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Meet: Beverly Allen, botanical artist

Epiphyllum crenatum. Photo - Beverly Allen

What brought you to painting?

My background is graphic design and illustration, a practical solution to my childhood wish to ‘draw and paint’ for a living. Now the plants have taken over and I am painting every day.

Why botanical art?

I discovered Shirley Sherwood’s beautiful book ‘Contemporary Botanical Artists’ which was followed by the exhibition of her collection at the SH Irvin Gallery in ’98. It was an absolute inspiration to see such a fresh new approach to botanical art, and such a diversity of styles and subjects.


Do you have any tips for aspiring painters?

To paint the plants that move you, paint from life, not from photographs and enjoy the discovery of every detail as you observe and draw. Paint with passion and enjoy every minute of your journey.



H.papilio. Photo - Beverly Allen


Do you have any favourite plants?

My favourite is usually the one I am currently painting! This past week I have been watching a white bat flower (Tacca integrifolia) slowly opening. Each day its changing form has been exquisite and, as it’s my second flower this year, will allow me to finish the painting I began several weeks ago.

Do you have a garden at home?

I have a rather ‘un’-designed garden which includes most of my subjects over the last twelve years, their placement decided by their growing needs! There are also plants from my Grandmother’s long-ago garden, some of my Mother’s favourites and cuttings from many friends. I like to think of it as ‘richly textured’!


Beverly’s work was exhibited for sale at the Royal Botanic Gardens. She also conducts some master classes in botanical art. Details (02) 9231 8182. 


Text: Libby Cameron

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Author: Libby Cameron