Beverly Duncan grew up amid the lush landscapes of Hawaii, and her art has always tended toward the natural world, but it was not until a dozen or so years ago, when paintings that she had done of autumn leaves for a Buffalo (NY) Science Museum, that she rejoiced “to have found a place in the art world”.
Those paintings caught the eye of someone at the Hunt Institute of Botanical Documentation at Carnegie Mellon University and she was invited to show at their Ninth International Exhibit. “That was a big deal!” she said. She had done work that she enjoyed, those beautiful leaves, and been recognized for her talent and skill. A big deal indeed.
Botanical art comes in many flavors, but it must always be botanically correct, and when exhibited each item must be identified. The general ID here is black beans and an apple. Also notice the little butterfly. Many of Beverly’s paintings include an insect. She is so fond of these ‘little creatures’ that she collects dead bugs, and sometimes freezes them until she needs a model for a painting.
This is a more springlike painting with 2 different ferns, a snowdrop and a tulip. All are painted from life. She never works on one of her detailed and accurate paintings unless she has the plant right in front of her.
Those of us who don’t make it to art exhibits in Philadelphia, Buffalo, Denver and other such places, will be pleasantly surprised to come across her exquisite work in books like Bulbs in the Basement, Geraniums on the Windowsill by Brian and Alice McGowan for Storey Publishing.
Her art grows out of her love for plants. She has had a garden ever since she moved to this area in 1971. Nowadays, her garden is a reflection of her art – she plants what she wants to paint. Of course, she does get to eat those beans and squash and apples as well.
We are fortunate that the natural beauties of our corner of Massachusetts attract so many artists. Beverly’s work will be on display at Ashfield’s Elmer’s in May. You can also see more Pabout her work at the American Society of Botanical Artists website
, and at her dealer’s website