When I was a little girl, I used to sit on the concrete by my grandmother’s feet in front of bric-a-brac shop on 79th Street and Columbus Ave. in New York City. I would draw all that I could see in what she called her garden, a tiny square of dirt in the sidewalk. The few tufts of blue-green grass that guarded the linden tree’s roots, the forever marching black and red ants, and the one James and the Giant Peach like tomato that sat in an old espresso can became my first illustrated playground for what my grandma used to call my little people. I remember one day, in particular, when I had finished a sketch of one of my garden beings dressed in its most beautiful cloak of lilacs, my grandmother laughed and clapped enthusiastically. Then she did something so strange and unusual, she closed her shop for the day and marched me straight up the block to one of my favorite places, the Museum of Natural History. It was there that she bought me a piece of glass. A glass that had powers, she said. She held it up to the sunlight and showed me its secrets. Miraculously a rainbow of color appeared. I gasped in delight, and as I was mesmerized by the magic held within she whispered, “never lose your ability to see the extraordinary in the ordinary”.
Learning the fine art of Botanical illustration has helped me find my way back to simply seeing the invisible in what is clearly visible and hopefully sharing that with the world.
Turquoise Spotted Swordtail
The Night Gardner
The Warbler’s Empty Nest