AIR Gabriella Boros Ruminates on Being Back at Bernheim in Spring

By Jenny Zeller

2020 Artist in Residence and FEMMEnomenal Bluegrass Botanicals creator Gabriella Boros was always meant to spend the spring of 2020 at Bernheim. COVID-19 delayed those plans, and because her project proposal was largely researched based, she was able to complete her residency remotely, a first in the history of Bernheim’s Artist in Residence program. We happily welcomed Gabriella to Bernheim for several visits in vastly different seasons, where she expand upon her creative practice and explored new directions in her work!


Gabriella spends time with Bernheim’s beautiful crabapple collection


The artist and her watercolor gear setting out for another day of capturing spring at Bernheim.

Being back at Bernheim in the spring has been an experience that will change me forever. The ability to discover the wild flowers, budding trees and hear the. multitude of birds that are migrating overhead has been thrilling.

Each morning I set out in the chilly morning with my backpack full- including a pad of watercolor paper, a holder for my brushes and pencils and tools for creating various textures, a small container for water, a palette filled with watercolors, and my lunch. Additionally, I carry a large board under my arm (on which i balance the watercolors, the tub of water, and the paper), a folding chair slung over my shoulder on which i sit when i paint and a walking stick to help me balance when I am hiking laden down with all this equipment!

Gabriella captured 2020 AIR Lee Emma Running’s Sycamore tree on the Elm Lick Trail.

I have returned to the trails daily, filled with excitement for what new discoveries lie ahead. Since Sunday, I have completed nearly 50 watercolors! I am pushing myself to complete more paintings this time in the hope that my style will improve.

I am soaking in the clean air, the gorgeous hilly vistas, the lush green hills full of sprouting trees. It is thrilling to see the knobs come alive. After the cold December days when I could not sit out long as my fingers were getting stiff while I was painting, now I can sit as long as I need to create the paintings. I can wait for the paper to dry in order to try new techniques that will better capture the mood and the moment here at Bernheim.

Nature assisted with the beautiful patterns in this piece due to the melting snow from trees in April.

The amount of trails here creates endless possibilities for me. Whether the trail is in the prairie, the beautiful redbud and dogwood collections, or the steep climbs at Elm Lick, there is a plethora of possibilities and challenges and marvelous moments to capture Bernheim’s vast array of diverse areas. What a treasure for an artist to discover!

Thankful for this great gift Bernheim have given me.





2020 marked the 40th anniversary of Bernheim’s Artist in Residence program and the value that art adds to the natural environment. Established in 1980, this internationally renowned program annually awards artists the opportunity to live and create site-specific work inspired by their total immersion experience at Bernheim. As we enter into our 41st year of the program, we will continue to celebrate the contributions of a program that has allowed our visitors to experience nature in a new way while enhancing awareness of Bernheim’s mission of connecting people with nature.


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