May 27, 2019 @ 10:00 am – August 5, 2019 @ 5:00 pm
Emo Court & Parklands
Co. Laois
R32 C44V

BOTANICAL – Watercolour Paintings and Prints by Mary Dillon at the CaToCa Café Gallery, Emo Court.

What is it about flowers and plants that stir us, that make us stop in our tracks to take a second look? Do they evoke a memory? Is it their colour, light or form? Is it the simplicity or complexity of their structure? Botanical art challenges us to capture in a painting the essence of a plant, with its beauty, frailty, strength and intimacy and to do so in a scientifically truthful way. 

Taking up this challenge, artist Mary Dillon aims to breathe life and movement into her intricate plant portraits. Preferring to work in large format, as a contemporary artist she pushes the boundaries of botanical art in new and exciting ways, evoking an emotive response in the viewer. 

As a watercolourist, Dillon first showed her evocative semi-representational paintings in ‘At the Heart’, in Kilkenny in 2000. Her love for the process of working with watercolour developed and grew over the following ten years. As an artist who is passionate about colour, her sense of inquiry into the world of plants grew simultaneously. In 2011, she decided to pursue a diploma in botanical art and illustration with the Society of Botanical Artists in the UK. In 2014, she graduated with distinction. 

Mary Dillon’s work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally as part of selected and curated group exhibitions, most recently in Real Botanico Madrid where her painting, Tulipa Black Parrot, was selected as the signature cover image in the exhibition catalogue. In keeping with her international outlook, she recently joined the teaching team at the Chelsea School of Botanical Art in the Chelsea Physic Gardens, London.

Last July 2018, Dillon facilitated and taught at the Laois Arthouse Summer School. The focus for the week of painting was botanical art, painting with watercolour, and painting plants in an emotive provocative way. The culmination of students’ work for the week was seen alongside an exhibition of her work, ‘At the Heart – Botanical’.

Mary Dillon finds teaching botanical art particularly rewarding, as it provides the perfect opportunity to bring together her three passions of watercolour painting, plants and working with people.


Mary Dillon’s ‘Botanical’ exhibition runs in the CaToCa Café Gallery until Bank Holiday Monday 5th August 2019. Admission is free and the works can be seen daily from 10am to 6pm.