Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Botanical Illustrations of Native Maine Medicinal Plants

Gemma at Pettengill Farm on the Harraseeket River in Freeport, Maine

At my daughter's school, Waynflete seniors research a month long independent project. Gemma combined her love of art, nature and wilderness survival for her project. She did the first drawing (the Balsam Fir) at Chewonki Semester School junior year, which was her inspiration.

It was a fun bonding experience to accompany my daughter into the woods this May. I was her location scout and guide, but she identified all the plants herself and researched their medicinal uses now and historically. I learned a lot from her.

One of the highlights was an overnight trip to Monhegan Island, ten miles out to sea, but most samples were collected within a half hour drive from home. Some, like the Mountain Ash, grow in the old growth forest behind our house. We also explored the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay Harbor.

I was impressed by Gemma's ability to render these complex plants and trees with botanical accuracy and artistic acumen. Each drawing took five or six hours to sketch in pencil and then ink. With the help of her art teacher, the results were bound into pamphlets for her peers. In her powerpoint presentation, Gemma included maps and DSLR photos too. She would make a fine teacher/professor some day. I love how we share a passion for art and nature.


The American Mountain Ash has berries rich in vitamin C, 
which have been used to treat kidney disease, diabetes, arthritis and diarrhea.

8 comments:

Rosemary said...

Gemma is a very talented young lady - her illustrations charming, and her typography compliments the whole - it is an interesting and topical subject to explore

tina said...

She's very talented! Good job!

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

I know you are proud, and you should be!

troutbirder said...

Very nice work! A chip off the block, I'd say....:)

Rose said...

What a beautiful project! Your daughter is so talented!

cynthia said...

I agree--I love these drawings!

Amanda Summer said...

Gemma has quite the eye!

Sarah Laurence said...

Thanks, all, your comments made my daughter smile.