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

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Just Three Days Remaining!!!

(Lupinus chamissonis, colored  pencil, Estelle DeRidder, please click the image to enlarge)

In three days we will ring in 2013 - If you are considering a year end  tax-deductible donation for scientific equipment and and teaching tools, you need to do it now. With the Challenge Grant your gift to the School of Botanical Art and Illustration will double in value.  
You can transfer your gift in three different ways:
      1.  Process your secure gift online by clicking here or the following link: www.botanicgardens.org/annual-fund
·     Click on donate now button. Select “BI Challenge (by 12/30/2012)” from the designation drop-down menu.
      2.  Deliver or mail your check payable to Denver Botanic Gardens by tomorrow, Friday, December 28, 2012. Our address: DBG, 909 York Street, Denver, CO 80206. Please add “BI Challenge” on the memo line.
       3. Call the Gardens’ Director of Development, Johanna Kelly at 720-865-3517.

Thank you for your consideration and your constant support of botanical art and illustration here at the Gardens.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Happy Holidays from SBAI

(pop-up art by Judy Vanderbosch)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

2012 BI-Scholarships


(Hyoscyamus reticulatus by Tulay Yilmaz, watercolor)

Each year the School of Botanical illustration awards scholarships for new students who are 15 years or older and planning to enroll in any of the required classes without pre-requisites in Denver Botanic Gardens’ Botanical Art and Illustration program. In 2012 we have three recipients:

1. Tulay Yilmaz, Ankara Turkey. Tulay is currently completing her Master of Science studies in Molecular Genetics (Expected to be completed in February 2013) and she will be coming to Denver, CO in April 2013. 
2. Abigale Grace, Lafayette, CO enrolled to the Botanical illustration program already in August 2012 and has since then completed six of the 14 required courses.

(As Above So Below, Abigale Grace, acrylic, thread, wool glass beads)

3. Beverly Longe, Denver, CO has studied in the Columbus College of Art and Design and Denver Art Student League. She will enroll to classes in 2013.

(Leaf study by Beverly Longe, watercolor)

Congratulations to all the recipients - welcome to the School of Botanical Art and Illustration!

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Your Gift Will Double!

(Karen Cleaver, watercolor)

As 2012 comes to a close, the School of Botanical Art & Illustration has been generously offered a challenge grant in the amount of $7,500. For every new dollar donated to the School of Botanical Art and Illustration between today and December 30, 2012, funds will go to scientific equipment (such as microscopes) and other teaching tools – and most importantly, be matched by a donor up to the amount of $7,500. This is a great opportunity to enhance the School’s resources. The timing is perfectYour gift will be fully tax deductible as allowed by law.

You can transfer your gift in three different ways:
      1.  Process your secure gift online by clicking here or the following link: www.botanicgardens.org/annual-fund
·         Click on donate now button. Select “BI Challenge (by 12/30/2012)” from the designation drop-down menu.
      2.  Deliver or mail your check payable to Denver Botanic Gardens by Friday, December 28, 2012. Our address: DBG, 909 York Street, Denver, CO 80206. Please add “BI Challenge” on the memo line.
       3. Call the Gardens’ Director of Development, Johanna Kelly at 720-865-3517.

Thank you for your consideration and your constant support of botanical art and illustration here at the Gardens.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Bird Illustration Course at El Charco del Ingenio Botanical Garden

(Alifie Rojas, graphite)

The Bird illustration course at El Charco del Ingenio Botanical Garden (San Miguel de Allende, GTO, Mexico) started with studying the different parts of the bird in the classroom then continued with live sketching of chickens and ducks. Finally everybody was illustrating from photos using also 3-dimensional model as helping tool to solve the perspective issues. Some of the students had not done any illustration prior to this class and the progress made during the 5-day course was amazing. 
Congratulations for all the 14 students; congratulations and thank you for Maestro Randy Raak. Students from San Miguel de Allende and those who were travelling from distance (some all the way from Mexico City) very happy for the learning experience. SBAI (School of Botanical Art and Illustration) will be back! 
Please see images from the class by clicking here.
(Lots of individual guidance, Maestro Raak and Pakina)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Registration for 2013 courses opens tomorrow!

(Constance Sayas, watercolor)

Registration for the spring 2013 courses opens tomorrow, 9 a.m. Course catalog can be viewed by clicking here (Google account needed). You can register on-line, per phone or in person.
Happy hunting and good luck for tomorrow!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

School of Botanical Art and Illustration

(Gretchen Sickler, colored pencil - from our fall classes, please click image to enlarge)

To better reflect our quality teaching our name has changed to School of Botanical Art and Illustration.  The course registration for the January - July 2013 courses opens on December 11th, 9 a.m. You can access our course catalog by clicking here or the image on the right hand column of the blog. The online registration can be found by clicking here (all the classes appear as sold out until Dec. 11, 9 a.m.). Please see some random images from our November classes by clicking here
 (Barbara McKee, from the gold leaf gilding class)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Colorado Gives Day is tomorrow!

Support the School of Botanical Illustration - Support Denver Botanic Gardens.
Colorado Gives Day, December 4th, 2012

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Chinese Calligraphy in Cafe Botanique, Thursday November 29


Dance of Painted Ink: The Art of Calligraphy in China and Beyond
By Sally Yu Leung, San Francisco, CA

While the word “Calligraphy” refers to “beautiful writing” in English, the Chinese has regarded Calligraphy, or Shufa (literally “the way/method/law of writing) as one of the highest art forms. For those unfamiliar with Chinese calligraphy, one can use dance as an analogy. In the dance of calligraphy, the rhythm and flow of the dance are controlled through character size, the contrast between light and dark ink, and the speed with which the individual strokes are applied. Sally Yu Leung will talk about the rich cultural and historical significance of Chinese calligraphy as well as the ongoing artistic developments of this art form in China and beyond.

Sally Yu Leung is an independent lecturer, author and curator of Chinese decorative arts. Ms. Leung
has conducted talks and workshops for the Denver Botanic Gardens for some years now.

The annual Botanical Illustration silent auction to benefit the School of Botanical Illustration including original art, art materials, books, art related items will be organized in conjunction of this event. 
Bidding: 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Talk:  Gates Hall, November 29, 2012, 6:30 - 8:00 p.m. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Golden Age of Botanical Art by Martyn Rix




The Golden Age of Botanical Art by Martyn Rix is the latest addition to the literature portraying the Botanical Art. Starting from the origins of Botanical Art some 4500 years ago this work highlights the classic work of the seventeenth  to the nineteenth century. It is beautifully illustrated with over 250 rarely, or previously unpublished, images from the archives of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and  brings together the stories of the brave and intrepid explorers and the many professional artists who recorded for posterity the flora that they discovered on their travels and expeditions. This book includes artistry of China and India, delves into the sketchbooks of travelling men and women, follows the voyages of those who discovered new worlds and new species as far apart as Africa and South America. It includes both adventure minded scientists and brave Victorian ladies. It includes a capture about Leonardo da Vinci and Flora Danica and does not overlook the current development and direction of the tradition.

With PhD in Botany from University of Cambridge, Martyn Rix  has worked with the University Garden in Zurich and at the Royal Horticultural Society's Garden at Wisley before becoming an independent botanical advisor and writer. He has made many expeditions to different parts of the world to collect new plants for gardens. He is the current editor of Curtis Botanical Magazine


This volume is warmly recommended and should be included in the Holiday present-wishlist for the Botanical illustrator and art lover.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Guernseys' Auction at Arader Galleries

(Herman Henstenburgh, 1667-1726, Blue Liseron flowers, lush greenery, butterfly and other flowers on a tabletop, gouache - estimated $7000 - $10000)

Guernseys auction house is being held at Arader Gallery at 1016 Madison Avenue on December 5th. Featured are more than 280 lots the include exceptional historical maps, rare books, American and European oil Paintings, and natural history engravings and watercolors including over 80 lots of John James Audubon's birds and mammals. 
Please view the auction catalog by clicking here. You can browse lot-by-lot through LiveAuctionees by clicking here.  Please note that all ALL lots with a low estimate under $10,000 will have no reserves so they could sell for $100 or LESS.
NOTE: 10% of the hammer price of anything that you acquire will go to the Denver Botanic Gardens for unrestricted use and 15% in credit from Arader's inventory for anything that Denver Botanic Gardens or the Friends of Denver Botanic Gardens acquire at this sale. 
Please take the opportunity and support our institute!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Contemporary Traditions Reception and 2012 Graduations

(Please click the image to enlarge)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Legacy Techniques and Zentangle

(Columbine by Sharon Henderson, silk shading - please click to enlarge)


In addition to the standard curriculum the Botanical Illustration program regularly offers courses in legacy techniques such as egg tempera, silver point, gold leaf gilding and Chinese brush painting. In 2012 we have also offered fore-edge painting (Fepping) and silk shading. We also started to teach Zentangle which can be considered to be from the opposite end of the scale.
Fore-Edge painting of books was originally used for identifying and organizing books (like an early cataloging system) and dates back to the 10th century. Disappearing fore-edge paintings where the painting is invisible when the book is closed is documented from the 17th century and onward. During the 18th century the character of the painting changed from decorative and heraldic to multicolored portraits and landscapes. Our workshop was thought by Jeanne Bennett who has also published and excellent book of the subject. Ms. Bennet is one of the few teachers of Fore-edge painting in the US.
Silk shading is thousands of years old embroidery method. Originating most likely in China silk shading is often called for painting with a needle. Sarah Homfray from Royal School of Needlework was teaching our enthusiastic group of students in this beautiful technique. This was the very first silk shading course ever taught for botanical illustrators.
Zentangle was created only few years ago and is spreading and gaining popularity very fast. We could perhaps call it for doodling but it is more structured way of generating often repetitive patterns and images. Everybody can do it and it is an outstanding way to improve your line work.
Please see more images from these classes by clicking here.  
(Zentangle with a botanical twist by Cathy Cridlebaugh - please click to enlarge)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Congratulations to Marjorie Leggitt

(Cucurpita pepo 'Squash Max's Gold' by Marjorie Leggitt)
American Society for Botanical illustrators (ASBA) awarded Marjorie Leggitt, our dedicated core teacher in the Botanical Art and Illustration Program the 2012 Excellence in Service to Science Award. Marjorie is the fourth recipient for this prestigious award.
Marjorie Leggitt has been teaching in our program from the mid 1980's. Her main focus in our program has been in Pen and Ink, Composition and Perspective.
Very warm and heartfelt congratulations!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Botanical Zentangles

Annie Reiser bacame certified Zentengle teacher in Rhode Island (September 23 - 26, 2013).

Annie will be our main teacher in Botanical Zentangles and their applications.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Birds at El Charco del Ingenio

(Secretary bird by Randy Raak, graphite on paper)

El Charco del Ingenio is a bird watcher’s paradise, but drawing birds can be a challenge. This course will cover the basics of drawing birds using graphite on paper. The students will learn fundamental drawing skills to develop accurate renderings of birds both at rest and in flight. Students will learn to sketch quickly and accurately through field studies. The direct live observation is essential in adding a dynamic feeling to an otherwise static image done from a photographic reference.
Sketching from multiple reference photos will also be explained as another exercise in familiarizing the student with basic bird anatomy. The goal of this course is to produce a finished graphite drawing. It may depict anything from an impressionistic rendering of a hawk in flight to a detailed photo-realistic portrait of one’s favorite songbird.

Randall Raak has been interested in the natural sciences since his childhood. The lakes, rivers and forests of Minnesota where he grew up became an inspiration for his developing artistic talent. For most of his life, Randy has been a commercial artist and sculptor. Randy recently completed the Botanical Illustration Certification program at Denver Botanic Gardens. His art has been included in numerous juried national shows featuring both botanical and ornithological works. He also does plein air and portrait painting. To see more examples of Randy’s work, please visit his website by clicking here.
To get more information and register for this illustration class, please click here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Painting with Needle in Cafe Botanique


Painting with Needle – Silk Shading and its over 5,000 year history
Sarah Homfrey, Royal School of Needlework, Hampton Court, England

Silk Shading is a hand embroidery technique blending long and short stitches to create realistic pictures. It is hard to define the point of history at which it became the technique we know it as today. It was most likely first produced in China where fine embroidery was common during the Neolithic period and commercial silk production started in strict secrecy already around 250 B.C.E. Samples of similar type of embroidery were found in Coptic cemeteries in Egypt dating back to the 5th century B.C.E. Throughout its known history, silk shading has been used in emperor’s palaces and royal courts. Today, the technique is kept alive at the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court, England. Take this rare opportunity and learn more about the rich history of this unique art form and craft.

After a career as mechanical engineer, Sarah Homfray completed the Royal School of Needlework Apprenticeship in 2006 and currently teaches the RSN Apprentices and the Certificate and Diploma students, as well as undertakes freelance teaching and commissions. In addition to embroidery, Sarah has studied botanical illustration and printmaking. She believes strongly in observation and attention to detail, and her particular area of interest is embroidery design. Sarah holds a certificate in education from the University of Greenwich and has taught in the USA and Cyprus.

Sarah has been awarded numerous prizes for her embroidery and embroidery designs. She has published in magazines and has written RSN Essential Stitch Guide - Silk Shading (Search Press 2011). She also was part of the team of embroiderers who created the wedding dress, veil and shoes of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (née Middleton) in 2011.

Wednesday, September 26
Denver Botanic Gardens – Gates Hall
6:30 – 8 p.m
Pre-registration, please click here>

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

From the Portfolios -

(Colored pencil by Karen May)

We cannot display all the portfolio pieces (80 plates in total) but you can see some highlights of the graduate work by clicking here.   
(Graphite by Randi Raak)

Monday, September 17, 2012

September 2012 Portfolio review

(Bulldogs by Susan Curnutte)
September 2012 Botanical Illustration  Portfolio review are today - 16 candidates will present the results of their hard work -


(please click to enlarge)

CONGRATULATIONS to ALL SEPTEMBER 2012 GRADUATES!!!
(back row from left: Yvonne Slifka, Lois Sanford, Jennifer Muto, Gloria Cavallier, Muriah Allen, Judy Vanderbosch, Doug McCallum, Karen Genoff-Campbell, Karen May, Susan Curnutte, Nancy DeGuire, Randy Raak, Renee Jorgensen (instructor) Constance Sayas (Instructor), Marjorie Leggitt (instructor), Susan DiMarchi (instructor), Susan Rubin (instructor); 
front row from left: Tina Huston, Victoria Wood, Martha Narey, Vanessa Martin, Karla Beatty (instructor);  picture taker: Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski (manager of the program)
Many thanks for everybody!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Florum 2012

(detail from Tessa Spanton's piece, she is one of the 62 invited artists in the exhibit)

Florum 2012 exhibit at Seven Oaks Wildflower Reserve in Kent includes this year 333 quality works of botanical art by 62 invited artists, featuring paintings in a variety of media, silk paintings, textiles, embroidery, wood engravings, original jewellery, lino cuts and landscape etchings. This exhibit was initiated by Elizabeth Smail in 2005 and major part of the exhibit profits are donated to the upkeep of the Reserve which is a 55 ha spectacular oasis for the flora and fauna. The review of this first class exhibit can be found here.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Visible Empire by Daniela Bleichmar - another treasure to read -

(Heliconia stiletioides, New Granada Expedition, 1783-1816, unsigned - Royal Botanical Garden in Madrid - photo: MHjK)

Visible Empire: Botanical Expeditions & Visual Culture in the Hispanic Enlightenment by Daniela Bleichmar (The University of Chicago Press) focuses on travel, art and science of the 18th century Spanish Empire. In the 17th and 18th century European botany was an important science because it meant exploration of new lands and gaining information of unknown, new and exotic plants and environments for the host country. The relationship was different within the Spanish Empire: Spanish Empire was documenting their own colonies which had been in their possession already for 250 years.
The Spanish crown organized and financed  several expeditions to Central America, South America, The Philippines and Europe resulting to ca 13000 images, of which the majority is preserved in the collections of  the Royal Botanical Garden in Madrid. The book approaches the visual history in five ways: (1) detailed visual analysis; (2) process of making and using the visual material; (3) connection between the images and other natural history specimens and texts; (4) examination of various types of work that images performed; and finally (5) study of the images both within and outside the usual understanding of the histories of art and visual culture.

This is a lavishly illustrated volume of 286 pages about the little known history of the scientific expeditions in the early Spanish Empire. It is extremely interesting reading and an absolute must for everybody who is interested in Botanical illustration and its early history. 
Watch an excellent video about the book by clicking here

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Japanese Botanical Art in Kimono Textiles


by Janine Thorman, Vintage Kimonos, Boulder, CO

Artwork in Japanese textiles has been a major part of the beauty of the garments which were once worn by all Japanese people. Because the basic shape of the kimono and haori has changed very little over time, the artwork and decorations have taken on more importance. We will be looking at many examples of Japanese artwork on the beautiful kimono.
Janine Thorman studied fashion design at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. Her Colorado showroom holds anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 kimonos at one time, in every color, texture, weave (damask, ikat) and embellishment (embroidered, shibori tie-dye, hand-painted), as well as every style of kimono such as uchikake (wedding kimono), haori (short jacket), michiyuki (traveling overcoat), yukata (cotton kimono) and hakama (split pant/skirt usually for men).

CAFÉ BOTANIQUE
Thursday, September 6, 2012
Denver Botanic Gardens – Gates Hall
6:30 – 8 p.m

(More information and to register, please click here)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

From our August Courses -

(Colorado Muchrooms by Nels Broste)

From mushrooms, alternate graphite to horologium florae and many more classes were completed during July - August in our Illustration program. Please see same samples of the student work by clicking here.  
(Petal perfection by Susan Dorsey)

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Art of Nature Journaling at The Gardens with Maria Hodkins - Rare opportunity

September 7 - 9, 9 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Explore the artistic, scientific and reflective pursuit of keeping a nature journal at Denver Botanic Gardens. Delight in the environment as you observe and record its details. Observing deeply, sketching and noting the features of plants, flowers, birds, animals, sky and land formations will reveal to you insights that you might never discover in the rush of daily life or studio practice.
Learn basic techniques in graphite and colored pencil pen and ink wash and watercolor. Enjoy instruction in attuned observation, writing in reverie, field sketching, color, and creating “encounter maps.” Whether you are new to the nature journal or an advanced naturalist/artist, you will deepen in your skills and develop an artful daily practice for your life through all of the seasons.
This workshop is open for everybody with no pre-requisites -
(For more information and to register, please click here)

Maria Hodkins is a professional free-lance journalist of 35 years, a former naturalist for Colorado State Parks, a multi-media artist, and poet. She has taught field/nature journaling programs and workshops for Colorado State Parks, schools, college environmental studies classes, botanical gardens, interpretive organizations, art centers, and private groups.
Maria teaches illustrated journaling, creative non-fiction writing, and bookbinding.

Marias sketches were featured extensively in Artists' Journal Workshop (2011) by Cathy Johnson (staff writer for Artists Magazine and Watercolor Artist).
Please see the Artists' Journal Workshop Interview with Maria by clicking here. You can also see samples of Maria's Journals by clicking here.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Kingdom of Plants by Will Benson


Kingdom of Plants. A Journey Through Their Evolution by Will Benson

In the last 500 million years, plants have undertaken an epic journey that has not only spanned the ages but has altered the very make-up of the planet. It was a journey that began in a dark and barren world, and has culminated in a planet that is draped in rich colours, and overflowing with a diversity of mystifying orchids, exploding seed pods and snapping carnivorous plants.
But plants are far more than just beautiful and bizarre. Through the chapters of this book we uncover how plants first began to live on land, how they have become linked with a multitude of animal and fungi partners, and how ultimately they have shaped both landscapes and cultures. The book also includes a chapter about Fungi  which are believed to be the first organisms to venture onto land in the form of lichens 1.3 billion years ago. There are believed to be up to 5.1 million different species of which only 5 % have been found.  And we are still discovering and naming some 2000 new species of plant on Earth each year.


The 256 pages includes the latest scientific insights, it is extremely well written and certainly proves that science does not necessarily need to be dry. Warmly recommended for everyone to read because without plants there wouldn't be humans. Just be careful when you start reading - you do not like to finish reading until you reach the last page. 
The book is published by HarperCollins Publishers, the accuracy of the information is checked by Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The Foreword is by Professor Stephen Hopper, the director of Kew. Unfortunately it looks to me that Amazon is only planning to publish a kindle version of this great book.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Exotic Botanical Illustration with the Eden Project


Exotic Botanical Illustration by Rosie Martin and Meriel Thurstan is the fourth book in the Eden Project series. This time the focus is on unusual colors and complex textures of exotic plants which might challenge the botanical illustrator/artist. This book guides you through each stage of the illustration process with abundance of exercises and step-by-step projects. It primarily concentrates in water media but has a short section also for colored pencil.
There is something for beginners and more experienced botanical illustrators alike, ranching from bananas and pineapples to complex orchids, passion flowers and carnivorous plants. 
Including plenty of worksheets, sketches, color swatches and finished illustrations (note: especially the green colors have not always been reproduced correctly) this work gives something to everyone and is warmly recommended to botanical illustrators of all levels.
At the moment the book is available only in England and New Zealand, Amazon in the US is predicting it to show up in the market in September.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Zentangle - with Botanical patterns

Botanical Illustration Program at Denver Botanic Gardens now has the authority to teach Zentangle. Our program will specialize in the botanical subject matter and botanical patterns. More about Zentangle later.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Film Pencils on Drafting Film

(Cabbage leaf in process on Oce and the zinnia on Grafix by Beth Bradford, both with polycarbonate pencils, please click to enlarge)

This technique uses pencils formulated for use on translucent drafting film to achieve high degrees of shading and contrast in an illustration. A film pencil (polycarbonate pencil) is made from a combination of carbon and polymers which gives great adherence to the film and is non-smearing. The pencil leads are graded from hard to soft in degrees indicated by numbers (lower numbers indicating a softer lead). 
Although the pencils have been made by major drafting companies; Mars Staedtler, (Mars-Duralar, K series) and (Mars-Dynograph, N series) pencils and leads, and Berol Turquoise (Filmograph pencils and leads, E series), they have been discontinued in the later part of 1990.  The Pentel Company has discontinued its film leads as of 2009 (the P series).  The remaining batches of leads and pencils may still be found at art and drafting stores or online  in art supplies categories.  The reason for the discontinuance is that the computer has usurped the trades of engineering drafting and architecture which was originally the market for these tools.

Last weekend our BI-program was introduced for this medium and method. We used all the above brands on Oce 868320011 Double Matte Drafting Film (Oce North America) and Gafix double frosted drafting film, 3 mil (Note: not Duralar). The instructor was Alice Tangerini, National Museum of National History, Smithsonian.
Please see photos of the student work by clicking here.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Wild Flowers - a sketchbook by Charles and John Raven

Cirsium heterophyllus by Charles Raven. Drawn in Vihti, Finland July 21, 1934. 
Wild Flowers - a sketchbook by Charles and John Raven. Edited by H.J. Noltie.- Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburg. -ISBN 978 1 906129 85 9 

This attractively bound publication reproduces for the first time, 137 color drawings from a remarkable collection of 3860 watercolors and represents 2109 species in the British flora. The drawings were made between 1930 and 1955 and are largely the work of a remarkable father-and-son team: Charles Raven (1885 – 1964) a theologian, naturalist, historian of science and Vice Chancellor of Cambridge University, and his son John Raven (1914 – 1980) who  specialized in Greek philosophy and an outstanding botanist. Their plan was to paint and document the entire British flora, which they completed over a period of 25 years. 

In 1942 the Ravens wrote ten chapters (Charles wrote eight and John two of them) which were intended to accompany a selection of their drawings and explain how the collection was made. It started as a family holiday project which became something of an obsession, with Charles painting, and John traveling round the country collecting specimens. These writings are included in the current book. As a curiosity nine of the chapters describe the flora and travels on the British Islands and one of them, chapter eight is a description of “An Idyll of Suomi – Finland 1934”.

Charles participated in a conference in Finland and was invited to stay afterwards a couple of days at a lake in Vihti, “small for Finland, very large to an Englishman” (p.147) with the bishop because his sons were also interested in plants. An interesting detail is that the 13-yr old Samuel didn’t yet know English, and Charles didn’t know Finnish or Swedish, so the conversation was carried out by using Latin, which Samuel had learned primarily from the scientific names of his herbarium specimens (!) -  This chapter is the only one to have been previously published. It was included in the book because the plants in Finland appeared to be very similar to those in Scotland (”The structure of the land is exactly like that strange corner of Scotland…”, p. 144)
In addition to the 137 color drawings/paintings the book includes a selection of the 53 surviving letters from John to Charles Raven plus a substantial introduction on the Raven family and the drawings written by Henry Noltie.

This is a very interesting work of 216 pages recording and describing not only the British plants but also the culture and environment, and is warmly recommended.
At the moment this book is available only at the publisher, Amazon does not give any date for its expected availability in the US.  

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

GNSI 2012 Conference in Savannah, GA 2012

(Marjorie Leggitt's sketching kit and sketches from the techniques sharing session, please click to enlarge)
The Guild of Natural Science Illustrators (GNSI) 2012 Conference and Annual Meeting was held in Savannah, GA. It was hosted by Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) with Kristie Bruzenak as the conference chair. The three first days were packed with presentations mostly with three equally interesting parallel sessions making my life really busy while running in between the different talks and trying to triplicate myself.  
The first keynote speaker was prof. Jodie S. Holt from University of California, Riverside. She took up the common problem of "plant blindness"  in her presentation titled "Do you see plants?". Dr. Holt was also the botanical science consultant on the film Avatar and she described her experiences while the imaginary environment was created. Other highlights were the talks by  Juan Velasco and Oliver Uberti, both from the National Geographic Magazine. It was really interesting and fascinating to hear what hides behind the exclusive illustrations in the magazine. Tania Marien had a informative talk about Rumphius, the first person to document and describe the plants found on Ambon, Indonesia in the 17th century. Mark Catesby and his art was discussed in another session, as was Hoefnagel and many others. The digital methods were touched in many informative ways and the old traditional methods including camera lucida were not forgotten. We learned how to compile children books and make dummies. As always, the GNSI meeting was inspiring, with the added benefit of meeting old friends and new. This meeting was extremely well organized and the program was superb. The three conference days were followed by three days of workshops and field trips. Unfortunately I needed to return to Colorado. 
In the annual meeting we had the opportunity to announce Denver Botanic Gardens' juried exhibition for GNSI members. For the preliminary information about that, please click here or the image below.


For more photos from the conference please click here or go directly to the BI-facebook.. 

Friday, July 13, 2012

2012 BI get together at the Martin's

(Please click to enlarge)
BI get together at Vanessa Martin's beautiful home has become an annual event. Vanessa has a large backyard with lots of beautiful flowers, trees and bushes to sketch, draw and paint. See some more pictures from this pleasant event last Saturday by clicking here. Some 10-15 people participated this year. Vanessa is a student in our Botanical Illustration Program.
Thank you Vanessa!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Barbara McKee at Boulder Arts & Crafts Gallery

(watercolor by Barbara McKee, please click to enlarge)

Yesterday evening Boulder Arts and Crafts Gallery had opening reception featuring Barbara McKee's playful botanical art. If you are in Boulder please visit this exhibit, it is absolutely recommended.  

(From Boulder Daily Camera, July 6, please click to enlarge)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Complementary Colors

(Three completed plates per student - at least)

It is always rewarding both for the instructor and the student if the final plate gets completed - think how it feels if every student has at least three finished plates in the end of the 15-hour course -
We just finished Complimentary Colors-course, which is an advanced level color layering class and was focusing on colors on the color wheel which create brilliance. The students also learned to differentiate the hidden complements and how to use them to achieve the best results. Instructor was Susan Rubin. Please see more photos from this class in the BI-Facebook by clicking here.


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Healing Plants Opening Reception!


[Verbascum thapsus by Randi Raak, click the image to enlarge]
The Art of Healing Plants opening reception today, July 3rd, 5 - 7 p.m.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Art of Healing Plants -

(Please click the image to enlarge)

Opening Reception: July 3, 5 -7 p.m  - Welcome!