Meet Linda Fairfield, artist and plant lover who set out to create an illustration of every single wildflower in Manitoba. She didn’t achieve her goal before she died last June but she left a treasure trove of absolutely lovely and unique paintings of our province’s native flowers. She called her collection ‘The Garden.” An exhibit of work from “The Garden” is now on display at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. It was curated by Nicole Fletcher.
I was drawn to Linda’s beautiful and delicate depiction of Manitoba’s floral emblem. I have learned that sadly the prairie crocus is dwindling in numbers in our province.
Linda traveled the province to discover wild flowers. She illustrated a book by Karen Johnson that catalogued the wildflowers of Churchill and the Hudson’ Bay Region.
Some of Linda’s illustrations highlight the parts of the plants- the leaves, blooms and roots.
In others Linda chooses to include a sketch of the habitat where the flower grows, perhaps where she discovered it.Quite a number of Linda’s illustrations are displayed alongsidespecimens of the flower from the University of Manitoba’s collection The Plants of Manitoba.
There are three special displays in the exhibit. One features Manitoba flowers that are edible.
Another flowers that are toxic and poisonous.
And finally one that showcases the beauty of Manitoba’s more than forty native species of orchids.
Linda’s obituary in the Toronto Globe and Mail says Linda worked at her wildflower project over a fifty year period. The recent donation of 233 of her illustrations to the Winnipeg Art Gallery by her family insures that Linda’s work will be treasured and appreciated by Manitobans for decades to come.