Yesterday in Albany, New York, we attended the artists' reception for the exhibition of natural science illustration called "Focus on Nature."
Many of the artists attending talked a little about their paintings. Beverley Irwin described how she was able to observe this specimen of Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby near her home in Toowoomba, Australia.
In addition to being an artist, Elayne Leighton has been a high school teacher and farmer. She noticed this relatively rare wasp-like fly (Physocephala tibialis) and rendered it with colored pencil and gouache on frosted mylar drafting film while observing it through a stereoscopic microscope.
"I'm like a little kid who never grew up," Elayne said. Encouraged by her aunt, Elayne did sketches of animals so that she could take them home and share them with others.
Milly Acharya of Ithaca, New York, painted this watercolor portrait of a garlic plant, with great attention to positive and negative shapes. What makes this painting different from a strictly aesthetic work of art is that it clearly displays the diagnostic features of the plant form, the qualities that botanists would be looking for.
Kathryn Chorney, a teacher at Sheridan College in Toronto, painted this graphite and watercolor portrait of a Great Horned Owl in a Silver Maple in winter, noting that the pattern of snow on the tree is closely matched by the camouflage of the feathers.
Watercolor is the dominant medium in the exhibit, but just about everything else is represented, including oil, acrylic, graphite, colored pencil, and digital.
I have two paintings in the show, "Mud Trap" and "Elasmosaurus."
Focus on Nature will be on view at the New York State Museum through December 31st, 2012.
View the whole catalog as a PDF, with artist commentaries and contact info.