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

Monday, February 28, 2011

Cafe Botanique, March 3 - Morrison center

Working toward Sustainable Solutions to Pest Plant Problems
By Cynthia Brown, PhD., CSU, Fort Collins, CO

Pest plants and their management have been on humanity’s mind since biblical times, and their importance is unlikely to diminish.  The best and most sustainable management of unwanted plants involves understanding their biology, the living and non-living elements of the environment in which they grow, and how these factors interact.  With this knowledge, we can choose the management tools at our disposal that will tip the balance in favor of plants we want and against those we don’t.  Importantly, successful management of unwanted plants means acquiring the mindset that success is an ongoing process, not a once-and-for-all solution.

Cynthia Brown majored in Biological Sciences at Stanford University, and then studied rangeland and restoration ecology at University of California, Davis for her doctorate.  She has been involved in grassland restoration research in California, Colorado and Minnesota, and she is especially interested in the role of restoration in the management of invasive plants.  Cynthia has been faculty of the Department of Bioagricultural Sciences and Pest Management at Colorado State University for nearly 9 years.
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Denver Botanic Gardens – Morrison Center
6:30 – 8 p.m.
Register here

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Critique Botanique

(Hydrangea by J. Cochrane)

A great opportunity for peer input, sharing ideas and techniques  -

Critique Botanique will be a 2 hour get together for a committed group of students looking for perspective, support and inspiration.
Critique Botanique will be free of charge and open to all botanical illustration students, those currently enrolled, formerly enrolled, graduated and non-graduated.  It will meet once a month in Hibiscus Classroom at Denver Botanic Gardens, alternating between day and night time sessions.  
The first Critique Botanique will meet on Thursday, March 10, 6 – 8 p.m.

Critique Botanique is initiated and organized by Alex Cisney, a current Denver Botanic Gardens' Botanical Illustration student. Critique Botanique operates like Open Studio but without instructor presence.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Susan Dimarchi, Marjorie Leggitt and Carolyn Crawford were interviewed by the Horticulture Magazine's  RadioGarden and you can listen to these botanical illustrators in one of the RadioGarden's podcasts. Marjorie is one of our core teachers and Susan has graduated from our program and will be soon teaching in it. All three are illustrators for  Botanical Interests  and their seed packets. Listen to the podcast by clicking here or the image above. Also can be seen through the BI-facebook.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Wild Harvest - Ethnobotany Illustrated at Frontrange Community College

(Lagenaria siceraria by Randy Raak)

This botanical illustration exhibit can be viewed only until March 2nd, 2011 at the Frontrange Community College, Westminster, CO. The FRCC Gallery hours are Monday through Thursday 9:30 a.m. - 6 p.m. After Westminster the show is moving to the Concourse A of the Denver International Airport (A Gates Y-Juncture) and can be viewed only after the security screening.  

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Botanical Miniatures

(Botanical Miniature by Barbara East)

A miniature is generally defined by a surface area of 24-25 square inches or less. The acceptable size for exhibited miniatures is 6”x4½” and any single object need to be 2 inches or less.  (more of the definitions, please click here). Miniature painting traces its roots back to the book paintings and illuminated manuscripts created in the 7th century. In traditional miniatures every detail of the subject matter is miniaturized. The final art shows exemplary composition, use of media and application technique.
The Royal Society of Miniatures Painters, Sculptors & Gravers was founded in 1896 in England.The Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers Society of Washington, D.C. was initiated in the beginning of 1930s. Today Miniature Artists of America is the only honor society in the world recognizing miniature artists. You can find up-to date information about other Miniature Art Societies and Organizations here.

The botanical illustration program recently completed elective graphite/colored pencil class: Botanical miniatures with Susan Rubin as the instructor. A sampling of the art produced on that class is posted on the BI-Facebook. The largest piece produced was 4”x5” and the smallest 1.25”x1.75". 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Bookbinding within the Botanical Illustration Program

(Journals produced on our 2011 Coptic book binding class instructed by Annie Reiser)
Every year the Botanical Illustration Program offers a workshop in Coptic bookbinding. That binding method is very convenient for sketchbooks and journaling as it lays flat and opens 180 degrees. Lately we have introduced the same binding method for a journal documenting the 1800 color mixing swatches we produce in the Color Mixing for Artists class.
This year we are also offering two Spring Back Ledger Binding courses. One 5-week session just ended with beautiful results. We have another 5-week session coming up in June.  That class is limited for 10 students. The Spring Back bookbinding classes are instructed by Cameron Garland, a botanical illustrator and Denver area bookbinder with  remarkable experience on historical bindings. In April Shawn Sheeny will visit us from Chicago and teach a 2-day workshop in pop-up books focusing in flowers.
More photos from the completed bookbinding classes can be viewed  in the BI-Facebook.
(Spring Back Ledger Bookbinding class - Lynn Lee and Diana Neff are absent from the group photo)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Carbon Dust

(Jay scull by Karla Beatty, Carbon dust)

Push your drawing skills into a new realm. Carbon dust has been a mainstay medium for medical and scientific illustrators for more than 75 years. Using a combination of pencil lines and dust "washes" applied with brushes, this medium produces rich, tonal renderings with the value range of charcoal and the precision of watercolor. You’ll be introduced to the various tools associated with carbon dust, including carbon pencils, dust, brushes, blenders and fixative. Choose a subject well suited to the technique and learn to use methodical layering to create a flawless continuous tone. Complete the finer details with pencil for a finished carbon-dust rendering.
Please hurry - register on-line here or call 720-865-3580

WILD HARVEST - now at FRCC in Westminster

(please click the image to enlarge)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

El Charco del Ingenio - 20 years in 2011

El Charco den Ingenio Botanical Garden in San Miguel de Allende is celebrating this year its 20th anniversary with a number of extra activities. It is also planning to expand with a science center and a dormitory for researchers and students. El Charcho's succulent collection is flourishing and the children's garden will be completed by the Earth Day 2011. The educational programs are focusing on the conservation, environmental and cultural projects promoting the heritage and appearance of San Miguel de Allende. Part of the lately expanded programs also include the partnership with Denver Botanic Gardens and the Botanical Art and Illustration program. More pictures from the garden will be posted shortly in the BI-facebook.

Colored Pencil in El Charco del Ingenio

Today was the final day of Libby Kyer's Colored Pencil class in El Charco del Ingenio Botanical Garden, San Miguel de Allende, GTO, Mexico. Twelve students enjoyed the 5 day course, the first one of our series there in 2011. Denver Botanic Gardens Botanical Art and Illustration Program initiates the partner ship and teaching  in Mexico in December 2009 and have been offering classes there since. This was the eight Botanical illustration course thought at El Charco by the Botanical Illustration Program. The next class: Nature Illuminated will be offered in July.
Some more pictures, lease click here.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Graphite II - as promised

(© Kathleen Dolan)
Please click here to see more images from the Pencil II class)

Primitive paints in Cafe Botanique, Thursday January 17, 6:30 p.m.

Primitive Paints of the Ancient Arts
By By Rebeccah J.W. Cope, M.S., Raleigh, NC

The presentation will explore the diverse sources of natural colors that are found in the world and the many ways that people have figured out how to use them to make dyes, inks and paints, as well as the great lengths that people have gone to in order to acquire beautiful and rare color pigments.  Color sources are just about everywhere; some are surprising and even alarming.  Natural colors can be found in animals, vegetables and minerals but not all of these sources can be utilized for human purposes such as for making paint.  Find out where natural colors come from, how we view them and what we can create from them. Help celebrate the amazing world of natural colors at a time of the year when there is little color left to see outdoors.

Rebeccah Cope is a program director for the Wake County Division of Parks, Recreation and Open Space in Raleigh, NC and is directly responsible for overseeing the programs, events and exhibits at Historic Yates Mill County Park and Crowder District Park.  As a full-time naturalist-educator and as a part-time artist, Rebeccah is interested in the diversity and sources of natural colors that are found in the world and how they can be utilized to create artistic masterpieces such as illuminated manuscripts and medieval paintings.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Glossy leaves and vibrant colors in watercolor-

(© Theresa Burkert)
The present location of our Botanical illustration classroom offers the dream-come-true environment for a Botanical Illustrator. Right  outside the classroom door we have Marnie's pavillion, a two story orchid and bromeliad display with waterfalls and other water features with rock formations.
In the lover level we have the Orangery with the view inside the state-of-the-art greenhouses.
Only some 20 feet away from the classroom students can access the Boettcher Memorial Tropical Conservatory with thousands of exotic specimens. 
Botanical illustration class: Tropical plants in Watercolor with Constance Sayas as the instructor was completed today. Please see some random images from the last session in the BI-Facebook, or by clicking here.  

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Wildflowers of Boulder Canyon -

Frank Andrus started to illustrate the wildflowers of Boulder Canyon beside "The Old Nederland Road" in  2009. He documents the plants of the canyon between April and October and does his illustrations mainly in graphite. Some of his most resent works are currently on display in Nederland Community Center. If you are in the neighborhood please stop by the center, for opening hours and directions, please click here.
Frank Andrus belongs to our Botanical Illustration community and is in process of completing the requirements for the BI-certificate.
(Erigeron simplex by F. Andrus)

Friday, February 4, 2011

Season start in El Charco del Ingenio

Our satellite program in El Charco del Ingenio botanical garden of San Miguel de Allende, GTO, Mexico is starting the 2011 season by offering a colored pencil drawing class: Textures and Form which is focusing in succulents, the main floral element of the host garden. The instructor will be Libby Kyer (click here to see an Artplantae interview with Libby). The partnership between our gardens was launched in 2009 and will continue this year with three class offerings: one in February, one in July and the last one in December. See the detailed program by clicking here.
San Miguel de Allende is a charming historic art center with loads of buildings from 17th and 18th century. It is situated very close to the Sanctuary of Atotonilco and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Four of the five weeks of are over

(from Pencil II class, Feb 1, 2011)
In spite of the subzero temperatures in Denver a feverous activity takes places in the BI-classroom. Unfortunately we needed to cancel one class last night because of the weather, but even if most of the schools are closed in the Frontrange area today, BI-students are working in the classroom as if we still had the warm  68F temperatures from last weeks weather.
The first rotation of 2011 classes is soon over and next week you’ll see pictures from the last sessions. You can find some progress photos from Pencil II class in the BI-Facebook
Most of our February classes are sold out. Some seats are available for the following courses starting in February: Hoefnagel and the Cabinet of Curiosities (evening); Color Mixing Journal – Coptic binding (one seat); Colored Pencil II (one seat); Watercolor II (evening); Orchids in Watercolor (one seat); Roots in Watercolor; Natural Colors and Science of Art. 
For on-line registration, please click here or call the registrar at 720-865-3653.
(From Pencil I class, February 1, 2011)