For many years, I did most of the botanical habit studies with watercolors on hot pressed (smooth) paper. In 2001 I made a few on skin parchment (the actual skin of sheep, goats or calves) and was thrilled with the amount of detail afforded by the surface of the skin. Since then, I have more often worked with oil paints on paper or panel prepared with a gesso ground.
I have always wanted to be an artist but when I went to Indiana University I decided to major in botany. I thought botanical illustration would be a great career. Larry Burns, my Biology teacher at Shortridge High School in Indianapolis, was a genius and an inspiration. He challenged me and encouraged my interest in science while putting up with the fact that much of my class work was more fully-illustrated than well-researched. By my sophomore year at IU I had switched to the art department but remain compelled by things that grow, especially if they flower.