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Nature’s Design: The Art of Car­olyn Cohen and Redenta Soprano

Tues­day, Sept. 2-Sunday, Novem­ber 16, 2014

Dis­cover the unlikely inter­sec­tion where art meets sci­ence! The Polasek Museum is pleased to present a joint exhi­bi­tion by botan­i­cal artists and friends, Car­olyn Cohen and Redenta Soprano. Early sci­en­tific illus­tra­tors strove to real­is­ti­cally doc­u­ment plant species. Draw­ing from this tra­di­tion and a life­time of field obser­va­tion, Cohen and Soprano’s art is based upon those prin­ci­ples, each with a sin­gu­larly con­tem­po­rary approach. Car­olyn Cohen’s etch­ings and water­col­ors are influ­enced by the art found in illu­mi­nated man­u­scripts, cal­lig­ra­phy and clas­sic botan­i­cal illus­tra­tion. The result is an exquis­itely ren­dered “por­trait” of each of her leafy sub­jects. Redenta Soprano mas­ter­fully paints the six pat­terns that are recur­rent in nat­ural forms.  From the spi­ral curves and Fibonacci sequence in growth pat­terns, to the branch­ing designs con­tained in trees as well as our own bod­ies, Soprano cap­tures the refresh­ing truth and order hid­den in nature. From the works of both artists in this exhibit, you too will observe your sur­round­ings with new eyes and begin to see pat­terns and sym­me­tries emerg­ing from the seem­ingly chaotic nat­ural world.


Botan­i­cal Illus­tra­tion Pre­sen­ta­tion Thurs­day, Sep­tem­ber 18, 2014,  7 – 9 PM

In con­junc­tion with Nature’s Design Exhibit we are pleased to offer an exclu­sive presentation/lecture with one of our con­tribut­ing artists, Redenta Soprano. Learn first-hand from the artist about her per­sonal tech­nique and the his­tory of sci­en­tific illus­tra­tion.  Soprano, a pro­fes­sional artist and edu­ca­tor in her field, attended the School of Visual Arts, Moore Col­lege of Art and has a degree in sci­ence and art from Pur­chase Col­lege and earned a post-graduate cer­tifi­cate in Sci­en­tific Illus­tra­tion in Eng­land. Her work has been pub­lished by Taunton Press and Tim­ber Press among oth­ers and is in many pri­vate col­lec­tions. Soprano has taught botan­i­cal illus­tra­tion courses for many years at dif­fer­ent venues includ­ing the New York Botan­i­cal Gar­den, Harry P. Leu Gar­dens and more recently, at the John C. Camp­bell Folk School in North Car­olina. Through­out her lec­ture she will impart the essence of this art form – keen obser­va­tion!  The lec­ture will be held in the his­toric res­i­dence, in Polasek’s grand salon room.  Pre­sen­ta­tion will con­clude with a com­pli­men­tary tour of the Exhi­bi­tion in the Polasek Gallery. Pre reg­is­tra­tion is required, $10 admis­sion. Reg­is­ter at 407 – 647-6294 or, as seat­ing is limited.


Two-Day Botan­i­cal Illus­tra­tion Work­shop Sat­ur­day and Sun­day, Sep­tem­ber 20th and 21st   10:00 AM – 2:00 PM Each Day

You love the exhibit, now take the first steps and learn the tech­nique for your­self! Sign up for this hands-on work­shop that will give you the tools to cre­ate botan­i­cal illus­tra­tion taught by one of our exhibit­ing artists, Redenta Soprano.  Over the course of one week­end, you’ll tackle “Illus­trat­ing Nature’s Pat­terns in Graphite and Color Pen­cil”. You will be instructed to care­fully observe, accu­rately draw using lay­ers of trac­ing paper and color nat­ural sci­ence sub­jects. Come away with intri­cate art­work that you cre­ated! The work­shop will be held out­doors in the cov­ered, Polasek Car­port where our beau­ti­ful gar­dens can inspire your art. Mate­r­ial list will be pro­vided upon class reg­is­tra­tion. Pre-registration required — sign up today as space is lim­ited. All classes will be held rain or shine. Wear com­fort­able cloth­ing that is appro­pri­ate for the weather and that may get stained.  Please bring bev­er­age and lunch for break in the gar­den. Atten­dance of Thurs­day night lec­ture is rec­om­mended. Basic draw­ing skills are help­ful, but not required.  Gen­eral Pub­lic: $100, Museum Mem­bers: $90


FREE Open House: National Museum Day Sat­ur­day, Sep­tem­ber 27, 2014,  10 AM – 4 PM

The Polasek joins Smith­son­ian Magazine’s National Museum Day Live! Enjoy free Admis­sion for our open house. If you’ve been putting off a visit to the Museum, now is your chance! Bring your friends, fam­ily, and your cam­era and make a mem­ory with us.  Free of charge, one of our exhibit­ing artists, Car­olyn Cohen, will con­duct a gallery walk­through tour at 1:00 PM in the Polasek Gallery. Car­olyn Cohen has been a pro­fes­sional artist for 30 years and works from live plant spec­i­mens, com­bin­ing field sketches with the botan­i­cal sub­jects. In addi­tion to pub­li­ca­tion cred­its in books and mag­a­zines, Carolyn’s art­work is exhib­ited in gal­leries and has gar­nered many awards in out­door art shows in the U.S.  Her work is included in pri­vate col­lec­tions includ­ing Walt Dis­ney World, Bok Tower Gar­dens, Orlando Inter­na­tional Air­port and the City of Orlando. Car­olyn will walk you through her works and dis­cuss her lay­ered process for both her etch­ings and botan­i­cal illus­tra­tions. Learn about the etch­ing process straight from the artist! After you’ve been inspired by our cur­rent exhibit, Nature’s Design, sit down with Cura­tor, Rachel Frisby through­out the day for a hands-on art activ­ity for all ages. Then gather up at 11 AM, and again at 3 PM, for a spe­cial pre­sen­ta­tion by The Mait­land Art Center’s Cura­tor of His­tory, Chris­tine Madrid French, on The Capen House Preser­va­tion Project. What’s it all about and when will it open? Find out the scoop from the Capen House Project Direc­tor her­self.  Ask ques­tions, be inspired, and learn about the POWER of Place. Have fun and get involved with your fam­ily and with his­toric places and beau­ti­ful set­tings that mat­ter in our com­mu­nity!

The Museum Day Live! Tick­ets will be avail­able to down­load at


Pat­tern Work­shop

Sat­ur­day, Octo­ber 18, 2014  

11:00 AM – 1:00 PM 

Incor­po­rate nature’s designs into your décor! In this hands-on work­shop you’ll have the oppor­tu­nity to cre­ate your own pat­tern and take home func­tional art­work that you made!  Learn from pro­fes­sional tex­tile designer Linda Tam­bini how to trans­late nat­ural ele­ments into a pleas­ing graphic tex­tile.  You’ll be encour­aged to find botan­i­cal inspi­ra­tion in the beau­ti­ful sculp­ture gar­dens and develop a pat­tern using hand-painting tech­niques, sten­cils, and gar­den foliage. No pre­vi­ous artis­tic expe­ri­ence nec­es­sary, begin­ners wel­come.  Each par­tic­i­pant will take home two 20 x 20” accent pil­low­cases ready to grace a chair or sofa in your home, or to give as thought­ful gifts. In addi­tion, each stu­dent will prac­tice their craft on paper suit­able for fram­ing.  With the gar­dens as your muse, the pat­tern pos­si­bil­i­ties are end­less! The work­shop will be held out­doors in the cov­ered Polasek car­port. Mate­ri­als are included with reg­is­tra­tion. Pre-registration required — sign up today, as space is lim­ited. All classes will be held rain or shine. Bring a bev­er­age and wear com­fort­able, “art friendly” cloth­ing that is appro­pri­ate for the weather and that may get stained.    

Gen­eral Pub­lic: $50, Museum Mem­bers: $45