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

Friday, October 30, 2009

Botanica Magnifica in Denver!

(Victoria Amazonica photograhed by Jonathan Singer, Botanica Magnifica, 2009)
Botanica Magnifica features two hundred and fifty stunning photographs by Hasselblad Laureate Award winner Jonathan Singer.
The original edition of Botanica Magnifica was limited to ten copies, the first of which was donated to the Smithsonian Institution and is kept in the Cullman Rare Book Room at the Smithsonian Institution Libraries. The original volume is hand bound in goatskin, hand sown by Kerstin Tini Miura, German master bookbinder who now has ateliers both in California and Japan.
The extra-large “double-elephant” format of this first edition was chosen in honor to the famous double-elephant folio of The Birds of America by Audubon. The original is said to be worth $2.5 million.
The trade edition, baby-elephant folio of Botanica Magnifica was recently released by Abbeville Press. The volume is, like the original, organized into five alphabetically arranged sections. Each pictured plant is accompanied by a clear description of its botany, geography, folklore, history, and conservation. The species included are rare plants, historically significant flowers, gold medal winners, newly discovered plants, and plants that are just beautiful.
Dr. Singer, a podioatrist by profession, is photographing all his specimens with Hasselblad camera on black background, in low light and he only takes one single shot for each entry. Dr. Singer was named a Hasselblad Laureate Award winner (May 2008) based on his contribution to fine art photography and to “our perception and appreciation of the botanical world”.
The authors for the book are John Kress, the Curator of Botany and Research Scientist at the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution and Marc Hachadourian, the Acting Manager of the Nolen Greenhouses for the New York Botanical Garden.
Flowers Writ Large by Smithsonian Magazine, May 21, 2009

Denver Botanic Gardens is hosting a Botanica Magnifica presentation and book signing on November 7th, 10 a.m. – noon with Jonathan Singer and W. John Kress. The baby-elephant, presented in a collectors slipcase will sell at this event for pre-publication price of $135. The event is FREE for General Public. More detailed information, please click here.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fibonacci in Cafe Botanique

The Nature of Fibonacci Numbers

By Richard Yeatts, Ph.D., Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO
The sequence of numbers 1,1,2,3,5,8,13,..., wherein each number is the sum of the preceding two, is credited to Leonardo of Pisa (a.k.a. Fibonacci). The remarkable properties of these numbers and their progeny, the "golden" ratios, find application in nearly every field of human endeavor including art, music, economics, and geometry. In the life sciences, the numbers relate to such diverse subjects such as human anatomy, snail shells and the architecture of plants.

F. R. (Dick) Yeatts is a Professor Emeritus in Physics at the Colorado School of Mines. While employed, his research was mostly in geophysics. Since retiring, his interest is in mathematics and physics of plants.

Café Botanique is a part of the Botanical Art and Illustration Program and is open to everybody. The 30-40 minute talk starts at 6:30 p.m. and is followed by a discussion. Café Botanique meets every first and third Thursday of the month, each time with a different topic relating to Denver Botanic Gardens exhibits and Botanical Illustration classes. There is no admission fee and pre-registration is not required. This lecture offers one elective credit hour in the BI-program.

Thursday, November 5, 2009
Denver Botanic Gardens – Morrison Center
6:30 – 8 p.m.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

If you are in London go North

(photo: MHjK)

If you are in London, please visit the Kew Gardens. The Marianne North Gallery reopened October 8th after an extensive renovation. Marianne North Gallery is one of Britain’s most important galleries for botanical art containing 832 paintings produced by Marianne North during 13 years of travel around the world. Her painting style was quite unique: after a rough sketch with pen and ink she applied the pigment squeezed directly from the tubes. Apart from the gallery building itself also many of North’s paintings have been restored.
You can access the digital gallery of the 832 paintings here.
(Photo: MHjK)

SNOW HOTLINE 720-865-3620!

(DBG's conservatory February 3, 2007, photo: MHjK)
We are expecting our first major snow-event tonight, please call 720-865-3620 for the status of current classes at the Gardens.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Interesting Teaching Tools

(Maple Fan by Karla Beatty)

During the portfolio sharing at the recent ASBA meeting in Phoenix this Maple Fan was a source of interest and discussion.
Few of us had realized how easily we can create intriguing teaching tools. Having a Maple Fan as a value finder is certaily much more fun than the traditional boxes:
Add Image

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Carolyn Crawford presents

Milkweeds Native to Colorado and Adjacent Areas
at Quintuple Day, the annual fall symposium for Rocky Mountain Chapter of the North American Rock Garden Society
When: October 24, 10:30 – 11:30 p.m.
Where: Denver Botanic gardens, Gates Hall

Carolyn Crawford has managed to find, photograph, and illustrate all the native milkweeds of Colorado, plus a number of others from the West. Carolyn has illustrated the original descriptions of two new species of milkweed native to Mexico, described by Mark Fishbein and Mark Fishbein & Steve Lynch, and contributed the treatment for the milkweed family for the San Juan Basin Flora.
For the detailed Quintuple Day Program, please click here.

(Image: Cosmos by Carolyn Crawford)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Evolutionary Play in Cafe Botanique

An Evolutionary Play in the Ecological Theatre:Influences of Landscape and Climate Change on the Clan of the Parry primrose
By Tass Kelso, PhD, Colorado Collage, Colorado Springs, CO

The Parry primrose clan encompasses a group of species endemic to western North America from Colorado to Idaho and south into the Sierra Madre of Mexico. This talk will examine the diverse genetic and ecological perspectives we now have on the group, and how these support models of speciation on different time and geographic scales. Paleoecological, landscape and climate data show changes in the Rocky Mountain/Great Basin region since the Cretaceous that probably enhanced speciation through separation of populations on increasingly isolated alpine habitats. However, regional climatic and vegetation models for the future indicate that concerns about habitat loss, diminishing populations, and poor reproduction are warranted for many members of the clan.
Tass Kelso is a professor of biology at Colorado College, where she has been teaching botany since 1987. Her research specialties are the evolution, diversity and biogeography of the western flora, especially the Primulaceae.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Denver Botanic Gardens – GATES HALL
6:30 – 8 p.m.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Margaret Flocton Award Details for 2010!

(Asparagus elephantinus by Sandra Burrows from South Africa, please click the image to enlarge.)
The Margaret Flockton Award Committee has announced the the Margaret Flockton Award details for 2010 and invites you to visit the Botanic Gardens Trust webpage for further details.
The Margaret Flockton Award is annually sponsored by the Maple-Brown family and the Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, who aim to promote the appreciation and understanding of contemporary scientific botanical illustration. 2010 will the seventh year the award has run and it strengthens in quality and popularity every year.

Entries are to be submitted by close of business, Friday 5th Feb 2010. We invite you all to submit one or two original scientific botanical illustrations for next years’ prizes: 1st prize - AU$5000, 2nd prize - AU$2000, plus three Highly Commended awards are presented. This is not an acquisitive prize and all artworks that are unsold are returned following the exhibition closure.
Sandra Burrows became the 6th illustrator to receive the award in 2009 and will now be invited to exhibit examples of her current work with the previous five recipients in the 2010 exhibition.
For all enquiries please email directly to The Margaret Flockton Award Committee by clicking here.

Monday, October 12, 2009


(© Annie Reiser)

You can still sign up for the Illustrated Recipe class –

Illustrate your favorite recipe card or design a label for your Unique Holiday gifts – all the homemade gourmet vinegars or delicious preserves. You can work in graphite or color media of your choice, for more information and to register please click here.

(©Marjorie Leggitt)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Congratulations Marjorie!

Marjorie Leggitt has very soon completed the illustrations for Flora of North America, Volume 9, Rosaceae, of which she was the lead illustrator. Flora of North America has invited Marjorie to continue with Volume 13, Magnoliophyta: Sapindales, Geraniales and Apiales starting next year (2010). I'm very happy for Marjorie and it is an honor to have Marjorie as one of our main instructors in the Botanical Illustration Program.

Hurray for Marjorie and Hurray for Pen and Ink!

(Please, click the image to enlarge)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Botanical Illustration Show as a Public Service!

(Rhamnus frangula 'Columnaris' by Gordon Palmer)
Last Sunday a mother with a 2-3 yr old son rushed into the Denver Botanic Gardens. She was crying, had a twig with berries in her hand and said that her son had eaten the berries and vomited several times. She was worried that her son suffered from severe poisoning. The poison control center needed to get the plant identified prior to possible treatment and that was the reason why she rushed to the Gardens. This plant was exactly the same as one of the paintings on display in the Botanical Illustration Student Art show, as if artist Gordon Palmer would have used that twig as his specimen to paint from. I showed the mother the painting and said that her plant was most likely Rhamnus frangula. The identification was confirmed later by a DBG horticulture staff member.
The berries of Rhamnus frangula are not exactly poisonous but are uneatable, since if swallowed they cause vomiting. Of course this is individual and different individuals react differently, but no human fatalities are documented.
On a personal note, 21 years ago I was in the same position as that crying mother. After eating a handful of R. frangula berries followed by a heavy vomiting episode my daughter, who is now 21 years older, has not eaten Rhanmus frangula berries again.