William Alberti's Story Behind the Art

How did you go about selecting a subject?
When I went down the Bartram plant list, I looked for plants that are hardy in my State, North Carolina.
Why did you choose this specific subject?
I chose Hibiscus coccineus because it has very large and showy flowers, has very bright intense color, and because it was growing in my yard in Hillsborough NC as well as many gardens across the State.
What do you know about this subject as it relates to the Bartrams?
 "Hibiscus coccineus was discovered by John and William Bartram in their explorations of Florida and the South (including NC) in 1765-66.  William Bartram produced an illustration of Hibiscus coccineus (Hibiscus, Great Crimson flower'd St. John Rose) which was sent to Peter Collison in England in the winter of 1768. (see figures 41 and 42 and accompanying notes The Bartram Broadside, 1783, by Joel T. Fry, Journal of Garden History, Vol. 16, Number 1, Spring 1996)  William Bartram also describes the plant at page 104 of his "Travels" book, while in Florida in 1774."
What would you hope people would notice or appreciate when they view this work?
I searched for a fully open flower specimen that would reveal all the major external flower structures simultaneously - filament column and base, filaments, anthers, stigmas, styles, petals, sepals and bracts.
Did you face any unique challenges as you worked on this piece?
Because drafting film will only take a limited number of colored pencil layers, I found producing acceptable botanical greens very challenging.
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  • (C) Williams Alberti