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

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Colorado's Lost Apples in Cafe Botanique

Colorado's Lost Apples: Rediscovering our Forgotten Legacy

Katharine Suding, Ph.D., University of Colorado, Boulder

Join us to learn about the Boulder Apple Tree Project, which strives to map, identify and preserve the amazing biological and historical heritage of apples in Colorado. In the mid-1800s, there were thousands of unique varieties of apples in the United States, some of the most astounding diversity ever developed in a food crop. Later, the apple industry narrowed their promotion to only a handful of varieties and the rest were forgotten. These forgotten varieties became commercially extinct but not biologically extinct; some trees remained near old homesteads and in abandoned orchards. This story played out in many places such as Colorado, where remnants of old orchards dot the landscape. Here, these abandoned trees represent cultivars that have resisted disease and the environmental stress of a dry climate as well as the genetic diversity absent from commercial apple production.

Professor Katharine Suding is a plant community ecologist, professor of environmental biology and a fellow of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at University of Colorado Boulder. She works at the interface of ecosystem, landscape and population biology. Her goal is to apply cutting-edge 'usable' science to the challenges of restoration, species invasion and environmental change.

Gates Hall, Wednesday February 20, 6:30-8 p.m.

Reserve your seat by clicking here

Chenango Strawberry, watercolor by M. Palmer (The Archives and Special Collections of Colorado State University Libraries)

Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Historic Palmer Wax Apple Collection

 Each of the apples are labelled and numbered by Ms. Palmer. This variety is Stayman's Winesap collected from Canyon City, CO; the date on the card is February 1905 (grower J.E.Snow)

Colorado State University Morton Library's Special Collections houses an unique set of more than 80 wax apples with related illustrations created by Miriam A. Palmer in the early 20th century.
One of the exceptional illustrations by Ms. M. Palmer (watercolor and graphite)

Ms. Miriam Augusta Palmer was born in Pennsylvania on August 28, 1878. She enrolled in the University of Kansas and received her M.A. in Art in 1904. She became associated with the Colorado Experiment Station of Colorado Agricultural College as an Illustrator and Instructor of Drawing in 1904. 
Ms. Palmer was considered an expert for her ability to illustrate insects, but also to create life-like wax models of fruit. Most of the wax apple models of Colorado varieties were created in 1905 and 1906. 
In 1925 Ms. Palmer earned her M.S. in entomology from Colorado Agricultural College where she served as associate professor of entomology and zoology until 1951. She was a recognized world authority on aphids. 
Plate I from the Aphids of the Rocky Mountain Region, text and illustrations by Miriam A. Palmer , 1952 (The Thomas Say Foundation, Volume V,  452 pages)

Colorado State University honored Ms. Palmer with the D. Sc. Honorary degree in 1959, she died in Fort Collins in 1977.
CSU is in process of digitizing this amazing collection to make the history of the early Colorado apple varieties available for wider audiences.

Please see more images of the Palmer Collection by clicking here

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Observing deciduous trees and shrubs in Winter

Syringa vulgaris, ink and colored pencil by Jane G. Smith

We often think that identifying dormant deciduous plants is complicated. These few examples illustrates how dormant twigs are bursting with beautiful energy, textures and colors providing important information before the leaves appear. In addition to fresh plant material the students were using Bernd Schulz’s monumental work: Identification of Treesand Shrubs in Winter using Buds and Twigs (including 700 species and over 1400 color illustrations) as their textbook.
For more images please click here.
 Tilia cordata, ink and colored pencil by Mary Crabtree

Monday, January 28, 2019

Inspired by Frida Kahlo

Portrait of a loved one by Jane Smith, paint, embroidery and photo transfer

Frida Kahlo’s self-portraits resonate femininity, grace and strength.  At our 2018 SanMiguel de Allende tour, the group participated in a mixed media class focusing on Frida Kahlo’s Botanicals. 
Portrait of a loved one by Roberta Lutgens, paint, embroidery and photo transfer

Inspired by Kahlo’s iconic style the students used photo portraits of themselves or loved ones, and incorporated the local flora with paint and embroidery in their plates. The portrait photo was transferred to the plate by using a photo transfer method.

Portrait of the twin sons by Maredith Feniak (The instructor), paint, embroidery and photo transfer

We will be repeating this class on-site at Denver Botanic Gardens in February-March (starting on Wednesday February 20, 1-4 p.m.) – we still have some seats available for registration.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Invisible links at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden!

Sword-Billed Hummingbird and Passion Flower - northern banana passionfruit (Passiflora mixta), sword-billed hummingbird (Ensifera ensifera). 
The sword-billed hummingbird and the northern banana passion fruit have co-evolved in South America's montane cloud forest. With a bill nearly 4 inches long, this hummingbird is the only species able to reach the sweet nectar at the base of the passion flower. (Charlotte Ricker, 2018, colored pencil and watercolor) 

Our last year's BI-exhibit Invisible Links is out on travel! The exhibit will open on January 26 at Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont, North Carolina. The exhibit is part of DSBG's 2019 Art & Orchid events and will be on view until March 3, 2019.

Please make sure to visit if you are in Belmont, NC

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Immersed in the Burren - Diploma Presentation

Immersed in the Burren: A Botanical Journey through the West of Ireland
Michael Campbell

Join Michael Campbell for a reflection on his numerous expeditions to a region located on the western edge of Ireland known as the Burren. Due to its unique geology, climate and diversity of flora and fauna, the Burren is an area of great ecological interest and contains over 70% of the country’s flowering plant species. Campbell will share his botanical adventures and his artwork, inspired by the region’s distinct landscape.

- This is Michael Campbell's presentation for Diploma in Applied Botanical Illustration

After 30 years as a graphic designer, art director and creative director, Campbell has embarked on a second career as a botanical artist. He is a graduate from the School of Botanical Art and Illustration in 2010 and is currently studying within the Diploma Program. In addition to his personal studies, Campbell shares his love for the arts and botany through teaching at University of Colorado Boulder, Regis University and Front Range Community College.

Sunday, January 20, 1-2:30 p.m.  
 Mitchell Hall

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Prayer Trees of Colorado in Cafe Botanique

Prayer Trees of Colorado

John Wesley Anderson

Join local author John Wesley Anderson for a discussion on prayer trees in Colorado. Anderson will introduce characteristics of these trees, which can be identified through unique shapes and growth patterns, large areas of missing bark, pruning or scars. These living artifacts provide rich ethnobotanical information.

John W. Anderson is an author, artist and consultant. He has written and published several non-fiction books with the Old Colorado City Historical Society.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019 - 6:30-8 p.m.
Gates Hall

Reserve your seat by clicking here

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Happy New Year 2019

Autumn leaves, colored pencil by Karen Mahnken

To start the New Year please enjoy some images from late last year. Every year we offer at least one class in textile design, this time the class was inspired by English textile artist Lesley Richmond and her nature inspired work.
Ernst Haeckel inspired class challenged the students to create complex arrangements. Ernst Haeckel was a German naturalist who named and described thousands of new species (mainly marine) in the later part of the 19th century. Haeckel was a master of symmetry and organization.

To see more images from these classes and few others, please click here.

Trumpet vine with humming birds, watercolor by Sue Carr

Monday, December 24, 2018

Merry Christmas to all our readers!

Castilleja sp., watercolor by Cathleen Harrington

Friday, December 21, 2018

The final days of our 2018 SMA Tour

Roberta Lutgen's Frida Kahlo influenced interpretation (in process)

Our two last days in San Miguel went very fast: the Frida Kahlo class in the morning followed by more independent exploration of SMA during the afternoons. We all agreed that ten days is too short a period to absorb all the information, and learn about San Miguel’s colorful past. 
Many of the participants would have enjoyed more sketching which we will be doing in March 2019 when Dr. Sarah Simblet from Oxford, U.K.  will teach a sketching class on birds and plants of El Charco (March 16-24). During that week we’ll be spending the majority of the class time in El Charco del Ingenio gardens. For the cultural part we’ll explore Guanajuato, Atotonilco with Dolores Hidalgo, and the CaƱada de la Virgen Archaeological Site in addition to specific tours around the heart of San Miguel de Allende.
To see some photos from our final days in San Miguel de Allende, please click here.
While the Frida Kahlo class was working inside, Randy went back to El Charco and did some painting of the canyon and the old water pipe (Randy Raak, gouache) - please click to enlarge