Esmée Winkel

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Foto Esmée Somers Winkel
To me Botanical Art captures the beauty of plants, their magnificence and splendour, their details and the enormous variety in form and colour. So many plants have such an intriguing story to tell, a majestic tree that has been living for hundreds of years, an endangered species growing in a devastated landscape or a beautiful flower that brings back memories. The extraordinary world of plants inspires me and every painting I make is an affirmation of their beauty.

In science botanical illustrations also have an important role in the publications of researchers. The aim of these illustrations is to register, preserve detailed information and report with the results of research in scientific journals and floras. By illustrating for researchers I aim at making a contribution to science and to botany in particular. There still is no better way to capture the essence of a living plant then by drawing or painting. Despite the great techniques of modern photography only with an illustration a reconstruction of a damaged plant or dried herbarium material is possible for example.

By exhibiting internationally, giving workshops, lectures and demonstrations, I believe that the awareness of botanical art
will grow and in this way underline the importance of studying nature.

For an elaborate interview with the ASBA please click  here.
For a Dutch interview with Studium Generale Universiteit Leiden click  here.

About me:

Growing up on the beautiful Caribbean island Curaçao, I developed a vast interest in nature. So I moved to the Netherlands to study Biology at the Leiden University. After having received my BSc degree I studied at the Maastricht Academy of Fine Arts and Design and Maastricht University, taking a course in Master Scientific Illustration. Since 2008 I have been working as a botanical artist for Naturalis Biodiversity Center, the Dutch research institute and Natural history museum in Leiden. Quite often you will also find me browsing through and drawing fascinating and unique plants at the Hortus Botanicus Leiden."

Memberships and Collections:

"I am a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London,
a member of the Dutch Society of Botanical Artists,
the American Society of Botanical Artists,
the Belgium Society of Botanical Artists,
the Wiener Schule der botanischen Illustration,
the Association of British Botanical Artists and
the Dutch Orchid Society.

My work is included in the permanent collections of Naturalis Biodiversity Center, Hortus botanicus Leiden, Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Focus on Nature New York State Museum, the RHS Lindley Library and in private and royal collections."


2018 Gold Medal, Royal Horticultural Society, London, for 6 watercolours of Ophrys species.
Margaret Flockton Award, Second Prize, for an illustration of Monanthotaxis pynaertii.
ASBA Botanical Illustrator Award for Excellence in Scientific Botanical Art.
Hermine van Bers Beeldende Kunstprijs, Honourable mention.
Gold Medal, Royal Horticultural Society, London, for 6 scientific illustrations.
Jill Smythies Award, The Linnean Society of London.
Gold Medal, Royal Horticultural Society, London, for 6 scientific illustrations.
Gold Medal, Biscot, Edinburgh, Scotland, for 8 scientific illustrations.
2012 Jury award, ‘Focus on Nature’ exhibition, New York State Museum, USA, for an illustration of the reproductive system of dragonflies.