Art Philosophy

All of my work is based on my love of nature and the outdoors. I like to paint subjects that show beauty and serenity, things that can be hard to find in the hustle and bustle of the modern world.

I have worked in both colored pencil and in watercolor, sometimes combining the two. With colored pencil one can create wonderful textures and optical mixing of colors, while the richness of color and quality of light with watercolor are hard to resist. I am now painting and drawing directly on the computer (in both Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator). It is far more forgiving than either colored pencil or watercolor, it works especially well for pieces intended for reproduction, and it is easier on my hands.

Current Projects

My obsession with learning all about the flora of the Western Cascades (my “backyard” mountains) has resulted in a long term project to write a book on the plants and great plant hikes of the area. The title will be Mountain Plants of the Western Cascades and Where to Find Them. This is a huge undertaking and one I am enjoying thoroughly. I have been working on it off and on for a number of years already but have quite a ways still to go. In answer to the question “When will it be done?” I can only say “When it is ready.” My painting is on hold for the time being, but the writing, photography, and layout of the book thoroughly satisfy my creative juices. I have also created a website with information on the Western Cascades and its flora at westerncascades.com. You can find samples of the book there as well.

I am also currently working on design, layout, and editing of the upcoming three-volume Flora of Oregon (see the OregonFlora website for more details on the book and how to purchase it). The first and second volumes have been completed (!), and we are now working on Volume 3. This is a long-term, time-consuming, but enjoyable project. As of 2021, I’m also working for the Flora of North America in a very similar capacity. I’m learning a ton about plants and graphic design. However, all this flora work is going to delay the completion of my own book even longer.

My long-dormant passion for quilts has been reignited, and—in what spare time I have—I am learning lots of new techniques to create art quilts. Using a sewing machine is easier on my hands than colored pencil but still allows me to express my love of nature. I hope to have some items for sale sometime in the future.


I enjoy the quiet life in the country outside of Eugene, Oregon, where I’ve been since 1993 (I’m a transplant from New England). My home is shared with my husband, Jim Babson, my two feline companions, Phoebe and Jasmine, and lots of wild creatures including deer, coyotes, squirrels, skunks, newts, and many birds.
I also love growing plants in my own garden—a combination of rock garden and woodland—with many native species. And I have been working hard the last few years to do restoration in the conifer forest, oak, and meadow habitats of my property. You can see more about this at the Middle Fork Watershed Council website.

I learn so much watching plants go from seed to bloom (when I can get them to germinate!). Gardening is a wonderful combination of art and science. If only it weren’t such hard physical work. I’ve found that—at least at my age—gardening, drawing, and sewing cannot all be done at the same time, so both art and gardening are somewhat on the back burner while my hands heal from overuse over the last couple of years and I focus on the Flora and my own plant book.


Tanya Harvey
40237 Reuben Leigh Rd.
Lowell, OR 97452-9712
info [at] tanyaharveydesign.com (please change the [at] to @)