Plants from the Woods and Forests of Chile

In the first years I have devoted my life to plant painting, the only way I can follow to improve myself is simply ‘paint’ in every possible time, because I have no training or resources on this topic in Turkey. I made plenty of it. I tried to portray the unique beauties of the plants without any stopping, first to understand the plants, than to explain them to the others. Nezahat Gökyiğit Botanical Garden offers us great opportunities. They have an amazing collection of bulbous plants growing all around Turkey, and the doors of this collection open to us. I still remember the excitement I had with painting marathons in this amazing botanic garden in early times of my adventure becoming a botanical artist.

Then, with the cooperation of Nezahat Gökyiğit and Edinburg Botanic Gardens, we have visited Edinburgh Botanic Garden on our first trip in 2007 to develop our skills. That year, Martin Gardner, the project executive of ‘Plants from the Woods and Forests of Chile’, drove us into an incredible adventure where we will discover our talents, develop our skills, and meet incredible plants from different climates.

‘’I clearly recall in early September 2007 sitting in the RBG Edinburgh staff canteen and noticing across the room three visitors who I remembered from two years previously while participating on a UK government-funded Darwin Initiative field work training programme in Turkey. These visitors were the artists, Gülnur Ekşi, Hülya Korkmaz and Işık Güner who in Turkey had been illustrating bulbous plants for a publication on the Turkish flora. For almost 20 years there had been a plan to produce a book on the flora of Chile using newly commissioned botanical art work but nothing had materialised due to a lack of funding. However, the re-acquaintance with these artists and a reminder of the quality of their work reactivated the idea which to some may seem to be a rather curious link between Chile, Scotland and Turkey. This serendipitous meeting was the first of many important stages in the process of producing the book Plants from the Woods and Forests of Chile.

Today there is a remarkable revival in botanical illustration and this book with its inspiring artwork clearly bears testimony to this. Plants from the woods and forests of Chile represents the labour and observations of highly talented modern-day artists who have painstakingly and accurately recorded the minutest of details to bring alive the beautiful plant life of Chile. The paintings have of course been the work of the three Turkish artists, Gülnur Ekşi, Hülya Korkmaz and Işık Güner who were trained in Turkey by the highly accomplished botanical artist Cristobel King. Over a period of seven years, between 2008 and 2014, the artists visited RBG Edinburgh for varying lengths of time in order to prepare the plates for the book.

The aim of the book has been to capture and present, in a stunning format, the sheer beauty and rich biodiversity of Chile’s forested habitats. The species illustrated have been chosen to show the great diversity found in the woods and forests of Chile and the authors have tried to present some unusual facts about the plants. It is hoped that those who perhaps know little about the plant life of Chile will be surprised, fascinated and intrigued by the great beauty and diversity of the plants depicted in this impressive book. For those who are familiar with the richness of Chile’s flora, especially the people of Chile, it will remind them just how extraordinary and precious the woods and forests of Chile are.’’

Martin Gardner


This adventure, which started in 2007, continued until 2015 and the book ‘Plants from the Woods and Forests of Chile’ has been published. In these years, I and my colleagues took our place in such a big project by striking the roads between Chile, Scotland and Turkey, reaching the locations where the plants were, observing them, looking for their flowering time, waiting their fruit to become mature and revealing all of our skills to paint such beauties.

Now, I am really pleased to announce the publication ‘Plants from the Woods and Forests of Chile’. This single volume of high quality botanical art depicts the rich diversity and beauty of Chile’s unique forested areas where for the last 25 years the Royal Botanic Garden has engaged in research and conversation initiatives.

The book will include 81 unique commissioned water color paintings, 39 of them is illustrated by me. This book will be a limited edition book. There will be 450 copies of English Edition, 350 copies of Spanish Edition.