Friends of Ryerson Woods Artist Tapped for Prince Charles Botanical Project

Heeyoung Kim1Friends of Ryerson Woods volunteer and art instructor Heeyoung Kim is one of eight artists selected worldwide, and the only artist from the United States, to record the flora of Transylvania in May 2013. She will travel to central Romania to study and illustrate botanical figures that may be selected for inclusion in Transylvania Florilegium. This project is sponsored by the Prince’s School of Traditional Art, a charitable organization of the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.

Prince Charles hopes to document the flora in Transylvania as he did for his own garden in England with a pair of botanical illustration books, Highgrove Florilegium, which were published in 2008 and 2009. They contain paintings from the Prince’s garden by leading botanical artists from around the world, which were reproduced from watercolors to color plates. Only 175 sets were produced of each book and autographed by His Royal Highness.

“I am so excited and honored to be selected for this project,” said Kim. “I will be working along-side some of the most talented botanical artists in the world. I hope that I can inspire them with my art and learn something from them too.” If her work is chosen, Kim will be featured in the latest rare and historical book.

Born and educated in South Korea, Kim started studying botanical art at the age of 43. While she may be relatively new to botanical art, she has quickly become an expert in the field. Kim has been documenting prairie and woodland native plants in the Midwest for over five years. She feels her background in education and her father’s herbal medicine practice gave her the tools to find her true calling as a botanical artist.

Compass Plant_Silphium laciniatum heeyoung kim-1She became fascinated with the prairie and perennial plants when she moved to the United States because she had never seen anything like it in Korea, where she lived in an urban area full of skyscrapers and concrete.

“The prairie was totally new to me. The open landscape made me feel free,” Kim said. Her husband’s work brought her to Northbrook, Illinois several years ago. Since then she has made a niche for herself in the botanical art community.

In 2012, she exhibited eight paintings of native prairie plants at the Royal Horticulture Society in London where she received a gold medal. In the same year she was awarded “Best in Show” at the 15th International Botanical Art Exhibition at the Horticultural Society of New York and the “Diane Bouchier Artist Award for Excellence in Botanical Art” from the American Society of Botanical Artists.

Kim’s work will be shown in an upcoming collective exhibit, Drawn to Nature II: Recent Works by the Reed-Turner Botanical Artists’ Circle, at Friends of Ryerson Woods. The show opens from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., Sunday, March 3, 2013 in the historic Brushwood home, 21850 N. Riverwoods Road in Deerfield, Illinois 60015. The public is invited to attend the opening reception. No admission or preregistration is required. This exhibition will run through April 30, 2013.

Students wishing to study under Kim can register for classes at Friends of Ryerson Woods. Botanical Art Open Workshop runs weekly from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. beginning on Monday, March 4, 2013. It is designed for any level art student, including beginner, and costs $40 for single classes. Four classes can be selected by students for a discounted rate of $150. Vegetable Drawing: Graphite Pencil runs weekly from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. beginning on Saturday, March 9, 2013. Cost for this course is $300 for the general public, $240 for Friends of Ryerson Woods members.

Adriana McClintock                                                                                                               Director of Development and Communications