The Botany Artist
Whether it is Monstera deliciosa, cactus or fern, under Jenny’s stroke of art, the plants will portray their own unique identity through her fine lines and perfect composition. Each and every Jenny’s art piece allow one to believe that each plant has a “heart and soul”. She isn’t just drawing each brushstroke but conveying and communicating with her audience, through art. She spends a large portion of her time reading and analyzing botany art and have transformed her own home into a botanic garden, because she believes, only through living day and night, that you can portray the best in the plant.
Jenny Kiker graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design with an Illustration major, she travelled various cities, from Savannah to Atlanta, then to San Diego, living and painting along the way. Jenny also designed for kids, worked as a visual consultant, and after several years, she established an independent art platform "Living Pattern”, where she inspires her audiences with her art of botany.
Whether it is drawing or cultivating her botany collection, what matters to Jenny is not the end result, but the process. She enjoys observing each growing phase of the plants and noting down the beauty that Mother Nature provides.
Keeping the Nature Beauty intact
Due to her love for traveling, she has a lot of different life experiences. One cannot put her as a lady who will spend long hours on a table, sketching and drawing. However, when you look at her water painting, this doubt, will be cast away. Her art pieces brings out strong affinity with the audience, and this could be because she draws (pun intended) on her own experiences, allowing one to relate easily. She draw plants, and she grows plants. Her passion towards botany is nothing less than admirable.
“I can trace back on my life with plants. I grew up in a family of plant-lovers. My home is a greenhouse, and at times, we will also use these plants’ flowers or leaves. I guess, I had inherited this family tradition, especially after I have founded Living Pattern platform. It has surpassed my own realization on how much I love and am passionate about botany, “ Jenny said.
Living Pattern is founded by Jenny in 2013, and she uses this as a channel to showcase to the world on her art illustrations skills. One piece by the next, as more and more art pieces are created, Jenny’s needs for botany inspiration grew. The number of plants in her house grow tremendously, and as each plant is included into her collection, the love and effort towards each growing plant has never lessened.
“Up till today, I have catalogued, grew and planted almost 80 to 100 species of plants. I need their beauty as they need my care. Today, if I am not drawing, most of my time will be researching on how I can grow the plants. To be honest, this has already been a part and parcel of my life, an essential tasks that no matter how much effort it drains, nothing is more important to seeing these plants thriving under my care. Documenting their growth gives more satisfaction than anything else”, she commented.
Jenny gets her inspiration from leafs catalogues and enjoys sketching the small leafs. When drawing, Jenny’s most challenging task is how to allow the plant to mimic the nature as close as possible, and at the shortest time, draw out the best lines of plants.
When the draft is completed, Jenny will include the plant common name and scientific name to allow people to differentiate and learn. Occasionally, when she feels like it, she will also decorate on the leaf.
Jenny will also use “meaty” plants. Because the leaf is “full and thick” it takes a little effort and concentration to draw it out.
Friends of Jenny commented on her house resembling a botanic garden, but Jenny choses to think it as a pageant for the plant. Because compare to the nature, she needs the beauty of the plant more than it needs her.
The challenge of sketching
Most of Jenny’s themes are from Monstera deliciosa or cactus or eucalyptus, or the “meaty” leaf. Monstera delicious is a tropical flowering plant, with lobed and fenestrate leaves. The outlook of the plants have great attraction towards Jenny. Compared to cane-typed plants, it possess more challenging character, where each small leave and each vein, requires huge patience to handle, and if you are not careful, the entire drawing would be wasted.
When introducing the leaves, Jenny opined that she loves the “Pine Fern” painting most. When she draws it, it require a lot of sketches before she is able to draw the most natural outlines. Once she decides the particular leaf, she begins layering the first colour, this process has to be done in extreme care so that the colour does not smudge into other locations. Hence, once she starts to hold her pen, she immerse into a state where only drawing matters.
When interviewed on the techniques on sketching, Jenny mentioned that there is no one professional method and stresses on “imagination” and “nature”. She said, “ I always imagine my plants to be within a tropical rainforest, or under a tree, and through nature gentle breeze, sunshine or rain, portray ten thousands and one colours. In addition, I ensure that whatever I draw, is kept to the most natural state of the plant. With regards to colour, I still think I like green most. Before every draw, I will mix the colour on the palette and create many different pontoons of green. I have a secret recipe, that is, overtime a colour is being used, do not use the paint directly from the tube. Mix it with a little bit of blue, yellow, orange, until the green looks lively.”
The Green Romance Home
Walking into the home of Jenny, one can see the finished products that are used for decorations. On the wall, shelves, bed frame etc. these art paintings emulates natures. And what is interesting is that, the exact plants are placed nearby, giving a contrast of 3-dimensions, alive, and in Jenny’s words, it gives a non-verbal communication. Because she wants to allow the plants to look at themselves, and see if they like what she has just drawn.
Jenny’s art pieces have been gained much popularity, mainly due to the simplistic art strokes, the closeness to nature and how the painting can communicate with her audience. Gradually, Jenny becomes busier, and now, she categorise her art pieces, where some originals are being sold while others become limited edition. Due to the small quantity available, it intensifies the crave by her audience to own a piece of this treasure.
Life is full of expectation, and this is Jenny’s fundamental passion for her career. “ I am so happy that I can ignore the tiredness this bring. From cultivating the plants, to sketching, to packing each drawing for my buyer and then delivers the painting to them, I am proud and blessed. Occasionally, I have “extra perks” received. For example, I get to enjoy the drawing first-hand, straight out of the oven!” Jenny laughed.
Even till today, these fresh thriving green plants and their illustrations have filled to the brim in the artist’s home. But she is never satisfied and rarely stop. Recently, Jenny is researching on how she can begin a new journey of flower sketching.
This year’s Jenny focuses on colour, textures as her new creation techniques.
The art piece of Monstera deliciosa is one of the larger canvas that she has done. She has spent tremendous effort in the colour as Jenny imagined herself in the tropical rainforest.