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Slideshow: Paula Fong's Works of Nature

Paula Fong Watercolors

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Paula Fong has a long history and deep connection with nature. So when she began to explore her abilities as an artist years ago, nature became a natural subject of her art.

“There’s so much inspiration you can get from nature,” Fong says.

As an illustrator and water colorist, Fong is known for her artistic attention to detail and her ability to capture nature with scientific accuracy. But she doesn’t always copy every detail exactly.

“It’s a combination of exact drawing and artistic license,” Fong explains with a smile.

Fong’s botanical expertise comes from years of working in the field. Her previous career was in the forestry service as an ecologist and a soil scientist. Art was a part of her life even then, though; she practiced with small pen-and-ink illustrations for scientific articles. Over time, Fong’s artistic abilities became better known and she was asked to draw a few posters and trail signs for the forestry service.

After years as a scientist, Fong decided to switch her priorities, becoming a full-time artist instead. But her love for nature didn’t waiver in the transition — she continues to paint what she learned in the field to this day.

To Fong, the transition from scientist to artist was very logical. Combining art with nature, she says, “is a good way to introduce people to the environment around them… and remind them that there’s a lot out there that they can enjoy.”

Learn more about Paula Fong and her work on Oregon Art Beat, Thursday, February 9 at 8 pm on OPB.

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