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

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Khat in Cafe Botanique, Thursday September 2nd, 2010

Qat – Social Plaque or the Soul of Farming?
By Mark P. Simmons, Ph.D., Colorado State University, Fort Collins
Qat (or khat, Catha edulis) is considered to be a “social plague,” “reflect[ing] only the negative aspect of life,” or a “custom [that] gives positive results in the daily gatherings for cultural, historical and literary debate” and “soul of the entire farming community in Harerge.” Because of its amphetamine effects, qat is cultivated throughout its native range from Ethiopia to the Cape Province in South Africa. Millions of people make their living growing, transporting and trading qat. It is the major cash crop in Yemen and parts of Ethiopia and Kenya. Its use has recently expanded to Europe and North America based on the demand created by African immigrants. Qat is a controlled substance in most European countries as well as in North America.
Mark Simmons will describe his fieldwork collecting qat in Ethiopia from August - November 2009. He will also present an overview of Addis Ababa, foreign aid projects from western organizations as well as China, the challenges and pleasures of conducting fieldwork in Ethiopia, the relative benefits of cultivating coffee and qat, and the extent and consequences of the qat trade.
Dr. Mark Simmons is currently Associate Professor and Curator of the Herbarium at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.

Café Botanique is a part of the Denver Botanic Gardens' Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate 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 generally meets every first and third Thursday of the month, each time with a different topic relating to Denver Botanic Gardens’ Botanical Illustration program. Please register online. This lecture offers one elective credit hour in the BI-program. Suggested donation $5.
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Denver Botanic Gardens – Morrison Center
6:30 – 8 p.m.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Ann Swan at DBG' Botanical Illustration Retreat at Gateway Canyons Resort!

Seed Pods and Autumn Leaves in Colored Pencil and Graphite with Ann Swan
Mon. Nov. 8, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., Tues., Wed., Thur., Nov. 9, 10, 11, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Ann Swan's award-winning botanicals in colored pencil and graphite are admired around the world.  She brings her charming nature and her remarkable skills to show you techniques for portraying plants in her signature style. Working with graphite and colored pencil, explore the diverse structures, shapes and textures of native seeds, seedpods and dead leaves. Ann will demonstrate a variety of techniques and with some useful hints, tips and exercises help you to improve your colored pencil and accuracy of observation.
Through demonstrations Ann will show you how you can achieve more interesting, balanced and exciting compositions and how to get your portrait to pop. You'll have time to practice with plenty of individual attention. Ann's popular classes fill quickly, so register right away.
Limit 16. Fee $400 member, $445 non-member (includes General Retreat Fee).


See the complete Retreat Program by clicking here.
Registration, Lodging and Travel InformationProgram overview (to download and print, please use the username: biprogram and password: student).
Register for 1. Retreat Dinner;  Field trips: 2. Canyons 3. Palisade Wine Tour.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Natural Encounters


(Castilleja integra by Anna Kaye - Watercolor on paper)

Sandra Phillips Gallery, 744 Santa Fe Drive, Denver
Artists: Margaretta Gilboy, Anna Kaye, Lorelei Schott
September 9 – October 16
Artist reception: September 9, 6 pm – 8 pm
"Natural Encounters" presents three remarkable artists exploring the ecological truism that everything is connected, pushing the envelope in their approach to the two-dimensional quality of a painted surface.
For Anna Kaye's proportion of the exhibition will include graphite and charcoal drawings, watercolor paintings, and time-lapse videos of spring growth in an area of the Rocky Mountains that was devastated by wildfire in 2002. Ten percent of Anna Kaye's sales will be donated to the Colorado State Forest's Bark Beetle Mitigation Fund
Listen to Anna Kaye interview with NPR about the fire which inspired her work, please click here.
Anna Kaye teaches art at Metro State College, Denver.
(Raven by Anna Kaye - Charcoal on paper)

In the Exhibit also works by Margaretta Gilboy and Lorelei Schott.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Painting on Vellum with Kate Nessler


This weekend (Friday through Sunday) we have Kate Nessler at the Denver Botanic Gardens introducing us the ancient technique of painting on calf vellum. The history of vellum is thousands of years old and was also used by Retoude, Ehret and McEwen. In our days vellum is commonly used for illumination and calligraphy, as well as in the contemporary botanical painting.

Kate Nessler is an internationally recognized botanical artist using vellum. Her work is included in the Hunt Institute of Botanical Documentation, The Highgrove Florilegium, Shirley Sherwood Collection and many others.
See more pictures from the class in the BI-Facebook.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Study Food and Culture with Maria Hodkins

(August 28, 9 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.)

Eco‐Cooking, as Maria Hodkins defines it, is cooking with an understanding and appreciation of the“ecology” of food—not only the aesthetics, but the biological, historical, philosophical, and cultural aspects of what we’re eating.
Fresh herbs boost flavor and nutrition in cooking—but how, exactly, do you use all those spicy and aromatic green leaves?
Join cooking and journaling instructor Maria Hodkins for a celebration of culinary herbs by creating a meal that not only reflects the taste of local, in-season and fresh, but the beauty and history of the ingredients as well. From seed to table, we will trace the herbs from botanical, cultural, historical, and nutritional perspectives, create individual “Herb Portraits”, prepare a meal, and feast on its ecological pleasures. See, sketch, chop, and taste your way into deeper reflection and appreciation of seasonal gifts from the land. Chef Maria Hodkins will teach how to concoct pestos, pistou, vinaigrettes, herb blends, herb butters, and class will learn about herb basics in cooking. Class will include lunch cooked by the participants.


Food and culture is a lifelong study of Maria Hodkins’s. As an artist, illustrator, and illuminated journaling instructor, she also incorporates art and writing into some of her cooking workshops. She teaches not only the love of food and cooking, but also its fascinating roots and development by exploring the historical‐cultural evolution of foods. With an emphasis on eating locally‐grown, taste‐filled, seasonally available organic foods and supporting sustainable agriculture, she promotes a return to healthful eating and cooking. Maria is an excellent, engaging, and knowledgeable cooking instructor. She is currently co‐directing a cooking school at Fresh & Wyld Farmhouse Inn in Paonia, CO and is one of the main instructors for their S.O.U.L. (Sustainable, Organic, Unprocessed, Local) Cooking Classes.
As an artist, illustrator, and illuminated journaling instructor, she also incorporates art and writing into some of her cooking workshops. Please, see her website here.

A few additional seats just became available! For more information and to register, please click here.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Constance Sayas and Libby Kyer exhibits at Shirley Sherwoood Gallery

(Pseudolarix amabilis by Lizabeth Kyer, colored pencil on Fabriano Artistico, © Broolyn Botanic Garden)

Portraits of a Garden:
As an important part of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's celebrations of the first 100 years as a public urban garden, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Florilegium Society has the opportunity to display a selection from their more than 200 paintings in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art at Kew Gardens.
Only 30 plates from the collection were selected for the exhibit at Kew (on display August 28, 2010 through January 3, 2011).The Florilegium was established in 2000.

(Iris ensata by Constance Sayas, watercolor on Arches hot press 140 lb; © Brooklyn Botanic Garden)

Huge congratulations to Constance and Libby - this is quite an honor!!!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Botanical Illustration in Pencil at Arvada Center


In Collaboration with Arvada Center for Arts and Humanities Denver Botanic Gardens' Botanical Art and Illustration Program is offering:
Mon., Oct. 18 - Nov. 22 (no Class 11/8), 1:30-4:30 p.m.
Instructor: Marjorie Leggitt

For more information and to register, please click here.

(Illustration by Marjorie Leggitt)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Four Hedges

Those of us who admire woodcuts enjoy the news that Clare Leighton's 1935 book Four Hedges has been re-released by Dovecote Press.

Clare Leighton (1898-1989) is considered one of the finest engravers of the twentieth century. She was born in Britain and emigrated to United States in her early 50’s and was the first woman to write a book on the techniques and art of wood engraving. She was a true master of print making and showed the respect for the dignity of labor and rhythm of nature through her art. The botanical accuracy is stunning in her work. She created more than 800 prints and illustrated over 65 books. Clare Leighton authored 14 books. She considered wood engraving as "the least to be taught and the most to be learn" of all media.

(Blackbird on Nest by Clare Leighton in Four Hedges)

Monday, August 9, 2010

An Additional Pencil I in 2010!

If you didn't get into the previous Pencil I courses this year:

We have opened an additional Pencil I class starting before the end of 2010:
Learn to draw! Begin with a brief history and an overview of the specific elements of botanical illustration. Learn the skills of careful observation and realistic drawing in graphite pencil, including line drawing, shading and perspective. Step-by-step, added techniques help you portray perspective, texture and detail. This is the entry course for every program student and the prerequisite for all courses to follow. You'll emerge from this class with the tools you need to draw anything.
Fri. - Sun., December 3 - 4, 2010, 9 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Instructor: Karla Beatty.
For more information and to register, please click here.
(Illustration by Karla Beatty)

Friday, August 6, 2010

Wacom Intuos 3 for sale

Wacom Intuos3 6 x 8-Inch Pen Tablet

One of your students is selling her band-new Wacom Intuos 3, 6x8.

If you are interested please contact clmtyjn(at)yahoo.com or 801-971-2374

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Wings of Beauty -

The British Wildlife Publishing recently published The Butterflies of Britain & Ireland which with its more than 900 absolutely exquisite illustrations is a treasure not only for the serious butterfly-watcher in Europe but also a technical resource for wildlife artists and botanical illustrators worldwide. Many of the butterflies are illustrated on their host plants and the plant illustrations are magnificent. It is a piece of art.
Richard Lewington is considered Europe's leading butterfly artist and is one of Europe's finest wildlife illustrators. He generally uses gouache in his illustrations and is specialized in addition to butterflies also in moths and dragonflies.
The text is captivating, informative and clearly written by one of Europe's most accomplished butterfly experts, professor Jeremy Thomas.
The book is published by British Wildlife Publishing and every copy sold gives a donation for the Butterfly Conservation.

(Long-tailed Blue - Lampides boeticus by Richard Lewington, p. 108 in Butterflies of Britain and Ireland by J. Thomas & R. Lewington)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Landscapes at El Charco encompass sweeping panaromic views...

(© Alifi Rojas, a student on Karla's class. Please click the image to enlarge.)
Karla Beatty, the instructor says about the recently completed Botanical Landscapes class in El Charco:
Landscapes at El Charco encompass sweeping panaromic views, rock walls, lake, and fascinating native plants such as large cactus and agave. Many students chose to paint the canyon in the backgrounds of their botanical subjects. There are many different styles of painting landscapes and many students tried out painting both loose and in tighter botanical style. We were so lucky to have fabulous sunny weather on the last two days when we were able to do much of our outdoor painting.
Please see more examples of the student work in the BI-Facebook.