Donna Wilk    ~  Botanic Collage Artist     

The Star - Nanaimo, BC, Sept 9 2011

With a library of pressed plants, Nanaimo artist Donna Wilk is never short on art supplies.

Wilk has spent the last decade filling containers floor to ceiling with pressed grasses, flowers and vegetables to create her intricate mosaics - a Russian art form that uses shades and textures of plants to create the look of an oill painting.  She plans to unveil her artwork in her Art With Blooms show Sept 17.

"The art is more than pressed flowers on canvas," Wilk stresses. "It's about taking things people find under their feet every day and creating a picture so detailed people can mistake it for a painting."

Wilk walks with her husband Peter near their rural home on Myles Lake Road, plucking material in all seasons to capture a medley of colour.

Silver poplar leaves can create a mountain, while corn husks shape the sky.

"As a painter, you can mix two colours to get red," she said.  "But when you are doing plant mosaics you can't use paint, you have to find the perfect shade in material you've collected."

It takes two months to complete a single piece, but Wilk said she enjoys the challenge and the idea she can create art from her environment.

She's been captivated by nature since she was a child and exiled by the Soviets with her Polish mother and two sisters to Siberia, Russia.

Her mother considered the wilderness a prison, but the children grew to love it. They were there 13 years before they got amnesty.

It wasn't until she retired in Nanaimo that she fused her love of nature and art.

She created her first piece 10 years ago and is now recognizing her dream of showcasing her work to the public.

She's very confident that people will never have seen anything like it before.

"It's hard to describe without people seeing it for themselves and it sounds crazy," she said.

"But people are usually amazed when they see it."

The show opens between 2pm and 5pm Sept 17 at her home on Myles Lake Road in Extension.

For more information, check out her website at :

Taking Inspiration, Materials From Nature