I moved from Frankfurt, Germany to Southern California when I was six years old. It felt like another planet! The chaparral summers were hot and dry, and the rocky, barren mountains that surrounded my childhood home were punctuated by only a few drought-resistant plants and soon-to-be tumbleweeds.
When I headed East for college, I felt like I had escaped! I had grown so tired of seeing brown all around me. I longed for greens, seasons, and to jump into piles of leaves in the autumn. It wasn't until I came back to California—as a visitor this time—that I realized how narrow my view had been. I began to explore areas of the state I'd never seen before! The redwood forests, the rocky shorelines, the rows and rows of sunbathed grapes. I met my future husband and learned that he was from a town in the San Bernardino mountains that I likened more to a real life snow globe than anywhere I'd ever seen! It was only 45 minutes (and 5,000 feet higher) than the city where I grew up. I had been surrounded by so much geographic diversity my whole life, but I'd never realized it.
I was inspired to create a gorgeous drawing to honor the state that I never truly appreciated when I had it. Each area of the drawing features plants that are native to that region. It is my hope that this drawing highlights the incredible biodiversity that California is home to. Through my research, I found dozens of locations I still need to explore. This time, with an open mind (and a sketchbook.)
Prints are available in my online shop.