Creating custom illustration work for technical and educational publishing has been both challenging and rewarding and my career as an illustrator/graphic designer has spanned from a pre-computer era of working with mechanical pens and pencils on a drawing table to the cloud technology software of today. Like many creative people today who are overwhelmed with working long hours in front of the computer screen, I miss my pencils and my paints and working on paper. I long to create personal artwork with hand-made techniques and have more freedom for self-expression. I have felt the need, for a long time, to explore and create this finer kind of art which can be exhibited, gifted, displayed, donated and sold for others to enjoy as well. My inspiration for this work came about when I started drawing the leaves for the trees in The Apple in the Orchard by Sonia Di Maulo. As my experience (and motivation) grew with new skills and techniques, and discovering the resources which are now available to exhibit and sell art prints in todays online markets, I began dreaming of the possibilities. Gradually I began to pay closer attention to the natural world around me and was reminded of the infinite and diverse specimens it provides as reference and inspiration and so I began planning my ideas for a new direction of personal work, botanical art. This is the meaningful work I have wanted to do and I am now finally ready to start.
To add to the motivation, I recently discovered through Uppercase Magazine and Instagram, several ephemeral artists who create somewhat abstract compositions with found specimens in nature: leaves, stones, twigs, seed pods, shells and one artist creates work from man made found objects as well. When assembled, these artists take photographs of their work and/or glue them to surfaces and exhibit their creations. I was truly intrigued by the beauty and simplicity of this medium and I decided to give it a try. With my smartphone camera in hand, I started at first just taking photos of various trees, plants and flowers as I tried to discover what my preferences were and then I started my own Instagram account to share my joy. Eventually during our recent visit to Greece, I created my first ephemeral compositions from natural flowers, leaves and olives. This experience has been a lot of fun and it has opened up a whole new perspective on how to approach creating botanical art. It is a meditative activity which forces you to focus on spontaneous playful creativity. It is very different from traditional observation drawing and painting which focuses on botanical forms as they exist in nature. Ephemeral art gives you the freedom to make your own unique arrangements much like zen botanists who create Ikebana and I believe it will be very useful for developing my own botanical illustration art. There is much to learn and much to do!
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