Walk along the main street in Thomas, WV and you will no doubt be distracted by the unique art that decorates the windows of the many galleries that call Front Street home. If you pause in front of Bloom (formerly Lamplight), artist Rosalie Haizlett’s illustrated map of Blackwater Falls State Park might draw you in, where, upon entering, you may not be able to leave without one of her watercolor prints or a sticker featuring a local critter.
A Wheeling, WV native, Rosalie has been illustrating stories and painting her natural surroundings since she was old enough to hold a brush. The daughter and granddaughter of a design professor and painter, respectively, creating and telling stories through art is arguably written in her DNA. Her watercolors primarily feature whimsical but realistic bits of nature- ranging from ferns to mushrooms to flower buds to beavers. The ability to learn about her subjects while she paints and creates is why she’s chosen to focus on nature. Her “field palette” allows her to often capture the essence of each organism right there in their habitats.
Because Rosalie can create illustrated work for clients remotely, she operates a traveling illustration studio. In the past few years, she has lived and created art in South Korea, Jordan, France, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and most recently, the New River Gorge in West Virginia. She says it wasn’t until her time in the Smoky Mountains that she realized the incredible potential for education and connection that her art creates. Hosting workshops and interacting with people eager to learn opens up the doors for conservation education. Her work features critters like the Cheat Mountain salamander, an endangered species, and illustrated maps of state parks that bring awareness to the scarcity and importance of protecting these creatures and the places that they call home. She’s also created pieces for fly fishing companies, marketing materials for local farms, the WV mushroom club, and other brands who value conservation and sustainability.
Rosalie is spending the month of August in Maine, painting and learning about Puffins, but stop by Bloom in September or October to meet her and snag a beautiful little piece of WV to take home with you. You can also find her work on Etsy and in several other galleries around the area, featuring her most recently completed illustrated map of Dolly Sods. You can watch a short video of Rosalie at work here.