By JENNIFER MORRISSEY
On view at the Mission Trails Regional Park (MTRP) Visitor and Interpretive Center June 22 through Aug. 3 is an exhibition by artist and illustrator Lesley Goren whose lively and colorful images of plants and flowers are a self-described “love note” to the native vegetation of Southern California. The works in “California Tapestry” include cheerful drawings of Scarlet Monkey Flowers (Mimulus cardinales), Shooting Stars (Primula clevelandii), and Yellow Mariposa Lilies (Calochortus luteus) that serve as beautiful reminders of the importance of nature and place.
Goren sees her subject matter as a way to bring attention to preservation and conservation. She studies and sketches important, unique aspects of native plants like the colors of chaparral through the seasons, or how plants appear as they recover from wildfires.
“My work is highly stylized and colorful. Although I somewhat reduce the imagery to a simple form, it is extremely important that I retain the accuracy of what I am drawing,” Goran says of her approach to her art. “The details are what make the plant what it is. I want to share the beauty of these specific plants in all their individuality, to shine a light on their uniqueness.”
Goren’s work has been on view at the Western National Parks Association, the educational partner of the National Park Service, the California Native Plant Society, and The Theodore Payne Foundation and Nursery among others. She recently took part in the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden’s “Art of the Wildflower” exhibition and sold one of her paintings of the Santa Monica Mountains to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti.
The opening reception for Goren’s solo exhibition and first showing in San Diego County will take place at the MTRP Visitor Center on June 23 from 2-4 p.m. Artwork featured in the exhibition will be available for sale throughout the show’s run, and a portion of the funds will support the park through the Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation.
To commemorate her exhibition at the MTRP Visitor Center, Goren has created two new custom greeting card designs for Mission Trails Regional Park, highlighting the leaves and flowers of Mission Trails. The cards will be available for purchase in the Visitor Center’s Gift Shop beginning in late June.
The Art Program at the MTRP Visitor Center is organized by the MTRP Foundation and a portion of all artwork sales benefits the park. For more information and a list of this year’s exhibitions, visit mtrp.org/art. The Visitor Center is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and admission is free.
MTRP call for artists deadline June 30
The Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation is accepting applications through June 30 for 2020 exhibitions at the MTRP Visitor and Interpretive Center. Artists can submit diverse artistic interpretations of the natural world in a range of media including paint, clay, photography, pastel, fiber, colored pencil, mixed media, and more.
Art exhibitions showcase one artist or groups, and are staged for a period of six weeks. Artists can also host an opening reception for members of the public. Artworks include wall-hung, two-dimensional, and three-dimensional pieces. More information and an application form can be found at mtrp.org.
— Jennifer Morrissey is executive director of the Mission Trails Regional Park Foundation.