In Fall of 2016 I began a project creating 30 different original artworks featuring 10 species of lichen from the Edmonton River Valley. I worked with lichenologist Diane Haughland of the Royal Alberta Museum to fully understand each species, receiving physical specimens, macro photography and other resources to develop the work.
Each of the species was interpreted in three different renditions: scientific (representational botanical drawing), illustrative (stylized painting using shape and colour), and abstract (mark-making and surface patterns).
The outcome of this project showcases a wide range of approaches to observed art making. The representational quality of scientific illustration captures beautiful details of the form, while abstract patterns conveys the spirit of the form through colour and movement. This range of technique not only elevated my artistic approach, but gave me a deeper appreciation for our beloved river valley.
Edmontonians have valued the river valley for decades. It’s a natural progression to expand this lichen work into an engaging community project based on with Nina Haggerty Centre for the Arts. Continuing the important work of connecting people through art, science and environmental stewardship, the project would have Nina artists making direct connections between art making and the community in which they live.
I thank Matt and Jacob for providing this wife/mama ongoing love, support and space for a thriving art practice. I have happy memories of Jacob’s first months wandering through through ravine together or wrapped up in a blankie in my lap while I made these works. I hope these moments will frame future experiences for our family exploring the ravine and making art together.
Funding for this project provided by the Edmonton Arts Council.
Amanda is an illustrator and designer working in Western Canada. She grew up with a love for drawing and studied design and illustration at MacEwan University. Amanda’s illustrations have been in campaigns, magazines, children’s books, and exhibitions across Canada and the United States. Nature themes continue to be a strong theme in her commercial and personal illustration work. When she isn’t drawing lichens, she is running her design and illustration firm, Curio Studio.
Dr. Diane Haughland works at the Royal Alberta Museum where she studies lichens for a province-wide monitoring program, the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute. Diane is also an adjunct professor at the University of Alberta where she works with graduate students and teaches a course on the lichens of Alberta in the Department of Renewable Resources. She is a scientist, a naturalist, and an educator and loves sharing her passion for nature with others. She also enjoys travelling, especially in northern Canada, lichenizing wherever possible. Current projects include research on the systematics, ecology and conservation status of Alberta’s macrolichens, and collaborative studies on the resilience and function of grassland lichen soil crusts.