ASBA Staff Bio - Patricia Luppino

Patricia Luppino was born and raised in New York City and remained a resident until very recently when she moved to a suburb on the north shore of Long Island.  A “city kid” at heart, as a child she had little appreciation for the natural world, and before organized sports for children became the norm, most of her time was spent playing street games in the concrete jungle.  Her only interaction with nature was picking tomatoes and basil from her parents’ tiny garden for the family’s dinner salad, or completing her weekly push-mower chore on their miniscule patch of grass.

Music and art were her childhood passions, and New York City public schools had excellent arts programs at that time.  She began to play flute at age 12 and continued her music studies throughout college and beyond.   She enjoyed drawing too, but wasn’t able to study art in high school because the public school curriculum indicated she had “too much music”.  When deciding on a major in college, the harsh realities of supporting herself as a musician became apparent, and so practicality won out over passion, and she instead majored in the very new field of Computer Science.

Only a few years into a demanding and rather unfulfilling career in IT, she realized that if she didn’t focus more on what she loved, she would soon end up as roadkill on the information superhighway.  Without abandoning her IT career, in the1980’s she returned to music and art.  She joined several New York-based performance groups and accumulated all of her vacation time for the summers, when she was able to travel throughout Europe playing chamber music and performing at music festivals.  In the 1990’s through self-study, she learned how to use colored pencil and started a small web-based business drawing portraits of pets from owner’s submitted photos, while donating a portion of the proceeds to animal rescue.

In 2005, she saw an advertisement for a workshop for beginners on botanical painting taught by Rose Pellicano at Old Westbury Gardens on Long Island.  Knowing nothing of the genre and even less about watercolors, she enrolled, thinking “painting flowers…that sounds nice”.  Producing a muddy and botched purple Pansy, she was somehow determined not to give up.  Something about botanical painting clicked.  There were rules to follow!  Lots of them!  The light always comes from the left.  The edges must be crisp.  Use these dividers to measure carefully.  Match your colors.  Look, here are your tiny brushes.  Please use your magnifying glass. Nothing was more comforting to her computer-saturated grid-like mind than rules. This was art, yet science.  She could finally use both sides of her brain!

With an interest now bordering on obsession, she enrolled in more courses, attended antiquarian book fairs and horticulture shows, signed up for “Bloomers Clubs” at local nurseries, and was embarrassed to find herself pilfering leaves and flowers from neighbors’ gardens under cover of darkness.  Food began to disappear from her refrigerator as specimens she intended to paint “someday” took hold. 

In 2006, she enrolled in the 27-month Distance Learning Course offered by the Society of Botanical Artists, and was proud to attend the graduation ceremony in London in March 2008 where she was awarded a Diploma with Distinction.  Her work has been exhibited at the 13th, 15th and 17th Annual International Exhibits at the Horticulture Society of New York, Green Currency – first triennial exhibit at the New York Botanic Garden as well as juried and non-juried exhibitions on Long Island.

In January 2015, she retired from Hewlett Packard and her IT career.  As fate would have it, on the same day as her retirement, the ASBA Webmaster job opened.  She applied and was delighted to be offered the position and this wonderful opportunity to use her IT skills in a more hands-on role while contributing to the organization she loves.