using garlic to portray power to ward off the "undead" or vampires. Stories of metamorphosis, represented by butterflies, greatly intrigued these artists. Butterflies symbolize transformation, change, resurrection and the celebration of young love. Christians have long used the butterfly to symbolize rebirth. The garlic and butterfly displayed together represent the power to protect a state of vulnerability.
• Sounding the Trumpet, 2011watercolor on paper
This tiny hummingbird was located in my Virginia garden and became the central figure of my focus. In this painting, deep devotion symbolized by the honeysuckle, is seemingly protected by the hummingbird's presence. Hummingbirds host a myriad of symbols but often represent joy, love and beauty. Hummingbirds appear to never tire and are always looking for the sweetest nectar reminding us to concentrate on the good things in life. Depicted here, both the hummingbird and the honeysuckle are announced by the trumpet flower, often associated with fame. Hummingbirds are also viewed as messengers and because of their ability to fly backwards, convey a warning not to dwell upon the past. Pre-Raphaelites used them to represent children and fairies.

My paintings are a reflection and extension of a lifelong fascination with gardens and nature. I work in watercolor, oil, pencil, ink and graphite sometimes combining two or more in one piece. My intention is to render natural forms with precise detail, while departing from the constraints of centuries-old, traditional botanical art. 
Before becoming a botanical artist I was retail - fashion industry executive. My degrees include a BS in Microbiology and a Masters in Business Administration. Switching gears I received a Botanical Art and Illustration certificate from The Corcoran College of
Art + Design and the United States Botanical Garden.
My paintings were included in the 2006 exhibition, Treasures of Lewis and Clark, at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, DC. My work was published in the 2010 White House holiday tour book, Simple Gifts. My paintings were exhibited in a solo show at Neiman Marcus, Washington DC. They have also been shown at the Byrne Gallery in Middleburg, Virginia –the Athenaeum in Alexandria, Virginia – Studio Gallery in Washington, DC and Orchard Gallery in Bethesda, Maryland. 
• Purple Shamrock
Because a member of my family has celebrated a birthday on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, I have always collected lucky shamrock plants to mark the family celebration. My favorite is the Purple Shamrock. While the more familiar green variety is charming, the purple is mysterious. And the stunning regal color is a Feng Shui element that encourages wealth. Accompanying the oil painting are my preliminary sketches in graphite and watercolor. 
• Strawberries
Strawberries are a happy fruit. They symbolize warm weather and the rebirth of spring. In my painting I have included memories of a particularly wonderful spring sojourn on Italy’s Lake Como. It includes my favorite fruit of course as well as a room key accidently taken from the Villa d’Este. Unlike Venus who cried tears of heart-shaped strawberries over her loss of Adonis, my connection to the fruit elicits joy.
• Variegated Tulip
I chose this tulip to paint simply because I admire its over-the-top dramatic impact. When fully opened it is spectacular. The Victorians conveyed the compliment, You Have Beautiful Eyes, with the variegated tulip. The painting combines the subtlety of graphite and the exuberance of bright watercolor.
• Gardenia
This watercolor was done to remind me of one of my favorite fragrances. If you look at it intently you can actually smell the heady gardenia perfume. The Victorians considered gardenias representative of refinement and purity conveying the message, You Are Lovely.

Neena Birch
Most often a naturalist taking liberties, Neena Birch’s subject matter explores the area between scientific reality and fantasy. Her current botanical portraits capture the solitary life of flowering plants. Neena received her bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University and did postgraduate work at Columbia University, the University of Alaska and the Corcoran School of Art. She received a M.F.A. in design from George Washington University and a Certificate Degree in Botanical Illustration from the Corcoran College of Art and the US Botanic Garden. One person shows range from Alaska to the Capitol in Washington, DC. Her latest one person shows were at the Jane Haslem Gallery (1992), Washington Printmakers Gallery (1996 and 1999) and in 2004 at Rockville Arts Center. In 2006, Neena’s work was part of an exhibit at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. The extensive show researched and recorded, in modern renditions, the botanical treasures of Lewis and Clark. Her works may be viewed at her studio and in museums, galleries and collections throughout the United States.
• Neena’s mandala shaped image, Centering, is a symbolic source of contemplation in many cultures. Outward radiating petals, expose the flower’s core and reveal the ideas of creation and source. The triptych is oil paint on canvas. 

Elizabeth Ward Carter

Education: Certificate of Botanical Illustration, Corcoran College of Art & Design

        M.F.A. 1990 George Washington University 

        M.Ed. 1966 Boston College

        Manhattanville College B.A. 1962

The details of ordinary things are often overlooked. It has always been the objective of my work to give the viewer an opportunity to see the beauty in the everyday. Working in various media, lithography, drawing, artist books and painting, the ordinary is what I explore in my images. 

• Conversation -This is a colored pencil drawing on a watercolor background. Sunflowers are symbols of loyalty and devotion. Showing sunflowers against an abstract landscape they interact and relate to each other.

• The End Of Summer - A large graphite drawing with just a touch of color expresses both an end and a beginning.

• Damsels And Tigers -An oil still life depicting a lily in an interior setting with a shadow and an insect suggesting the exterior. The lily symbolizes feminine qualities but since the flower is a tiger lily the emphasis in on the strength and power of these qualities. The background is inspired by the patterns of William Morris.

Wendy Cortesi is a botanical artist and natural science photographer with a special interest in time-lapse changes and close-up details often missed by the casual observer. She received a BA in History of Art from Wellesley College, with a minor in Astronomy and Languages. Her peripatetic professional history includes work as a speechwriter, journalist, author, editor, researcher, graphic designer, food editor, photographer, photo editor, teacher (at the Corcoran), pen and ink illustrator and fine artist. 
Staff and contract work with National Geographic led to training as a natural science photographer. Her realistic style, careful research and interest in detail closely relates to this photographic specialty. She holds a Certificate in Botanical Art and Illustration from the Corcoran College of Art + Design. She works principally in watercolor, sometimes combined with pen and ink. Wendy was one of the artists and three organizers for the Corcoran’s 2006 exhibition, “Botanical Treasures of Lewis and Clark.” Her work has been shown at the U. S. Botanic Garden, the Jefferson Library at Monticello (Lucy Meriwether Lewis Marks Project), the Alexandria Athenaeum and in numerous other venues and galleries in the Washington DC area. In 2008 she completed a commission from First Lady Laura Bush for twelve watercolors depicting native plants of Camp David. She was one of eight artists chosen to illustrate the 2010 White House Christmas tour booklet. Several other group exhibits are scheduled for 2012. Wendy is a member of the American Society of Botanical Artists, BASNR, BioCommunications Assoc., and the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators. Her photographs have appeared in numerous National Geographic publications, as well as other books and magazines. 
• Pumpkin: Pumpkins play a traditional role in decorations and food during the Mexican celebration called Dia de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. This annual family event marks All Saints Day and All Souls Day on November first and second. Memorabilia of departed family and friends, along with favorite foods and drink, are arrayed on temporary altars to tempt their souls to visit. Music, candles, colorful flowers (especially marigolds), skeletons, pottery dishes, toys and candies contribute to the colorful and poignant remembrance feast. This watercolor, inspired by a Day of the Dead celebration in Texas, was created on Fabriano Uno 300 weight, soft press paper in two stages. First, the main elements of the drawing were covered with masking fluid, using brushes and fine needle-like applicators. Then, watercolor washes were applied in layers to create a multi-hued background. The principal colors were shades of orange, covered with deep blues. Iridescent watercolor, as well as salt for texture, was applied in select areas. When dry, the masking fluid was peeled off, leaving the paper under it white. This was then painted and the details and edges refined. The soft press finish lies between cold and hot press in texture and takes fine detail quite well.
• Four Leaf Clover: This is a more traditional botanical painting, on a white background. The paper is also Fabriano Uno, 300 weight, soft press. Common symbols of good luck, four leaf clovers are a rare form of normally three-leafed white clover (Trifolium repens, meaning three-leafed, creeping). Five, six, seven and even eight-leaf clovers occur occasionally. Clover is a perennial legume in the pea family that fixes nitrogen from the air into small nodules occurring on the roots. The pinkish nodules provide natural fertilizer for the soil. Clover spreads through an underground mass of roots. The leaflets frequently show the characteristic light, chevron-shaped markings. White clover flowers vary from white to pinkish and are a favorite food source for honey bees. 
For more art by Wendy Cortesi, please see the following websites: 

Jan Denton has a Certificate in Botanical Art and Illustration from the Corcoran College of Art + Design and the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. She co-produced Botanical Treasures of Lewis & Clark, an exhibit of original works displayed at the Corcoran Gallery of Art from May 19 through July 9, 2006. Five of her paintings were included in this bicentennial celebration, which featured contributions by 25 artists. 

From 2001 to 2007 Ms. Denton exhibited her work each November in the studio of Carol Press, a weaver on Capitol Hill, as part of a popular gathering under the rubric of A Brush with the Loom. Since 2008 following her move from Washington to Santa Fe, she has been invited to show her work in a number of venues, among them the Greenberg Fine Arts gallery on Canyon Road, and the Santa Fe Community Gallery and has produced a number of paintings for commission. Her style is realistic, with primary emphasis on botanical subjects and still-life arrangements.

• Inspired by her current life in the great Southwest, her painting for this show is titled Three Sisters.  There is a long history of Native Americans cultivating corn, squash and beans together for a nutritious diet, with crops that grow easily in the Southwest.  With a focus on practicality, farmers grew all three together so that the beans could grow up the corn stalk; and the large leaves of their squash plants provided shade and kept the ground underneath moist. Additional benefits included making it harder for critters to invade the garden and bean plants provide important nitrogen for the soil.

Jill M. Hodgson

I have loved to draw plants and flowers for as long as I can remember. My degree in printed textile design offered the opportunity to incorporate this into a commercial outlet. After moving to the US from my home country of Great Britain, I worked for many years as a children's art teacher and enjoyed encouraging their natural urge to be creative. More recently I received a certificate in Botanical Art from the Corcoran School of Art in Washington DC. My work was included in the 2006 exhibition, The Botanical Treasures of Lewis and Clark, and has been shown in galleries in the DC area and Long Island, NY.
• Narcissist was a joy to paint as the image presented itself to me very clearly before I started. The romanticism of the story of ill-fated Narcissus has always held a strong appeal for me and I was interested to merge the myth with the flower in a semi humorous way. A depiction of the myth can be seen in the painting Echo and Narcissus by John William Waterhouse.
• In Passion Forward, the influence of my textile design background isevident. The composition suggests this is a section of a larger piece and gives a contemporary feel to what could have been a traditional design. The extraordinary architecture of the passion flower invites close inspection and has inspired complex religious symbolism. A design incorporating the passion flower can be seen in the background of the painting The Blue Bower by Dante Gabriel Rosetti.

• In Pansies, I have depicted two flower heads in close communion, in keeping with their symbolic connection with love. The pansy is a design element used by Edward Burne Jones in tapestries.

Eileen B. Malone-Brown
Blue, in all of its many shades, is my favorite color. Periwinkle, Air Force, robin-egg, sapphire, ultramarine, Tiffany, cobalt, Persian, heavenly, Prussian, azure, Duke, violet and baby blue - I love all of its shades and try to include many blue flowers in my garden. So, I decided to focus on its use for the five flower portraits that I painted for this exhibition. And since this art show is about plant symbolism, the color blue itself as the color of the sky and the sea, has layers of meaning that include, trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth and heaven.
All of my flower portraits were created using the same technique. First, I studied them in my garden, capturing various views in my sketchbook (see the display case)Specimens were collected, pressed and dried. Research revealed each flower’s past symbolic and literary use. The painting technique for all five portraits began with a grisaille under-painting, followed by approximately 30 layers of thin oil paint to create luminescent color. The use of many paint layers facilitated the development of each flower’s complex blue shade. The flowers that I selected for the Blue Rhapsody collection include:
• Borage, Borago officinalis, has symbolized courage since ancient times. A Roman verse states, “I, borage, always bring courage.” In addition to the borage portrait, this saying is depicted in a small illumination created with egg tempera and 23K gold gilding found in the display case. The warrior-angel capitals were inspired by those found in the medieval church, Saint Germain-des-Pres, in Paris. Borage provided inspiration for a fabric and wallpaper design by William Morris.
• Cornflower, Centaurea cyanus, is frequently found in medieval illuminations and tapestries. It is associated with the Virgin Mary’s crown and with Christ and heaven. Arts and Crafts ceramic artist William de Morgan created tiles inspired by the cornflower.
• English Bluebells, Hyancinthoides non-scripta, also known as Scilla nutans (nodding head), have long been symbolic of constancy, humility and gratitude. They carpet England’s famed bluebell woods each spring as seen in the painting, Bluebells by Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema (1836-1912), a Dutch painter who befriended many of the Pre-Raphaelites.
• Forget-me-not, Myosotis alpestris (oblongata), “Azure Bluebirds,” was calqued from the French, ne m’oubeliez pas and symbolizes fond memory. John Everett Millais’ famous Ophelia painting includes forget-me-nots.
• Love-in-a-Mist or Nigella damascena L., also known as ‘Devil-in-the-bush,’ represents the chains that bind people together, usually in love and sometimes in bitterness. It symbolizes perplexity and intrigue. Love-in-a-mist is one of the flowers portrayed by Edward Burne-Jones, which can be seen in the Delaware Art Museum’s current exhibit, A Secret Book of Designs: The Burne-Jones Flower Book. Nigella is the subject of the painting, Love-in-a-Mist by Pre-Raphaelite-influenced artist, Sophie Gengembre Anderson (1823-1903).
My garden inspires my art. In 2010, I completed the Corcoran College of Art + Design’s Botanical Art and Illustration certificate program after retiring from the Army. Some of my paintings were included in the 2009 Monticello Jefferson Library Exhibition, Lucy Meriwether Lewis Marks: Virginia Planter and Doctress. I hold masters’ degrees in Nursing from Duke University and in National Resource Strategy from the National Defense University.

Vicki Malone

My love of nature was first "planted" in my grandmother's garden and in the prairies and woods of eastern Kansas. I have a BFA from the University of Kansas.  I have worked for many years in graphic design and editing and in the culinary arts as a personal chef and caterer.  While earning my certificate in Botanical Art and Illustration from the Corcoran School of Art + Design and the US Botanic Garden I was awarded the Kenneth Stubbs Memorial Award for excellence in drawing and painting. I have been in group and one-person shows in Maryland,  DC, and Virginia.  Some of my recent work includes:   

  • the front and back covers of the 2010 White House Holiday Guide Book.  
  • exhibited at Monticello's Jefferson Library in the show "Lucy Meriwether Lewis Marks - A Biographical and Botanical Art Exhibit."  
  • Eight pieces of art in "Botanical Treasures of Lewis & Clark" at the Corcoran Museum of Art in Washington, DC.

• Tree of Life - the Baobab, graphite. The baobab provides food, water and shelter for animals and people on the dry savannahs of Africa and there are many stories told about this huge, amazing tree. I love working in graphite and felt that this would be the perfect medium for depicting the baobab's wrinkled grayness as well as showing the elephants that tear off the baobab's spongy bark for water in times of drought.  (The tree is not killed!)
A charming Togo tale recounts that long ago there was a village king who announced, "He who, with a single arrow, can pierce this baobab tree clear through will have my precious daughter in marriage." The king didn't want his daughter to marry and he knew this feat would be impossible Elephant tried and failed; and so did Lion, Buffalo and Hippo. Then Salim, the tricky hare had an idea. He asked Wizi the borer insect, to bore a hole through the tree. Then he asked Spider to hide the holes with his webs. Salim made a fine thin arrow. They all laughed at Salim. But that tricky hare released his tiny arrow, it passed though the spider webs and through the baobab to the other side. That's how Salim the hare managed to marry the beautiful village princess and gain the respect of the village.Green Man I and II, colored pencil. The • Green Man is a primal image symbolizing vitality and the cycle of life, death and rebirth in nature.  Typical Green Man images carved by medieval  European stonemasons  depict a man's face made up of, or disgorging, foliage.  I chose to depict the Green Man as a mysterious entity "one in being" with nature.  He lurks in the leaves and is part of the cycle of life in Green Man I and he is camouflaged with tattoos in Green Man II.
• Before the Fall, powdered graphite. There are countless interpretations of the temptation in the Garden of Eden.  I explored that moment just before Eve grabbed the apple. Powdered graphite is a wonderful medium for obtaining luscious blacks and grays and portraying stark positive/negative spaces - all qualities perfect for this subject.

Myer is a Studio 155 artist as well as an architect long involved with design, preservation, planning, and the practice of architecture in the City of Washington. His pictures which have been shown in area galleries and at the Corcoran Gallery of Art explore mixed media and the blending of natural and architectural subjects.
His three works in the 2012 Delaware Art Museum Show combine watercolor, gouache, color pencil, graphite, and ink. Each was inspired by the Museum’s Pre-Raphaelite collection. In one case inspiration came from a Keats poem that had in turn inspired artist, William Holman Hunt. Others interpret the Islamic art so inspirational to the Pre-Raphaelite Band of Brothers. All attempt a 21st Century lyrical romanticism with a nod to 19th Century Victorian imagination. 
Myer’s Pomegranate painting was inspired by Daniel Gabriel Rossetti’s 1884 painting Proserpine and shows a slice of life missing in an Islamic inspired setting. Judeo-Christian lore ambitiously symbolizes life, death, resurrection, birth, fertility, marriage, and prosperity to the pomegranate.

• His Pot of Basis – Isabella & Lorenzo painting had the double inspiration of John Keats 1820 poem, “Fair Isabel, poor simple Isabel” and William Holman Hunt’s ca. 1866 rendition of Isabel and the pot of basil into which she secreted the severed head of her dead lover, Lorenzo. In Myer’s version the pot has a bas relief representing Lorenzo’s face inspired by Michelangelo’s ghostly, hooded self-portrait tomb study in the Florance Cathedral Museum. 

• His Briar Wood Romance painting shows a pomegranate atop an ancient architectural fragment symbolizing resurrection. The tangled surround of briar branches was inspired by Edward Burne-Jones ca. 1888 Briar Wood . The pomegranate’s pedestal eschews conventional architectural style and locale while the tangled thorns and fallen branches strive for a universal landscape. 

With an ever-present admiration for the awesome design and color of plant life--especially fruits and vegetables, Kappy Prosch began painting in 1973. She earned Botanical Art and Illustration Certification from the Corcoran College of Art + Design, and was awarded the Corcoran's Tiby Sharlin Award for outstanding achievement. Kappy also holds Certification from the New York School of Interior Design and worked in the field for a number of years. In a prior career, she taught sixth grade around the world for 15 years.
Kappy's paintings can be found in personal collections from CA to D.C. and from NY to Italy.  She was honored to exhibit in the Corcoran Gallery's Botanical Treasures of Lewis and Clark as well as at the U.S. Botanical Garden in Washington D.C.  Her work was most recently widely seen in the 2010 White House Holiday Guide Book.
• 4 Pears in Blue

This painting is the still life story in oil of four pears stem side up on the artist's own Blue Willow plate.  Finding the pot-belly shaped pear irresistible painting,  Kappy chose to select it for this exhibit.  The Pre-Raphaelite Band of Brothers painted flowering plants and fruits with symbolic meanings into their compositions.   The pear is a symbol of immortality.  The ancient Chinese held this belief because pear trees live for an unusually long time.  (Greeting cards of this painting are available in the Museum Gift Shop.)
• Mandevilla Vine
The Mandevilla Vine holds a special place in this artist's heart--as she and so many family members, Aunt Azilee, and cousins Jane, Joan, Milly, Irene, Barbara, Jean--and new daughter-in-law Caroline have welcomed summer with the fast growing vine which symbolizes renewal and growth.  The vine grows and digs in wherever feasible in order to gain a strong foothold to assure its own growth.  The Druids were one of the first groups to voice these thoughts in 1550 B.C.  (Greeting cards of this watercolor painting are available in the Museum Gift Shop).

• Temptation
Fewer activities are more satisfying to this artist than composing and drawing with a graphite pencil.  Each of her paintings begins as a graphite values study.  And this piece, Temptation, is finished as a graphite drawing.
Apples played a prominent role in Pre-Raphaelite artist John Stanhope's painting, Robins of Modern Times.  Their prominent placement in the painting reminds the viewer of Eve's temptation and fall.  Throughout the ages, apples have symbolized temptation.

Botanical art merges science, botany, art, the beauty of plants and their representation. It is the primary focus of my art. Plants are essential to us, to people, providing us life’s essentials, the air we breathe, the food we eat, the materials we exploit to clothe and shelter us.  And then, there is the inspiration we derive from their beauty. 
In the exhibit, Beyond Words: The Symbolic Language of Plants, I have drawn and painted two trees, the White Oak and the American Holly. In botanical art plants are portrayed in exacting detail – the structure of the plant, its leaves, flowers, branches, buds, and sometimes its seeds and roots – all on a white background so that nothing distracts from the image of the plant itself. This format does little to show the plant as a whole, however, and nothing to show the environment or context in which the plant rests. I approach my subjects as if doing a portrait in the traditional sense, not only trying to capture an accurate image but trying to reveal some sense of the subject, in this case a plant.  Often, in portraits the subject is surrounded by objects that suggest one or another interest, or the dress or the background suggest something about the person.

• White Oaks is a portrait of two white oaks found in the National Arboretum.  They are growing just inside a wooded area. American Holly portrays a street tree growing next to a Scarlet Oak in Washington, D.C. Unlike traditional botanical art, these two works are done in oil and the plants are in their environment, rather than with a white background. And instead of rendering the leaves, buds, and fruits, and for the oak an acorn and for the holly its berry, I’ve done the leaves with acorns or berries, respectively, in separate contour drawings.  

The White Oak, Quercus alba, is considered one of the oaks in the great White Oak family, which includes the English Oak, the Bur Oak, and the California Valley Oak. These are trees of legendary strength, longevity, and utility. Brawny and picturesque, white oaks are objects of art, myth, and worship and frequently symbolize all trees and forestry. The White Oak is the state tree of Maryland, Connecticut, and Iowa.
• The American Holly, Ilex opaca, since the middle ages has been a symbol of the Christmas season, evolving in the modern world to represent the holiday season or winter more generally. In early Christian art the holly with its thorny leaves is regarded as a symbol of Christ’s crown of thorns and also said to have been the tree of the Cross, thus symbolic of the passion of Christ.  Closer to our time, George Washington was devoted to the holly, filling his diary with notes about the tree. Today 13 trees planted by Washington at Mt. Vernon survive. The American holly is Delaware’s state tree.
I’ve been involved with Studio 155 for several years.  I retired in 2008 after 25 years in early childhood education. I have a Masters in Early Childhood Education and Administration from George Washington University, as well as an undergraduate degree from GW. I earned a Certificate in Botanical Art and Illustration from the Corcoran College of Art and Design and the U.S. Botanic Garden in 2007. In 2006, I took part in the Corcoran‘s exhibition Botanical Treasures of Lewis and Clark. My artwork can be seen on the website of the Washington Project for the Arts, “Artfile,” “Rawson” and on Studio 155’s website,

My degrees are in English, French and German language and literature. After briefly teaching German at the University of Maryland and George Washington University, I now work full time as an artist and illustrator. I earned a certificate in Botanical Art and Illustration from the Corcoran College of Art + Design. 
My works have been included in the 2010 White House Holiday Guide "Simple Things", the Corcoran Gallery of Art exhibition "Botanical Treasures of Lewis and Clark", the US Botanic Gardens in DC and at local galleries and art exhibits. My illustrations of plants have been included in "Paradise under Glass" (by author Ruth Kassinger).I work in watercolor, oil, pen and ink, graphite and colored pencil.
My technique in my watercolor and oil painting is very similar. I use transparent colors exclusively and layer thin glazes of paint rather than premix. I find this technique results in radiant colors that never appear dull or muddy.

The inspiration for two paintings in this show came from my garden, the iris (Fleur-de-Lis) and the hellebore (Delirious). The Dance of the Reeds painting was inspired by my travels on the Chesapeake Bay, where reeds are abundant.
• Delirious, 2011

Oil on canvas, 24” by 24”
Hellebores niger, also known as the Christmas rose or Lenten rose, is noted for its early blooming and toxicity. In the early days of medicine, hellebores were used to cure insanity. Their symbolism includes magic, madness and delirium. In one mythological tale, the ancient seer Melampus used hellebore to cure the daughters of the king of Argos after the god Dionysos punished them with madness for scorning his worship.

• Dance of the Reeds, 2011

Oil on canvas, Triptych: Each panel 10” by 30”
The cattail reed symbolizes humility. In Greek mythology, the nymph Syrinx, known for her chastity, was pursued by the amorous Greek god Pan. She ran to the river, where the river nymphs transformed her into hollow water reeds that made a haunting sound when Pan blew his frustrated breath across them. Pan cut the reeds to fashion his pan pipes or “syrinx.” Pre-Raphaelite artist, Arthur Hacker’s Syrinx inspired this painting.

• Fleur-de-lis

Watercolor on paper, Triptych: Each panel 9” by 21”
The iris symbolizes faith, wisdom, hope, valor, promise in love, and is frequently associated with the Virgin Mary. It was commonly found in Mary gardens, which were dedicated to the Virgin. Its three upright petals represent the Holy Trinity. In heraldry, the iris is known as the fleur-de-lis and is the national symbol of France.

I am a native of Germany, but have lived in the United States most of my life.
My educational background includes an undergraduate degree in foreign language instruction (German), a graduate degree in English literature and a certificate for paralegal studies.  My husband's career presented the opportunity to live for extended periods of time in Amsterdam, London and Florence, cities which offer a plethora of art museums and fine galleries.  This exposure guided me eventually to studying at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C.  My work has been exhibited at various galleries in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.  For centuries artists have chosen fruit as their main subject.  I selected Oranges, Pears, Lemons and Grapes and their symbolic meaning for the Delaware Art Museum exhibit.
• Golden Apples, graphite and colored pencil 9x12
According to Greek myth, the "golden apples" (oranges), from the garden of Hesperides gave immortality to whomever possessed them.  They were also considered a symbol of chastity and purity: In Botticelli's "Primavera" orange trees represent blossoms (chastity) and fruit (fertility) to crown the marriage of Lorenzo de Medici to Semiramide Appinani.
• Oma’s Bible 1912, colored pencil and watercolor 9x12
Pears, a symbol of fertility, were associated with Venus because the broad lower part is reminiscent of the female womb.  Pears were sacred to Hera, goddess of marriage and childbirth. In Christianity he pear appears in connection with Christ's love for mankind (Giovanni Bellini's "Madonna of the Pear").  It was tradition in Central Europe to plant a pear tree when a girl was born to insure fruitfulness and longevity.
• Temptation, colored pencil 10x15
Lemons were a symbol of purity and faithfulness.  According to Greek myth, lemons -as a symbol of amorous fidelity were created in celebration of the marriage of Jupiter and Juno.  Christianity associated lemons (purity) with the Virgin Mary and salvation.
Until the end of the 19th century, lemons were often depicted in art as desirable, but unattainable objects of consumption.
Grapes - are associated with immorality and bacchanalia.  According to Roman legend, Bacchus, the god of wine, would stage drunken frenzies to "loosen the tongue" of his guest and allow them to say and do as they wished, leading to bawdy and immoral behavior.  Sacrifices to him often included goats and swine because these animals were destructive to the annual a grape harvest.

Juliana Weihe took her first drawing class in 1999 two years after retiring from a career in computer programming.  The title of the class was irresistible ("I've never held a pencil - A Very Basic Drawing Class") at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C.  By Fall 1999 she was enrolled in "Botanical Drawing" followed by "Botanical Painting in Watercolor", all at the Corcoran.
• Each spring my climbing yellow rose blooms profusely and again in the fall. Their deep rich yellow surely inspires jealousy and envy among my red rose and pale pink rose bushes.  And so, a portrait of my beauties: Three Yellow Roses. Perhaps we can regard these three as “A Love Triangle” determined to rule over my rose garden.

• Crab Apple Blossoms with Bee was inspired by the profusion of the small and lovely pink blossoms my Crab Apple tree puts forth early each spring reminding me that no matter how cold and bleak the winter nature brings renewal and youth and new beginnings. The bees start buzzing busy with their task of moving pollen from flower to flower challenged and determined to get the job done before the tiny pink petals fall filling the air like snowflakes. By early fall the fruit of their labors has bent the branches low with the weight of what seems to be one small crab apple for each and every blossom. Another title might be “Renewal,” “Determination” or “Perseverance”. 

An eye surgeon by profession, S. M. Wilson cultivated her interest in art and calligraphy taking many courses and workshops in formal scripts, brush lettering and illumination under the auspices of the Friends of Calligraphy and exhibited with the latter group at the San Francisco Public Library.  She also studied photography at the University of California Berkeley Extension, and subsequently served as a board member of the Friends of Photography in San Francisco. Upon relocating to the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, she studied botanical art at the Corcoran College of Art + Design and was a participating artist in the exhibit, “Botanical Treasures of Lewis and Clark” in 2006. She studied oil painting, both figurative and still life as well as life drawing with noted artists Robert Liberace, Danni Dawson, Edward Reed and Kurt Schwarz at the Art League School of Alexandria. She has exhibited with the Botanical Art Society of the National Capitol Region’s first group exhibition, “Inspired by the Plant” in 2007 and in various galleries in the DC area with the artists known as Studio 155 in the ensuing years.
• Still Life with dried Magnolia Leaves, Peaches and Nautilus. The magnolia is an ancient flowering tree that is commonly seen in the temperate zones of eastern North America and symbolizes fidelity. The magnolia flower is associated with nobility, perseverance and love of nature. The leaves, while lovely on the living tree, take on a beautiful silver gray appearance when dry and retain their shape and structure. It is a stately and graceful tree that is often seen in the Mid-Atlantic and southern regions of the United States. The peach, which is native to China, was cultivated in many areas of the United States and the peach flower was adopted as the state flower of Delaware in the late 19th century to celebrate its reputation as the “Peach State” at the time, although several other states now produce more peaches. The nautilus was included in this painting because it is an example in nature of the Fibonacci ratio and more specifically the Fibonacci spiral, which is seen in plants and flowers as well. The chambered nautilus, as it is often described, has the mathematical sequence of chambers, or Fibonacci spiral, that when applied to a canvas can literally be used to partition it to create beautiful compositions. Artists often use the ratio to divide their canvases for the placement of objects to obtain a more pleasing composition. This ratio, seen throughout nature, symbolizes to many, what is deemed beautiful.

• Water lily. The water lily is a native floating plant and is seen in many areas throughout the Delmarva Peninsula. It is an important symbol in many religions including Hinduism and Buddhism and represents enlightenment, purity, spontaneous generation and divine birth. The water lily also symbolized Upper Egypt and was used along with the papyrus flower, symbol of Lower Egypt to depict a united country. The blue water lily was sacred to the Egyptians to whom it represented the sun and rebirth. 

• Iris. The iris represents faith, purification, wisdom, cherished friendship, hope, and valor. It is the emblem of both France and Florence, Italy and in Greek mythology is the name of a rainbow goddess. I decided to place this plant against the background of gold leaf to highlight and provide contrast to the intense hue and elegant appearance of the blossoms. It also happens to be my favorite flower.