The exhibit currently on display in the Leatherby Libraries’ Doy and Dee Henley Reading Room – “An Illuminating Look at Legumes” — also has probably the year’s most entertaining art exhibition title.  Legumes? You mean peas?  Beans?  Peanuts?  Yes, indeed — and so much more.


The vibrant flower of the leguminous Coral Tree provides botanical artists a stunning subject — and pollinators an excellent source of nectar.

As it turns out — in the hands of the
Botanical Artists Guild of Southern California
, which returns to the Chapman library for another gorgeous exhibit — legumes are among the most beautiful of plants, indeed. From the tender curling tendrils of sweet-pea shoots to the mini-monumentalism of a single bean to the trailing lavender glory of wisteria (which, yes, is a legume … and now you know …), the artists in this show capture the beauty of these multifaceted plants with both visual splendor and scientific rigor. (Tellingly, the show is presented by both the
Leatherby Libraries
Schmid College of Science and Technology

Jennifer Funk
, associate professor in Schmid College, whose research focuses on how native and exotic legumes differ in their relationships with nitrogen-acquiring bacteria (studies which could have positive effects on agriculture and ecosystems), wrote the introduction in the very interesting free 12-page booklet that accompanies the exhibition.

artist working on art

Artists from the Botanical Artists Guild gave live demonstrations of their work during the exhibit opening.

At the show’s opening reception on February 25, several artists from the Botanical Artists Guild gave live demonstrations of their work, creating beautiful plant “portraits” as visitors looked on.

The Guild will offer free drawing workshops on March 6 and 7 in the Henley Reading Room for anyone who is interested in trying botanical art. Workshop attendees will learn techniques for accurate and artistic botanical art, including tips for drawing in perspective. The workshops are open to all, whether beginners or advanced artists; no art experience is required. The Friday, March 6 workshop runs from 2 to 4 p.m., and the Saturday, March 7 workshop is from 10 a.m. to noon.  RSVP to 714-532-7742 (x7742 if on campus) or email

“An Illuminating Look at Legumes: An Exhibit by the Botanical Artists Guild of Southern California” will remain on display through March 25.  Admission is free and open to the public during library hours.

A few highlights from the exhibit …