Born at Colac, Victoria, Margaret Stones was initially a commercial artist. In 1945, while in hospital for eighteen months with pulmonary tuberculosis, friends brought her wildflowers from the Grampians to draw. Stones’ work impressed her doctor, who was a friend of Daryl Lindsay, Director of the National Gallery of Victoria. This breakthrough resulted in her first exhibition at Georges Gallery in 1946. Stones went to London to live in 1951 and fulfilled her dream of becoming a freelance illustrator for the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. She was the principal contributing artist to Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, producing more than 400 watercolours over 25 years. Her six-volume work The Endemic Flora of Tasmania (1961-1977) and the 250 drawing Flora of Louisiana (1976-1984) were major career achievements. She is considered one of the world’s greatest 20th-century botanical illustrators.
Stones worked from cut living specimens in her studio from plants she had observed in their native habitat. To show nature alive depended on her capturing the best angle of the plant. The artist made rapid sketches using a soft HB pencil, sometimes drawing plant details and applying coloured washes. After measuring the specimens, studying their details under a microscope and drawing the groundwork with 2H and 4H pencils sharpened to a long thin point, she was ready to paint. Stones called herself ‘a draughtsman in watercolour.’
Katherine McDonald, Forever Spring exhibition, 17/09/21
Showing all 4 artworks