Cynthia Padilla’s work is an art and a science. As a botanical artist and natural science illustrator, Padilla creates extremely accurate renderings of flowers, plants, birds, bugs — and just about anything else in nature. “This is not about being creative,” Padilla says. “This is about drawing and painting the thing as you see it.” Two scientists taught Padilla how to be a botanical artist. She was sketching at a nature park in California during college, and they asked her to draw their bug collection. “I was afraid of bugs,” Padilla says. “I thought, ‘Oh god, I don’t want to do this.’ They pulled them out, and it was creepy. They were dead and pinned.” She made artistic embellishments to make the bugs more beautiful, but the scientists told her to just draw exactly what she saw. Over time, the bugs became beautiful to her, no longer something to just step on. “I get on my knees now and follow the bug to see what it looks like,” Padilla says. Today, she travels throughout the country teaching botanical art. It’s a tough medium to master because it requires exactness — a recent painting of an orchid took 18 hours.

To learn more about Padilla’s art and classes, visit, or join her in Lewisville on Thursday and Friday, Oct. 4-5, from 10-3 p.m. to sketch bison wandering in the field. For details, call 972.219.3930 or e-mail

Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Preston Hollow.