It takes a gifted artist to become a great teacher and those who dare to teach never cease to learn.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Observation and Documentation


Clematis texensis, entry level watercolor, Mary Burns

Botanical Illustration as any other scientific illustration field is based on observation and documentation. In July we had a class which started with a field trip to Chatfield Farms, our 750-acre native plant refuge and working farm in southern Jefferson County.  Denver Botanic Gardens' research department works also with an extensive conservation project on this site. The BI-students learned the whole process of documentation, from collecting and pressing the plant to reconstruction and completing a final scientific pen and ink plate. You can see works from this class in addition to some other works from our other June classes by clicking here.
 Prunus virginianapen and ink, Carla Pawlewicz

Friday, June 24, 2016

Potions, Poisons and Panaceas - open for submissions!

(Psilocybe zapotecorum by Martha Narey. This mushroom was named for the Zapotec indians and its Zapotec name badao zoo translates as "drunken mushroom")

We are now accepting entries for our September 8 - October 28, 2016 juried exhibition of contemporary botanical illustrations: Potions, Poisons and Panaceas, featuring plants and fungi with medicinal properties. Submission deadline is July 10, 2016 (11:59 p.m. MDT).
We are looking forward to your work!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Miniatures and more at Midsummer times


Pen and ink by Joanna Webster
The summer solstice with the strawberry moon was few days ago, the length of the daylight time in the northern hemisphere has culminated and the wildflowers are flourishing. Tomorrow is the Midsummer Eve which is traditionally linked to many magical and supernatural aspects especially in Northern Europe (Finland and Sweden).
In spite of the summer and vacation times our teaching schedule continues in the Hibiscus-classroom. Please keep in mind the availability of the spectacular specimens during the summer for your botanical drawings and browse our summer/fall catalog for suitable classes. The online registration can be found by clicking here.
You can see more works from our current classes by clicking here

Miniature study by Beth Bradford, ink applied with quill. 

Monday, June 6, 2016

May 2016 is history and Summer is here!

Pulsatilla sp. by Linda Forbess, watercolor

In the beginning of May Christabel King from U.K. visited us and we had the privilege to enjoy her tutoring for 5 days in Hibiscus classroom. The theme of the course was fine details in watercolor and a pasque flower (Pulsatilla sp.) was perfect subject matter for this undertaking. 
Christabel King is a botanist and has been doing illustrations mainly for Kew Gardens and The Curtis’s Botanical Magazine for 40 years.  She has a vast experience in the field as a tutor and illustrator, and will most likely return to Denver in the near future.
To see some more images from this course and other completed May classes please click here.


Walnut enlarged (still in process), Mary Francis, carbon dust

Monday, May 16, 2016

Shakespeare's Bouquet

Fairest Flowers by Beth Bradford, Cymbeline, Act 4, Scene 2, Lines 280-286 (watercolor, ink and colored pencil).  The romantic comedy Cymbeline will be performed at the Colorado Shakespeare Festival from July 14th through August 7th. 

To honor the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death the book First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare is on tour from the Folger Shakespeare Library to all 50 states, Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. University of Colorado, Boulder was named the Colorado host and the First Folio will be on display in the CU Art Museum from August 9th to August 31st, 2016.  To complement the folio the Norlin University Library in Boulder is exhibiting a great number of works from the School of Botanical Art and Illustration. All these 20 art works reflect plants found in writings of the Bard
If you are in Boulder, this beautifully installed exhibit is absolutely worth the visit. Other programs and events connected to the First Folio in CU-Boulder can be seen here.
Please click here to see some photos from the exhibit. Shakespeare's Bouquet will be on display until October 14, 2016. 


Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Thursday, May 5, 2016

April in the Classroom

Pansies from Mysterious Yellows by Shiere Mellin 

Some of us were travelling in April while those who stayed home were working hard in the classroom. We had several entry level and advanced classes completed recently. To see some examples of the work, please click here
Tomatillo from Pencil I by Azara Golston

Shakespeare's Bouquet

(please click to enlarge)

Sunday, May 1, 2016

2016 Arts and Archives Tour: Department of Archives and History at the NHM in Vienna

Jan Gabriel Pretre, "Napoleone Imperiale", colorized copper engraving,1804 (Napoleonaea imperialis P.Beauv.). 
This new species was dedicated to Napoleon and presented on Oct. 8  1804 at the Academy of Sciences in Paris. This is the third example known of the depiction (the other two are in Paris and include the the plant description). Since Napoleon had already been exiled on St. Helena when this appeared, the dedication and the Imperial eagle were removed from the later printings. There is no record how this extraordinary print came to the Natural History Museum in Vienna.

The final destination of our 2016 Arts and Archives tour was the Department of Archives and History at the Natural History Museum of Vienna.  The department consists of several main collections; our focus was on the original paintings, i.e., the picture collection. We were also able to visit their conservation unit.  Our excellent guides were the department head and her crew.
We were fortunate to see a fraction of the thousands of original drawings which are housed in this department. Some of the biggest parts of the collections consist of around 2,500 pencil drawings by Ferdinand L.  Bauer (1760 – 1826), purchased by Emperor Franz I, the husband of Maria Theresa during the later part of the 18th century.  The collections also include 3,400 plates of Aaron's rod plants (Araceae) from the Heinrich Wilhelm Schott (1794 – 1865) collection, purchased by Emperor Franz Joseph I, and numerous other picture collections.

I wish we would have had more time to spend here.To see some of the originals we could see, please click here. 

From the picture collection of Heinrich Wilhelm Schott. His collection of mainly the Araceae-family includes 3400 plates. Schott too part in the Brazilian expedition organized by Emperor Franz I in 1817-1821. The gouache painting is by Ed. Nickelli and Wenzel Liepoldt. The collection includes also plates painted by Ferdiand Bauer, Wenzel Liebold, J. Oberer, J. Seboth and Zehner. 

In the end of this visit we also had the possibility to do another Museum Marathon before the Museum of Natural History closed the doors for that Monday.  

The Natural history Museum houses one of the most important mineralogical collections in the world. The 1000 different minerals are systematically arranged in four different halls. 

Botanical Projection by Katie Scott

The multinational French advertising company Publicis commissioned Katie Scott to create this beautiful installation to their London Office. Enjoy!