Let’s go through some classic duos: Peanut butter and jelly, Lennon and McCartney, peas and carrots, and last, but not least…photosynthesis and art! The power of art and the beauty of landscape were combined on Friday, August 16 with Botanical Art: Drawing Ozark Plants. This session was unique to Discover the Grounds as we have yet to combine art and nature. Although this was set for mid-August, the weather was phenomenal and we had a great turn out.
I began by describing the intricacies of a leaf. I have always found it amazing how something so thin (about 1/2000th of an inch!) could have so much going on inside. For those who didn’t pay attention in high school, photosynthesis converts sunlight to sugar which is stored as energy in cells. These cells help to absorb carbon dioxide and water, and then they release oxygen for us to breathe.
Not only was photosynthesis covered, but also the shapes and venations of leaves to four types of trees: Red Maple (Acer rubrum), Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera), Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum), and Green Shadow Sweetbay Magnolia (Magnolia virginiana ‘Green Shadow’). These native trees were selected in part because we could compare them with color plates from Mark Catesby’s Hortus Europae Americanus: Collection of 85 Curious Trees and Shrubs, the Produce of North America. . . ,” 1767. (A work featuring wonderful illustrations of American flora. A copy of this work is housed in the Museum’s Collection. –LD)
After a riveting botanical talk, Sara Segerlin, Senior Museum Educator, talked about botanical art and how it was used. Whether it was for research, documentation, or enjoyment, botanical art has always played an important part in both the art and botanical fields. Numerous books are available in our Museum Library that feature beautiful hand-colored prints by some of the nation’s earliest naturalists.
Our guests were then welcomed to join Lori Lincks, Associate Museum Educator, and Aaron Jones, Interpretation Manager, to learn different sketching methods at designated locations on the grounds. Trail Guides Robin Smith and Holly Crowe led groups on a tour to witness some of the amazing blooms and fragrant plants of Crystal Bridges. I am very grateful for all who helped and made this a success!
Please join us for the next Discover the Grounds on Friday, October 18, from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. Cody George will be talking about fall colors in the Crystal Bridges landscape, and we’ll guide participants in ways to press, preserve, and display your own collection of fall leaves. Admission is free, but you need to pre-register. You can register online or at Guest Services.