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

Friday, August 28, 2009

Botanical Art and Illustration Student Art Show 2009

(© Natalia Zuber, 2009)

Botanical Art and Illustration Student Art Show
September 26 – November 8, 2009
Student show reception and celebration for the 2009 Graduates:
September 27, 2-5 p.m.
(For more information and the Entry form, please click here.)

Thursday, August 27, 2009


The Rocky Mountain Society of Botanical Artists was founded in 1997 as the first regional chapter of the American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA). The Society is open to all artists interested in preserving and growing the tradition of botanical art.

I encourage all the students of the Botanical Illustration Program join this society where you get wonderful support and camaraderie from fellow artists.
When you join RMSBA you will automatically become a member of ASBA with their membership benefits. ASBA has over 1200 members from 26 different countries.
The Botanical Artist – The Journal of the American Society of Botanical Artsts featured the Denver Botanical Illustration program in their September Issue. This BI-blog was also featured in the same issue’s Cyber Corner – we feel so honored. You can see the article by clicking here.

The Rocky Mountain Society of Botanical Artists hosts their Fifth Fall Botanical Exhibit and Sale at Echter’s beginning Friday, September 11 continuing through Sunday, September 20. Artist reception on Saturday, September 12 from 11 am to 2 pm. Panayoti Kelaidis, Director of Outreach, Denver Botanic Gardens is is signing the new publication new publication Flourish – A Visionary Garden in the American West at this event.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Aldo Leopold in Cafe Botanique

(Aldo Leopold doing field research, 1949 – Univ. Wisconsin archives)
Aldo Leopold and the Development of the National Forest System and Wilderness areas in South West
By Jack L. Carter, Prof. Emeritus, Colorado College, Colorado Springs.
Aldo Leopold is considered by many to have been the most influential conservation thinker of the 20th Century. Leopold's legacy spans the disciplines of forestry, wildlife management, conservation biology, sustainable agriculture, restoration ecology, private land management, environmental history, literature, education, esthetics, and ethics.

Jack L. Carter, Professor Emeritus, Colorado College, will address several basic questions concerning the life and legacy of Aldo Leopold. As we examine the wilderness areas of the Southwest are we reaching the objectives Leopold anticipated for these lands? If Leopold could join us today would he be pleased with our conservation effort as a nation? Where have we been successful and where have we failed?
Jack L. Carter is the author of Colorado Trees and Shrubs (illustrated by Marjorie Leggitt). He will sign his book at the event.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
Denver Botanic Gardens – Morrison Center
6:30 – 8 p.m

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Denver Botanic Gardens’ Botanical Illustration Program goes International!

Botanical Illustration Program is starting to teach at the Botanical Garden of El Charco Del Ingenio in San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico. Our first two classes, Pencil 1 and Sketching with Perspective will be offered in November 30 – December 4th 2009.
El Charco Del Ingenio is a 444 acre Botanic Garden including 74 acres of landscaped gardens. The remaining 370 acres represents a conservation area which provides an unique biodiversity for this garden. The living cactus and succulent collections are rich and extensive. El Charco Del Ingenio is also part of the international Botanic Gardens Conservation Program, BGCI-Plants for the Planet program.
El Charco Del Ingenio is in the historic town of San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato. Miguel de Allende is a small colonial town and one of UNESCOs cultural heritage sites. The town is located 237 km NW from Mexico City and the elevation there is 6266 feet.
Mexico does not have any formal Botanical Illustration education even though the botanical tradition of botanical illustration goes back to the ancient times and has historically been very strong in Mexico. We hope that this collaboration will give us many new opportunities for diversity.
For more information, please contact Mervi.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Native Beauty

Harebell (Campanula rotundifolia): Prairie Beauties - surrounded by authentic designs of Plains Tribes (by Heidi Snyder).
Clockwise starting in the upper right-hand corner (The circle): Southern Cheyenne, then Blackfeet, then Mesquakie, bottom center Ojibwe, still Mesquakie ( they were on the Eastern most fringes of the Plains...western Iowa, Northern Missouri), circle Cheyenne again, then Crow, top center Lakota and Crow. The zigzag line next to my initials indicates that Heidi is on the path of learning -

If you are close by Aberdeen, SD, please visit the ‘must see’ exhibit in the Lamont Gallery at Dacotah Prairie Museum:
Two Visions – Naatsi’ Aakii’ - Celebrating Native Beauty
Heidi Snyder and Carol Johnson Diaz are showing Native American themes until September 28.
(Heidi is with the Botanical Illustration Program and is exhibiting some 40 works in this show!)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hooray for Pen and Ink!

Plantas Nativas de Mata Atlantica com Propreadades Medicinais is a beautiful guide book describing 20 medicinal plants from Fundação Santo André campus, Santo Ande, Brazil. The botanical characteristics (with taxonomical standing) and medicinal use is written by Prof. Dra. Dagmar Santos Roveratti.

The 20 whole-page, absolutely beautiful, pen and ink renderings are by Klei Sousa. Klei Sousa got the 2nd placement in the Margaret Flocton award competition 2009. See also the earlier entry in this blog, link. The book is in Portuguese and can also be found in DBG’s library. You can see more of Klei's work in the BI-Facebook.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Apparition by Anna L Kaye

(Prairie-Fire, watercolor on paper by Anna L Kaye)

Apparition emphasizes fire as a natural impetus for change and regeneration.
Anna L Kaye’s exhibit at Sandra Phillips Gallery explores the relationship between western coniferous forests and their wildfires. Please see a sample of her work here.
Where: Sandra Phillips Gallery, 744 Santa Fe Drive, Denver, CO

When: September 10 – October 17
Opening Artist Reception: September 10. 6-8 p.m.

(10% of sales will go to Colorado’s State Forest Service to provide funding for the Bark beetle Mitigation Fund)

Anna L Kaye, MFA, draws inspiration from her science background (BS in Geology) and is currently Visiting Assistant Professor of Drawing at Metro State College in Denver.
Anna is also part of the Botanical Illustration program.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Enrichment of Botanical illustration teaching

(Vera Evenson on the right and Marjorie Leggitt, instructor to the left; the ‘old’ classroom teaching tool is still available through Hageman und Partner).

The Botanical Illustration program incorporates, whenever possible and relevant, a demonstration by a specialist in relation to the topic/subject matter in the individual course curriculum. Whether it is a lecture in the classroom, demonstration of a special living collection at the gardens or a fieldtrip, this element in the teaching is hugely popular among the students (and instructors). Our goal is to provide the students more information about the topic, stimulate and enrich the students’ minds and finally merge the art with the science. It also gives the opportunity for the BI students to get into contact with professionals both within and outside the Denver Botanic Gardens.

Today Vera Evanson, the curator of the DBG's Fungi Herbarium, gave a lecture about macrofungi, the fleshy mushrooms. BI students of the Mushrooms with Pen and Ink class also visited the Herbarium of Fungi within the Kathryn Kalmbach Herbarium.
More pictures from today's class in Facebook.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Colorado Mycological Society’s Annual Mushroom Fair

(Boletus chrysenteron by Suzanne Strear, colored pencil)
Sunday, August 16, 11 A.M. to 5 P.M. (Free with the DBG admission)
Mitchell Hall, Denver Botanic Gardens

You can see a giant display of wild mushrooms in all colors and shapes from nearby mountains and also view a display of common city mushrooms. Nationally acclaimed expert mycologist and mushroom author Dr. Cathy Cripps, from Montana State University, will be available to identify any mushrooms brought in by you. She and local members of ">CMS will also answer any questions you may have in regards of mushrooms.
* Learn how to cook with mushrooms
* Take your check book with: arts and crafts, books and t-shirts available.

Monday, August 17th, 2009: Tundra mushrooms: Colorado to the Arctic with Cathy Cripps at Asbury Event Center

Friday, August 14th: Mushroom Foray, for more information, please click here

(Cortinarius collinitus var. illustrated by E. P. Fries and P. Åkerlund, 1857; The collections of Swedish Museum of Natural History, Stockholm, Sweden)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Congratulations New Graduates!

(Penstemon strictus by Marjorie Joy - watercolor)

Please join me to congratulate the nine brand new graduates from the Botanical Art and Illustration Program: Michael Campbell, Edie Davis, Elisabeth Fonseca, Susan Halstedt, Marjorie Joy, Katherine McCrery, Frank Merrem, Nance Minnick and Suzanne Strear. Please follow this link to se the image gallery with works from the graduates' portfolio (you can also find the link in the right hand column if you scroll down).
We are impressed with the level of competence and the control of the different media. We instructors as well as Denver Botanic Gardens are truly proud of you.

The Annual Student Art Show - Highlights from the Gardens’ Botanical Art and Illustration Program - will hang from September 26 to November 8 (Call for entries and Entry form); the certificate awards ceremony and reception will be held on Sunday, September 27, 2009, 2-5 p.m. in the Gates Garden Court at Denver Botanic Gardens. Students and their families are cordially invited to attend!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Pollen in all colors

Carotenoids and flavonoids are the most common pigments in pollen grains.
(Image: The Pollen Loads of the Honeybees by Dorothy Hodges, 1952 - please click the image to enlarge)

We often think that pollen grains are only yellow in color; however they occur in all possible colors, even in deep blue. It is relatively easy to detect which flowers the bee has visited by closely investigating the pollen baskets, corpiculas. For an exact breakdown of the visiting pattern pollen analysis is needed, however many times the color of the basket can give us an indication of the visited flower – the colors are sometimes stunning -
In 1947 Mrs. Dorothy Hodges, a British artist and a beekeeper came to an idea of making a color chart of pollen loads (=baskets). She visited her friend Anna Maurizio, a world known melissopalynologist in Switzerland to learn about pollen grains and to get support for her idea. In 1952 with help of the International Bee Research Association she published the Pollen Loads of the Honey Bees.

This book is still the only one containing color charts for pollen grains, Mrs Hodges also illustrated the pollen grains for the most common bee plants in the UK. The printing consisted of only 200 signed copies making it to an absolute treasure for beekeepers, palynologists and collectors.
(more related illustrations in the facebook)

Monday, August 3, 2009

Young Botanical Illustrator

The BI-fall semester kicked off last week with the semi-intense Pencil I and Botany courses. Many of the students took both classes, i.e., the students needed to sit in the classroom from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Having three hours botany everyday after three hours of graphite from Monday to Friday can be a challenge for many students, even though many dissections and other hands-on exercises are incorporated in the teaching.
One of the students participating in both classes was Weston Uram. Weston is 13 year old and absolutely loved both classes. In his course evaluation he says about the Pencil I: I liked most to learn how to really use the shading to make a drawing come to life! (for Botany: I liked most learning all the parts of the plant (flower) and how to identify them.)
Good work Weston – I hope you’ll continue nurturing your artistic skills.
(in the picture Weston’s sketch, please click the image to enlarge)