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Botanical art is not merely a decorative art form but faithfully and scientifically reproduces the plant creating an art of work that is not only admired for its beauty but also can be studied or kept as an archival record.

An early indication of Rica's skills in botanical drawing was the first prize she gained as a seven-year-old at the 1915 Eastern Goldfield Exhibition, in the Boulder Town Hall, for her crayon drawing of a nasturtium.

Rica began painting watercolours in 1932 and while she was teaching at Youngs Siding she took a few lessons from an art teacher in Albany.

I had this need to put things down. I couldn't paint. I knew I could draw with colours; I knew I could do things with crayon and black and white. But I needed to make something that was more permanent than either crayon or pencil, because they both smudge. I took lessons in Albany for about four or five lessons with a woman called Bertha Holland who was a watercolourist who used to make a living - a little bit of pocket money - by doing portraits of people…Well, the first thing she did was make me do a wash to cover the whole page. I didn't want a wash. I wanted to know how to use colours, how to mix, how to use brushes. So the next thing after that we did the wash after I'd drawn the plant I wanted. I've still got it. Then after that I did things under her direction and every now and then she'd take the brush and she'd do things a bit herself on this first one.

I decided I'd never go back to her again. I wanted it to be mine again, you see. But in the meantime, in those first two or three lessons, I learned what I wanted from her, and it was the hardest medium that I chose. It was watercolours. I realised afterwards, you're never satisfied with a watercolour. You're never quite satisfied - except from some colours - that you've got the right colour.

Pinks and blues and purples just don't give you the same exact colouring, the same luminous look about them, and there's something about it, you're never quite satisfied you've got the right tint. You've got to mix and you might come up with three or four different kinds of reds and three or four different kinds of blues, to get the right mix to get the right purple and you never get it. (Battye Library, OH 2528, p. 4)

Rica began painting her delicate artworks armed with a sketchbook, small enamel paint box with three reds, yellows and blues, a black and an ivory, some extremely fine paint brushes for the detail, two little water bottles and a magnifying lens.

She continued to paint while teaching and in the early years of her marriage, but with the birth of her children dedicated herself to her family and found little time for her artwork.



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