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

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

(© Madonna Guenther, BI graduate from 2005)
(Please click the image to enlarge)

Monday, November 24, 2008

The most expensive item we can find to feast on

(from Koehler's Medicinal-Plants, 1887)

is the Saffron that can be used as a spice, a perfume, medicine and also as a dye.
A Chinese medical book from ca 2600 B.C. contains the oldest known reference to saffron. Egyptians wrote about it ca 1500 B.C. and the crocus plants were grown in the gardens at Luxor in order to get saffron. Saffron crocus blooms in the early fall. The flowers have to be collected early in the morning before it gets too warm. Then the stigmas must be picked from the flower during the same day before the aroma disappears (it contains more than 150 volatile and aroma yielding compounds). The flower and pistil collection needs to be done by hand. It takes a couple of years for a crocus bulb to flower and the bulb must be replanted after another couple of years. About 150 000 flowers are needed to produce one kilogram saffron. Saffron types are graded by quality according to laboratory measurements of such characteristics as crocin (colour), picrocrocin (taste), and safranal (fragrance) content.
Saffron is used in baking both as a spice and a dye, and is especially valued in Asia and Middle East. Saffron also plays an important roll in the Holiday food preparation in Northern Europe.
Saffron buns will be served at the BI-Holiday party on December 11th.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Café Botanique goes to South Africa

South Africa: Floral Wonderland
By Karen Marais, Cape Town, South Africa
South Africa is a country with immense botanical biodiversity. It is the only country that contains a whole Floral Kingdom; one of only 6 in the world. This is the Cape Floristic Region, in the south-western part of the country. A common term for this vegetation type is “fynbos”, which means “shrubs with fine leaves”. Karen will present a short overview of the amazing plant diversity in and around Cape Town, with photo’s of some of the most beautiful and threatened species. She will also explain what civil society volunteer groups are doing to assist with documentation and protection of these rare and endangered species.

Karen Marais (nee Friemelt) lives in Cape Town, South Africa. She is the champion of the CREW (Custodians of Rare and Endangered Wild Flowers) group. Karen was originally trained as a physical therapist, and then did honors degree in Ecological Informatics. She is an avid amateur botanist and has been volunteering in the botany field for the past 5 years.

Thursday, November 20, 2008
Denver Botanic Gardens – Morrison Center
6:30 – 8 p.m.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Denver Arts Week 2008 and BI Art Sale

This year Denver Arts Week is celebrating 150 years of Art and Culture in the Mile High City.
Denver Botanic Gardens is part of this celebration and will present artists from “Your Name in Graffiti” on Saturday, November 22, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

On the same day The Botanical Art and Illustration Program has an art sale for the benefit of the BI program. This will happen in the Gardens’ Lobby Court between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. All the art is donated by the students. Saturday, November 22nd is a free day at the Gardens.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Holiday Gifts?

(Karla Beatty, Daffodil bulb)

The Winter and Spring 2009 catalog is out! You can browse through 52 courses and I can guarantee that there is something for everybody, both for you who already graduated and likes to be challenged, and for you who just found out about the program and know nothing about illustration but is fascinated of the absolutely beautiful results.

You can find the complete catalog here, if you wish to look at the list of classes we are offering, you can see them here. The instructor pages will be updated shortly. Material lists will be available on-line by December 1st. Registration starts December 15, 9 a.m.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

10 X 100 = Denver Plein Air Arts Festival

Over 100 Colorado artists captured the beauty of the Mile High City September 6-15, 2008. This resulted to the 2nd Annual Denver Plein Air Arts Festival Exhibition in Denver Public Library (November 14 – December 31).
Opening Reception: November 13th, 6-9 p.m. in Denver Public Library (10 West 14th Avenue Parkway, Level Seven).

(Karla Beatty, Enter on Acoma, oil)

Monday, November 10, 2008

Portraits of Mushrooms with Alexander Viazmensky

Last weekend Sasha Viazmensky led an intense watercolor workshop and inspired our BI-students to paint mushrooms. His teaching was filled with individual attention and one on one demonstrations. More images from the class...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Photography or Botanical illustration?

Curtis’s Botanical Magazine discussed the subject in detail in the latest issue of the journal. Read more…