See Seeds – 26 Watercolours Show Exquisite Natural Design

Seeds are architectural masterpieces. This is clear from 26 new watercolours by Scottish artist Janet Mary Robinson. Hairs and hooks, angular grooves and gossamer wings – the microscopic details of the paintings show one thing clearly: seeds follow the classical design principle of “form follows function”. The pictures show a beauty that is normally hidden from the gardener’s eye. With the financial assistance of the founders of the perennial seed supplier “Jelitto Staudensamen GmbH”, Janet Mary Robinson has created an artistic A-Z of plant seeds. The seeds will be on public display for the first time at the Royal Horticultural Society exhibition at RHS BBC Gardner’s World Live. There will be six pictures on display at the event in Birmingham this June, and digital versions of all 26 paintings can be admired from today on www.see-seeds.co.uk.

Seeds are lazy. Instead of moving for themselves they use all kinds of clever ways to get around. They catch a lift, ride on the wind, get carried by ants or book a first class passage through an intestine. They are able to do all this through one simple trick: their unique shape. No two seeds of different species are alike.

This is shown in 26 watercolours by Scottish artist Janet Mary Robinson. They were completed in 2008 and 2009 with the financial support of the founder of the leading perennial seed supplier “Jelitto Staudensamen”.

When asked about the microscopic details depicted in the paintings, the artist and trained natural history and scientific illustrator Janet Mary Robinson said: “The whole project started when I acquired a microscope. This gave me a view of the wonderful world of seeds. There were jellyfish, pig’s ears and crazy hairstyles – all shapes that are caused by the bizarre adaptations of the seeds to their means of distribution. For example, seeds of the species Dicentra have little lunch boxes, which offer ants a snack – in exchange for free transport. I have attempted to capture all these amazing, colourful features in my watercolours.”

The project so far has clearly been a success, with Janet Mary Robinson’s paintings having been approved for exhibition with the prestigious Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), at one of the UK’s most prominent gardening exhibitions. Six of the 26 paintings will be on display to the public for the first time at the RHS BBC Gardener’s World Live event in Birmingham (16 – 20 June). Among others, paintings of the following perennial seeds were selected for the event: Crambe cordifolia (Bleeding Heart), Fibigea clypeata (Roman Shields), Ranunculus gramineus (Grassy-leaved Buttercup) and the jellyfish-like seed of Scabiosa columbaria (Pincushion flower).

The sponsors of the project, Margot and Klaus R. Jelitto, founded the company now known as “Jelitto Staudensamen” more than 50 years ago. Today, the company sells more than 3,500 varieties of perennial seeds. Margot Jelitto said of Janet Mary Robinson’s work on the project: “Janet is an artist who doesn’t only have the necessary technical skills for nature paintings. She also has a love of her subjects and of detail that a natural illustrator needs to convey the hidden beauty of nature.”

All 26 of the paintings are now available in digital form on the following website: www.see-seeds.co.uk


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Vienna, 27th May 2010

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