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The Beauty and Science of Botanical Art

Paintings by Mary LaPatka

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The Beauty and Science of Botanical Art

  1. 1. The Beauty and Science of Botanical Art Paintings and text by Mary LaPatka
  2. 2. Chinese Lantern (Physalis alkekengi) Watercolor on paper 2019 11 x 14 inches
  3. 3. The Beauty and Science of Botanical Art The botanical works presented in this exhibition are painted in the traditional English style of watercolor. I work primarily in a limited palette of transparent watercolor paint. The six watercolor paints I use are Cadmium Red, Quinacridone Gold, Cerulean Blue, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Lemon Yellow, and Ultramarine Blue. On rare occasions, a specialty color may be used. Any color can be mixed from these six tubes of paint. No black or white watercolor paint is used. By using washes, glazes and dry brush techniques, watercolor paint is applied layer upon layer to achieve transparency and luminosity. The slow, methodical work of building up color and painting in the identifying details of a subject are enjoyable and satisfying. As you view the exhibition, please know that photographs simply cannot capture the luminosity, vibrancy, depth, and transparency of watercolor.
  4. 4. This show was hung in the WEAC building Gallery, October 29, 2020
  5. 5. White Pine (Pinus strobus) Watercolor on paper 2019 11 x 14 inches
  6. 6. Crocus (Crocus sativus) Watercolor on paper 2020 11 x 14 inches
  7. 7. Iris (Iris ensata) Watercolor on paper 2020 15 x 22 inches
  8. 8. What's the difference between botanical art, botanical illustration and flower painting? “One basic difference between a botanical artist and a flower painter is intention: the botanical artist wishes his (or mostly her) work to be useful to the scientist. Each painting here is botanically accurate, often displaying roots, seeds and buds as well as flowers and leaves.” 1 In botanical illustration/plant illustration, the emphasis is on the scientific record and botanical accuracy to enable identification of a plant.2 1The Spectator - review of "A New Flowering: 1,000 Years of Botanical Art" at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford 16 July 2005 2https://www.botanicalartandartists.com/what-is-botanical-art.html
  9. 9. Carnival Squash (Cucurbita pepo) Watercolor on paper 2019 11 x 14 inches
  10. 10. Iris (Iris germanica) Watercolor on paper 2020 11 x 14 inches
  11. 11. Mango (Mangifera indica) Watercolor on paper 2020 11 x 14 inches
  12. 12. Garlic (Allium sativum) Watercolor on paper 2019 11 x 14 inches
  13. 13. Sweet Basil or Genovese Basil (Ocimum basilicum) Watercolor on paper 2020 11 x 14 inches
  14. 14. Shiitake Mushroom (Lentinula edodes) Watercolor on paper 2019 11 x 14 inches
  15. 15. The botanical art tradition combines science and art Botanical art encompasses a range of styles and may take the form of scientific illustration or realistic drawing and painting of botanical subjects. Botanical artists seek to understand the structure of plants and to communicate this knowledge to their audience in an aesthetically pleasing manner. The subject plant must be the prominent feature of the work. All images should be of work executed by hand in traditional botanical media. Image Policy / Gallery Guidelines of the American Society of Botanical Artists
  16. 16. Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) Watercolor on paper 2019 11 x 14 inches
  17. 17. Iris (Iris unguicularis) Watercolor on paper 2020 11 x 14 inches
  18. 18. Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo) Watercolor on paper 2020 11 x 14 inches
  19. 19. Morning Glory (Convolvulus) Watercolor on paper 2020 11 x 14 inches
  20. 20. Plum (Prunus) Watercolor on paper 2020 11 x 14 inches
  21. 21. Carrot (Daucus carota) Watercolor on paper 2020 11 x 14 inches
  22. 22. Botanical Art • Botanical accuracy is a requirement of all botanical art. However paintings as opposed to illustrations - particularly those of flowers - do not always identify every feature of a plant • A white background - typically but not always used for botanical paintings. This helps isolate the subject matter so the focus is on the features of the plant • Painted in watercolor - this convention is typical of work produced in the past and is still the dominant media used for botanical art. However other media are now used as well • Painted on vellum - vellum is more archival than paper
  23. 23. Phalaenopsis Orchid (Phalaenopsis amabilis) Watercolor on paper 2019 11 x 14 inches
  24. 24. Detail: Phalaenopsis Orchid (Phalaenopsis amabilis) Watercolor on paper 2019
  25. 25. Yellow Squash (Cucurbita pepo) Watercolor on paper 2019 11 x 14 inches
  26. 26. Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinus) Watercolor on paper 2020 11 x 14 inches
  27. 27. Tessellations Consisting of repeated patterns of shapes, tessellations are found in human-made objects like quilts, soccer balls, tile floors, and the image seen through a kaleidoscope. They also occur in nature as the patterns in honeycombs, snakeskin, spider webs, and pinecone scales. With the aid of a microscope, tessellations can even be observed in a plant’s vascular structure, the tissues that move water and nutrients throughout the plant. Botanical tessellations can be found in wallpaper, textiles, ceramic tiles, etc. Designer William Morris (1834-1896) used tessellations extensively in his home products and furniture collections and is one of the most outstanding figures of the Arts and Crafts Movement.
  28. 28. Tessellation: Datura (Datura stramonium) Watercolor on paper 2020 15 x 22 inches
  29. 29. Tessellation: Delphinium and Penny Gum Eucalyptus (Delphinium and Eucalyptus cinerea) Watercolor on paper 2020 15 x 22 inches
  30. 30. Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) Watercolor on paper 2020 and graphite on paper 2019
  31. 31. Rose Hip (Rosa) Watercolor on paper 2020 1.75 x 1.75 inches
  32. 32. Curly Willow (Salix matsudana) Watercolor on paper 2020 15 x 22 inches
  33. 33. Artichoke (Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus) Watercolor on paper 2018 11 x 14 inches
  34. 34. Calla Lily (Zantedeschia rehmannii) Watercolor on paper 2019 11 x 14 inches
  35. 35. Acorn Squash (Cucurbita pepo var. turbinate) Watercolor on paper 2019 11 x 14 inches
  36. 36. Maple (Acer) Watercolor on paper 2020 11 x 14 inches
  37. 37. Why include insects? “Another type of (botanical) illustration is the florilegium style, usually done in watercolor or color pencil.  This brings vibrant, lifelike color to the plant being illustrated and varies with each artist’s personal style. Details such as a close-up of the flowers or seed, a cross section of the fruit, a sketch of the habitat, growth habit of the plant, and even associated organisms such as herbivorous insects or pollinating birds or butterflies may be included in the illustration.” —Alice Tangerini, Staff Illustrator at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, Department of Botany
  38. 38. 22-spot Lady Beetle Broken-dashed Lady Beetle (Psyllobora vigintiduopunctata) (Myzia interrupta) Watercolor on paper 2020 8 x 10 inches Watercolor on paper 2020 8 x 10 inches
  39. 39. Hieroglyphic Lady Beetle Striped Lady Beetle (Coccinella hieroglyphica) (Micraspis frenata) Watercolor on paper 2020 8 x 10 inches Watercolor on paper 2020 8 x 10 inches
  40. 40. Convergent Lady Beetle Twicestabbed Lady Beetle (Hippodamia convergens) (Chilocorus orbus) Watercolor on paper 2020 8 x 10 inches Watercolor on paper 2020 8 x 10 inches
  41. 41. Seven Spotted Lady Beetle Parenthesis Lady Beetle (Coccinella septempunctata) (Hippodamia parenthesis) Watercolor on paper 2020 8 x 10 inches Watercolor on paper 2020 8 x 10 inches
  42. 42. Colorado Potato Beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata) Watercolor on paper 2020 8 x 10 inches
  43. 43. Orangespotted Sunfish (Lepomis humilis) Watercolor and Ink on paper 2019
  44. 44. Brook Trout – (Salvelinus fontinalis) Watercolor and Ink on paper 2019
  45. 45. Longear Sunfish (Lepomis megalotis) Watercolor and Ink on paper 2019
  46. 46. Pumpkinseed Sunfish (Lepomis gibbosus) Watercolor and Ink on paper 2019
  47. 47. Shubunkin Goldfish (Carassius auratus) Watercolor and Ink on paper 2019 12 x 12 inches
  48. 48. Panda Moor Goldfish (Carassius auratus) Watercolor and Ink on paper 2019 12 x 12 inches
  49. 49. In appreciation Buds, flowers, seeds, pods, leaves, stems bulbs, tubers, roots, and watercolor paint, what more could I ask for? Botanical Art combines beauty, nature, science and painting into one art form. My watercolor paintings focus on what I love best: drawing, watercolor painting, science and nature. Through chance attendance at a lecture at the Minnesota School of Botanical Art, I discovered Botanical Art watercolor painting and fell in love with this historically significant and almost forgotten art form. I want to express through watercolor, the beauty and form of nature around us.
  50. 50. WAAC—In appreciation of Mary LaPatka’s skillful work The Willmar Area Arts Council stands in awe of Mary LaPatka’s art exhibit now hanging at WEAC! This exhibit is an educational event for all who see it because of her meticulous work in watercolor and the supporting text. We thank Mary for the hard work and effort put into the show making it available for public viewing. Our only wish is that WEAC could be open for all to see the work in person.

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