Botanical illustrator and NYBG Adult Education program ’07 alum, Betsy Rogers-Knox is well-known for her compelling ”Plantcycles,” a series of artworks in which she portrays the various stages of a plant in a circle of life. Her watercolors burst with life and combine the artistry and scientific precision that is the hallmark of botanical illustration. We asked Rogers-Knox what inspires these dizzying representations.
“After receiving a Certificate in Botanical Illustration from NYBG, I began teaching workshops at the Bellamy-Ferriday House Garden in Bethlehem, Connecticut. I spent many hours in the gardens observing and drawing trees and plants in all seasons and became enthralled by the plant’s transition; from bud, to flower, to pod, to seed; which inspired a series of life cycle watercolor paintings. This concept led me to become more creative with my compositions, to include a lot of information and be botanically accurate in a more artistic format. This was quite a challenge, which I loved!”
Rogers-Knox sees an important role for the botanical artist to play as a conservationist. The artist has a unique ability to educate the public on endangered, invasive, weird, and wonderful plant species through their medium. “The variety of subjects is endless for botanical artists and I think we all hope to continually observe, appreciate, illustrate, and protect this great bounty that nature provides. Personally, here in Litchfield County, Connecticut, I teach workshops at local conservation preserves and in my studio to adults and children, hoping to draw awareness to our natural world by observing, drawing, and painting it.”
Rogers-Knox is currently exhibiting a painting, “Magnolia Pods,” alongside the work of other artists—including several NYBG Botanical Art Certificate holders and instructors—in the American Society of Botanical Artists’ 16th Annual International Exhibition on display at the Horticultural Society in Manhattan through Nov. 22. She will also be exhibiting in London at the Royal Horticultural Show in 2015.
It makes our day here at NYBG Adult Ed to hear about one of our graduates thriving in the world of plants. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more stories from our students, graduates, and instructors!
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