Work by Carol Govan in the Elm Bank Visitors Center

Recent Paintings on Exhibit from August 22 to Columbus Day
  
 NESBA member Carol Govan, a popular local naturalist, botanical art historian, and teacher has devoted years to informing the public about the work of many other artists, but this summer Mass Hort is fortunate to be able to present an exhibition of  her own artistic output.  It will be easily accessible to all late summer visitors to The Gardens at Elm Bank. The exhibit is in the visitor center at Elm Bank, the building just beyond the parking lot.  In her statement below, Carol invites the public to understand the process of producing art, but most of all, to enjoy looking at it.

Orange Canna
 Seeing Nature's Secrets- Carol Govan

I like to look at the natural world but have a hard time slowing down to see anything unless I draw and identify it. Drawing allows me to see details I didn't see at first glance. Struggling to find its name tells me new information that encourages me to go back and look again.  My interests tend to combine art and science, both of which require concentrated observation.

I am a naturalist who teaches various science and art courses.  One has students find a natural habitat in order to identify and draw all the plants (or anything else interesting) throughout the year.  Another, focusing on plant relationships in situ and through a microscope to fit them into family groups. "The History of Botanical Art" marvels at old books filled with beautiful details and descriptions. "Drawing Botany" has students examine and sketch plants as they learn about roots, shoots, flowers and fruits.  I encourage lots of drawing and playing with color to take notes rather than create a perfect plant portrait.

I teach or give lectures at The New England Wildflower Society, The Boston Mycological Society, The Massachusetts Horticultural Society, The Coastal Maine Botanic Garden, The Attleboro Museum, and the Wellesley College Botanic Gardens where I also write and illustrate articles about tropical plants and train the docents.  My lectures are about pond life, tulips, orchids, succulents, gymnosperms, cacti, insects, fungi, art history, color, field sketching, old herbals, etc. As you can see I have a hard time focusing but see or learn something new each time I go outside and draw something, teach a class (and relearn what I have forgotten), or give a lecture. These activities help me focus (a little) and encourage me to see and learn about new things. 

Check Mass Hort Web site for days, hours.  The website has a button on the left to click for "Campus Map",  www.masshort.org/

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