December 2023 – Welcome to the Art Gallery


Featuring the art of Ellie Biggs, F. Curtis Lubbe, Rebecca Buchs, Jude Wild and Vicky Bowskill.

Mediums include: pen and watercolour, ceramics and pipe cleaners, ballpoint pen, AI and oils on canvas. These artworks come from Australia, The Czech Republic, Switzerland and the UK.

Ellie Biggs

On the Jatbula trail, by Ellie Biggs [pen and watercolour]. Traversing the dry red sandstone of the Northern Territory, there is a bowl in the landscape which detours down to a humid tropical enclave of rainforest. There you will find some weird and wonderful flora. This fern Drynaria quercifolia grows on rocks: [ @elliegeoart].
Banksia! By Ellie Biggs [pen and watercolour]. Fascinating wherever you are in Australia. Seed pods pop to create woody works of art. A genus of ~170 flowering plants. Sometimes these follicles only open when stimulated by bushfire. A slow seed dispersion. Essential flowering plants for the native nectarivorous animals [ @elliegeoart].
Darwin woollybutt, by Ellie Biggs [pen and watercolour]. An iconic large woodland tree endemic to northern Australia. Showy orange blossoms sparkle the bushland foliage with charismatic prowess. Jewels of sandy soils, Eucalyptus mimiata are commonly found in open forest, savanna communities, and dotted along sandstone escarpments.

Ellie Biggs is a visual artist based in Western Australia. She is inspired by the colour vibrancy of nature and uses her technical training in geography and sustainability to bring environmental and societal knowledge to her audience through acrylic and watercolour [ @elliegeoart].

F. Curtis Lubbe

Herbaceous dolls by F. Curtis Lubbe at the Institute of Botany, Czech Academy of Sciences, CZ.

An assortment of perennial herb dolls.  Storage organs/bodies are made of ceramics, with roots and foliage made of pipe cleaners.  Herbaceous perennial plants keep their bodies (storage organs) belowground to persist through seasonal and recurrent disturbances.  These organs are generally stem derived (such as rhizomes) or root derived (such as taproots) and contain water, carbohydrates, and other substances for regrowth and stress mediation.  From left to right: root fragment, root fragment, epigeogenous rhizome with root tubers, bulbs, hypogeogenous rhizome, bulb, nonclonal plant with taproot, epigeogenous rhizome, root fragment, and stem tuber.  For more details and examples, see ‘Temperate herbs: An architectural analysis’ by J. Klimešová, (2018).

[Close up Herbaceous dolls above and below]. Most of these dolls were first made in one colour of clay, coated in liquid clay of another colour, then carved (a process called sgraffito) to apply both texture and faces, before being burnished by hand to accentuate the texture.  The expressions of the dolls are generally peaceful, because of their role in rest and dormancy of the plants, although here they have green foliage and such plants during their growing season may encounter many more disturbances and hazards than plants resting under snow. Additionally, the process of working with clay, and modeling the form of the dolls is not unlike the processes of digging and unearthing the plants themselves. 

Rebecca Buchs

Sketches by Rebecca Buchs. Plants and flowers often feature in my artwork. Either in the surroundings or in the hair or on the clothes of my characters. I love how delicate they seem and for me they symbolize life, beauty and care. To improve, I often draw people, objects and places from my neighbourhood. I like to go to cafes, the zoo, a museum or the botanical gardens to sketch. Or I just snoop through Pinterest to find some useful photographs. But these sketches stay mostly inside my sketchbook, even though I sometimes paint landscapes, mostly with aquarelle, gouache and coloured pencils [@brocci.draws].

I mostly use watercolors, ballpoint pens, fine liners and my iPad for drawing and painting.
I draw what comes to mind. Since I was a small child, I always had stories and ideas in my head and I remember vividly how frustrated I felt when I couldn’t draw them. But I loved to draw and I never stopped. Today I am closer to my goal of transferring parts of my vivid (and sometimes quite melodramatic) imagination onto paper and I feel happier about my works.

When I create, I let the drawing or painting grow organically without sketching beforehand. This is easier digitally since you can try again if you don’t like a brush stroke or how a face turned out. But having lines fixed on paper without the ability to overthink, means I stop questioning myself. In those moments I focus on the flow and rhythm. Trust, for me, is a big part of art. Trust in myself to be good enough, trust in my audience to be gentle with the things that still don’t look as pretty as I wish them to and trust in the process. Even if something looks rough and undefined it will grow into something that can be appreciated. The process that occurs while I create my art isn’t just about art skills, but also of how I see life. It’s a process of learning. Of wrong angles, messy lines and wonkily applied paint. But also of discoveries, fun and contentment [@brocci.draws].

Jude Wild

The Lost Garden by Jude Wild [oil on canvas]. My painting is inspired by a recent visit to The Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall. A magical place steeped in history with a wonderful selection of plants. I love the fact that it was lost to humans eyes and interference for decades and basically became an exotic wilderness. I’ve never seen such giant rhododendrons. Sadly most of the gardeners were called up for the first world war and died in the trenches so I’ve included the ghosts of some of them in my painting [@JudeWildArtist].

The Lost Garden by Jude Wild [detail].

Vicky Bowskill

Shoots to Roots © Open University. This poster was created by Vicky Bowskill in collaboration with the Floodplain Meadows Partnership to show the variation in both above and below ground plant structures in a species-rich floodplain meadow. To find out more about this image you can visit:
Citation: Bowskill V. and Tatarenko I. (2021) From Shoots to Roots: revealing the above and below ground structure of meadow plants. Floodplain Meadows Partnership.
CC-BY-NC-SA [@vicky_bowskill].
Shoots to Roots [detail]
Roots of Diversity by Vicky Bowskill. This artwork celebrates the hidden diversity of roots in species-rich grasslands. It is this diversity that supports a diverse ecosystem of soil fauna, develops a well-structured soil profile and builds impressive long-term stores of carbon. I am a PhD researcher studying floodplain meadows at the Open University. [My research and illustration work is at @vicky_bowskill].
Vicky Bowskill working on botanical drawings [@vicky_bowskill].

Thank you to our December artists for showcasing their work! If you would like to send in artwork for the January Gallery the details are here: We look forward to hearing from you.

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