Alamos barrel cactus
Ferocactus alamosanus

© 2013 Heidi A. Snyder
Colored Pencil

I had first encountered this particular Alamos Barrel cactus March of this year at Tohono Chul Park in Tucson. What struck me was not only its height of about 2.5 feet, but its gnarly, twisted, umbrella/cane-like shape, that created an uncharacteristic and interesting "cactus landscape" with a plethora of colors.

Artist's Biography
After moving to Colorado, having grown up in Germany, I quickly developed a great love for the spirit of the West and the Rocky Mountain area. I try to expand upon mere technical skill when rendering my subjects (botanical or otherwise) and incorporate whenever possible their cultural, historical and ecological context that led to a great interest in ethno-botany. I believe in the interconnectedness of all organisms and attempt to bring this message to the viewer through “drawn stories” that often feature hidden elements or messages and usually are based on extensive research.

My favorite medium is colored pencil because it lends itself perfectly to precision and complex detail, and it can be used in conjunction with other media, thereby opening up a whole host of artistic possibilities. I view plant details as microcosms of a hidden and fascinating world, marvel at plant structures, and I am an admirer of all things wild and “weedy”.

Lately I have rediscovered botanical art of the 16th/17th century and attempt to incorporate this into current work, such as the plant images from our mountain land. The beauty of the land led me to the illustration of rare/imperiled plants of the Rocky Mountains that are featured in publications by the Denver Botanic Gardens and the Colorado Heritage Society. This is an on-going project.

I take botanical illustration classes at the Denver Botanic Gardens that published some of my images (“Flourish”, “Rare Plants”, “Denver Canopy”) and continue to participate in juried national and international exhibits. I also teach workshops to all ages. I embrace the ongoing learning process that both art and nature have afforded me.