At eleven, Caroline Jackson-Houlston started illustrating her own wildflower record lists, and is largely self-taught. She draws to fix points of identification, but mainly because she enjoys it and wants to celebrate the natural world, and encourage others to delight in it and protect it. Apart from plants, she paints other living things, especially, since 1987, fungi.
She finds watercolour is the best medium for botanical painting, though she would not call herself a watercolourist. For a botanical study, she sets up the design with lightly pencilled geometric forms to indicate the main masses of the painting. After measurement, the specimen is drawn directly onto hot-pressed 300 gm. paper. Where the subject may not be picked, she begins with a study in situ. Although she may take photographic references, colour-matching, sizing and drawing are done direct from the subject.
Recently semi-retired from teaching English Literature at Oxford Brookes University, her most recent solo exhibition (the third) was in November 2017. After gaining silver medals from the RHS in 2000 and 2001, she won a Gold Medal and Best in Show in 2018 and a Silver-Gilt in 2019. In 2003 she was elected to the Society of Botanical Artists, and she also belongs to the Gloucestershire Society for Botanical Illustration, and The Wildlife Art Society International, and exhibits widely with the Alpine Garden Society, holding their Gold Medal and Bar for art. In 2019 she has contributed to eight exhibitions.