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

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Barbara McKee: Notes from a Peculiar Garden

Botanically correct but Not Entirely Botanicals -
Barbara McKee is exhibiting her art at Boulder Arts & Crafts Gallery until July 17th. The artist reception is on Friday July 1st, 6 - 8 p.m. (refreshments with wine).
Barbara McKee studied art in Switzerland and at Cornell College. She has worked thirty years with stained class design and production and has also authored five books on that subject. Her most recent passion is Botanical illustration and she is a very active part of our BI-community.
Barbara's botanicals follow all the Botanical illustration rules for a correct plate, however she has given a peculiar twist to all her illustrations which definitely make you smile. To see more of Barbara's art from the exhibit, please click here.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

HOT Botanicals: from Notecard designs to Umbrellas and Emboydery patterns

(Susan Curnutte's poppy-notecard)

From time to time in our program we leave the traditional illustration style and practice the more contemporary style. In the HOT botanicals' Mixed-media class the student produced designs e.g., for cards, plates, embroideries, kitchen towels, pillow cases and umbrellas. The instructor for this class was Annie Reiser.
(Umbrella design by Patricia Greenberg)
For more images from this class, please click here, or go to the BI-Facebook site. (Please click the images to enlarge)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Patricia Greenberg's winter project is now available!

The Mutt & the Mustang - based on true story
by Judy Archibald 
Illustrated by Patricia Greenberg 

This is not exactly anything botanical, however it shows how the learned skills are also applicable in other subject matter than plants.
This children's picture book writes about rescue dogs and horses in the Colorado Rockies.
The illustrator, Patricia Greenberg lives in Estes Park, CO and is an active part of our BI-community. Copies of this book can be found in bookstores, Horse rescues and humane societies - also by contacting Pet Pals Publishing (you can also read more about the main characters in this book).
Congratulations to the author Judy Archibald and Congratulations Patricia!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Midsummer Night's Dream -

(© Christine Hubbell, colored pencil, please click the image to enlarge)

But they do square, that all their elves, for fear,
creep into acorn-cups, and hide them there. (Shakespeare) 
William Shakespeare was not a botanist but in his poems, plays and sonnets he refers to 180 different plants.The play A Midsummer Night's Dream is one of Shakespeare's most popular works and is believed to have been written between 1590 and 1596. In that play alone 41 different plants are mentioned. He was a master of describing what he saw in nature and did it in a way as if any particular plant was the only one that could be mentioned on that occasion.  His writings can also be tied to the plants in a historical perspective as he writes about species which have not yet been introduced to the American continent at the time of writing. 
Our botanical illustration program offered an elective colored pencil course on Flowers and Shakespeare - you can see some of the student work in the BI-Facebook or by clicking here. In July we are continuing along a similar theme by offering a course on Lyrical Flowers (more information and to register, please click here).

The Colorado Shakespeare Festival's 2011 Season opens on June 25th with Romeo and Juliet (preview performance on June 24th).

Since today is the Summer Solstice you might like to read more about midsummer night magic and the supernatural aspects which are often linked to the midsummer night in the northern countries, please click here (scroll down to Midsummer night magic). 

Friday, June 17, 2011

Susan DiMarchi: Botanical artist, Illustrator, Glass artist etc...

Susan DiMarchi graduated from the Denver Botanic Gardens' Botanical Art and Illustration Program in 2010. She is a visual artist with a diverse background in painting, commercial art, glass design, botanical illustration and plant landscapes. Her work has been exhibited in galleries throughout the U.S., Canada and Japan, and featured in many publications. Susan’s glass is in the permanent collection of Contemporary Glass at the Corning Museum in New York.
Susan DiMarchi was the featured cover illustrator for Penstemons to Pines: Illustrating Rocky Mountain Natives - extended exhibit catalog.  Susan's illustrations are also found in Botanical Interests, Inc. seed packages and she co-authors Botanical Interests blog "Creative Inspirations" (mainly the "Inspired" part).
We are excited to welcome Susan DiMarchi back to the program, as she will be the most recent addition to our core instructors. Susan D. will be mainly teaching Colored Pencil and Pen and Ink.

[Artichoke (watercolor) on the left and Rubus idaeus (Pen and Ink) on the right ©Susan DiMarchi, please click the image to enlarge]

I also want to thank Annie Reiser who cannot continue teaching regularly in our program because of her new work related commitments. Annie, we are going to miss your talent and creativity but know that you will  return in the future to teach special weekend workshops. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Colored Pencil Magazine

Ann Kullberg's "From My Perspective" has been published online for 11 years and now this ezine has gone to print. The monthly issues of Colored Pencil Magazine will be packed with step-by-step tutorials, colored pencil tips, art critiques, book reviews, product reviews etc. You can preview the monthly  issues online before purchasing or you can subscribe the publication with an annual subscription membership.
This is certainly a welcome addition to the ever growing  collection of art magazines!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


(© Karla Beatty)

Saturday, June 18th, 2011 (1 p.m. -3 p.m.)

Vanessa has a large backyard with lots of beautiful flowers, trees and bushed to sketch, draw and paint. She is willing to host this wonderful meeting and will supply with cheese, crackers and fruit plus wine and non-alcoholic beverage ($5 donation for the wine and food). This fun and casual get together is open for everybody – please come and meet your artist friends outside the classroom.
RSVP by June 16th

Sunday, June 12, 2011

St John's Bible - 1150 hand written velum pages with over 140 illuminations

The Saint John's Bible is made for 21st century readers and is called the "America's Book of Kells". It is a collaboration project between Saint John's Abbey, University in Collegeville, Minnesota and Donald Jackson's Scriptorium in Monmouth, Wales.  Donald Jackson, the Artistic Director of the project is a renowned Western calligrapher and illuminator.
The original Bible when opened is 3 ft. wide and 2 ft tall, it includes 1150 velum pages divided in 7 different volumes. The first words were written on velum in early 2000 and the last volume was completed just a few weeks ago (the final presentation of the last volume was last week in Minnesota). Ancient techniques and tools were applied through the whole process, using old inks, gold and platinum for guilding and turkey, goose or swan quills for the application.
The illuminations are  combinations of old and modern techniques, on several pages the local flora and fauna of Minnesota and Wales are shown, e.g., the life cycle of the Monarch butterfly to symbolize life, death and resurrection.
You can page through the Bible by clicking here (to go to the next page click in the upper right corner of the right hand page).
(Monarch Butterfly and milkweed on the left)
(please click the image to enlarge)
The lay-out and text was first composed on the computer. The final text for each of the vellum pages took seven to ten hours to write and errors in hand writing sometimes occurred. Corrections were made by carefully scraping away single words and recreating the correct text. On 8 pages a whole line was accidentally omitted and the missing line was added at the end of the page with creatures capable of flight pulling the lines into place (see above).
At the moment 25 of the illuminations (giclee prints) can be viewed in St. Andrew United Methodist Church, Denver, CO until June 28, 2011 (8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.).
(Newsweek published an article about the project in 2000, you can read it by clicking here)

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Distance Learning Program for Botanical Illustration

Our Distance Learning Summer and Fall 2011 program is out! Registration for the online courses with on-site component starts on June13th. (to download and/or print the program, please use the username biprogram and password: student when existing account information is requested.)
(Final plate for the Colored Pencil I distance learning course by Stephanie Dickson, please click the image to enlarge)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Paper Grounds with Velvet Surfaces - option for pastels

(Please click the image to enlarge, from left: UArt Sand Paper (400 grid), Pastel board and Velour paper)

Most of us get certain associations while talking about art and velvet surfaces. The Botanical Illustration Program had a weekend workshop on velvet surfaces where the artists explored how colored pencils work on UArt Sand Paper (400 grid), Pastel Board and Velour paper. All these surfaces are available in many different colors. 
 Velour surface certainly works perfectly with hairy, silky textures like the leaves of Stachys lanata. Colored pencil on Pastel Board and/or UArt is a nice alternative for the sometimes messy traditional pastel painting. Especially the Pastel Board can give an extremely detailed final result. See more photos in the BI-Facebook pr by clicking here.  

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Saint John's Bible - Exhibit at Highlands Ranch

(Please click the image to enlarge)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Registration for summer and fall classes opens in few hours -

(Aquilegia caerulea - watercolor, Constance Sayas)

On June 6th you can register for courses offered within the Summer/Fall 2011 Botanical Illustration Program Catalog. Be early and avoid the disappointment - our class size is limited to only 12 students. You can register on-line by following this link (not earlier than Monday morning). You can view our catalog here (if you like to download it, please use the username: biprogram and the password: student)