The intricate study of plants and the illustrations botanists have used over the centuries to identify different genera and species has fascinated me since I was a child. At that time I remember copying drawings from my mother’s gardening books. As a young adult, I began collecting old hand coloured lithographs and was captivated by the detail and accuracy of colour, form and texture the artists employed. At this time, my personal life threw me into a world full of rare and unusual plants as my partner was a plants person and nursery owner with considerable knowledge and a seemingly endless supply of subject matter. In 1989 I began working in the travel industry and this gave me the opportunity to travel extensively often trekking into remote areas for weeks at a time to record, photograph and draw plants in their natural habitat. Since undertaking seven years of study with renowned artist Anita Barley in 2006, botanic art has become my over-riding passion, interest and obsession.
Craig’s working life began in the arts but moved to the travel industry after a few years. He has since travelled extensively recording, photographing and drawing plants in their natural habitat. In the late 1980’s Craig studied drawing and watercolour at the Council of Adult Education, Melbourne, and at art classes in the Macedon Ranges. Craig studied botanic art with renowned artist Anita Barley from 2006 to 2013 and has organised various botanic art workshops with a variety of established artists, both local and international, through the Mt Macedon Horticultural Society.
Since 2010 Craig has annually exhibited at the Melbourne Botanic Garden’s exhibitions, The Art of Botanical Illustration and reframing Nature – a Natural History Exhibition and has exhibited at Botanica, Sydney Botanic Gardens. In 2012 Craig exhibited in Capturing Flora: 300 years of Australian botanical art, Ballarat Art Gallery. As a member of the Societe Francaise d’Illustration Botanique Craig exhibited in France for exhibitions including the 17th World Rose Conference at the Jardin Botanique Lyon, France, 2015, Les Journes des Plantes – ‘Jardin gourmand’, Domaine de Chantilly, France 2016 and 2017. Recently Craig exhibited at the 16th International Exhibition of Botanical Art & Illustration, 2019; Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Pittsburgh, USA.
Craig’s solo exhibitions include An Inquisitive Eye: the botanical art of Craig Lidgerwood, Sofitel Melbourne on Collins, Melbourne 2012, Small Wonders – Woodend Winter Arts Festival 2015, Black Anther Gallery, Woodend, Natural Obsession: botanic art of Craig Lidgerwood, Sofitel Melbourne on Collins, Melbourne 2016-2017.
In 2010, Craig and his artwork were featured on ABC television’s Sunday arts programme, Art Nation, and his work has also featured in Gardening Australia’s 30th Anniversary programme in 2019 and Fairfax media, Tugurium, 2014. Craig’s work has featured in numerous magazine and newspaper articles and was exhibited at Vivid Design’s Gold Medal Awarded ‘The Gardener’s Library’, Melbourne International Flower Show 2014. In 2008, he illustrated Stephen Ryan’s book, Dicksonia Rare Plants Manual and book illustrations also include Influential Australian Garden People, 2016.
Craig works as a full-time artist and illustrator, and also works as a tutor of Botanic Art at both the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne and the Geelong Botanic Gardens.
Craig’s passion for travel has seen him visit parts of Eastern Europe, South America, South and Eastern Africa, Madagascar, India, North Western USA, Ireland and the United Kingdom. Craig is an adventurous traveller, trekking in Eastern Nepal, Kilimanjaro, the Andes and the Inca Trail, Darjeeling and Sikkim. Craig has also spent three months walking in southwest France, the French Pyrénées and Corsica.
Craig first joined ASA as a Tour Manager in 2009, and has since led numerous ASA tours including:
- Natural Landscapes and Gardens of New Zealand’s South Island (2022)
- Natural Landscapes & Gardens of Morocco (2019)
- Landscapes, Art & Gardens of the Côte d’Azur, Provence & the Cévennes (2018)
- The Living Eden: Madagascar’s Unique Flora and Fauna (2016)
- Gardens, Villages & Châteaux of North Western France (2009, 2010, 2014, 2017)