The Sonoran Desert Florilegium

artists of the florilegium

Susan E. Ashton

Susan E. Ashton, a Rhode Island native, has loved plants, natural history, science, and art since she was a child. She has been playing with watercolor and pen and ink for that long. Susan has a B.A. in Anthropology/Archaeology and is a retired museum curator having worked at two historical museums in the northeast. Her museum work required the development of a proficiency in scientific pen and ink while cataloging the museum collections. Meanwhile, in her spare time she taught herself medieval calligraphy and illumination which she pursued professionally for 20 years.

She moved to Arizona with her husband in 2003, and delights in the natural beauty of the desert and its plants. In 2006, she discovered the Botanical Art Program at the Desert Botanical Garden, took classes, and became certified as a botanical artist in 2010. Botanical art, especially scientific illustration, seems to her to be the best of all possible worlds, marrying art and science together. She works in several media, with watercolor being her favorite, but over the last few years her artwork has been dominated by pen and ink. She contributed several pieces to be included in the Legumes of Arizona project sponsored by the Boyce Thompson Arboretum and University of Arizona, provided drawings for the documentation of a new species of Monardella published in Madrono Vol. 60 No. 1, 2013, is working on a project documenting the mustards of Arizona, as well as a number of other current scientific illustration projects, and is contributing to the Sonoran Desert Florilegium.

Susan has been a featured artist twice at the Cathedral Center for the Arts in downtown Phoenix, once for calligraphy and illumination and once as a botanical artist, and has exhibited numerous times in the metropolitan Phoenix area.

Select images to view in Gallery

All artwork is copyrighted by the artist.