Rebecca Jabs – Illustrating Nature

Rebecca Jabs is an artist and freelance scientific illustrator based in Manitowoc, Wisconsin. She began her professional career as a K-12 Art Teacher in Manitowoc before graduating in 2016 from the Science Illustration Graduate Program at California State University at Monterey Bay. She has had her work displayed in a variety of exhibitions including Illustrating Nature, her most recent solo exhibition. Illustrating Nature, on display in the Baer Gallery at St. Norbert College through March 12, 2021, features a collection of watercolor, gouache, and ink pieces which illustrate some of the flora and fauna of Wisconsin. Jabs explained that her journey as a naturalist was a recent one and stated that, “When we grow up in a place, we become so accustomed to it that we aren’t as amazed by it as we probably should be,” when speaking about her love of wildlife and nature in Wisconsin. Her favorite birds native to Wisconsin are the Caspian Tern and the American White Pelican; which she illustrated in her gouache and watercolor painting, American White Pelican, 2017. Many of her paintings in the exhibition in the Baer Gallery illustrate flower species in Wisconsin as well. Although Jabs was never really interested in illustrating botany originally, she has found a love for the shapes and how she could piece the plants together in a composition commenting on how she is, “very drawn to geometry and pattern in my artwork.” In fact, Monarda punctata is one of her favorite flowers and she used this plant to study flowers when she painted Monarda Puctata & Bombus spp., 2020. The project that Jabs is working on currently is a collaboration with Wisconsin naturalist, John Bates. He is working on a book about the last undeveloped lakes of Wisconsin, and Jabs is illustrating plant and animal species found in those habitats; some of which are included in her Illustrating Nature exhibition such as four watercolor paintings of turtle species. Jabs’ work for Illustrating Nature beautifully illustrates Wisconsin wildlife in a variety of ways; from scientific illustrations for research to personal projects which celebrate the amazing plants and animals found in the state.

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