Hylocereus Undatus, night blooming cereus, 1985
pencil, ink and color wash
56 x 34 cm. (22 x 13.4 in.)
by the late Mary Anderson Grierson
Her obituary - she died age 99 - in the Telegraph provides all sorts of incentives for those of less tender years who aspire to do well as a botanical artist.
First of all she only started to work as a 'proper' botanical artist in middle age - at the age of 48.
Prior to this she worked, during the war, on analysing analysing and interpreting aerial photographs. It was during the war that she started painting wild flowers for pleasure.
- She began painting species of plants in Hawaii in 1973 - leading to the publication of A Hawaiian florilegium: botanical portraits from paradise in 1996. (The lovely thing about projects after you retire is you don't have to rush to finish them in order to make your mark!)
- She was commissioned to produce illustrations for "Hedgerows of England" and "Coastal Plants of England". She proceeded to travel the length and breadth of the country to find the plants. The subsequent associated exhibitions were sell-outs.
- She produced a major series of tulip drawings for the Van Tubergen Nurseries at Haarlem. These were subsequently bought by the Library at Kew in 1992
- plus she continued to produce illustrations for Curtis's Botanical Magazine.
For me, the uplifting bit about this story is that she achieved much of this after reaching 60 - having only turned professional age 48. Which just goes to show that a whole new world can open up to you as you get older - if you are open to the possibilities of what life has to offer - and hone your skills in drawing and painting!
- The Telegraph - Obituaries - Mary Grierson - this includes a slideshow of some of her botanical drawings and paintings
- The Independent - Mary Grierson: Floral artist celebrated as one of the most distinguished in her field