Watercolors & Prints

LA, California

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BotanicumMadeleine is taking a short break


Note from shop owner Welcome, visitors. My shop is currently closed while I prepare for a cross-country move. Please check back in July.

Note from shop owner

Last updated on Apr 26, 2019

Welcome, visitors. My shop is currently closed while I prepare for a cross-country move. Please check back in July.

Madeleine Avirov

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Madeleine Avirov


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About BotanicumMadeleine

Sales 65
On Etsy since 2013

Two days and fifty-eight years

I was eleven when I drew my brown shoe. Brown shoe on a brown table in my grammar-school classroom. Focused on rendering the stitching around an eyelet with a drawing technique I had only recently learned to call cross-hatching. In my memory, with pencil to paper, looking up and down and up again, I suddenly fell, like Alice through the looking-glass, into the space between me and shoe. Or that’s what it felt like, as if the distance between me and the shoe had closed, and that with my pencil I was drawing it into being, one mark at a time. I understood that drawing was a form of magic.

It would happen again when I was sixteen, at work for a month on a drawing of my great-grandmother, then one hundred years old. I understood something I would find the words for only years later, long after her death—that, as John Berger put it, “We who draw do so not only to make something observed visible to others but also to accompany something invisible to its incalculable destination.”

In this way my true vocation revealed itself, though it would have little to do with the long and mostly dreary work history in which, over forty years’ time, I have: scrubbed toilets and worked the grill in a fast-food restaurant; sliced bread, boxed cannoli, and bagged groceries at Catalano’s bakery; waitressed on Lee Road in Cleveland; drew portraits of patrons at an old-time amusement park, as well as assorted car parts in the back room of a sign shop; managed a newsstand and its lonely, late-night customers shopping for foreign cigarettes and pornography; edited newspaper copy on the night shift and book manuscripts at my kitchen table for a university press; shopped and cooked for a woman in a Chicago high-rise; hand-lettered wedding invitations in Copperplate calligraphy; walked the beige corridors for a dozen years in corporate publishing; illustrated magazines on the drafting table in my living room.

Around the edges of those jobs—on weekends, late at night, and then, after my son was born, in the early morning dark—I fell in love, first with watercolor, then with the rigor of Old-Master oil techniques. Through trial and error, and ceaseless experimentation, I took apart the things of the world and put them back together, searching in this way until I could “see” them. All the while I was gradually selling my work, first to friends and family, then to strangers, then to collectors in the United States, then to those abroad, then to the Fisher Museum of Art at the University of Southern California. Among my recent awards are a best-of-show in the 2010 Yosemite Renaissance XXV national juried exhibition; 2008 and 2010 Vermont Studio Center fellowships; and a 2008 John Anson Kittredge Grant. I’ve published illustrations in national and local periodicals, and completed a series of drawings commissioned by the Field Museum in Chicago. My commissioned portraits, landscapes, and works on paper are held in various private collections.

My essay about the influence of poetry on my visual work, “A Primitive Mind,” appeared in the January 2011 issue of “Poetry.” My essay on painting and memory, “Immaterial Witness: An artist excavates the ground of memory and imagination,” was published in the summer/autumn 2010 issue of the “Harvard Divinity Bulletin.”

More information about my work—in oil and on paper—may be found on my website,

* * *

The photograph above is of my community garden in Eagle Rock, a neighborhood in northeast Los Angeles, in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains—or, for the gardeners among you, hardiness zone 10b. The watercolors in the shop were (mostly) painted there. These small close-ups close the distance in time between me and the eleven-year-old and her brown shoe. In their execution, I fall through the looking-glass again, into a green architecture made up of nooks and crannies and shaded, moist spots and fertile pockets where all kinds of living things abide. In the upright networks of tomato vines or closer to the ground, beneath the broad tenting leaves of the squash, I see plants making smaller and smaller copies of themselves as they try to fill space and gather light. The figures of insects, the patterns of leaf, stem, and fruit, echo each other.

Each painting takes roughly two days and fifty-eight years. (I was born in 1955.)

With that, I’ll thank you for visiting and leave you with a story about Picasso:

One day he was drawing in a park when a woman approached him and insisted that he draw her. The artist agreed. After studying her for a moment, he made one mark on the paper, tore it from his sketchbook, and handed it to her. “It’s perfect!” she cried. “You captured my essence with one stroke, in one moment. Thank you! How much do I owe you?” Picasso said five thousand francs. “But how could you want so much money for this picture?” the woman protested. “It took you only a moment to draw it!” To which Picasso replied, “No, Madame, it took me all my life.”

Shop members

  • Madeleine Avirov

    Owner, Artist

    I’m a painter, writer, and teacher. Left Chicago in 2005 for the west coast. I’m a gardener, compulsive reader, and morning walker—with my shepherd mix, Cleo. Blessed with a wonderful son, husband John, sister Lisa, three cats, beautiful friends.

Shop policies

Last updated on May 10, 2022
Welcome to BotanicumMadeleine. It’s an honor to share my work with you.

For a few words about me and the artwork on view here, please see the ABOUT page:

My paintings are original watercolors, begun from life, en plein air (French, for “in the open air”), and further refined or finished in the studio. They are executed on Arches cold-pressed watercolor paper (cold-pressed paper is visibly textured, hot-pressed is smooth), with Holbein Artists’ Watercolors (professional grade). Arches, the gold standard in watercolor paper, is made of 100 percent cotton fibers; it is acid-free and chlorine-free, and uses no optical brighteners: its natural white color will not yellow with age. Archival value is ensured.

The prints—digital inkjet reproductions of my watercolors—are made with Epson UltraChrome archival pigment inks on Canson Infinity Arches Aquarelle Rag paper. Pigment-based inks, while more expensive than dye-based inks, are much more lightfast and chemically stable. Your print will last from 80 to 200 or more years. The matte (rather than glossy), textured paper, an acid-free, 100-percent-cotton substrate designed for inkjet technology and developed to exceed museum standards, brings the beauty of fine art to digital printing. Like Arches watercolor paper, its natural white color will not yellow with age.

The prints are produced with great care to capture the beauty of the original as closely as possible. Please know that, since color can vary from one computer monitor to the next, the colors on your screen may not precisely match those of your print. All reproductions are open edition and available only in the size indicated. Each is hand-signed on the front, titled in pencil in the margin of the mat, and titled, signed, and dated in pencil on verso.

All work on paper is fragile. Care for your new—archivally matted—art by choosing a frame with ultraviolet protection. Hang the piece away from direct sunlight and moisture.

Accepted payment methods

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Accepts Etsy Gift Cards and Etsy Credits
Returns and exchanges
I am devoted to my work and hope that it finds a similar place in your affections. If for any reason you are not satisfied, kindly return your order in the same condition and packaging in which you received it—within 7 days of receipt, based on delivery confirmation—and BotanicumMadeleine will issue a prompt refund for the cost of the art.

Return shipping costs are the responsibility of the buyer. International buyers pay all customs fees, duties, and taxes. Items lost or damaged during return shipment are the responsibility of the buyer unless the buyer has insured the return (in which case the shipper or insurer handles the claim for loss or damage).

Should there be damage or loss to your shipment, BotanicumMadeleine will issue a refund or, if possible, offer another piece in place of the original. If your package arrives damaged, please contact me as soon as possible through Etsy Conversations to discuss the return.
BotanicumMadeleine accepts Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, PayPal, and Etsy gift cards. Payments are processed in U.S. dollars. Simply click your preferred checkout option and the system will walk you through the steps. If you pay with a PayPal eCheck, please understand that your order cannot be processed until the eCheck has cleared, which may take from 3 to 5 business days.

To learn more about purchasing on Etsy, please see

A 9.00% sales tax will be charged to your order total, along with shipping and handling.

The purchase value of your order will be declared on customs forms. Your order may be subject to customs fees, taxes, or tariffs by your home country. Payment is the responsibility of the buyer. Packages that are not accompanied by a proper U.S. Customs declaration form and an invoice may be subject to seizure or forfeiture, or may be returned to sender. It is unlawful to mark packages as a gift or to declare a lesser value. Please be mindful of this when placing your order with BotanicumMadeleine.
The skill and devotion, even the love, that I bring to my work extends to the quality of the materials, the presentation (hand-cut museum-board mat), the packing (shipped flat in an archival gallery sleeve), and the shipping (USPS Priority Mail in the U.S.; First Class International or Priority International abroad).

Prints are made to order. If I have your selection in stock, orders ship within 3 days of payment receipt—weekends and U.S. federal holidays excluded. If there is a delay or your selection is not in stock, I will let you know immediately. For prints not in stock, please allow up to 10 business days for printing and shipping.

Orders are shipped via United States Postal Service (USPS) from the state of California in the United States. Shipping charges include postage and handling fees. Please note that the shipping costs posted for delivery OUTSIDE the U.S. are maximum estimates that may be higher than the rate you’ll pay. If your international shipping and handling costs come in lower than the posted amount, differences greater than $1 will be refunded.

The status of your package will be updated to “shipped” as soon as it is shipped. You’ll receive a message through Etsy Conversations confirming the shipment.

Orders are shipped USPS Priority Mail with tracking and delivery confirmation, and are insured for the first $100 in value. Signature confirmation and further insurance coverage may be available for an additional fee, depending on the destination. Estimated delivery time is 5 to 7 business days.* If you live in or near northeast Los Angeles or Pasadena, and would rather pick up your order than pay for shipping, please contact me through Etsy Conversations BEFORE PURCHASING—then I can write up a custom listing for you with free shipping. Local pickup is a cash-only transaction.

*This is an estimate only and will vary by destination and time of year. Express Mail may be purchased for an additional charge. If you choose expedited shipping, please contact me through Etsy Conversations BEFORE PURCHASING—the listing can then be updated to reflect this.

Orders of 4 lbs. (1.81 kg.) or less—1 matted print, including packaging, weighs roughly 1 lb. (.45 kg.)—are shipped USPS First Class International mail, with shipping insurance and delivery confirmation. Orders of more than 4 lbs. (1.81 kg.) are shipped USPS Priority International, with third-party insurance and tracking. Please note that the shipping costs posted are maximum estimates for USPS First Class International Mail.

On rare occasions, shipping to certain countries may incur additional charges. If there are additional shipping costs, I will notify you prior to shipment with the offer of canceling the sale and receiving a full refund. For international shipments, please provide your full name and address in English, as well as your telephone number. Estimated delivery time is 2 to 4 weeks.*

For an additional fee, depending on the destination, your First Class or Priority International mail package may be sent via Registered Mail, which offers tracking and signature confirmation at every point of your package’s journey. This service, though the safest, is also the slowest. Packages may take up to 60 days to arrive. Please contact me through Etsy Conversations for details.

*This is an estimate only and will vary by destination, time of year, and customs. Express Mail may be purchased for an additional charge. If you choose expedited shipping, please contact me through Etsy Conversations BEFORE PURCHASING— the listing can then be updated to reflect this.
Additional policies and FAQs
Please contact me through Etsy Conversations. I want you to be happy with your purchase.

Madeleine Avirov retains all copyrights on images.
Copyrights are not transferable with sale.