BOTANICAL ADVENTURE! That’s what Lotus McElfish decided her life would become if she were to follow her passion. And follow it she did. Being a lifelong self-taught artist as well as a certified aromatherapist, she combined her enchantment with botanicals a few years ago to become a botanical artist.
Motivated by a strong sense of environmental responsibility and jumpstarted by a grant from American Society of Botanical Artists in 2005, this artistic adventure has taken her to creating watercolor plant portraits of the endangered and native wildflowers of Texas and, more recently, also of Colorado, her home state. “They may be wild, but their very existence is in delicate balance and some are so ethereal that the bloom only lasts a day.” Her biggest challenge is not only locating their natural or protected habitat but also to time the visit to capture the plant's bloom in its fullness. In truth her favorite part of these field trips are hiking in, clinging onto ledges, meeting and working with local botanists, landowners, and park personnel.
Documenting these plants is just one aspect of the adventure, educating the public is another. She has shared her journey and shown appreciation for the people behind saving these plants with public talks and a media show where a percentage of the proceeds always goes to the sponsoring conservation organization.
Lotus has done illustrations for numerous periodicals and books, shown in galleries and juried exhibits, and teaches graphite drawing and watercolor painting. In May 2009 she was invited to speak at the Department of the Interior Museum in Washington, D.C.,where two of her paintings were in an Endangered Species exhibit. Her endangered cactus painting hung at the Arizona Sonoran Desert Museum and in 2011 one of her rare plant works was juried (out of 2,500 entries) into "Blossoms II-Art of Flowers" at the Naples Museum of Art in Naples, Florida. In 2014 she was chosen as a Merit Artist of the Year at the Rockport Center for the Arts in Rockport, Texas. Also, that year she was juried into a published book, American Botanical Paintings: Native Plants of the Mid Atlantic,and the springtime exhibition of accepted paintings at the US Botanic Gardens in Washington DC. Two of her paintings are currently hanging in the traveling exhibition “Rare II: Imperiled Plants of Colorado.” Lotus is completing a series of paintings portraying the healing herbs of the Mexican curandero and partera traditions with a solo show at the Rockport (TX) Center for the Arts in 2016.
In Texas there are so many festivals involving wineries, olive orchards, and even lavender farms! Who doesn't love lavender? Lotus loves celebrating this rich eco-tourism with her art as well. And she always comes back to her favorite subject, the wildflower.
Born in Colorado, Lotus resides with her artisan husband, Victor Summers, at SummerFish Studios in the Texas Hill Country between Austin and San Antonio. Visit her website for original watercolors, botanical prints, decorative tiles, and greeting cards.
Contact Lotus at:
Images © Lotus McElfish