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

Monday, December 28, 2009


(strong roots – strong foundation – photo: MHjK)
New Year is the time to celebrate a new beginning – for the Botanical Art and Illustration Program the year of 2010 marks several remarkable changes which I’m happy to announce:
The Botanical Art and Illustration Program moves from the DBG's Education Department into the Exhibitions, Art and Library Collections’ Department. It has now been integrated into the Denver Botanic Gardens and is managed by a full-time DBG staff employee instead of a contracted position. To guarantee the future strong growth and sustainability, the Hurtt Family Botanical Art and Illustration Endowment was created through a generous gift.
Our 2010 courses start on January 12th. The see our course offerings for January and February, please click here for the Required Classes and here for the Elective Classes. Our classes fill very fast, please register in time.
To see the entry regarding our 20-yr anniversary exhibit in 2010, please click here.
(Camellia japonica by Kaye Hurtt)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!!!

Warmest wishes for the very best Holiday Season.

If you are desperately trying to find the perfect gift to someone special, please remember the BI classes, they are really perfect gifts for all seasons. ( January – June 2010 required selection is viewable here, and elective selection here. If you are new for the program, you might like to try our introductory classes. The whole DBG' Spring semester 2010 schedule is available here and our classes in El Charco are available here).
If you like to connect with Santa Claus, the direct link to his village is here, and you can also send the last minute letter here. Just remember that Santa leaves to deliver the Christmas Presents to the Finnish and other European kids in few hours (in the Christmas Eve).
(By request: recipes for
rutabaga casserole and Glögg can be found here).
Image by Rudolf Koivu (1890-1946)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Margaret Flockton Award 2010 - deadline February 5th 2010!

(Asparagus elephantinus by Sandra Burrows, 2009 First Prize of $5000)

The Margaret Flockton Award is annually sponsored by the Maple-Brown family and the Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens, 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.
It is named after the first illustrator of the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney, Margaret Flockton.
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 - $5000, 2nd prize - $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.
The 2009 exhibition was very successful with over 1400 people viewing the exhibition which contained 39 works produced by 27 artists from all around the world.

For all enquiries please email directly by clicking here.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Mrs Delany and Flora Delanica

(Aesculus hippocastanum by Mrs. Delany)
Mrs. Mary Delany was born in 1700 in Wiltshire, Coulston; shortly there after she moved with her parents to London. Already at the age of eight Mary was known of little birds and flowers skillfully cut from paper. Between the ages of 72 and 82 Mary Delany made 1000 beautiful pictures from tiny pieces of paper, ‘Flora Delanica’.
Currently Mrs. Delay’s life, world and works are explored in the
Yale Center for British Art in the exhibit Mrs. Delany and her Circle (until January 3rd, 2010). The exhibit is accompanied by a extended exhibit catalogue with the same name as the exhibit. There is also another biographical publication Mrs. Delany and her life and her flowers by Ruth Hayden which can be warmly recommended.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Botanical Illustration Certificate Program turns 20 yr old in 2010!!!

(Amaryllis - watercolor by Karen Cleaver, 2007 Botanical Illustration Graduate . NOTE: The illustration is NOT a show entry)
To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Botanical Art & Illustration Certificate Program at Denver Botanic Gardens a significant juried exhibit will highlight Colorado’s diverse flora (April 10 – May 16, 2010 ; Opening reception on Sunday, April 18th, 2010, 1-3 p.m.). We will also produce a companion publication which will include process information on various media and techniques, highlighting especially the elements of training the Gardens’ program contributes to the field of Botanical Art and Illustration. This extended catalogue will serve as documentation of the exhibition of illustrated native plants, and it will also provide the introduction to the discipline of botanical art and illustration as it is taught at Denver Botanic Gardens. Our jurors are
Lesley Elkan, Botanical Illustrator, Royal Botanic Gardens Trust , Sydney, NSW, Australia.
Stephanie Schrader, Ph.D. Accociate Curator of Drawings at J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, CA.
Susan Spackman Panjabi, Senior Research Associate, Botanist, Colorado Natural Heritage Program, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
Ann Swan, SBA, Botanical Artist, UK
At the moment the jurors have received all the material for all the 58 exceptional entries in order to select out the best of the best . The final list of exhibitors will be available by January 4th , 2010.

Friday, December 11, 2009

El Charco in March 2010 – Capture the Cacti

(Pediocactus knowltonii by Susan Rubin)
We have only three seats left in the Succulent! Capturing Cacti in Colored Pencil - illustration class. If you like to experience El Charco and San Miguel de Allende in the peak blooming season in March please hurry:
Succulent! Capturing Cacti in Colored Pencil -
This is the first Botanical Illustration class in our series: EXLORE THE WORLD held in El Charco del Ingenio Botanical Garden, San Miguel de Allende, GTO, Mexico
More information and to register, please click here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Rush in BI-Registrations -

Yesterday we probably set the all-time record for the registrations of the Botanical Illustration classes.
Since we only can take a limited number of students in each class (max. 15) it is really a wise idea to register early.
By now the BI-community should be aware of that DBG is using a new registration system and you as a student need to create a new account in order to get the member rate (if you are a member). The instructions how to create a new account can be viewed by clicking here, or the link immediately under the OF NOTE heading here on the right hand column.

…to enlighten your day, I have posted some of Marjorie’s sketches from San Miguel de Allende in the BI-Facebook – become a fan and get the updates automatically into your facebook/email account.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Winter - Spring 2010 Registration Starts!

Registration for January - June 2010 Botanical Illustration classes starts tomorrow, December 7th, 9 a.m.

Final Moments with some sketches by Karla Beatty

It's our last morning in San Miguel. Marj and I are up early and go for a brisk walk around the area. I see for the first time a beautiful park and a steep widing stairway that Marj had discovered during her long morning runs. We take some more photographs and try to fix some final impressions in our minds to sustain us until we can return. At the B and B we have a last luscious breakfast and I give a few final pats and hugs to the kitties and doggies. It's hard to leave San Miguel because of all our fond memories, it's hard to return to Denver only because of the frigid weather ahead. The flights are smooth, customs is easy, but as the plane taxis in I see the tarmac is very shiny, as if it is wet. Then I realize that it is full of icy patches and that's when it sinks in that I am back into Colorado climate. I'll miss the warmth and gentle rains of San Miguel. I'll miss the colorful colonial buildings and elaborate cathedrals. I'll miss the stone buildings, cobblestone streets and ornate wooden doorways leading into intriguing courtyards. But I'll keeo my wonderful memories, visions, photos, and sketches. I can relax now, knowing I will definitely return for more of the San Miguel/El Charco serenity and magic. ~ Karla ~

(This Karla's note concludes the letters from San Miguel and El Charco del Ingenio for this time - All the sketches in this entry are by Karla Beatty)

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Botanical Illustration in El Charco - Next time in March 2010

Today was the last class for this session, and students seem so sad to have it end. They repeatedly ask "when are you coming back?" and "I hope I can take the next class." We have some eager new interest in botanical art! For me, it's hard to believe that this week is over. It went so fast.

This city, San Miguel de Allende, thrives as an artist's colony. There are many galleries, two full art schools, and now our botanical illustration classes. And every where you look there is art or sculpture, even along the streets. Most people walk here in San Miguel, in spite of the cobblestones and steep hills. There are always people about and it seems so safe to walk just about anywhere. And one thing that you notice immediately is that the streets are very clean all over. Today, in one day, I saw a woman take her broom into the middle of the street to sweep a couple of pieces of paper, a man sweeping up fallen leaves on a sidewalk, a shop owner pick up some small pieces of paper in the road in front of his store, and a man scrubbing the bricks on the corner of a building. Even in the festival plazas and open markets everything is neat and clean.
Our pioneers, Karla and Marjorie are back in Colorado today. Our program in El Charco del Ingenio in San Miguel de Allende continues in 2010 and the next set of classes is held in March. If you click the image here on the left you’ll be directed to our El Charco course program. Please note that one of the classes are Denver Botanic Gardens’ BI offerings with registration through DBG. Our registrations start Monday, December 5th – please remember, that before the online registration you'll need to create a new account (instructions for that can be found following the link on the right hand column under OF NOTE or by clicking here.)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Thai Chi in Posada

From Karla on Friday morning, before the last day of classes:
(Posada Corazon's peaceful gardens in September '09)
This morning I put on a warm sweater and went out into the beautiful garden in the back courtyard of the Posada Corazon. I found a quiet, peaceful spot and began my morning T'ai Chi routine. Well, my new buddies, the backyard watchdogs, began wrestling all around my legs, trying to get my attention. It was a little hard to focus and I thought I would not find the calm that I needed. But then as made my first turn back, I saw a little tiny land snail on the top back of a garden bench. As I did my T'ai Chi and turned in that direction I was able to watch that snail SLOWLY make its progress down the back of the bench. It was slow, it was calm, it was peaceful. Just what I needed to focus!
My practice over, I climbed the stairs back towards my room. And when I looked up there was a full morning moon in the sky. It was a great way to start the day. Later on we saw a hummingbird hovering and the black cat came to visit in the room. There's always something lovely happening here.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

It is almost over - but we'll return in 2010!

Thursday, December 3rd from Marjorie in San Miguel, Guanajuato, Mexico: Our time in San Miguel is nearly over - at least for now. We've had a great group of eager students who have shared their stories of living in San Miguel with us. We've learned of the influx of Americans as a result of the GI bill after World War II, the building of a vibrant and diverse art community; the meaning of the chalk "grafitti" on each and every door; of the locations of the art store, post office, and Bellas Artes; of the best places to run; of why to have exact change for the taxi drivers; of how, as in Italy, stores and restaurants are there one day and not the next (actually it's just that they "disappear" behind closed gates and doors!" It's been quite an experience and one that I'm anxious to return to.

The community is so relaxed eventhough the traffic can be grid-locked for an entire block! How is that possible? You'll just have to come see for yourself.

Karla and I have discovered some excellent little restaurants - in fact, we like one so much we've been there twice. I'm still trying to locate her favorite coffee spot - that's my challenge after class today.
I've looked and looked; it must be one of those "disappearing" locals. I've also found a nearby "Lavenderia" so that Susan will have a place to wash her clothes during her 2 week adventure.
Tomorrow we hope to get to the Aurora galleries. Fridays are open studio night. If not, we've seen alot of the local artwork - some good, some incredible and some "so-so".
I guess now we have to start thinking about what to wear on the plane home.
It's 65 degrees here and Denver's 18 degrees isn't sounding so comfortable. I think I could get pretty used to this weather!

Hasta luego a San Miguel de Allende.

(Photos in this entry by Marjorie Leggitt)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It can be cold and rainy in San Miguel too ~

El Charco's Dome = Education building
The students here all told me that it hardly ever rains in the winter. The days have been sunny and very warm. I brought sweaters, but no summer clothes, so I was kind of too warm on some days!
The sunlight just accents the colors--so many of the buildings are painted that vibrant yellow and red colors. And even the edges of the rooftops are colorful with flowering potted plants. Many plants flower year-round here, and the bougainvillea is flourishing everywhere in three different colors--violet, red, and peachy.
But guess what? Yesterday it was cold, dark, and rainy. The students and I had to dress warm and bundle up in the classroom. And because it is a round building with lots of big windows and a skylight, without the sun it seemed dark for us. But I'm sure that weather will not last and the rest of the week is supposed to go back to warm and sunny.
Many people walk here in San Miguel, in spite of the fact that it is all steep hills, winding roads, and uneven cobblestones everywhere. In fact I feel sorry for the people who are trying to drive here. Yesterday I explored a marketplace that sold native fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Most of the tables are watched by little elderly women in traditional Mexican dress. I buy a dozen things to draw in my class, such as tamarindos, tomatillos, and jalapenos, and then some avocados for lunch. There are many kinds of shops here and many good restaurants and cafes.
Hasta luego,

(I'm practicing saying my name with the long rolling Spanish "r".)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

..Greetings from Marjorie in San Miguel de Allende:

Tuesday morning while Karla is teaching:
It's hard not to like this place - eventhough it's considered "winter" and everyone is walking around bundled up in multiple layers, I am still wearing my skort and sandals - no one can understand how it is that I am not cold when it's 70 degrees!
I took a bunch of photos for Susan to show her all the cacti - she will not be at a lose!
My class went well yesterday - most of these women are painters and are really loving the drawing component of these first 2 classes. Perspective seems a little foreign to them but I feel that by the end of the day today they'll catch on. Indeed, these students are different from the students we have at DBG.

I've run now for 2 days and have seen some incredible sites - each little street takes you to a new surprize. Today I discovered a spectacular institute who's history goes back to 1760.
As Karla said in the blog, the doors, private gardens, and street vendors are so wonderful. But what I am also taking notice of is the extreme cleanliness of this town - everyone takes such pride in whatever they are doing and there is always someone sweep or scrubbing. In fact, in the park this morning, eventhough the men were on evey walkway brushing the fallen leaves into piles, they are there again today - sweeping up all the newly fallen leaves.
Also, the sounds of the town are beautiful - very harmonious with what else is around. Each morning the roosters crow ( a sound I haven't heard for years!!) starting around 6am if not earlier. The swish of the natural twig or homemade palm brooms. Drivers are very polite and I have yet to hear a horn honk. It is a town of calm and peace.
Everyone is friendly and helpful AND honest. Very refreshing.

Best, Marj
(Please, see the photos in BI-Facebook)