Thursday, January 18
Original artwork and giclée prints are available for sale with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Library
Looking Closely: the Hidden World of Mushrooms and Lichens
Paintings by Lucy Martin
January - April 2018
The Helen Crocker Russell Library of Horticulture presents
Looking Closely: the Hidden World of Mushrooms and Lichens, an exhibition of paintings in gouache
and watercolor by Lucy Martin.
Lucy Martin's paintings reflect her lifelong connection with nature. They express her love of the beautiful
and surprising life forms found in the forests she explores. Her hope is to awaken in the viewer a feeling
that there are myriad tiny worlds to be discovered right at our feet, if we only stop and look.
Lucy's interest in botanical art has evolved to focus on the amazing diversity of the kingdom of fungi.
She generally paints mushrooms and lichen in their natural environment rather than as isolated specimens,
as in more traditional botanical art. Her paintings may be seen as small landscapes, glimpses of the
hidden life of the forest.
A new painting begins with a walk in the forest. Lucy collects her subjects and their surroundings -
fungi, lichen, moss, fir cones, bark, decaying leaves, twigs - and brings them to her studio. There she
arranges them in a container so as to be able to paint from life as much as possible. She uses photographs
as reference for a background, or for objects such as a mossy tree trunk that are too large to bring
home. Lucy paints mainly in gouache, with the addition of watercolor and occasionally a little colored
pencil. Gouache is similar to watercolor, but more opaque. The qualities of gouache and Lucy's technique
of layering the paint create a sense of density and depth appropriate to her subject matter.
Her art draws us to contemplate the vital, intimate relationship of fungi with trees and other plants,
often growing in mutually beneficial symbiosis. Lucy paints the mushrooms with scientific accuracy, but
says "my goal as an artist is to awaken a sense of the mystery, strangeness and beauty of the natural
Lucy lives in Sonoma County, California. She exhibits in Sebastopol Gallery and Calabi Gallery, as well
as annually in Art Trails, the juried Sonoma County Open Studio art tour. She has also exhibited several
times in international shows of the American Society of Botanical Artists and in a previous solo exhibition
at the Helen Crocker Russell Library in San Francisco Botanical Garden.
General Exhibit Information
The Helen Crocker Russell Library of Horticulture is recognized as one of the finest horticultural resources
in the nation. Its 27,000-volume collection ranges from new gardening titles to antique herbals. The
Library is open, free of charge, from 10am–4pm, every day except Tuesdays and holidays.
Exhibitions of art related to botany, horticulture and the natural world run for four-month periods.
The artworks in our exhibitions are available for sale, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the
Library. For more information, call (415) 661-1316 ext. 403.