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

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Birds and Plants Belong Together

(watercolor by Karla Beatty)

When talking about plants we cannot forget the important roll of birds as pollinators, seed dispersers, and biological controllers. Birds have also been included in botanical illustrations for thousands of years, the probably oldest documentation of that has found in the  Chalcotithic pottery from Persia (ca 5000-3500 BCE) .
This fall we included two "bird" classes in our curriculum: Eggs and Nests in Watercolor and Feathers in Graphite (instructor for both courses was Karla Beatty). For both classes we borrowed the scientific material from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. A bird specialists from DMNS also gave a related presentation in the classroom for the students. Some of the student work is displayed in the BI-Facebook, please click here to view them.  
(graphite feathers of Susan Curnutte)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Capturing The Red Color

Instructor for our Ravishing Reds Course was Constance Sayas - this is one of her class handouts for bright red flowers

Capturing the right red color is an interesting challenge for the illustrator. There should be more orange in the sunlight and more violet in the shadows, perhaps something else at the edges.
Among our elective courses selection we offer from time to time Ravishing Reds course in which the students learn to mix the red hues that are needed to create value and form in red. Please enjoy some student work (in-process) from that class by clicking here.

Judy Cochrane's poppy (in process)

Monday, November 21, 2011

2012 Arts and Archives Tour with the BI Program

March 22 - April 3, 2012

Join Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski, Manager of Botanical Art and Illustration Programs for a unique exploration of art archives in Europe. This 12-day tour includes four nights in London with the remaining time in southern Germany. Discover the hidden jewels of Kew Gardens’ Library, Art & Archives and enjoy Dr. Shirley Sherwood’s company while exploring the current exhibits in the only gallery solely devoted to botanical art. Learn about published and unpublished art treasures in the Natural History Museum and British Library and enjoy a tour of the British Library’s Conservation Studios. Presentation of the extensive three year conservation research project of the outstanding ReevesCollection in addition to William Morris Red House and the newly re-opened DeMorgan Centre are in the program. Take a one day break from collections to visit the well-known artist and teacher, Ann Swan at her studio in Wiltshire, with a stop at the Lacock Abbey and the neolithic monuments at Avebury

Travel by high-speed rail to Frankfurt (via Brussels) to explore Maria Sibylla Merian’s works from the 17th century and spend time at the University of Tuebingen with Leonhart Fuchs’ collection. Learn about the scientific side of the great poet Goethe and visit the Gutenberg Museum. Explore Germany’s oldest town Trier, and on the way to Nürnberg, visit the Heidelberg Castle to learn about pharmaceutical history in this remarkable museum, which displays one of the finest collections of paintings, manuscripts and related objects from the past two thousand years.

The tour comes to an end in Bavaria, where you can sample special wines and famous gingerbread while discovering the secrets of Faber-Castell’s 250-year history on the tour of the company’s Jugend castle. Before leaving Germany, visit the Imperial Castle of Nürnberg and the Germanic National Museum, which boasts Albrecht Dürer collections and the unique Codex aureus, produced in the 10th century.

For a detailed day-by-day program, please click here.

For more information about the program, please contact Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski or 720-865-3653. Please contact Sheridan Shamano  or 303-860-6045 to reserve your spot.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Saint John's Bible and it's illuminations in Santa Fe, NM

(Genesis 28 - please click to enlarge)

Fourty-four illuminated pages from The Saint John's Bible are on display in New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe until April 7th 2012. Last Monday, November 7th a group of enthusiastic Botanical Illustrators went to listen to the artistic Director Donald Jacson's presentation about his 14 years with the project  and then joined with him afterwards for a private reception at the Museum. It was unbelievable to see the folio sized illuminations on velum and study the calligraphic technique used for this mastodon task. Once again it became clear how poorly the digital reproductions compare with the original work. It was a great pleasure to connect with Donald Jackson and other members of the artistic team and also meet the representatives from the Saint John's Abbey, Minnesota.

While in Santa Fe we also had an opportunity to see the Book Arts Group Show at the Capitol Rotunda Gallery. Please see some of the photos form our Santa Fe trip by clicking here
We are planning to organize another 3-day trip from Colorado to Santa Fe prior the illuminated pages leave the History Museum in April 2012. If you like to get more information about the trip, please contact Mervi   

2012 Margaret Flockton Award - Call for Entries

(Ceratozamia vovidesii by Edmundo Saavedra Vidal, 1st prize winner for 2011 Margaret Flockton Award - please click the image to enlarge)

Illustrators are invited to submit one or two original scientific botanical illustrations in black and white by close of business Monday 6th Feb 2012Prize money - 1st prize - $AUD5000, 2nd prize - $AUD2000, plus three Highly Commended awards will be presented upon the opening of the exhibition on Friday 30th March 2012. Submission details for the Margaret Flockton Award can be viewed by clicking here.

Margaret Flockton (1861-1953) was the first botanical illustrator at the Botanic Gardens in Sydney, serving from 1901 for 27 years. The Margaret Flockton Award commemorates the enormous contribution that she made to early botanical illustration for taxonomic research. The award is unique in that it promotes botanical illustration, as opposed to botanical art, it is annually sponsored by the Maple-Brown family and the Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney, AustraliaThis unique Award is now in its ninth year. In 2011, 31 competing works were exhibited, produced by 20 artists from all around the world.  
For complete information to submit works in 2012 and to view 2011 winning works, please click here.
  You can read more information about Margaret Flockton by clicking here

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cafe Botanique, November 17 - Gates Hall

The woods of 18th & 19th Century Chinese Furniture
By Carol Goldstein, Ph.D 

The Qing dynasty (1644-1911) was the last imperial dynasty and the one from which the vast majority of furniture still available originates. However, the study of Chinese furniture and therefore the material from which it was made, is relatively recent. The materials used were not well documented and there is widespread variance in much of the information available. To say that opinions differ among botanists and connoisseurs regarding the identification of these woods is a gross understatement. The materials used for constructing furniture in today’s China and their current classification will be included in the presentation. 

Dr. Carol Goldstein was born and raised in New York City, she moved to Denver in 1972 to earn a Masters degree and a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado. In 1988, Carol and her husband moved to Hong Kong where they lived, worked, traveled and most importantly, engaged in serious collecting of antique Chinese furniture and accessories for 10 years. Her home is filled with various collections ranging from antique Caucasian rugs, Neolithic pottery and antique Chinese furniture to contemporary art. In addition to her academic teaching activities, Carol has been active with the Asian Art Association of the DAM since returning from Hong Kong and currently serves as the Association’s immediate past president.
Click here to register -

Thursday, November 17, 2011
Denver Botanic Gardens – Gates Hall
6:30 – 8 p.m.

Friday, November 11, 2011


(Daucus carota by Constance Sayas)

Denver Botanic Gardens' Botanical Art and Illustration Programs' new winter/spring 2012 catalog (January - July) is published  and the courses for the first part of 2012 can be viewed by clicking here or by clicking the catalog image in the right hand column.  
We have 84 course offerings for the coming period. Certainly everyone can find something of interest and suitable for the personal calendar. Registration for these classes opens on December 12, 9 a.m..
The Distance learning catalog for Winter/Spring 2012 will be out shortly .

(Detail from Susan Rubin's Poppies - this image refers to one of our new offerings: Color Layering II: Complementary Colors)

If you wish to download this document into your computer, the username is: biprogram and the password: student (use the option "already have a Scribd account").

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Compositions with Charlotte Knox

(Pineapples by Charlotte Knox)

Each year our Botanical Illustration program is enriched by several guest workshops. The last visiting instructor for 2011 was Charlotte Knox who is known for her meticulous technique, captivating realism and bold forms. Please see some of the artists works from our weekend workshop, November 4 - 6, 2011 by clicking here.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

If you can draw...

(coconut by Marissa Tiroly)

Please see some images from our graphite classes which were completed in October. You can access the photos by clicking here.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Special Collections at University of Colorado and Miniatures

(Book of Hours from c 1420)

Our goal is to enrich the Botanical Illustration classes with special lectures, field trips, and visit to the experts on the field. Last month we visited the Special Collections Department, University of Colorado at Boulder. Ass. Professor Deborah Hollis gave us an overview of the Medieval manuscript leaves and other illuminated material included in the CU Boulder collections. We also got a glimpse of the numerous herbals in the collections. A large amount of the collections is digitized and can be viewed electronically over the internet. Nothing it better than look at the original though. Please see some photos from our visit and the material which we could study close by. Access the photos by clicking here.
This visit was a part of the class: Drawing on Tradition: Marie Angel's Illuminated  Miniatures (instructed by Renee Jorgensen). Marie Angel was a renown miniaturist and calligrapher who melded together the medieval craft and her modern eye. She died in 2010. 
Samples from art that was produced in the classroom can be found by clicking here. 
(Students examining the old collections)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Be careful on the roads (if in Colorado)!

Overpasses are icy and roads can be snow packed - The Gardens' operations are expected to start at 9 a.m. (no class delays) 
Drive Carefully! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Snow for Wednesday -

Denver Botanic Gardens' SNOW ADVISORY LINE 720-865-3620