When I was in my first year of college, a friend of mine put Roger Tory Peterson’s Field Guide to Rocky Mountain Wildflowers into my hands and taught me how to use the key system to identify the wildflowers we were finding.
It was the beginning of my life-long love of plants. I enrolled in botany courses and, having decided I would become a botanical illustrator, I took my portfolio of plant drawings to the University of Michigan herbarium.
To my delight, I was given a job, not with flowering plants, as I had expected, but with Sphagnum mosses. For the next year I made pen and ink drawings of the mosses and cross-sections of their leaves, working with a microscope and camera lucida, stippling in shading with a crow quill pen.
I've forgotten much of what I learned in my botany classes, but my love of plants is undiminished. In fresh bloom, or in the skeletal remains of last year’s roadside weeds, even the simplest forms of plants achieve an elegance in their own right; that is what I’ve tried to capture in my latest paintings.