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

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Mostly ink in February

(1. by Mary Fowler)
When the students start at the entry level Pen and Ink course, they learn to use technical pens and start exploring the different techniques. The first exercise typically is illustrating mushrooms using mostly stipple.   

(2. by Kelly Belanger)
After the mushrooms students study dry leaves' twists and turns, and how the form affects the venation placement. This is done first with line, then with stipple and finally combining these two basic techniques.

(3. by Alba Sweeney)
Garlic is often the final piece where all the techniques learned during this 15 hour course are combined and executed with a technical pen.

Mary Ellen Cochran's interpretation of the different effects of Artemisia usage. (The Greece goddess Artemisia in the foreground) 

We are working with our Ethnobotany collection and while learning about the different items in the collection, the students are also creating pictorial stories about the uses and effects of the plants.

To see more images from our classes in February, please click here.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Reminder: 2018 Artist-in-Residency applications

Aquilegia caerulea, Rocky Mountain Columbine, watercolor by John Pastoriza Pinol, 2016 

The application time for 2018 Artist-in-residency position(s) is closing tomorrow, February 28, 23:59 MST.  The application form can be found here

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Cafe Botanique, Wed. March 7, 6:30 p.m.: Evolution of Time Measurement through Ages

Ion Clock Laser 3 (Photo James Burrus)
A Walk Through Time – The Evolution of Time Measurement through the Ages
James Burrus, Public Information and Outreach Coordinator, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Boulder

Explore the history of time and timekeeping with James Burrus of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)NIST develops standards for timekeeping and creates revolutionary technology, including an atomic clock the size of a grain of rice! The NIST-F1 atomic clock (the U.S. national standard for time and frequency) counts the natural vibrations in cesium atoms so accurately… it will neither gain nor lose a second in over 100 million years!

March 7, 2018, 6:30-8 p.m.

Gates Hall

Reserve your seat by clicking here

Friday, February 16, 2018

Big, Bold and Bright

Brownea ariza - Rose of Venezuela by Pene Yerigan

When it is cold and windy outside, and the days are short we get inspiration from our tropical conservatory and learn about plants in the tropics and warmer latitudes. See more work from our recently completed colored pencil class by clicking here.

Salacca magnifica's spiny primary vein and part of the undivided leaf by Irene Young

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Icon painting in El Charco del Ingenio

(egg tempera and gold on linden wood by Laurence Pierson)

Would you like to spend a week in San Miguel de Allende, GTO Mexico and learn icon painting. We are again collaborating with El Charco del Ingenio Botanic Garden and Laurence Pierson, one of our excellent instructors will be teaching this five-day workshop (2500 pesos = US$135 for non-menbers) . Perfect timing on March 12-16, just before the Easter. At the moment there is only few seats available.
If you are interested, please contact El Charco by email: 

(egg tempera and gold on linden wood by Laurence Pierson)

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Thurston Orchid Collection - a SBAI diploma work by Karen May

Stanhopea tigrina, watercolor on Arches paper by Karen May (painted from the artist's live plant)

At the end of January Karen May presented the synopsis of her independent study of orchids as part of her work toward a diploma in botanical illustration.

Masdevallia angulata, watercolor on Arches paper by Karen May (drawn from Thurston slides, an herbarium specimen, and a botanical illustration in the Thurston collection as reference)

Karen compiled and organized an extensive collection of documents, slides, photographs, illustrations, herbarium and live specimens accumulated during Mr. and Mrs. Thurston orchid expeditions mainly to Central and South America (1976-1985). 

Brassavola nodosa, colored pencils on Arches paper by Karen May (painted from the artist's live plant)

Karen spent the equivalent of 372 eight-hour workdays with this independent project. She organized and digitized 279 botanical illustrations, 2371 slides and over 260 photos, and indexed them to spreadsheet data. All the originals were organized in archival sleeves and folders, she also indexed the 159 Thurston collection herbarium specimens from the Kathryn Kalmbach Herbarium to a spreadsheet data. In addition to this she produced a 50-page document about the collection, and created 5 botanical illustrations from the species included the orchid material. 
Phragmipedium besseae, watercolor on Arches paper by Karen May (painted from the artist's live plant)

Karen provided historical perspective for the Thurston orchid collection. Her careful research and  ability to organize this collection helps us to understand and utilize it better in the future. Karen's meticulous work adds true value to the Thurston collection for Denver Botanic Gardens.

Psychopsis krameriana, watercolor on Arches paper by Karen May (painted from the artist's live plant)

Very well done – Congratulations Karen!

Friday, February 2, 2018

Plants with stimulate alkaloids from Africa in Cafe Botanique, Thursday Feb. 8

Thursday, February 8, 6:30-8 p.m.
Gates Hall

Wild and cultivated stimulant plant qat in areas of historic cultivation
Mark P. Simmons, Ph.D. Colorado State University, Fort Collins

Qat (Catha edulis) is a woody plant native to eastern Africa that is cultivated for stimulant alkaloids. The wild origins and dispersal of cultivars have only been described in contradictory historical documents. Mark will present genetic evidence documenting the wild origins, human-mediated dispersal, and genetic divergence of cultivated qat compared to wild qat in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Yemen.

Dr. Mark Simmons is currently Professor and Curator of the herbarium at College of Natural Sciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins.

Reserve your seat by clicking here

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Getting started in January

Biodiversity and Hidden Links, Joanne Katz, graphite

January is almost over and all the daily activities in our classroom have resumed. In 2018 we are focusing on biodiversity and the hidden links in the nature. We will highlight organisms, both fungi and animals (including not only mammals, birds and reptiles but also insects and other invertebrates) which are connected and depending on the plant kingdom. 
Please follow this link to see some works from our entry level courses completed in January.

  Colored Pencil I, Toria Clark, colored pencil and graphite

Monday, January 22, 2018

Explore the William and Beatrice Thurston Orchid Collection with Karen May

 (Encyclia asperula added to the Denver Botanic Gardens' collection in 1977 with an accession # 772068*1, photo: M. Hjelmroos-Koski)

Exploring the William and Beatrice Thurston Orchid Collection with Karen May 

Sunday, January 28, 1-2:30 p.m.  
Gates Hall

In connection with the Orchid Showcase, join Karen May as she shares her research on Denver Botanic Gardens’ William and Beatrice Thurston Orchid Collection. Through field notes, photographs, specimens and botanical illustrations, learn more about this unique collection and the Thurstons’ passion for orchids.

Karen May received the Foundational Certificate in Botanical Illustration from Denver Botanic Gardens’ School of Botanical Art & Illustration in 2012. This presentation is part of her work towards a diploma in Botanical Illustration.

Café Botanique is a program within the School of Botanical Art and Illustration and is open to everyone. The 30-40 minute talk starts at 1 p.m. and is followed by a discussion. Café Botanique generally meets on select Wednesdays, each time with a different topic relating to Denver Botanic Gardens’ Botanical Illustration curriculum. Registration is mandatory.

Reserve your seat by following this link.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Welcome the Spring - Create a Garden Flag

(Libby Kyer, colored pencil)

Nothing welcomes spring and adds early color to your garden like a floral flag fluttering in the breeze. Banners and garden flags are a great way to display your personality as well as add color to your yard, porch or garden. They add that extra flair to your home.

Join Libby for a weekend of exploration and creativity that will energize your art. Create your own unique flag, working in colored pencil on paper or Pastel Board. Learn to create an image that sings spring. Then, using your own art, you’ll design your flag. Once digitized, your design will be printed on fabric.
Register here for the remaining seats.
(Libby Kyer, colored pencil)