Plant-lovers and artists on Kaua‘i will soon have a unique opportunity to broaden their understanding of tropical flora and plant illustration by studying with two of America’s most respected botanical artists.
Alice Tangerini, a veteran staff illustrator with the Smithsonian Institution’s Department of Botany, and Wendy Hollender, an instructor at The New York Botanical Garden, are jointly leading an illustration workshop at National Tropical Botanical Garden (NTBG) headquarters in Kalaheo from Feb. 24 to March 6.
Hollender specializes in colored and watercolor pencil drawings while Tangerini’s expertise is using graphite and ink with pens and brushes. Hollender calls the chance to use different media with varying techniques in one workshop “extraordinary.”
“I travel around the world studying and drawing plants,” Hollender said. “NTBG is an ideal place to work and teach because of the numerous settings, availability of staff botanists and resources like microscopes, herbarium specimens and collection of rare botanical books and art.”
Recalling her first NTBG botanical illustration workshop last year, Hollender explains how students can move freely between the library, classroom and garden. “We collect specimens in the garden daily, drawing on location and from cuttings in the classroom.”
Tangerini, whose highly-detailed work is regularly used by scientists and as a permanent record of plant characteristics, has visited NTBG three times previously to collaborate on illustrated flora projects. She points to NTBG’s plant diversity and knowledgeable staff as key assets for experienced and aspiring botanical illustrators.
“Drawing from live fruits and flowers here helps me capture the look of plants in their natural habitat,” Tangerini said.
With eight instruction days and field trips to NTBG’s Limahuli Garden and the Makauwahi Cave Reserve on the South Shore, people on Kaua‘i can experience the Garden Island in a way like never before, even as they learn how to appreciate and share the beauty and fragility of Kaua‘i and the plant life it supports.