WHEELING – Art and science merge in the creation of botanical art, an ancient art form that documents and celebrates plant diversity.
“Botanical Resurgence” features 100 drawings and paintings in various media by 12 members of the Allegheny Highlands Botanical Art Society (AHBAS). Artworks capture the aesthetic beauty and personality of plants, as well as the details of anatomy.
This exhibition aims to increase appreciation and understanding of plant diversity, native plant ecology and the conservation of our natural resources.
The exhibition runs through August 27th at the Stifel Fine Arts Center in Wheeling.
There will be an opening reception on Sunday, July 17 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Guests can tour the exhibition, meet the artists and watch artist performances. The reception is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.
Plant lovers of all ages can “observe beautiful images, admire the skill and creativity of the artists, connect with nature, and learn something new about the botanical world,” said Lisa Rasmussen, exhibition curator at the Oglebay Institute and an AHBAS member.
For centuries, before the invention of photography, scientists, physicians, and explorers relied on detailed illustrations to identify and analyze plants. However, our fascination with plants and flowers goes beyond the scientific scope of the art form. The botanical world is visually arresting and filled with wonder, making it a popular subject for artists and viewers alike.
In order to create realistic botanical images, artists must have expertise in classical artistic techniques in addition to scientific knowledge.
“On the artistic side, botanical illustration requires keen observation, a steady hand, and a very good understanding of composition, color theory, scale of values, and contrast,” Rasmussen said. “On the scientific side, there is a need to understand the parts of the plant and how those parts are connected.”
She added that illustrators must identify the specific Latin name as well as the common name of a plant they are illustrating, and most artists work while observing live specimens.
While illustrations contain botanically accurate details, the artist’s personal expression also flows into the works.
Rasmussen said each artist has a unique way of depicting the botanical world. “Some of the differences are in the style of composition; some use color; Some lie in the way the medium is used, but you will definitely recognize each artist’s style in their work.”
In addition to Rasmussen, other AHBAS members featured in the exhibition include Marian Atkins, Holly R. Dobkin, Weldon Doran, Melissa Fabian, Raana Flemm, James Hansotte, Anita Jones, Stephanie Lind, Brenda Nemeth, Catherine Park and Sue Ralston.
AHBAS, a regional association of the American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA), is based in Pittsburgh, with members from western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio and western Virginia.
Through their annual Flora Project and local exhibitions, the chapter strives to educate the public about plant diversity, native plant ecology, and conservation. Members use many types of mediums such as watercolor, graphite, colored pencils and printmaking.
A Nature Journaling Workshop, led by AHBAS member Melissa Fabian, will be held in conjunction with the exhibition on July 30.
Participants will view nature journal formats by various artists and try a variety of techniques such as B. quick sketching, sketching motion and adding color.
Open to anyone aged 13 and over, the workshop will take place on Saturday 30 July from 12pm to 3pm on the nature trail at the Schrader Environmental Education Center in Oglebay Park. Pre-registration is required and can be made at www.oionline.com or by calling 304-242-7700.
Sponsored by United Bank, Botanical Resurgence is on display at the Stifel Fine Arts Center through August 27 and is free to view Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Evening hours depend on classes and special events.