* Honorable Mention: Claudia Cruse – Daucus

Artist: Claudia Cruse
Title: Daucus
Media: Colored pencil on paper
Grade: 12th grade
School: Campolindo High School
Teacher: Heidi Cabra

The lookalike of the wild carrot Daucus carota is the water hemlock, the most poisonous plant in North America. A mistake in identification can be fatal. This piece done in colored pencil juxtaposes the danger and darkness of wild fields with the beauty of the weeds and flowers. I balanced detailed renderings of plants with simplicity and clean lines, and contrasted blundering human incursion with the fragile shapes of poppy petals and lace lichen. The story of the forager’s hand in the foreground is ambiguous, although the plants within the piece give clues to whether they are dead or alive. As much as the composition is disconcerting, it’s also enveloping, as the flora both fight us away and invite us in. Wild carrot and water hemlock, and the differences between them, are to most people so unimportant that I felt the need to make them the central focus here. The everyday plants are here meant to inspire curiosity and the same consideration that I believe they deserve.