In the painting, which is enormous, you can see the hairs on Charlotte's hide and the sleepy look in her eye.

Her commissions take many forms — a flower from your garden, a bird in the woods that evokes special memories, the turkey feather found on a walk — and can cost upward of several thousand dollars. But the New York Graphic Society came calling, and posters of her botanical prints can be purchased for about $25.

The compact kitchen in her Baltimore apartment is decorated with drawings of eggplants and strawberries, peas and grapes. In the living room, a white peony sits on an easel, the traditional display for a cherished botanical.

Page has a national reputation for resurrecting the art of naturalist paintings, with its minute attention to detail. She says she wants to preserve her foxes, frogs and turtles for the future, just as her predecessors did before the innovation of photography.

"The journey," as she calls her research for each painting, "is hugely inspiring. It makes you paint them with more feeling. You want to show them in a special way."

The fox is the centerpiece of the gallery show and it is full of life on Page's canvas, galloping across a rock wall and about to leap a split-rail fence. Hard to believe that it was quite dead and very stuffed.


If you go

'Contemporary Artists: Naturalists Meg Page and Robin Hill' Through Feb. 23 at the National Sporting Library and Museum, 102 The Plains Road, Middleburg, Va., 540-687-6543. Free admission. Hours are Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Closed on federal holidays and during bad weather.