Dave Collins

The Art



  • Watercolour

  • Graphite

Approach / Inspiration

I’ve always been interested and inspired by nature...but drawing and painting plants, especially in their natural habitat, has opened up a whole new world for me. I don’t normally search for the subjects I paint...they usually find me.  I see a pitcher plant at Cape Spear or a colourful tulip in a friend’s garden, and I instinctively know that I want to capture it through my art. I prefer to draw and paint from live specimens, but when that isn’t possible, I use my own photographs. I keep a sketchbook to help me get to know my subjects, and I spend a lot of time drawing - something I love to do. Once I’ve planned the composition, I move on to the actual painting, choosing the colours while the plant is fresh and then adding details as I go... I guess it’s a very traditional approach to botanical art, and one which I greatly enjoy. 


My art journey began in early 2014 when I walked into the Anna Templeton Centre in St. John’s to take an introductory course in drawing.  I had retired only a year earlier, and my goal at the time was simple enough - to see if I could rekindle a childhood love of drawing. Since then I’ve had the pleasure of attending numerous art workshops and classes, under the expert guidance of some very gifted and talented artists.  I’m so grateful to each and every one of them for their support.  While I paint exclusively in watercolour, drawing is at the heart of all my artistic endeavours. My passion is painting en plein air, but I’ve also discovered that I enjoy being immersed in studies of plants, like autumn leaves, spruce cones and flowers… And so I joined the Botanical Art Society of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2017, and the learning continues… While it’s true that for me botanical art is quite challenging, there are also considerable rewards - the opportunity to learn about nature, to improve my skills as an artist, and most importantly, to work with an amazing community of very talented and kind friends who share a common interest in the botanical art form.   

Exhibitions / Awards 

  • Art In The Garden Exhibition, MUN Botanical Garden, St. John’s, NL, Canada  (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019)
  • Rooted in Art: Native Plants of Newfoundland and Labrador, MUN Botanical Garden, St. John’s, NL, Canada (2018)
  • Annual Garden and Nature Art Exhibition, MUN Botanical Garden, St. John’s, NL, Canada (2017, 2018, 2019)
  • Rhody Festival Art Exhibition, MUN Botanical Garden, St. John’s, NL, Canada (2017)
  • Plant Portraits, Wyatt Hall, City of St. John’s, NL, Canada (2019)
  • Garden Cafe Exhibit, (MUN Botanical Garden, St. John’s, NL (2016, 2017, 2018, 2019)
  • Murray’s Garden Centre, Grounds Cafe Exhibition, Portugal Cove, NL, Canada (2017, 2018, 2019) 
  • Rooted in Art: Buds, Blooms and Berries, MUN Botanical Garden, St. John’s, NL, Canada (2020)


  • Botanical Art Society of Newfoundland & Labrador
  • Tuesday Art Group, MUN Botanical Garden


E. dcollins@nl.rogers.com