Ask Holly: Botanical Art

BY  |  Thursday, Sep 29, 2011 12:00pm  |  COMMENTS (11)

“MOMMY I WANT TO MAKE ONE OF THOSE!” That’s what my daughter said as we were looking at some of my friend Fran’s botanical photographs on her site Punk and Roses.

I told her, “Maybe another time,” because Fran was going to come over and we were going to make woodland creatures from acorns, pine-cones and other things we found on our walk. That was my agenda. About five minutes into our walk my agenda was doused with gasoline, thrown into the fireplace and torched.

I went about my way searching for lovely flawless acorns instructing my kids to do the same as me. My ridiculous instructions were abandoned. My kids were at Fran’s side who was finding “cool” acorns filled with worm holes, pieces of bark, sticks with odd shapes and the like. After 15 minutes Fran had us all smelling leaves, looking closely at the veins and comparing textures and colors. An hour later we were creating “art.” I’m talking about the real deal. Gorgeous botanical prints that we could print out and frame, use as a holiday card or birthday cards,  screen savers and pretty much anything you can get printed.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • An open mind
  • A bag
  • A camera

Pick up anything that looks interesting and throw it into your bag. When you have a nice sized collection find somewhere to spread it out. Have the kids pick out objects they find interesting and lay things out on a white plate or plain paper (or whatever color you like.) Photograph your works of art. Take close ups and let your kids take photos as well. When you download them onto your computer, crop them, tint them, over-expose them and let the kids play with the controls.

Here are some tips: Encourage everybody to mix and match. If you find an empty nutshell, fill it full of berries, arrange items by color (this worked well for my four-year-old) or line acorns up by size in a line. DO NOT collect things from other peoples property or let small children handle berries or mushrooms you are not familiar with.

All of these photos are creations my kids made with Fran. I will be updating the Flickr show all day as we take this day off from school to create!

Questions? Just Ask Holly in comments.

Explore….Discover….Create and repeat!




  1. POSTED BY Liz George  |  September 29, 2011 @ 12:08 pm

    Love this — when are Aunt Fran and Aunt Holly coming to my house!

  2. POSTED BY Georgette Gilmore  |  September 29, 2011 @ 12:20 pm

    And do Aunt Fran and Aunt Holly babysit?

  3. POSTED BY hollykorus  |  September 29, 2011 @ 2:02 pm

    Yes, but I charge $88 an hour!

  4. POSTED BY fran liscio  |  September 29, 2011 @ 3:31 pm

    Holly, you are way too kind! All I did was cram stuff into a bag. You and your talented children did that beautiful artwork completely on your own! That said, we did have a blast walking around looking for whatever the squirrels didn’t find first and eat. I love the way you used the chestnut shell crescents as litle scoops or cradles to hold some of the beautiful berries we found. I think that Holly and I both reminded ourselves to plant callicarpus, or beauty berry this fall for a wonderful show of purple berries next September–we passed one on our walk and just ogled it for ten minutes. Aunt Fran and Aunt Holly are ready to art-party any time! Let’s randomly break out into a nature art party some sunny weekend afternoon in Anderson Park or something similar. We’ll lay out a big blanket, bring our kids and our cameras and our glue sticks, and do it! 1

  5. POSTED BY thislittlepiggy  |  September 29, 2011 @ 4:07 pm

    What a lovely project. Fran Liscio’s work is gorgeous, and Holly is so creative – LOVE it.

  6. POSTED BY fran liscio  |  September 29, 2011 @ 4:23 pm

    holly’s the real genius here and her children are so creative! Montclair and the surrounds are full of fantastic botanicals that conveniently drop great stuff all over the sidewalk. It’s a garden art feast for the eyes and for crafters everywhere!

  7. POSTED BY hollykorus  |  September 30, 2011 @ 8:01 am

    Not true. Fran is an inspiration.

    My daughter was blown away seeing how she could crop and edit phots on the computer. It made her go back and look at the leaves, berries bark more carefully to see what else we could take pictures of.

  8. POSTED BY Kristin  |  September 30, 2011 @ 10:40 am

    The concept, photos, and arrangement are all fabulous. But there’s far too much self-deprecation here and lovey-dovey “No, you’re the best!” going on. It clearly takes a *village* of genius – and a camera a lot better than mine!

    But I’m inspired by this post (and the weather!) to go on a Cool Kids Nature Hunt this afternoon. Can I work a dead worm into the equation somehow? That’s what my kids always pick up.

  9. POSTED BY fran liscio  |  October 01, 2011 @ 1:00 pm

    This is a great time of year to be on the lookout for cool seedpots, such as milkweed and trumpet vine.

  10. POSTED BY fran liscio  |  October 01, 2011 @ 1:01 pm


  11. POSTED BY Debbie Galant  |  October 03, 2011 @ 12:12 am

    I can’t believe I was invited on this nature walk and couldn’t make it. Raincheck, please?

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