Donna Wilk    ~  Botanic Collage Artist     


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My passion is to create art using my own palette of nature’s paints. This unique palette is comprised entirely of botanic materials, such as leaves, stems, bark, roots, and grasses, among others. My large garden is the main source of these but our abundant Vancouver Island flora also has an endless supply of interesting materials. Gathering and processing of the materials is an all year round activity with frequent trips to my garden, lakeside and oceanside, as well as hikes to remote areas to find just the right specimens. Every season provides a new array of colours and textures.

As I collect nature’s supplies I sense the energy that resides in them. Every new design is the result of tapping into this energy. I am thrilled that I can go directly to nature and use her own materials to emulate her abundant beauty. It is my hope that this energy is also felt by those who view my art. I know my message succeeds when I hear people exclaim, “I’ve  never seen anything like it!”

My art falls into two distinct categories. In the first I work with whole pressed plant elements such as stems, leaves, and blooms. The artwork in this category is in the Japanese Oshibana style.

In the second  category I use fragments of pressed plant elements in a brush-stroke or mosaic-like fashion, creating a ‘floral mosaic’. Here the word ‘floral’ is derived from ‘flora’ or plant life. This term was coined by Urkov, a Russian artist, who has influenced the direction and the evolution of this form of art. This method allows the artist to achieve the light and shadow effects using fragments of different shades of pressed plant materials to create images with detailed texture, depth, and colour.

The process is painstaking and highly demanding, requiring concentrated effort for prolonged periods. It is not unusual for some artwork to take months to complete. The results are gratifying and well worth the effort. Not infrequently I meet with viewers who are certain they are looking at a traditional painting and will examine it closely to convince themselves that it is not.

I was fortunate to have an opportunity to study with three Russian artists who have mastered the floral mosaic method. Irina Orlova, residing in Russia, is a talented artist and teacher. Her work represents the St. Petersburg (Russia) Floristic School. It is because of my fluency in Russian and the Internet that I was able to establish communication with her. She became my friend, my mentor and my teacher and eventually I introduced her teachings to North America by translating several of her online classes. Two other Russian artists that I studied with are Evgenia Ivanova and Alyona Verkhola. Both are also accomplished artists and teachers.