Painter sees unique beauty in wildflowers

41

BOTETOURT COUNTY – The Botetourt County Museum has the perfect connection for the current exhibit that shows through the end of June.

Elizabeth Peckham, who lives near Eagle Rock, works part-time for the museum that’s located directly behind the Botetourt County Courthouse in Fincastle. She just happens to be the artist whose work is featured in “Spring Wildflowers of Virginia.”

Elizabeth Peckham with her “Eden Is,” one of her17 spring wildflower paintings on display this month at the Botetourt County Museum in Fincastle.
Elizabeth Peckham with her “Eden Is,” one of her17 spring wildflower paintings on display this month at the Botetourt County Museum in Fincastle.

Her 17 watercolors feature local wildflowers that she not only painted, but knows quite a bit about– and she willingly shares that information with visitors.

She credits her interest in wildflowers to an aunt, her mother’s sister, who lived with her family. Peckham got interested in art when she was about 8, and the aunt had a beautiful wildflower garden that she helped with.

For many of the flowers, Peckham said the paper she used “makes the painting glow.” She used the reverse side of a high-content rag paper for the subjects that will be familiar to many who may not even be wildflower enthusiasts.

Among the works are a pokeweed she did for a Roanoke Times feature several years ago, and a crested iris that was used on the brochure for a wildflower pilgrimage.

A bristly locust, which grows on trees, offers an interesting study, and her painting “Eden Is” is borrowed from her own select place over the mantel at her home.

That painting has crested dwarf iris, columbine, spur violets and walking ferns, all growing among a fallen, twisting grapevine that looks like a snake.

Peckham notes all of the flowers in the painting bloom at the same time.

A lady slipper is among Elizabeth Peckham’s watercolors on display at the Botetourt County Museum this month.
A lady slipper is among Elizabeth Peckham’s watercolors on display at the Botetourt County Museum this month.

Other paintings in the exhibit include a yellow jasmine, Canadian lily and a lady slipper that took considerable time because of the intricate veins in the flower.

The wildflower paintings are a good reason to visit the museum, but Peckham notes there is much more to see in the two-story repository that holds much Botetourt and early-American history.

The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and on Sundays from 2-4 p.m.

More information is available by calling 473-8394 or emailing info@bothistsoc.org. The museum is run by the Botetourt Historical Society, which has a website at http://www.bothistsoc.org.