Bookshelf    Wildlings


By Mary Anne McLean, Forward by Robin A. Jess (Sisco Publishing, 2016)

Gorgeously illustrated, this book by Rhinebeck-based “artist, author, and explorer” Mary Anne McLean is a meditative stroll between covers. Ranging from Westchester County to coastal Maine, McLean draws and reflects on familiar plants (and occasional creatures) in exquisite detail, watching them grow over time.  Her delicate, up-slanted handwriting enfolds the ink and watercolor-pastel artwork, slowing the reader to the contemplative pace of a walker encountering a blossoming flower on a morning walk. The book is divided into three sections—Fields, Woods, and Watery Places–each with an accompanying essay.  Robin A. Jess, executive director of the American Society of Botanical Artists, contributes an appreciative foreword, observing that McLean “has fallen under the spell of nature. She approaches phenomena with wonder.” Her original drawings are housed in the permanent archives of the New York Botanical Garden’s library.