The meticulous art of botanical illustration has a long and rich history. Before the invention of photography, artists were expected to capture species of plant life in immaculate detail, which then informed scientists, physicians, pharmacists, and other researchers. Although this scrupulous art no longer serves a scientific purpose, the study of flora continues to flourish among contemporary creatives such as Svetlana Lanse.
The Saint Petersburg-based artist uses watercolor to create strikingly realistic portraits of various plant life. Her remarkable skill allows her to paint the minutiae details of every flower, frond, and fruit—from the subtle color variation in feather-soft petals to the precise, razor-thin veins that stretch across the leaves. Even Lanse’s illustrations of orange slices appear sumptuous in the way that she carefully renders the highlights and shadows of the fruit’s skin.
To demonstrate how lifelike her paintings are, Lanse often stages live models of plant life beside her finished artwork before photographing them for her Instagram. In this way, viewers can remark on the artist’s incredible skill at describing three-dimensional depth in her watercolor paintings.