Carol Woodin

No matter what life brings, along with it comes another fascinating botanical subject. Having been an “outdoorsy” type for my whole life, it was natural that art led to an exploration of some of the wild things we find around us. Painting plants can seem to be anachronistic, requiring close attention and painstaking detail. It’s true, this approach opens a window into a no longer common way of doing things, and coaxes us to slow down and really see.

On the other hand, although the history of botanical art is well-known, we live in a different world from the in one our predecessors worked. We are aware of centuries of artistic expression of all sorts, yet we can’t simply repeat the past. Giving a nod to the continuum while making something new is the challenge and the great pleasure in painting plants.

I find vellum the perfect surface for my work. I often stretch it over panel, and love the way it responds to and enhances watercolor. Each skin, like the language of each plant, is unique, and its warmth and modulation lend themselves perfectly to the rendering of plant life in color.

Carol took a circuitous route to botanical art. A one-time draftsman, surveyor’s cartographer, tractor-trailer driver, teamster, and waitress, all were steps along the trail that led to her ever-evolving work in the field.

For over 20 years, Carol has been a free-lance artist, specializing in orchids. Recently, her work has expanded to include rare wildflowers, heirloom fruits, and garden plants. Her artwork has been exhibited and collected around the world. Among recent venues are the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC; Shirley Sherwood Gallery, Kew, UK: UBS Galleries and Newhouse Galleries in New York; and the Marciana Library, Venice, Italy. In 1995 she received a Gold Medal from the Royal Horticultural Society for her watercolors of Paphiopedilum orchids, and in 1998 she was the recipient of the annual “Bouchier ASBA Award for Excellence” from the American Society of Botanical Artists. She painted the publicity image for the World Orchid Conference in Dijon, France in 2005 and received a Gold Medal for her works exhibited there.

Some notable collections that include her paintings are the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, the Smithsonian Institution, Dr. Shirley Sherwood, Alisa and Isaac M. Sutton, and many corporate collections. Her work appears in all five of Dr. Shirley Sherwood’s books, including Treasures of Botanical Art, in Phillip Cribb’s monograph The Genus Paphiopedilum, published by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and inĀ  "Curtis’s Botanical Magazine", among others. Carol is currently engaged in preparing the plates for the upcoming monograph Slipper Orchids of the Tropical Americas being authored by Phillip Cribb, and has taught master classes in watercolor throughout the Americas and in Canada.

Having served on the Board of Directors of the American Society of Botanical Artists, she is now its Director of Exhibitions, curating and coordinating exhibitions throughout North America. She is a member of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Florilegium Society. She is represented by Susan Frei Nathan Fine Works on Paper.

Contact Carol at:
Rep website:


American Persimmons
watercolor on vellum stretched over panel
6" x 5", © Carol Woodin, 2011

Slipper Orchid
watercolor on vellum stretched over panel
29" x 24 © Carol Woodin, 2011

Phragmipedium 'Nicolle Tower'
watercolor on vellum stretched over panel
14" x 9" © Carol Woodin, 2012

watercolor on vellum
8" x 13" © Carol Woodin, 2011
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