NESBA members reflect on a talk with Helen Allen

NESBA Speaker Series: Helen Allen,
curator of Prince Charles’ Florilegium: Highgrove and Transylvania


NESBA had a fun filled day listening to Helen talk about her experiences as curator of this florilegium. Here are some reflections on the day:


“….. the time, effort….determination of the artists was insight into their dedication to botanical art…..and long term commitment to the project and willingness to put in the time and research…… gave me a greater sense of the history and legacy of botanical art….”
                            Rose Powers

“….. trekking up and down hills, across the fields, climbing to a spot inside the highest point of the Prince of Wales’ Transylvania lodge to paint and gaze out the window at the broad vistas..”
                             Joyce Westner

“….. unspoiled Romanian countryside that was their home base…..the botanists who work in tandem with the artists made the paintings more accurate…..paintings were magnificent…..  newfound respect for those who go out into the field in a foreign country to document nature…”
                             Dorothy McCauley

“…. Traveling is so often about the big vista, and that so much of our immediate surround is overlooked. In Transylvania Helen showed us that the artists and botanists were literally down on the ground, midst the grass and meadow flowers, seeing and describing what we so often miss…. remind us that there is a world beneath our feet we really mustn’t take for granted.”
                              Pat Buchanan

“Nothing like a virtual escape to Transylvania…….simple countryside rich with history, old farming ways of horse drawn wagons, mounds of hay and fields of flowers……. Endless supply of living, blooming, flowers….we could escape and share her adventure… Great fun. ”
                               Sue Neff

“… Helen gave details on the preparation of art work and publishing of Prince Charles’.. Florilegium of Romania…. Her talk (sic) was informative, entertaining, and inspirational….”
                               Carolyn Payzant

“….Morning session… presenting her images of Prince Charles’….. and she talked about her time in Transylvania….she traveled with other well-regarded botanical artists in a very underdeveloped area……Cows shared the road with the artists as they hiked (sic) to search for subjects….. it (botanical painting sic), can really be done in the outdoors under less than ideal circumstances… Not even photos were allowed for later reference. So, when I feel constrained by my surroundings, or it’s not a sunny day, I think of these artists…..and the conditions they had in which they created their beautiful works……”
                                  Nancy Savage

“…Seeing so many familiar faces felt good….. We often work in isolation and spending the days with other artists was invigorating…. The day…. Left me wishing for more opportunities to gather. “ 
                                   Elena Balmaseda-Scherer

“…. Transylvania wildflower meadows and the importance of preserving our natural world….shifted my attention to botanical illustration as another form of preserving through documentation….the flora of an area (sic). I wanted to see beyond the attractive shapes and colors of the portrait…. Science behind what actually makes the plant specimen look and behave like it does…made me a more confident and dedicated artist….”
                                     Deborah Locke

“….record on site the flora of Transylvania’s meadows where farming methods have not changed in centuries and a diverse population of indigenous flora exists……images of Zalanpatak, where the artists stayed in one of Prince Charles’ properties…..high on the slopes of the mountains close to the Carpathians…..eating the local produce grown on the grounds (sic), harmony with their environment…floristically diverse area with 300-400 species within a few feet apart in some areas…. Species rich meadows……area residents (sic) have a less romantic view of their way of life than visitors……”
                                    Ruth Starratt

“…..lots of fun and…informative….fascinating to learn of the people and the area…time has hardly intruded on their way of life: horses being used for both transportation and work….wide range of artists included in the project… weather was perfect and wonderful time was had by all which included desserts with a floral motif!...”
                                      Robin Rosenthal
                                  




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