Friday, April 12, 2013

Wildflowers in Watercolor with Pamela Glasscock

By Tom Greco

Hooker's Fairy Bells (Disporum hookerii)
Pamela Glasscock paints with a great amount of attention to detail, capturing each delicate feature of her wildflower subjects with skill and patience. Yet there is far more to her magnificent paintings than botanical accuracy – there is a story hidden within each image that reflects the people and places involved along the way to its artful transcription into watercolor.

Her subjects come from diverse sources: from local gardens to wilderness areas on the other side of the world. These varied sources of inspiration lend a subtle degree of personality to each flower, a sense of character furthered by Pam’s own lens of observation.

Shooting Star
Though it is important for Pam that her flower portraits are botanically correct, she does not measure petals and leaves as a scientific illustrator might. “What I’m trying to get at is a sense of life,” says Pam, “and to recreate the experience of looking at the actual flower.” To this end, Pam’s art captures flowers at various stages throughout their lifecycle – not just at the peak of their bloom. This adds an element of complexity to her multiple flower compositions, which contain patterns and themes that may not be perceived at first glance.

Detail: Hound's Tongue
(Cynoglossum grande)
Works like these typically originate with Pam choosing a particular flower of interest, and capturing it on a spacious piece of watercolor paper. At this point, what might eventually occupy the rest of the paper may be far from solidified in her mind – perhaps difficult to imagine given the incredible complexity of the end product. “It’s important to me to have that uncertainty and suspense about what is going in next,” says Pam. “You want to be surprised yourself and you want the people looking at the work to have the same feeling. Not planning out the whole composition ahead of time gives a sense of adventure, and even danger, to a long and meticulous process.”

Pam’s primary artistic focus has been on wildflowers for the past 10 years. Her artistic roots stretch back to silverpoint drawing as an independent project in college, which she continued for ten years in New York before beginning to experiment with watercolor under her own tutelage. Watercolor has been her preferred medium since: “I’m really interested in watercolor drawing because of its immediacy and simplicity,” says Pam. “It is all about observation.”

April/May Grasslands and Open Woods
For her most recent project, A Pepperwood Anthology: Wildflowers in Watercolor, Pam visited the preserve multiple times during the spring of 2012, when Pepperwood’s bountiful wildflower displays were at their peak. 

Pam's paintings will be on display at Pepperwood’s Dwight Center for Conservation Science Gallery during our 5th annual Wildflower Festival on April 21, 2013 from 9am to 4pm, and by appointment through May 5, 2013.

Pam will also teach a class on painting spring flowers in watercolor at Pepperwood on May 5th. Please click here for more information!

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