Mari Sawhill

Personal details

I live in Virginia, USA


  • Course “Botanical drawing and painting,” Hortus Atelier Leiden, taught by Anita Walsmit Sachs
  • Masterclass taught by Anita Walsmit Sachs
  • Scientific Illustration, Hortus Atelier, taught by Anita Walsmit Sachs


  • Full member of the Dutch Society of Botanical Artists
  • American Society of Botanical Artists


Watercolour, pencil, pen and ink


I grew up and worked as a university lecturer in Japan where nature is culture. I studied in England where gardening is both lifestyle and a pride of the nation’s history. I became a botanical artist in the Netherlands where flowers are a serious business. These are all important background of my work.

What I think is unique about botanical art is its element of “explaining.” Explaining something to someone is already an act of intricate art, and it is fascinating to explain the reason of botanical beauty by means of art.
Developing ideas how to depict fine details brings up creative challenges in this process, while my important goal is to capture the overall “mood of the species” — the atmosphere rising from and floating around an individual plant.

With historical geography as my academic background, I am also interested in the way nature inspired our cultural expressions, and how these cultural ideas and scientific knowledge were historically exchanged across geographical and cultural boundaries. It is a great joy that, as a botanical artist, I can be not only an observer but also an active participant of this ever-developing tradition.