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