I wanted to submit one of my botanical paintings to the London Art College Competition 2017, as I have done before, however this time I was delayed and did not do it. I read about the Jackson´s Plant Life: Botanical Illustration Competition through your blog, so I decided to submit my Cedrela Montana to their competition.

This painting is a watercolour on paper (cold pressed 300 g/m2), 29,5 x 40 cm. It is of the Cedrela montana (family Meliaceae, common name: Flor de Palo or Flor de Madera) and is a native tree from the Andes of Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. It grows between 1050 and 3600 meters of altitude, up to 20 meters tall. It’s inflorescence are between 12 to 30 cm long, with small greenish to cream colored flowers that grow in bunches. The fruits are ligneous capsules, lenticellate and brown that contain winged seeds.

I planted one of these graceful trees in my home garden at Cumbayá (a valley near Quito, Ecuador at 2320 meters of altitude) twenty years ago. During these last weeks with it plentiful leaves, it has flowery bunches and mature fruits with seeds flying around. Painting details directly in front of this plant was a great challenge for a student like myself. Even more, submitting the result of this work for a botanical art competition since I consider myself a beginner – although I have learned a lot with my tutor Shevaun.

My purpose was to share and face this work with some other competitors works as a way of learning and encouragement in my own practice. I have had the opportunity to observe on line almost 190 botanical pieces of this competition, most of them are excellent paintings in a very high level and I think it has been a good experience.

Ana Lucia Alvear

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