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

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Happy New Year 2018!

The preview of our 2016 SBAI Chronicles pages is almost over, we have only one page left to present after this posting.  In the coming months we are launching the Chronicles II Kickstarter project to facilitate the publication of this amazing collection of art. Our (stretch) goal will fund our Artist-in-Residency program for the coming years:


Zinnia by Lesley MacGregor, colored pencil; Plate #75 in SBAI 2016 Chronicles

Zinnias are native mainly to Mexico; however the wild zinnias grow from southwestern Colorado in the north to Guatemala in the south. The wild Zinnia species are much more modest than the varieties and cultivars that we grow in our gardens today. Pre-Colombian cultures used zinnia leaves and flowers as medicinal and ritual herbs. The Aztecs living in Mexico City grew zinnias in their gardens at the time of the Spanish occupation.  Many of the southwestern tribes used zinnias for dyes and paints.
It is not clear when Zinnia for the first time was introduced to Europe but it is confirmed that the plant was brought from Peru to France in the early 1700s.  The Zinnia seeds spread quickly throughout Europe. Linnaeus published the genus in his Systema Naturae (1759)and attributed the genus to the German anatomist and botanist Johann Gottfried Zinn, who at the time was director of the Botanic garden of the University of Göttingen.
Several other wild Zinnia species were introduced to France during 1800s and by 1856 the French had developed the first double forms of the flower.  In 1876 the German seed company Haage and Schmidt introduced several Zinnia hybrids that they called Zinnia darwini, this cross was originally developed in France in 1864.
In 1798, when the first zinnia seeds were offered for sale to the public in the United States the Americans were not interested.  In 1876 the Henry A. Dreer seed house of Philadelphia started selling several varieties of Zinnia seeds and these multicolored varieties are still available today. The real breakthrough for Zinnia happened when the natural mutation ‘Mammoth’ zinnias became available in the early 1900s.
Today we have 22 accepted Zinnia species in addition to over 100 cultivars. 

Please click here to see the 74 additional plates.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas to All Our Readers

Scratchboard by Peg Christon

Cones are tightly connected to Holiday traditions all over the world. Here you can see some of the challenging subjects produced mostly on our scratchboard class, please click here.


Scratchboard by Susan Carr

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Color for the Holiday Week

Thanksgiving cactus (Schlumbergera truncata group) by Irene Young, colored pencil

After two weeks we can write 2018! Please click here to see some finished work from our end of the year classes

Textile/gift wrap/wallpaper pattern by Susan Willis from our class inspired by John Lockwood from Indian Arts and Crafts movement, colored pencil

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

America's Flora opening in May 2018


Yucca harrimaniae, Constance Sayas, 2017, watercolor and graphite


Katherine Tyrrell will be blogging about the artists whose artwork has been selected as a part of the Botanical Art Worldwide exhibit. Her first post is about the 43 USA artists who were selected for the America's Flora exhibition which is opening in May 2018 at the US Botanical Gardens in Washington D.C.
In addition to Constance Sayas, our gifted watercolor instructor, three illustrators from Colorado are included: Dorothy DePaolo, Sharon Garrett and Vanessa Martin!

Please read more by following this link.
Congratulations to all!

Monday, December 4, 2017

Pencil I and beyond - registrations for 2018 BI-classes opens tomorrow!

Jacaranda seedpod by Michelle Wysocki, graphite (Pencil I)

 Gladiolus by Laura Matthews, graphite (Pencil II)

Autumn leaves in Watercolor: Grape leaf painted by Pauline Edwards; on the right a photo of the specimen few weeks after Pauline started her painting it. Here the decay has proceeded further. 
You can see more pictures from our recent completed classes by following this link.   

Tomorrow, December 5th, 9 a.m. you can sign up for 2018 Winter/Spring Botanical Illustration 
courses at Denver Botanic Gardens. Please follow this link. to registration for all classes  - 
You can find the downloadable course catalog by clicking here.