One of my favorite flowers is snow-in-summer. How about a flower called riot-of-color-in-winter? Alas, it’s not blooming outdoors in the Northeast during these grayish January days. But Westport, CT, based painter Leona Frank has brought the vivid colors of summer wildflowers she’s observed growing on Connecticut’s Thimble Islands to life in acrylic on canvas.

Beach Rose (Rosa rugosa)

The Thimble Islands are a group of about 350 small islands in Long Island Sound, off the coast of Branford, about ten minutes from New Haven by sightseeing boat. Over the years, Leona and her husband, portrait photographer Richard Frank, have paid many visits these little-known islands, which can be explored by kayak.

“I’ve been focusing on the Outer Island’s insistent and vibrant wildflowers, the improbable bursts of color that emerge from undisciplined leaves and branches in the stark landscape,” says Leona. “Wildflowers celebrate the endurance and strength of nature and make an optimistic promise of new life.”

Black-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta)

Daylily (Hemerocalis fulva)

Spiderworts (Tradescantia virginiana)

Wild Daisies (Erigeron annus)

These paintings, as well as a number of Dick’s fine-art, black-and-white photographs, are on display in the windows of Max’s Art Supplies, 68 Post Road East, Westport, CT, through January 31.

More of Leona’s paintings and drawings, which are in many private and public collections, can be seen on And her blog about teaching art to children and adults is chalk-full of videos and detailed, illustrated instructions for intriguing art projects ranging from making monoprints to tissue-paper painting to drawing from observation.

About writedesigner

Graphic designer, writer, and gardener Ellen Shapiro is based in Irvington, New York. A frequent contributor to design blogs and magazines including Print, Imprint,, Communication Arts, and Etapes, she writes about trends, issues and personalities in design, illustration, photography, and visual culture around the world.
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2 Responses to Riot-of-Color-in-Winter

  1. We’re far enough south in central Texas that we still have a few late-autumn wildflowers blooming. Black-eyed susans are native here but haven’t been seen since the early summer. The local Erigeron species is modestus, but it likewise hasn’t been around since half a year ago. Painters have the advantage of being able to create what they want when they want it.

    Steve Schwartzman

  2. Pingback: The Healing Power of Art |

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