Emma Armstrong Ervin began her Colorado Wildflowers series in 1914 and over the next 20 years it grew to more than 175 paintings. This piece features three native Colorado wildflowers: a giant red Indian paintbrush (Castilleja miniata), a splitleaf Indian paintbrush (Castilleja rhexiifolia) and a sulphur Indian paintbrush (Castilleja septentrionalis). Ervin’s titles reflect where and when the flowers were drawn; the location of this illustration, Navajo Peak, is in the Indian Peaks Wilderness near Nederland, CO.
About the Artist
Emma Armstrong Ervin (1874-1957) was born in Georgetown, Ohio and attended the Cincinnati Art Academy. In 1895, she moved to Colorado where she befriended Enos Mills, a notable Colorado naturalist who became known as the father of Rocky Mountain National Park. Mills frequently brought specimens to Ervin to draw, piquing her interest in wildflower preservation.
Ervin was an active member of the Colorado Mountain Club and in 1917 became the chairman of the Nature Protection Committee. She illustrated various articles for the magazine Trail and Timberline, and in the 1950s her watercolors of Colorado plants attracted the attention of the Colorado Forestry and Horticulture Association, who purchased the collection.