Saturday, July 10, 2010
Green Ixia, Watercolor on Vellum by Jean Emmons, US
Listing: Endangered, National Red List of South African Plants
The Plant’s Story
The Cape Floral Kingdom is a global biodiversity hotspot. The wine industry in South Africa is the world’s ninth largest, and nearly all of it takes place within this global hotspot. Over 100 vineyards have joined the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative, a consortium with the Botanical Society of South Africa, Conservation International, and the Green Trust, setting aside lands for conservation purposes, removing non-native vegetation, and implementing sustainable practices in grape cultivation. South Africa has created teams of mostly volunteers who have gone through training to learn how to identify at-risk plants and habitats, called CREW teams (Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wildflowers). CREW teams have found several notable species on the property of Theuniskraal Vineyard including this beautiful Ixia viridflora. A portion of the property Tulbagh Alluvium Fynbos, is considered a critically endangered habitat.
The Artist’s Story: Jean Emmons
Brooklyn Botanic Garden grew plants of Ixia viridiflora from seed for their Warm Temperate Pavilion, one of the most diverse collections of Cape flora in the United States. Cut flowers and a small plant were mailed to me in order to create a previous painting for the Brooklyn Garden Florilegium Project. I was so taken with the turquoise color of the Ixia, I wanted to try another painting of it. My technique involves starting with multiple layers of pale washes in many different colors. Slowly, I work dryer and dryer and finish with very tight drybrush using the local color of the plant.
More of the plant’s story and the artist’s story can be found in the exhibit catalog, available at the exhibition venues or online from the ASBA. This artwork is on the cover of the Losing Paradise? exhibit catalog.