Focus on Nature XV: Natural and Cultural History Illustration

July 21, 2019 – January 20, 2020
Roberson Museum and Science Center, Binghamton, NY

Focus on Nature XV features 87 natural and cultural history illustrations by 69 artists from around the world. Organized by the New York State Museum, the exhibition celebrates natural and cultural history illustration and the talented artists who create a connection between science and art.

Roberson Museum and Science Center

30 Front Street
Binghamton, NY 13905
Phone: (607) 772-0660

For additional information, including hours and directions, visit:

Artists featured in FON XV

Sue deLearie Adair
Bobbi Angell
Marcela Gomes Ataíde
Belinda Biggs
Sharon Birzer
Kathryn M. Chorney
Wilma Ander de Oliveira
Maria Alice de Rezende
Dorothy DePaulo
Monika deVries Gohlke
Pauline Jane Dewar
Emily M. Eng
Michael J. Felber
Linda M. Feltner
Kelly Elizabeth Finan
Susan Fox
Nancy C. Gehrig
Christian Gerisch
Margo Elizabeth Glass
Markjohn Glass
Jann Griffiths
James M. Gurney
Linda Hampson
M. Genevieve Hitchings
Jack Randolph Hornady
Gary Hoyle
Jasmin Chantal Huber
Barbara Ierulli
Beverley J. Irwin
Rebecca L. Jabs
Emily Kearney-Williams
Yun-Kae Kiang
Karen and Barrett Klein
Elayne Leighton
Pam Little      Janet M. Matthews
Lee McCaffree
Beverly Diane McKay
Sean R. Murtha
Sharron L. O'Neil
Mafalda Sofia Paiva
Samantha N. Peters
Xavier Pita
Dino Pulerà
Richard Gary Raham
Dick Rauh
Kim Renders
Michael Rothman
Stephanie Rozzo
Susan Elmblad Rubin
Bart C. Rulon
Hugo Salais López
Dorothee de Sampayo Garrido
Tomás Merchán Sánchez
Lizzie Sanders
Carol Schwartz
Nora Sherwood
Wendy K. Smith
Heidi A. Snyder
Linda Thomas
Ning Tsai
Rob Tuckerman
Esther vanHulsen
Ava Varszegi
Sophie Webb
Catherine E. Wilson
Tami Winch
Chen Zha


The Focus on Nature jury selects original* works of natural and cultural history subjects (in whole or in part), excluding human anatomy and portraiture, that demonstrates:

  • a high degree of technical skill
  • scientific accuracy, including taxonomic definition
  • aesthetic qualities, including composition
  • a unique scientific and/or artistic viewpoint, techniques, medium, or format (organic depiction, schematics, diagrams, etc.) including traditional, mixed and multimedia, or computer-generated images
  • a broad representation of artists

The jury is looking for original artworks, not digital versions of traditional media. Scanned traditional techniques that have been significantly modified (as decided by the jury) should be entered as mixed media and an explanation of the modifications provided in comments section of entry form. If this is not provided, it will not be considered for jury. Printouts of traditional media (e.g., scanned image of a watercolor) without significant modification are not acceptable. The acceptability of modifications is at the discretion of the jury.


Fernando Jorge Simões Correia, Guest Artist Juror
Department of Biology, University of Aveiro (Portugal)

Michael Grasso, Guest Scientist Juror
Executive Director, Roberson Museum and Science Center

Dr. Chuck Ver Straeten, New York State Museum Scientist (sedimentary geology)

Dr. Jeremy Kirchman, New York State Museum Scientist (ornithology)

Patricia Kernan, New York State Museum Artist (FON curator)

Banner image by: Linda Thomas
Seneca Meadors Wetland
Acrylic on canvas, 2011

Nadja Baltensweiler, Blue Congo Potato (Solanum tuberosum)
Sean Murtha, Terrestrial Life of the Green River Formation
Pam Little, “Ravens Gathering”
Tara Dalton Bensen, Arboreal Salamander

Luca Marini, Catalogue of Teleosts Fish from Seychelles Islands II - Praslin Island, Watercolor, 2016

About Focus on Nature

Focus on Nature (FON) is a biennial exhibition of scientific, natural and cultural history. Since its inception in 1990, the exhibition has reflected the standards, materials, and skills of contemporary natural and cultural history illustrators. It has increased awareness of a genre that requires scientific accuracy for publications, interpretive nature centers, as well as many research and educational purposes. During the past 30 years, the materials, media, and subject matter has expanded and the quality of submissions has risen. It now includes some of the best illustrators from around the world. Each Focus on Nature exhibit has been built on the accomplishments of the participating artists. Artworks considered for inclusion must accurately represent the subjects, or research results and processes.

Focus on Nature began as an experiment. We sought to demonstrate the connection between science and images; stimulate an interest in natural history art among practicing artists, aspiring artists and the public; and bring this art to the attention of people attending what has come to be called the Northeast Natural History Conference. Those thoughts still guide the jury. We think our experiment has worked because visual communication, like a universal language, will always help scientists explain complex objects and concepts to a general audience.

 – Patricia Kernan and Dr. Norton Miller, Founders and Permanent Jurors of Focus on Nature

Contact Information

Patricia Kernan, FON Curator
New York State Museum
Research & Collections
3140 CEC
Albany, NY 12230
Phone: (518) 486-2024