Theodore Payne Gallery

The Theodore Payne Gallery at our Sun Valley headquarters is open to the public during business hours. Three exhibitions are offered each year, featuring contemporary, modern and historic artists whose work is influenced by our state flora, landscape and natural history.

Joan Keesey
Salvia spathacea, Hummingbird Sage
Watercolor on paper

Current Exhibition

Joan Keesey: Wildflowers at Theodore Payne 
Saturday, January 21 through Saturday, 
April 22, 2017

Opening Reception: Saturday, January 21, 1:00-3:00pm, with Artist Talk at 2:00pm. Refreshments will be served.


In 2012, the Theodore Payne Gallery exhibited a beautiful series of watercolors by artist Joan Keesey, illustrating wildflowers from the Mineral King Valley of Sequoia National Park. Since that time, Joan has said that should she be invited to exhibit with TPF again, she would focus her artwork on the native plants blooming in and around the Foundation and the Santa Monica Mountains. Luckily for us, that time is now, and we are proud to present Joan Keesey: Wildflowers at Theodore Payne, opening Saturday, January 21, and on view through April 22. All pieces in the new show are watercolor on paper.

Joan practices the art of botanical illustration, a very precise art that appeals to the analytical side of her mind. As Joan explains, a botanical illustrator “has to observe the details of the plant: structure, leaf shape and veins, number and arrangement of petals and sepals, stamens, pistil, etc. Once this detail has been observed and noted, the illustrator has to decide how to show the details, as well as how to portray a three-dimensional structure on a two-dimensional surface. Like science, it requires thought and organization.”

Joan is a retired computer programmer and data analyst, formerly with the RAND Corporation, and holds a degree in mathematics. An influential sixth grade teacher taught her how to paint roses and pansies with watercolor. She has always enjoyed drawing plants, but after retirement she dedicated time to refining her skills as a botanical illustrator. Joan is a member of the American Society of Botanical Artists and the Botanical Artists Guild of Southern California.

Come meet Joan and experience the beauty and detail of her original artwork at the Theodore Payne Gallery on Saturday, January 21, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., with a  free artist talk at 2:00. Light refreshments will be served.

Prints and notecards of the show’s artwork will be available for purchase at the opening and through the run of the exhibition.