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

Monday, January 31, 2011

Values and Tone - Value of Values

Values are the variations in tone that help to create the illusion of form and space. Many times, while working especially in color it is difficult to see the value relation ships.

Among our elective selection of Botanical Illustration courses Denver Botanic Garden regularly offers a drawing technique course: The Value of Value (already in session) which is working in graphite. The students are learning the difference between the visible body value and atmospheric value which need to be invented for the effect. We also offering now a sister course for the color media: The Value of Values in Color Painting (sold out for this season) applying the value/tone information for the color media. 
In the January issue of Artists & Illustrators Sian Dudley also offers some great ways to understand tone in her article Tone – and how to see it.  
(Image by Marjorie Leggitt)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

POP-UP Flower garden with Shawn Sheehy

Just added:
POP-UP Flower garden with Shawn Sheehy
Fri. – Sat., April 22 – 23, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

In this two-day workshop, you will build 10-12 pop-up cards featuring native flowers of North AmericaWorking within the physical boundaries of paper-engineered structures provides exciting challenges for maintaining both accuracy of flower structure and pop-up function. Fundamental techniques of pop-up engineering will be demonstrated and practiced while building these flowers, using little more than a knife, glue and card stock. Aside from assembling a collection of cards that you might either bind together and keep for further study or gift to family and friends, you will have the knowledge to continue engineering your own pop-up paper plants at home.  Fee: $140 member, $175 non-member. No experience is necessary, but binding and/or sewing skills will speed your progress. All students are welcome, with no prerequisites.

Shawn Sheehy combines paper engineering and paper making with an interest in biology and science to produce sculptural pop-up books. Shawn has taught workshops at PBI, Penland and the Centers for Book Arts in Chicago and New York. His commercial pop-up clients include the American Girl Company and American Greetings.
Please mark in your calendar - space is limited - registration by clicking here

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Plants, Pronghorn and Pottery in Cafe Botanique

Plants, Pronghorn and Pottery:

Reconstructing Prehistoric Native American Subsistence along the Northern Colorado Front Range

By Jason M. LaBelle, PhD., Department of Anthropology, Colorado State University

The presentation will review current field and lab research regarding prehistoric subsistence practices of Native American hunter-gatherers who inhabited the Colorado Front Range beginning over 13,000 years ago.  Whereas archaeologists have well documented evidence for the types of animals sought and processed by these past peoples, the contribution of plants to Native American diets remains a bit more of an enigma.  Macrobotanical analysis of burned plant remains recovered from fire pits provides one source of information to help illuminate dietary preferences.  This information, coupled with an understanding of the ethnobotanical use of native plants, provides a robust avenue of research.

Dr. LaBelle is an assistant professor of Anthropology at Colorado State University.  As an archaeologist, he is interested in Native American foragers inhabiting the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains of North America, with research spanning several periods over the last 13,000 years.

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011
Denver Botanic Gardens – Morrison Center
6:30 – 8 p.m.

Twenty-six Letters

In Mira calligraphiae monumenta Joris Hoefnagel illustrated the natural elements to the calligraphy created more than 15 years earlier. - Mira calligraphiae monumenta,calligraphy by Georg Bocksay 1561-1568, illustrations by Joris Hoefnagel, second half of the 1590s.

For some years ago Diana Marques wrote an excellent article about the power of letters and the relation between science illustration and letterforms. Something to keep in mind also when we label and/or sign our art pieces. Diana’s article is downloadable by clicking here. Please enjoy! (to print or download, please sign in with the username: biprogram and use the password: student).

Monday, January 24, 2011

Running the Numbers: Portraits of Mass Consumption - Chris Jordan

(Plastic cups, 2008 by Chris Jordan)

The University of Colorado Museum of Natural History is celebrating the opening of the new exhibition

Running the Numbers: Portraits of Mass Consumption
by internationally recognized photographer Chris Jordan.
 Thursday, January 27, 2011
6:00 PM Opening reception (light refreshments will be served)
followed by a panel discussion at
7:00 PM Inspiration, Impacts, and Action: Arts/Science/Society 
Sharon Collinge, CU Professor of Biology & Environmental Studies
Jennifer Heath, independent scholar, activist and cultural journalist and
Eric Lombardi, Executive Director of Eco-Cycle
moderated by Marda Kirn, Executive Director of EcoArts Connections

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Joris Hoefnagel - a multi talented Flemish Artist

(Plate No 4 from Archetypa studiaque patris Georgii Hoefnagelii)

In our Botanical Illustration series of Drawing on Tradition we will offer a class focusing on Joris Hoefnagel (1542 - 1601).
In the class you can learn about one of the most industrious and influential artists of the 16th century and create a miniature plate (7.5 x 5.25”) in the style of his pivotal work, Mira calligraphiae monumenta or Model Book of Calligraphy.  Considered one of the most precious books of the European Renaissance it will surely inspire you too.
In preparation of our own tiny masterpieces, we will also be studying Hoefnagel’s Archetypa studiaque patris Georgii Hoefnagelii, 1592, and doing exercises that reflect the very tradition of this work.
The instructor is Annie Reiser who visited Albertina, the main art museum in Vienna, and studied the originals in preparation of this class. Please see that posting by clicking here.
This class starts on February 3rd, 6 p.m.- you can still sign up for it by clicking here.

(Plates 28 and 76 from Mira calligraphiae monumenta)

Check out this current bit of news on Hoefnagel.  One of his landscape watercolors is up for sale at “Chrisite’s” and expected to get up to $1.9 million at auction.
"See you in February" says Annie

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Cafe Botanique, January 20 2011, 6:30 p.m. - Gates Hall

Lost Art of Women’s Painted Furniture
By Betsy Krieg Salm

The work done by American schoolgirls (1790-1830) was a part of the curriculum in New England rural schools and academies. This early American decorative art form is largely unknown to museum curators, antique dealers, art historians and the general public.

Betsy Krieg Salm revitalizes these unrecognized women and validates the historic contributions of their art work; the women were practical artists who ornamented domestic items for their homes, families, loved ones and friends. Salm brings her unique perspective as a scholar, artisan and teacher to this lost art. For the first time, women's painted furniture is rediscovered.

Betsy Krieg Salm is a scholar, arti­san and teacher of the long-lost art of women’s painted furniture. She has exhibited her own work at more than sixty prestigious shows. She lectures at museums and workshops, and teaches women’s painted furni­ture ornamentation for the Historical Society of Early American Decoration, needle worker guilds, colleges and art institutions.

A book signing will follow the lecture.

Please register by clicking here

Friday, January 14, 2011

Margaret Flockton Award

(Vellozia sp. by Rogerio Lupo, winner of the 2010 award) 

Entries for this year's competition must be submitted by Friday February 4, 2011 (please, note that Australia is in a different time-zone)
For further information, please click Margaret Flockton Award.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Rare plants with Jim Hamrick in Cafe Botanique, Friday January 14th

(Helonias bullata © U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)

Genetic Diversity in Rare Southeastern Plant Species
By J. L. Hamrick, Ph.D., Department of Plant Biology, University of Georgia

Genetic variation is essential for species to evolve and meet new environmental challenges. Rare southeastern species maintain higher levels of genetic variation than rare species in general, but have less variation than their widespread congeneric species. Sweeping generalizations about genetic variation in rare species are difficult since complex interactions between a species’ characteristics and its evolutionary history often occur. Thus, empirical studies are usually needed to determine actual levels and distributions of genetic variation within rare plant species.

Dr. Jim Hamrick is a Regents Professor of Plant Biology at The University of Georgia, received his B.S. degree (Forestry) from North Carolina State University and M.S. (Forest Genetics) and Ph.D. (Genetics) from the University of California, Berkeley. He studies the genetic effects of habitat fragmentation on tropical tree populations and the population genetics of rare southeastern plant species and of invasive plant species.
January 14, 2011, 6:30 - 8 p.m.
Morrison Center

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Chinese Leaves Restored

(Part of Paeonia suffruticosa 'Kung Fan mau Tang' painted by an unknown Chinese artist, Reeves Collection)

Reeves collection is one of the treasures at RHS Lindley Library. It contains close to 900 Chinese watercolors in eight albums. The paintings originate in Canton and Macau painted by Chinese artists commissioned by John Reaves. Three of the painters have been named in the illustrations as well as in Reeves' notebooks: Achew, Akut and Akam - this is one of the details which makes the collection highly unusual (typically the painters were anonymous). Each painter produced approximately one painting per day and was paid ca. one dollar for three paintings. John Reeves, besides being a keen naturalist, worked as Assistant Tea Inspector for the British East India Company in the early decades of the 19th century.

The papers of five volumes have suffered water damage with discoloration, tide-lines and some mold. Pigment chances has also happened even though many times the brightness of the colors (such as blue azurite, green malachite, yellow gamboge and vermilion) has not changed during the nearly 200 years passed. A three-year conservation research project has recently been completed by Katy Bailey. In addition to the digitation work the Reeves collection has been treated because of the discoloration from glue used in binding (animal based) and water damage. To read more about Katy Bailey's research work please click here.

(on the left a Camellia illustration in which the lead white had turned to black lead sulphide due to the sulphur Publish Postdioxide pollution, on the right the restored illustration)

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Springback Ledger Bookbinding

The Springback Ledger binding style was patented in England in 1799 and as a style is has always been appreciated and considered as trade binding tradition. These books are very robust and they lay flat without stressing the spine and thus was ideal for accounting and record keeping. This type of binding is also preferred by guestbooks and lectern Bibles. With some modifications it could also be used as the construction for a pop-up book. Sringback Ledger book is beautifully suited for journaling or to keep as an art book. Denver Botanic Gardens Botanical Illustration Program is offering a 15-hr course how-to-bind a Springback Ledger art book starting on January 12th (evening-class: 6 - 9 p.m.) and continuing for five weeks (3 hr/week). The instructor is Cameron Garland, Denver area bookbinder with  remarkable experience on historical bindings. To register, please click here.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Ernst Haeckel and the Art Forms of Nature

(Ernst Haeckel, Kustformen der Natur, Tafel 8 - Desmonema)
Through the centuries the gap between science and art has been more or less deep. The German Ernst Haeckel was one of the rare Victoria scientists who tried to close this gap and he was able to change the way that many considered the relationship between art and science.
Ernst Haeckel (February 16, 1834 - August 9, 1919), a contemporary of Darwin, was a physician, anatomist, zoologist, naturalist, biologist and after all a natural history illustrator. Heackel created the terms: phylum, phylogeny and ecology.
Haeckel wrote several influential natural history books such as The History of Creation, Systematic Phylogeny, The Riddle of the Universe, Last Words on Evolution, and The Last Link
His first art book was published in 1862, Atlas of Radiolarias. Haeckel's illustrations influenced later art forms, including light fixtures, jewelry, furniture, and even a gateway to the Paris Word Fair in 1900. His natural history illustration culminated in the publication of Kunstformen der Natur (Artforms of Nature) in 1904. This book included 100 lithographic and autotype prints of a variety of organisms all of them masterpieces in composition and detail. He was influenced by Jugendstil (Art Nouveau movement in Austria and Germany) and his influence can be seen in the works of  Hans Christiansen, Karl Blossfeldt and Hendrik Petrus Berlage
Read more about Haeckel's life here (in Germain) or in English here.

(Ernst Haeckel, Kustformen der Natur, Tafel 62  - Nepenthes)

The Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate program will offer in the series of Drawing on Tradition a course focusing on the Art forms of Ernst Haeckel. The class starts on January 12 (1 - 4 p.m.) and is instructed by Marjorie Leggitt.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Plant List

There are believed to be about 400,000 flowering plant species, however as many of these species have several names the total number of scientific names is more than 1,000,000.
Missouri Botanical Garden (USA) merged their plant name database with the World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (maintained by The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew). This list was cross referenced with regional floras  showing that ca 600,000 of names are synonyms. The new database, The Plant List, forms a working list for all known plant species. It provides the accepted Latin name for the species and links to the synonyms, it also lists unresolved plant names (known names which are not accepted nor synonyms.
The Plant List contains 620 plant families and more than 16,160 plant genera. This is a perfect tool to use when you are deciding for the ID-information for your illustration. Link to The Plant List is provided under the heading "useful links" on the right hand column in this blog.