In April 2013, my sister, Maeve Hughes, and I crawled on hands and knees in local woodlands to photograph one of our favourite spring plants, the Trout Lily.
We did the same thing when we were kids on Washburn Island — but without a camera. Our mum, Vera Burrows, loved our little bouquets of wildflowers, putting them in cheap glass vases she probably bought at Stedmans, or maybe Woolworth in Lindsay.
In early spring, the appearance of the trout lily is followed by yellow and purple violets. Farmer Bowen’s maple forest was our closest woodland shelter for early spring specimens. The forest was mere steps from the end of our driveway on what is now Sugar Bush Trail. Back in the 50s, it was a narrow track with a few cottages dotting the shoreline.
As a botanical artist today, Maeve uses this photographic memory to help create watercolour paintings, or coloured pencil drawings. Her interest in nature, and a natural artistic talent from a young age are factors in her success as a Botantical Artist. All of those romps around trails, fields and shorelines of Washburn Island, with accompanying wet feet, sunburns and burrs stuck to our clothes contributed to Maeve’s love of wildflowers, waterlilies, berries, and all growing things.
Toronto’s Todmorden Mills Papermill Gallery featured The Botanical Artists of Canada Juried Art Show titled The Four Seasons. Jurors selected 64 outstanding works for the exhibition by artists from Newfoundland, Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia.
My sister achieved placement in the show for four of her juried submissions in the Watercolour category.
(See Maeve’s Coloured Pencil winning entry, Rosehips, from the show November 2012). This year she earned 2 Honourable Mentions for Trout Lilies and Fiddleheads. Recognition for her work makes crawling around the damp woodlands in the chilly spring worthwhile.
Months of preparation by the executive and membership of Botanical Artists of Canada paid off. The heritage venue, Todmorden Mills, is an excellent locale for hosting an art show of this calibre. A record-breaking number of guests at the opening reception enjoyed a buzzing ambiance and delicious food and refreshments.
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