You used to be a journalist?
I did! I love reading, writing and creative arts and I studied English Literature at university. Being a journalist meant I could interview people and find out about their perspectives. It was also good to push me out into the world and have a social life. Otherwise, I’d be at home with a book in my face, or at a computer writing by myself!
How did you get involved in botanical drawing?
I started painting when I was 17. A book titled: “The Magic and Medicine of Plants” arrived in my house one day. Inspired by the illustrations of herbs, I taught myself botanical watercolour painting, using the old watercolour palette left over from my secondary school days. That brought me so much creative joy and meditative peace that I continued to be a ‘bedroom’ painter for the next three years, expanding my botanical subjects to orchids and fruits. I had a fleeting thought then about how nice it would be if I could paint orchids for a living in the future. But I stopped painting, and pursued a happy career as a writer, travel editor and lecturer in cultural studies. Three years ago, I took a sabbatical leave to the South Island of New Zealand and Gili Air, Indonesia. Returning to Singapore, I started a nature-led creative studio called Within and became a full-time botanical artist.
You’re a trained florist too?
I’ve always enjoyed fresh flowers in my house and I was curious to learn the basic rules of arrangement. So I took a course. I’m always on a look out for chances to join various creative workshops. I recently completed an Intermediate Botanical Illustration Course in Kew Gardens, London.
What do you love about drawing in nature?
I love the entire creative process of being out in nature and the elements, and the sensory act of observing. One of the greatest pleasures is to let the beauty find me, and being mindful about what is presented or how I see it. I love botanical photography too.
How long do your artworks take?
I typically spend about 30-50 hours on a painting, so I develop a close connection with the botanical subject. It’s a form of meditation for me.
How do you choose what flowers and plants to paint?
The flora selection for my personal exhibitions and retreats are based on my inspirations and concepts. I’ve got a painting schedule and list of plants for my upcoming exhibitions and book. My corporate commissions for clients like Chanel No.5, Aesop or Diptyque are based on the botanical ingredients of the products and my interpretations. All are rooted in my desire to highlight the beauty of the botanical subjects and/or their purposes. In my projects with Mandai or with Singapore Botanic Gardens, I would highlight the vulnerable or endangered status of the plants as well.
What do you like to do in Singapore to relax?
Catching up with my friends and family over a walk in the park or gardens. I also love getting a massage, meditation, yoga and reading.
We’ll launch our nature-led arts programmes and workshops for children aged 6-12 at the end the year. I’m really excited.
Journey into Nature
Join Lucinda’s Art of Nature Journeys in Chiang Mai, Thailand (3-10 Nov, 2018) or Kauai, Hawaii (23 Feb – 4 March, 2019) which include private tours of botanic gardens and daily creative workshops.
Closer to home, sign up for one of her regular watercolour or mixed media workshops at venues like Pollen, in the Flower Dome at Garden’s by the Bay.
“Our nature-inspired workshops and retreats aim to teach the therapeutic benefits of nature, develop our students’ creative confidence and connect these skills of problem-solving to areas of their life.”
For details head to within.sg