Judith Simon's Story Behind the Art

Spigelia marilandica 
The Spigelia marilandica I painted for the Bartrams exhibit was always one of my favorite plants in my garden, and I was glad for an excuse to find the time to paint it. The bright red buds are such an intense color I wanted to be careful to vary that intensity  between the foreground and background stems.   
Early herbalists called it wormroot and used it to get rid of intestinal worms, but it is closely related to strychnine, so it’s not a very safe home herbal remedy.  Hummingbirds fight over the blooms, and the plant often reblooms if deadheaded.  Most of my plants were deadheaded by a groundhog, but not until the painting was nearly finished.  At least the groundhog is probably worm-free.  
Spigelia is a striking plant with tubular red and yellow blooms that often brings comments from those seeing it for the first time.  Once you find a place it likes to grow it will multiply freely, but you may have to try it in several different spots before you find a place it is happy.  I loved painting the bright smooth textured flowers.   
I enjoy painting plants from my garden because I feel a special affinity with them, and being from Pennsylvania, home of John Bartram, I was excited to be able  to paint something from my own garden for the show.   I took several days browsing through the long list of plants that were grown by John Bartram and his family before choosing some subjects for my work.  I like having plenty of time to decide on a subject because I’ll be spending a lot of time with it once I begin!  
  • (C) Judith Simon