Liriodendron tulipifera (common name, Tulip Tree) shows part of a  painting by BAGSC member Margaret Best. The following biography is from her web site,

Margaret was born and raised in South Africa, and began painting and drawing at an early age under the private tutorage of Betty Clur, a well known South African artist and teacher in Johannesburg. Under Betty’s influence she developed a realistic style with a focus on fine detail.

Growing up in an environment of abundant cultivated and indigenous plant life, it is not surprising that Margaret often incorporated botanical themes into her work. After graduating as a teacher in Cape Town, she taught math and art for a few years at Rustenburg School for Girls in Rondebosch. She often took her pupils to the famous Kirstenbosch Gardens to sketch and paint the wealth of flora. But at that time Margaret became more known for her pen and ink renderings of the unique Cape Dutch homesteads on the wine farms in the area.

Margaret traveled to England regularly in the 90’s to visit her aging parents. She began collecting antique botanical prints and discovered the global renaissance that botanical illustration was beginning to enjoy. Viewing botanical exhibitions in London and meeting artists stimulated her to return to her favourite subject matter with renewed enthusiasm and drive.

Although previously a colour pencil, graphite, pen and ink artist, Margaret decided to refresh her watercolour skills and completed master classes with acclaimed teachers Anne Marie Evans, Katie Lee and Pandora Sellars. Watercolours of botanical subject matter have been her focus ever since.

Margaret’s paintings have been exhibited in a number of ASBA juried exhibitions between 2002 and 2007 including New York Horticultural Society (2003, 2007), and many other group exhibitions located in both Canada and the USA. This includes the recent 12th International Exhibition at the Hunt Institute of Botanical Documentation.

In 2005 Margaret decide to return to her love of teaching, offering tuition to private groups in both the USA and Canada. She has conducted two workshops at the Huntington Gardens in California in association with BAGSC and will be teaching again at the Santa Barbara Botanical Gardens in January 2008.

Her work is found in private collections in many countries and in the permanent collection of the Hunt Institute of Botanical Documentation in Pittsburgh.