M. E. Duarte Botanicals

M. Ellen Duarte  

Botanical Artist

​ Making botanical art combines my love of drawing with my love of gardening.

 Growing up in wild, beautiful Maine, I was encouraged to be creative at a young age. When I wasn't scraping my knees playing with my three brothers, my mother was teaching me to sew and craft, and included me in all of her projects. She was a serious do-it-yourself decorator and we did everything from steciling to embroidery to plaster of Paris.

 Still, beyond the projects and crafts, I would draw. I always liked to color and draw and would pass the time drawing on whatever was available. Fortunately I was kept well supplied.

 ​In school I learned to shade.This was like learning to read. I strived to draw more realistically and excelled.My art teacher urged me to go on to design school in the big city, but I wanted to teach.

 I studied art, education, and art history at the University of Southern Maine. Soon I was teaching, raising a family,and building a home. For many years my creative energy was spent planning for school, making costumes, decorating cakes, and many other family oriented crafts. And, like my mother, I became a serious do-it-yourself decorator. Some of these endeavors led to a part-time business in furniture restoration and decorating, faux finishing, and mural painting.

 Somewhere in this, in an attempt to improve the appearance of the yard, I planted a flat of impatiens, I kept them watered. When they exploded, I was a gonner. I spent the next fifteen years getting deeper into gardening and farther from making art.

 By 2007, my teaching years were behind me, my family grown, and my urge to garden satisfied;but, my urge to draw was stronger than ever. That spring I made my first visit to The New England Flower Show When I came upon the N.E.S.B.A.(New England Society of Botanical Artists) exhibit, I was stunned by its appeal. I needed to do this I took a brochure for classes at Wellesley College Botanic Garden and signed up for the first available beginner class.

 I now enjoy making art and gardening at my home on Cape Cod, using many of the plants I grow as inspiration for my work.