Story Behind the Art of Margaret Farr

18th Annual International American Society of Botanical Artists at
The Horticultural Society of New York

 

Baby Cyclamen

Cyclamen hederifolium
 
I have a soft spot for cyclamen. In the mid 80's my family lived for awhile in Pendeli, a then semi-rural bedroom community perched on the side of a mountain overlooking Athens, Greece. (Stone for the Acropolis was quarried further up the hill.) Gated mansions of government ministers fronted our street, along with works-in-progress homes of the less elevated: on payday a few more bricks would be purchased, and the following weekend  a bedroom wall would grow higher. The crowing of roosters and the bleating of goats wafted through the air. And next door, in a vacant lot turned community scrap heap, the slender delicate necks of cyclamen magically appeared in the fall. I had no idea what a cyclamen was, but my husband had given me a set of watercolor paints for Christmas, and I had begun to keep a little painted diary of local flora (on notebook paper!). The cyclamen was joyfully added.
 
While C. hederifolium is represented as hardy here in Virginia, I haven't had much luck. However, this one, obtained from a nursery, did put forth for one season, and looks very much like the ones which appear in the wild, with the same spindly, delicate-but-determined aspect. There are 20 or so species of cyclamen and the taxonomy can be confusing.  Interestingly, they can only be propagated by seed, which ants spread into wide colonies. I am currently enlisting my multitude of ants to do their duty with 50 seeds at a sun dappled woodland edge, and eagerly anticipate that first bloom - in 2018! 
 
The tendrils are fascinating to draw - on a par with wild onions in the satisfaction of following convoluted  loops and coils to their ends. The hardest part was capturing the very faint color of the stems - giving them some volume without making them appear more substantial than they are, as they are quite pale.
 
 
 
 
Read more about this artist's work: 17th Annual International
 
  • (C) 2014 Margaret Farr
    Baby Cyclamen
    Cyclamen hederifolium
    Watercolor on Paper
    18” x 16”