Traveling Artist Wildflowers Project

Donald Davidson

Donald Davidson in the field painting Desert Tobacco.
Donald Davidson in the field at Lake Mead National Recreational Area working on a watercolor of Desert Tobacco, Nicotiana obtusifolia (inset). Photo by Glenn Nakadate, ©2009

Donald Davidson has been inspired to create the wildflower watercolors used in this website while serving as a Volunteer-in-the-Park/Botanical Illustrator for the National Park Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Land Management in the Caribbean, Great Plains, Pacific West, and Southwest/Intermountain Regions throughout the spring and fall wildflower blooms of 1999 through 2010. All of the art reflects his direct approach of working right on the trail, without collecting specimens or using photography. He was selected in spring of 2004 to serve as the first official Artist-in-the-Park of the Mojave National Preserve. With encouragement from park staff to help present new interpretive programs and build bridges with local communities, Davidson also founded the Chihuahuan Desert Native Plant Initiative at Carlsbad Caverns National Park. He will be returning to Vieques National Wildlife Refuge in late 2010 and Lake Mead National Recreation Area in mid-2011. In recognition for his dedication to his efforts at Lake Mead, Donald Davidson received the "President's Volunteer Service Award" on November 15, 2010.

The University of California - Riverside commissioned him in 2005 to illustrate a series of native plant texts for the Sweeney Granite Mountain Research Center. Davidson also teaches Botanical Illustration weekend field courses each Spring at the Desert Studies Center. He was an instructor in the innovative use of art and volunteers for the 2006 National Park Service Interpretation Leadership Seminar held at Mather Training Center in Harper’s Ferry, WV. Davidson has since made the East Mojave Region his second home and throughout 2007 he will continue his art work, volunteering and teaching there. He has also served as Association Manager for the Old Spanish National Historic Trail.

All of the above efforts were made possible through generous support of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, The Gannett Foundation, The Associates Directorate of the National Park Service, The John Kitteridge Educational Fund, the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities and National Endowment for the Arts, the Carlsbad Caverns/Guadalupe Mountains Association, The Western Parks and Monuments Association, and the Native Plant Societies of New Mexico and Utah, as well as, the Carlsbad Museum (Carlsbad, NM), The Puffin Foundation and The Carlsbad Foundation.

A solo exhibition of Davidson's botanical illustrations from the Chihuahuan Desert Region was curated and displayed by the Centennial Museum at the University of Texas at El Paso in 2003. It was at the Museum of the Big Bend at Sul Ross University, Alpine, Texas in 2004. It is currently on view through December 2007 at the Amistad National Recreation Area Visitor Center in Del Rio, TX. Permanent collections of Davidson’s wildflower watercolors may be seen at the Big Thicket National Preserve Visitor Center, Beaumont, TX. New works from the Mojave National Preserve were on display for ten months in 2006 at the Death Valley National Park Visitor Center and will rotate back up later in 2007.

Although the images on this website are copyrighted and not in the public domain, they are presented here by the National Park Service and "Celebrating Wildflowers" for your enjoyment and study. Inquiries regarding the art work, cards, reproductions and T-shirts, as well as schedule requests of upcoming programs should be addressed to Donald Davidson at You can also call him at 202.744.3647. His illustrations also appear in the January 2005 issue of the National Plant Data Center Product Catalog, The PLANTS Database and the Spring 2005 issue of the Native Plants Journal.

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Last updated: 02-Dec-2010