Artists magic keeps flowers alive forever
Gregg Frederickson sees the beauty in a flower.
His keen strokes force your eye to see the beauty, too. Working in pastels or pencil, he captures it in light, shadow and color.
Frederickson, of Southwest Portland, is among 60 botanical artists chosen for the Northwest Exhibition of Botanical Art, endorsed by the American Society of Botanical Artists. This is the first time for a West Coast show; it took three years to talk the society into allowing a juried show in Portland.
The exhibition opens Wednesday at the Portland Expo Center as part of the Portland Home & Garden Show. Most of the artwork will be for sale.
The art is exquisite. Carolyn Devine, education director at the Berry Botanic Garden in Southwest Portland, is one of the judges awarding ribbons. And I'll tell you, she has her work cut out for her.
'For the preliminary judging (of 188 entries), we looked for botanical accuracy,' Devine says. If the picture 'reproduced the reality of the plant in structure and form,' the judges upped the ante.
They noticed everything. Devine gives an example: 'Wow! There are eight stamens in that lily. Of course, there should be six.'
Botanical drawings must combine art and science, form and function. To win a ribbon, the artist must be accomplished at both. Merely imitating nature is not enough: The plant still has to 'look as fresh as a daisy' from every angle.
Take a gander at Frederickson's piece, for instance. He describes the cactus-type dahlia in colored pencil as simply 'a three-dimensional ball of orange and yellow,' but you can tell he knows every detail of that flower just before bloom.
To make a living, Frederickson combines his love of gardening and passion for art by creating outdoor botanical paintings for fences, screens or anywhere else. He likes to think his company, Garden Graphis, 'magically transforms your favorite annual into a perennial' because the artwork is waterproof.
His outdoor work starts at $175.
At least Frederickson gets to stay in the garden. The man considered the 'world's greatest flower painter,' Pierre-Joseph RedoutŽ, was able to earn a living in the 1800s only by becoming the official court artist for Queen Marie Antoinette and Empress Josephine.
'Painting flowers may be something small,' RedoutŽ told Napolean, 'but it is what I do best, because it is what I love most.'
• Patrick and Antigone Brown of Northwest Portland applied to be part of the BBC's 'Ground Force America: Surprise Garden Makeover' show.
Britain's TV gardeners are filming in the United States this month and in May. For more information: www.bbcamerica.com.
• Eager to get flowers started in your garden? I've got some planting ideas before the spring rush. My seminar 'Plant This: Now!' at the Portland Home and Garden Show is at 1 p.m. Saturday in Room D-201.
This week's to-do list
• Plant bare-root roses.
• Hunt for slugs.
• Buy or order seeds.
'Anne Jaeger's Gardening Tips' airs at 9:56 a.m. Saturday and Sunday on KGW (8). Jaeger's Web site is at www.gardengal.tv.