Dorothea Barlowe, passionate illustrator of nature, dies at 95

“I pray that when I leave this good, green earth, whatever God or nature, my soul will be taken and wander through the woods to see the new spring flowers grow and to touch the newborn leaves on the trees. ”

Amy Barlowe Bodman first read that inscription on the penultimate page of a small black notebook she discovered while clearing out her music studio. The author was her mother, Dorothea Barlowe.

“[That quote was] certainly a poignant confirmation that everything is as it should be…” said Bodman of Akron, Ohio, of her mother’s legacy. “My mother was loving; empathetic; artistically gifted and inspiring in so many ways. She had tremendous respect for nature and all creatures and was the warmest person.”

Dorothea “Dot” Barlowe, of Massapequa, was best known for her stunning artwork depicting botanical and wildlife scenes. A creative visionary and true talent, she died of natural causes on July 21 at the age of 95, her daughter said.

Barlowe’s passion for art was evident from an early age.

As Bodman recalled, Barlowe’s love of nature inspired countless childhood and later family visits to museums, such as the American Museum of Natural History, where her fascination with the animal world and their specific environment inspired Barlowe to paint these creatures with tremendous attention to detail. to illustrate .

Born and raised in South Orange, New Jersey, she graduated early from Manhattan High School of Music & Art (now Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts) and then studied art at The Cooper Union .

She married Sy Barlowe in 1946 and they were married for 54 years, until his death in 2000. They worked as a team of wildlife illustrators for 50 years and began their professional career at the American Museum of Natural History, where Barlowe was a staff illustrator.

Together they illustrated more than 30 nature books, including Golden Nature Guides “Trees”, “Seashores” and “Non-flowering Plants”, and a wide variety of regional guides; National Audubon Society Field Guides; noted encyclopedia contributions; scientific reference books such as “The Ocean World of Jacques Cousteau,” and numerous children’s books.

The Barlowes also contributed nature centerfolds to Newsday’s Sunday Magazine.

“Dot was such an incredibly talented woman who I loved working with and who will be greatly missed. But her art, and the joy it brings, will live on forever,” said Diane Teitel Rubins, associate publisher of Dover Publications .

Barlowe taught botanical illustration at the Parsons School of Design in Manhattan and enjoyed gardening, mystery reading, traveling—especially along the East Coast to Maine and Canada’s Nova Scotia province—and, of course, painting.

The couple moved to Massapequa sometime in the late 1940s or very early 1950s, their daughter said.

“Her artistic dedication and discipline were both inspiring and foundational to the aspects of art that my brother, Wayne, and I have pursued throughout our lives,” says Bodman, who is a violinist and composer, while her brother is a well-known creature. artist.

“Dot was remarkable; so intelligent; deeply gifted and wise,” added family friend Anita King of Salem, Oregon.

The Wilderness Center (TWC) in Wilmot, Ohio, had a very special place in Barlowe’s heart and now showcases her talents. The center was entrusted with the Barlowe Collection, consisting of finished pieces, publisher’s proofs, sketches in progress, and published material.

Carrie Elvey, senior naturalist at TWC, is proud to “play a role in preserving and sharing this work.

“As nature illustrators, they are… [Dot and Sy Barlowe] has created hundreds of books and articles and thousands of images, allowing us to learn, discover and dream,” she said.

Barlowe’s family had a small memorial ceremony at a pond in the woods in the middle, where her daughter scattered her ashes. Shortly after, Barlowe’s daughter found the poem about where her mother would like her soul to stay.

In addition to her daughter, Barlowe is survived by her son, Wayne Barlowe of Rumson, New Jersey; four granddaughters; and two great-granddaughters.


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