WHAT: 2023 Florilegium Art Show Exhibit
WHEN: Every Thursday from March 9-30 from 9 am – 12 pm
WHERE: NTBG’s Botanical Research Center (3530 Papalina Road, Kalaheo HI 96741)
A florilegium (latin for “gathering flowers”) is a collection of illustrations that vibrantly document plants from a particular region or botanic garden. NTBG’s Florilegium is a group of botanical illustrators and artists gathered by instructor Wendy Hollender of Draw Botanical.
The group comes together annually at NTBG’s Headquarters to illustrate the world’s largest collection of native Hawaiian flora.
“This garden is in a beautiful place and the plants are all here just waiting. They’re calling out to us.” –Wendy Hollender
More than half of this year’s featured artists have participated in various Draw Botanical workshops and courses!
Check out their incredible work throughout this post.
“I am so proud of this amazing talented and dedicated group of artists that come together each year to work together for two weeks and then donate our work to the NTBG. I am especially proud of my former students that have become members of this group. It makes me so proud to see how their own work has developed and become on the level of these other established botanical artists that join us from around the world.” – Wendy Hollender
Want to know more about the magic that happens in Draw Botanical’s Hawaii classroom?
“Erythrina Livingstoniana is an unusual tree and an exciting subject to draw. When in flower it has large spikes of flowers that look like bright torches of color. The flowers are a bright orange red and make a nice backdrop against the unusual shaped leaves. Later on the most magical seed pods develop. They resemble a large costume jewelry necklace with big gray round balls dangling on a continuous string. Soon they burst open revealing a bright red shiny seed inside each ball. Impossible not to want to draw this!
I first discovered this tree by walking in the garden looking down at the ground. I noticed a collection of these unusual seed pods and looked up to see many more of these dangling in the air. I got a pole cutter so I could gather a whole branch of these dangling pods to use in my drawing. I had to wait until the following spring to add in the flowers when they bloomed.” – Wendy Hollender
“As a lifelong resident of New York State, palm trees were not part of my world. Seen on TV, in movies, etc. palm trees represented far away tropical places that were foreign to me.
Reading The Wild Trees by Richard Preston, I remember being enthralled with the description of various life forms that thrive in the canopies of trees. I was thinking of that concept on a recent walk in the McBryde Garden and seeing the layers of plants growing on the palm trees. Stag horn ferns and orchids intermingled or independently adding to the lushness and beauty of various palm trees.
The Black Palm that I drew for the Florilegium stands in stark contrast to those lush palms! Hidden in the far reaches of McBryde, the Black Palm’s austere and formidable presence is unforgettable. Its unique appearance draws you in while simultaneously rebuffing you with its bands of threatening sharp spines. It makes you wonder what the Black Palm has endured that it needed to develop those spines for its survival. I hope my drawing will encourage visitors to seek out the Black Palm and to further appreciate all the varieties of the palm trees in the Gardens!” – Doug Milne
“Prior to painting the St. Thomas Bean whenever I walked through the huge plant growing in the National Tropical Botanical Garden I used to be intimidated by the size and a bit frightened by the twisted branches. Now I feel like I am on friendly terms with the plant. The branches are no longer frightening but smooth to touch and have a great depth of color.
The plant is commonly known as the ‘African Dream Herb” or “Snuff Box Sea Bean”. The seeds have a thick, durable seed coat which allows them to survive in sea water for lengthy periods of time. The meat of the seed has been used to aid in lucid dreaming and in the treatment of toothaches.
I think my favorite part of painting a plant portrait is the discovery of the plant. The history and folklore, the beautiful details missed in a quick look. I love to create study pages and take my time exploring the plant, sketching and color matching prior to drawing and painting a final piece.” – Esther Carpi
“I drew Cordia subcordia in 2022 and this Attalea batyracea in 2023. What I find interesting is how the palms differ, display their flowers and seeds. To me, they seem complex yet diverse, and this one captured my attention in exploring its seed development. Much more to explore on this one palm…just not enough time and large enough paper!” – Joan Luzney