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Book Project and Exhibition 2011-2014
Our first project involved publishing our book: the American Botanical Paintings: Native Plants of the Mid Atlantic. Work on this project started in 2011 and completed with the publication of the book in February 2014. In conjunction with publishing the book we also coordinated an exhibition to show the paintings and drawings in the book at the U.S. Botanic Garden (USBG) in February 2014.
Because destruction of native plants continues at an alarming rate, we hope our book will increase the public's knowledge and encourage use and conservation of this vital part of our natural heritage. In 2011 BAEE began working with about 75 artists to produce watercolor paintings and graphite or ink drawings of native Mid-Atlantic plants for the book.
The title of the book is American Botanical Paintings: Native Plants of the Mid Atlantic. The book reproduces original works of art and includes text focused on the importance of each plant as a native. Artists donated the use of their art for this nonprofit endeavor. A jury selected artwork for the book from digital images submitted by artists for judging. The judges were Holly Shimizu, Executive Director of the U.S. Botanic Garden (USBG), who kindly agreed to write the foreword; Bill McLaughlin, Curator of Plants at the USBG; Dick Rauh, Immediate Past President of ASBA; and Mary Morton, Curator of French Painting at the National Gallery.
The book contains 144 pages, 60 paintings of plants, and about 30 paintings of insect pollinators, a foreword, a list of donors and sponsors, and a list of all the artists. High-quality printing and binding complements the artwork to make a useful and beautiful book.
Keith Tomlinson, Interpretive Naturalist and Manager of Meadowlark Botanical Gardens, encouraged and supported us from the very beginning. He and Nancy Christmus, Conservation Horticulturist and owner of Nativescapes Horticultural Consulting, wrote the initial plant descriptive text. Keith and Nancy are longtime collaborators in native plant horticulture, plant geography of the Potomac River Basin, and interpretation of botanic garden collections to further public understanding of the need to conserve plant diversity in the wild. Dr. Douglas Tallamy, Professor of Entomology and Wildlife Ecology at the University of Delaware, and author of the book Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants, wrote the section in the Introduction on the importance of native plants. Dr. Marc Epstein, California Department of Food and Agriculture, reviewed and corrected the section in the Introduction on butterflies and moths. Kyle Wallick, Botanist at the USBG, reviewed and verified botanical information. Marion Lobstein, Professor Emeritus, Northern Virginia Community College, Manassas, who is an expert on mid-Atlantic wildflowers, also reviewed the text.
Countess Clarissa Bonde, one of our Board Members and Honorary Chairman of Fund Raising, arranged with the U.S. Botanic Garden to exhibit our paintings in the Conservatory East Gallery from February 15, 2014 to June 15, 2014.
See Book Project: Native Plants of the Mid Atlantic for details about the production of the book, entry and selection of the paintings, and preparation of the artwork for the book and for the exhibition.
Helpful Resources for Projects of This Type
For others considering publishing their own book or producing an exhibition of their artwork, the following are helpful resources.
- The American Society for Botanical Artists (ASBA) offers a comprehensive how-to guide for planning and holding an exhibition. Download the ASBA Exhibition Guide.
- Sources for Materials
Look for More Projects
Future projects will be described here. BAEE welcomes inquiries. Please use our Contact form.