Cynthia Herron and Sharon Rose: a collaboration

Ten years ago or so Sharon Rose wrote a book about Minto/Brown Island, our local riverside park of many many acres for bikes, runners, dogs.  The bike trails alone are more than nine miles of beautiful riding.  Last year she put out a revised edition of the book (with a Carl Hall painting on the cover):

sharon's book

Landscape painter Cynthia Herron is a denizen of Minto and a runner/biker/dog lover and found the book.  This summer Cynthia and Sharon met and then got together for coffee and talked about the park.  Cynthia is preparing a show of paintings (she’s hoping 25 or 30) and the titles are quotes from Sharon’s book.

author and artist

Yesterday Sharon and I went out for a cup of tea to Cynthia’s studio (and home) to see the first few paintings and to look at her sketch book.  Her method is to take her dog Lucy and her backpack on her bike and ride the park with a quote or two from Sharon in mind.  She then stops, sketches, makes notes.  In the studio she works only from the sketches and memory–not from photos.  Sharon’s book is organized chronologically through the seasons, starting in September.  Cynthia had many questions for Sharon about plants and identifications.  Sharon is a biologist/botanist and had interesting answers.  I was the lucky bystander.

Cynthia lives out in the country on 13 acres in an old house.  Her studio and classroom are on the first floor and she and her partner Jay live upstairs:

house 1 house 2

After a tour of the property we settled in front of the studio fire with our tea and the two “collaborators” began to talk about the park, the plants, the light at certain seasons and times of day:

tea & a dyptych fireplace

sketchbook 1

sketchbook 2

painting to match

Here’s Cynthia’s drawing of a growth on a rose plant which Sharon explained was a “rose gall” and that inside each growth was a tiny wasp larvae

rose gall 2

And here a plant which Sharon identified as Camas

native plant 2

and this one made Sharon laugh as she herself had been unable to identify the plant though had tried several sources:

mystery plant 2

And finally the pumpkin patch:

pumpkin 2

Here are a few of the paintings Cynthia has begun with from the summer:

Minto series

and here’s my favorite–the one painted yesterday:

today's painting

We’ve been invited back to check the progress of the series.  And here’s just a little post script, a picture of Cynthia’s strawberry patch–an effort to keep the berries away froom all the deer:

berry patch

and here’s Sharon’s photo of the pumpkin field at Minto taken this morning:

pumpkin fields


  1. wow, great photos and so wonderful to see the collaboration-inspiration between artist and botanist. hats off to both and a hearty greeting and congrats to Cynthia….who never stops amazing me.

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