Donna Miskend

category: Literary, Visual,

Contact & Info

Artist Statement

Nature influences my art spiritually, in the colors and organic qualities that appear as both the main subject and as decorative elements. I create botanical and natural science illustration.  Inspiration for my other artwork comes from Art Nouveau and the decorative arts, along with artists such as Matisse for his lines and use of pattern and color.  While I primarily use watercolor, I enjoy other mediums. A selection of work in different galleries and a blog devoted to nature is on my website. Nature and literature is also a recurring theme in the exhibits I curate.  2018 Eye on Nature, Artists Explore the World of Plants and Animals introduced audiences to scientific illustration. I’m most proud of Dickens, A Celebration in Pictures where I brought together a wide range of collaborators who shared their expertise on Dickens in programs for kids through adults.  The catalog and exhibit information is included in the bicentennial archives of The Dickens Museum in London by invitation.  Other exhibits: Fairy Tales at the Brooklyn Central Library Youth Wing, brought a contemporary eye to multicultural stories. The 2017 Edgar Allan Poe Illustrated exhibit included little known works by this globally revered writer. The exhibit traveled as part of a broader exhibit at the Poe festival. Visit my news blog for highlights on these exhibits and the Conversations blog for interviews with people in the arts. Professional memberships include American Society of Botanical Artists, the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) as an author/illustrator, and a board member of the Children’s Book Illustrators Group (CBIG), where I was President for five years. I also work with The August Strindberg Repertory Theatre as a graphic designer/illustrator, creating illustrations projected on stage as part of the set design, along with their posters and programs. In addition to art workshops, I lecture on art and develop public programming as part of exhibits. I am also a contributing writer to the Botanical Artist journal. I participate annually as a guest judge for the Scholastic Writing Awards and the Morgan Book Project for children (Morgan Library & Museum), a program that utilizes art and writing related to core curriculum subjects. Other literacy programs I participate with are the American Booksellers Foundation for Freedom of Expression (ABFE) and Kids Right to Read, World Book Night U.S., Irish Arts Center's Book Day, and as a story time reader for the Morgan’s Beatrix Potter Exhibit Family Program and  150 Yrs of Alice In Wonderland. An exhibiting artist throughout the U.S., I continue to work on commercial design and illustration and writing projects. For news visit my website and all info blog.

Educational Background

BA, Art History (minor: psychology), New York University.  Continuing Education courses: New York Botanical Gardens (certificate track); School of Visual Arts/Pratt/Parsons School of Design/Fashion Institute of Technology, Animation, Children's Book Illustration, Textile Design, Surface Design and New School For Social Research (teaching ESL).  Notable teachers I've studied with: Don Duga, Gregg Webb, Monica Wellington, Elizabeth Sayles, Pat Cummings, Richard Pionk.

Teaching Artist Experience

An award-winning artist, Donna’s artwork has been exhibited throughout the US.  She is also a designer for The August Strindberg Repertory Theatre productions and other commercial ventures.  Her writing includes articles and fiction. Donna curates exhibits with educational programming for children through adults including art sessions, guest speaker talks, panels, and interviews.  Previous exhibits include Mother Goose Re-Imagined, Edgar Allan Poe Illustrated, and recently Eye on Nature, Artists Explore the World of Plants and Animals.  Donna has conducted art workshops with adults, seniors, and for children where she addresses common core studies.  She holds a B.A. in Art History, a discipline that informs all her endeavors.  As former President of the Children’s Book Illustrator Group (Jan. 2009- Feb. 2014), she increased public awareness for the group. As an educator, she wants to engage both children and adults in understanding art and shares her expertise as an artist in the creation of art.  “Art should be fun, inspiring and informative.  It’s my world and I love it.”  Her art workshops explore a variety of visual art techniques, traditional mediums, and materials that can be "up-cycled" for use in projects.  She continues to be a guest judge for the Scholastic Writing Awards, the Morgan Library & Museum's Morgan Book Project for children. She has worked with elementary schools in Mt. Vernon, including Grimes and Edward Williams Elementary Schools, in Yonkers with Casimir Pulaski, Eugenio Maria de Hostos MicroSociety and Foxfire Schools, Woodland High School, community centers such as Unity Gardens in Mount Vernon, and Sterling Community Center in White Plains. She also holds workshops for libraries and other venues throughout Westchester and New York City for all ages.