Story behind the art of Beverly Fink 

Out of the Woods: Celebrating Trees in Public Gardens
The Third New York Botanical Garden Triennial

Tree Aloe

Aloe thraskii
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota, Florida

When I was searching for a tree for this exhibition I wasn’t sure if the Aloe thraskii would quite fit in since it isn’t exactly a tree that grows in the “woods”.  However, when I walked into the succulent garden at the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in Sarasota, Florida I saw this little tree aloe and I immediately became attached to it. When choosing a subject to paint I like to see human qualities in it that help me bring it to life on paper.  This tree had a great personality and seemed like the centerpiece of the garden.  The curve of the stem with its dry, flaky texture and folds really interested me.  The best part was at the top of the stem where grooved leaves popped out in different directions with u-shaped curves and thorny edges like a wild and crazy hairdo.  This was the challenge I was looking for.  It met all the requirements for the exhibition and after much contemplation I decided to do it. 

The Aloe thraskii is found close to the coastline of South Africa and is classed as Near Threatened in its natural habitat due to coastal development.   These succulents can grow up to 10 feet tall on a single unbranched stem with persisting leaves, a rosette of recurved leaves and bright yellow-orange flowers that appear in June and July.  They add ornamental beauty to coastal and indoor gardens especially when flowering.

I thought the thick, fleshy leaves layered on top of each other would be the highlight of the composition until I finished the stem.  Painting the folds and flakes peeling away was quite a challenge but very rewarding when it turned out the way I wanted it to.  It competed valiantly with the leaves.

I love tropical foliage but I don’t find much living in western New York, so I really appreciate trips to warmer climates and the opportunity to view different plant life.  The Selby Botanical Gardens is a beautiful place to visit.  I am thrilled to have found my little tree there and am excited to be part of the “Out of the Woods” exhibit.

Read more about this artist’s work: 19th Annual International


  • © 2017 Beverly Fink
    Tree Aloe
    Aloe thraskii
    Watercolor on paper
    20" x 17 1/2"