STORY BEHIND THE ART OF Susan Benjamin

 
20th Annual International American Society of Botanical Artists & The Horticultural Society of New York
 
 

Wildflower Mix

Gaillardia pulchella, Tradescantia ohiensis, Coreopsis lanceolata, Stokesia laevis, Salvia coccinea
 

This painting was originally created for a local exhibition featuring native plants of Florida. I wanted to impress the viewer with the beauty and diversity of native flowering plants particularly those plants that attract butterflies. The five flowers that I selected for this painting were growing in a butterfly garden located at the Sarasota Audubon Center and Celery Fields Bird Sanctuary.

 

The majority of my botanical paintings have been portraits of one specie of a plant whether it is a fruit, vegetable or flower. The challenged I faced was to create an all over composition with several different species of flowering plants. Lots of photos were taken and I did many field sketches, but I ended up purchasing the specimens at a native plant nursery so I would have a constant supply of flowers. 

 

I made separate, detailed drawings of each flowering stem on tracing paper and moved them around within my painting’s parameters until I had a pleasing composition.  A quick color study determined that the flower colors were evenly distributed.  To have the viewer’s eye travel all around the painting, I outlined all the negative spaces on another piece of tracing paper to be sure there would not be any unbalanced white spaces in my composition.  After transferring my drawing to watercolor and I was ready to begin painting.

 

The bonus to selecting these plants is that I now have small butterfly garden of my own.

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • © 2017 Susan Benjamin
    Wildflower Mix
    Gaillardia pulchella, Tradescantia ohiensis, Coreopsis lanceolata, Stokesia laevis, Salvia coccinea
    Watercolor on paper
    13" x 18"