Art practices can be private or they can be public, though often as not it’s somewhere in between. Virginia Ferraris, who was born in 1913 and passed away in 1990, attended Moore College of Art in Philadelphia back in the 1930s. Like many women, her professional studies soon gave way to the realities of life: childrearing and, after her husband died, earning a living for her family. But along the way, and especially later, she attended to the beauty of gardens in vibrant, large, all-over watercolors. They’re lovely to behold, as are the kind of dense blooming gardens on which they are based. Gardens take up much more space than a large sheet of watercolor paper, however, and not everything is always in bloom, so Ferraris devised a method than can be deduced by looking at her careful, spacious sketches. The final works don’t just reproduce one corner of one garden, they blend many, until finally the entire picture plane is filled to the brim with geraniums, roses, petunias, princess flowers—and butterflies, flitting in and out of the petals that give them camouflage.
—Lori Waxman 3/25/17 2:13 PM