Opuntia humifusa

Prickly Pear Cactus Drawing

One of the coolest things about Illinois Beach State Park is the incredible array of plant species it boasts.  I am fascinated by the different forms that plants can take, and thought a series of pen and ink drawings would serve to highlight that.  Here is my most recent drawing, of Prickly Pear Cactus.  It likes the dunes.

Every single time I set out to draw a plant, even one I think I know well, I learn something about it. For example, all Prickly Pears are not the same.  There are 2 species growing here, although this is the only one I’ve come across.  A friend of mine, a botanist, told me that in one of her botany courses the students were told to go out and find a plant to draw every week through the season.  “You know”, she said, “I’ll never not recognize that plant, regardless of season, after that.”  Drawing forces us to keep looking until we see.

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