Meet artist Jo Webster, illustrator of details, at First Friday Artwalk
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS – Growing up on the Australia’s East Coast near Brisbane, Jo Webster remembers exploring the deserted sand dunes and bush lands, looking for treasure.
“I would go every afternoon with the ocean in front of me – learn how to fish and watch the tide lines, feeling the water, knowing where the currents were moving and when sand worms would be good for catching,” she said. “It took an incredible amount of patience and attention to the details to know the exact muscle movement of this worm to catch it with the right timing.”
These explorations were some of her first lessons in patience where she discovered treasures in the seemingly ordinary details, which on second glance, became extraordinary.
“Sometimes, we just see a mesh of green in the fabric of our lives and don’t really stop to notice what’s going on right in front of us,” she said. “It’s those tiny details where there are times when you see something and just walk past it, but then on a second glance, you stop and there’s something about its iridescent glow that you hadn’t noticed before.”
An unfurling spiral of fern, veins protruding within a leaf – it’s objects like these that beckoned Webster, of Strawberry Hill Studios, to be an illustrator of details. Her passion for botany, drawing and the role that plants play in the human environment led Webster to immerse herself in the Denver Botanic Gardens’ School of Botanical Art and Illustration about three years ago.
Webster’s work, featuring mediums of colored pencil, graphite, quill and ink and watercolor, will be on exhibit at the LaRock Star Creative Studio, above Lyon’s Corner Drugstore in downtown Steamboat Springs, during First Friday Artwalk from 5 to 8 p.m. Friday.
Living and working in several countries, Webster and her husband resided in Papua, Indonesia, for eight years where she collaborated with anthropologist Dr. Carolyn Cook to write and publish an illustrated monograph on the ethnobotany of the Amungme people of Papua, Indonesia, in 2016.
The pieces she’ll display on Friday were inspired by the daily treasures she’s found to her time in Indonesia as well as drawings she’s produced for her School of Botanical Art and Illustration portfolio. A few pieces were previously featured at exhibitions through the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators.
“It requires a huge amount of attention to space, lighting, shadows, perspective and breaking down a 3D object to two dimensional then bringing it back to life with light, shadows and color to make it look like a three-dimensional object you can pick up off the page,” Webster said.
One of the biggest challenges she said was finding the time to draw.
“Three hours could go by, and I’ve only completed an area that’s one square-inch, but it took me several hours to get there,” Webster said. “It taught the need to slow down, to notice the world around me. And it was another lesson in patience.”
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