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

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Not always acutely correct but constantly educational

Sunflower by Cassi Bailey

In our series of Drawing on Tradition we recently completed a very popular class on Piet Mondrian, who was an instrumental part of the Dutch modern movement De Stijl founded in 1917 in Leiden, Netherlands.  In addition to his iconic abstract works he produced around 150 flower studies which along with trees inspired his abstract works.  
We do not always strictly adhere to accurate botanical portrayal but also analyze styles which help us to loosen up and play with expressive flower interpretation exercises. The students in this class loved the ability to focus on the parts of the subjects that they loved and the permission to ignore the parts that were not as beautiful or would be tedious to draw. They were also introduced to new media, water soluble carbon and jumbo sized pigment blocks on large format toned paper (18”x 24”). Very refreshing!
The 2018 Arts and Archives Tour visited the Gemeentemuseum in Den Haag and got a crash course on Piet Mondrian’s life and production. There is an earlier blog post about that visit (please click here)

More images from our class can be seen here.

Oriental lily by Joanne Katz

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Summer/Fall class registration opens in two weeks

Pen and Ink Textures by Bonnie Emery

This is a reminder for the Summer/Fall registration opening on June 5th, 9 a.m. Please click here to get inspired and see more student work from our spring classes.

Advanced level watercolor by Jane Smith

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Linking People with Plants - Worldwide Day of Botanical Art - May 18, 2018

Yucca harrimaniae, watercolor by Constance Sayas. This piece was also part of the School of Botanical Art and Illustration' s gold medal winning group exhibit at the 2017 RHS-Botanical Art show.

May 18th 2018 will be celebrated as the Worldwide Day of Botanical Art.
Exhibitions of original contemporary botanical art will be curated by the participating countries around the world and they are exhibiting original contemporary botanical art on native plants to a given area.
The main goal with this event is to link people with plants through contemporary botanical art, and educate the worldwide community on plant diversity through highlighting the world’s different plant geographic regions.
Artist from our BI-community participating in the ASBA and the US Botanic Gardens’ Worldwide Americas Flora exhibit are Dorothy DePaolo, Sharon Garret, Vanessa Martin and Constance Sayas.
Michael Campbell is participating in the Irelands’ Celebrating Native Plants of Ireland - exhibit.

Botanical Art & Artists-site by Katherine Tyrrell has an excellent summary of this worldwide  event. 

Geranium versicolor, colored pencil Michael Campbell - part of the Irish exhibit

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Happy Mother's Day 2018!

(Laura Matthews, colored pencil)

Friday, May 11, 2018

2018 Arts and Archives - Malaga and Our Final Day in Andalusia

The entrance to the Museo Picasso Malaga

If you are in Andalusía, you shouldn’t miss visiting Malaga on the Costa del Sol, 120 kilometers southwest of Granada. We took a bus and arrived after a very pleasant journey through olive orchards and mountains to this southern town founded by the Phoenicians circa 770 BCE.
Our first destination was the Museo Picasso Málaga housed in Palacio de Buenavista from the early 16th century and a National Monument since 1939. It is located in Malaga’s historic city center just a stone throw from the building where Picasso was born in 1881. Museo Málaga was created in response to Picasso’s desire to get his work exhibited in the city where he grew up.The core of the collection was created with donations from the artist’s daughter-in-law and grandson. It was also Junta de Andalucía’s priority to coordinate setting up a museum devoted to the artist whose styles and techniques changed the course of modern art.
The central court yard of the Malaga's Picasso Museum

The permanent collection originally included some 233 works. Since March 2017, the collection is complemented by a selection of 166 works from the Fundación Almine y Bernard Ruiz-Picasso para el Arte (FABA). Our excellent guided visit through the 12 galleries revealed how the artist’s work evolved over his life time. We saw all his artistic periods beginning from childhood to the age of 90+ years including paintings, sketches and sculptures. Very interesting but no photos in the collections!
Malaga's Glass and Crystal Museum's courtyard, on the back wall collection of 20th century glass. 

We finished our 2018 Arts and Archives tour with a memorable visit to Malaga’s Glass and Crystal Museum (Museo del Vidrio y Cristal de Malaga). It is located in an 18th century mansion known as the old San Felipe Neri Inn by the church of the same name. This private museum opened in 2009 and has over 3000 pieces of glass dating from the Phoenician times to the 20th  century. About 1,000 pieces are on display at any given time, the rest being constantly rotated. 
Designs of the Swedish Ulrica Hyldeman Vallien and Finnish Gunnel Nyman 

The museum is a private home and the collection is divided into various historical eras, across two floors, with period furniture and paintings from each era to complement the glass. We had the privilege to have Senor Gonzalo Fernandez-Prieto, the passionate owner of this museum, as our knowledgeable guide.
Senor Gonzalo Fernandez-Prieto explaining the history behind three of the numerous stain glass works in his home/museum 

This was the end of our 2018 Arts and Archives Tour, another inspirational and successful trip. We were all captivated with the science and art history as well as cultural and political history and architecture that filled these two weeks. We were welcomed with open arms everywhere and our keen interest was appreciated by all our hosts. 
Thank you Holland and Andalusía – next year we travel to Istanbul and Uzbekistan.
More pictures from our final day, please click here.

An example of the exquisite Spanish fashion (street view from Malaga)

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Summer/Fall 2018 Course Catalog

Our 2018 Summer and Fall course catalog is out. You can view and/or download it by clicking the image above, the link on the right hand column ( the web version), or by following this link.
We will be offering 67 workshops during mid-July - early-December, including 37 workshops from the required curriculum and 30 elective workshops.
We do have the pleasure to host two visiting instructors: Lucy Smith from U.K. and John Pastoriza-Pinol from Australia. While Asuka Hishiki from Japan is with us as the 2018 artist-in-resident, she will also teach one workshop in September.
The registration for these classes starts on June 5th, 9 a.m. You can already view the classes on the registration website, registration starts in four weeks.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Old and New Techniques: Carbon Dust and Watercolor Pencil

(by Dawn Leopardi, Carbon Dust)

As a part of our elective courses selection we offer classes in carbon dust and watercolor pencil, both very popular and loved by everybody who can get into those classes. Carbon dust was developed during the 19th century. Max Brödel (1870-1941), a German medical illustrator, pioneered the technique and recommended it specifically for the medicinal illustrations. Brödel was also instrumental in creating the Department of Art as Applied to Medicine at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in the end of the 19th century. 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.
The history of colored pencils is not too well documented. We know that the production of the first art color pencils started in 1924 by Faber-Castell and Caran d’Ache.  Water-soluble pencils are one of the newest art mediums, likely invented in the 1940’s.
Please click here to see some images from our recent workshops

(by Lynn Williamson, Watercolor Pencil)

Thursday, May 3, 2018

2018 Arts and Archives: El Sacromonte and Flamenco

On this Saturday we visited the Cave Museum of Sacromonte, an ethnographic museum, botanic garden and the place to learn about the Gypsies who inhabited this area as early as on the 16th century. They suffered social exclusion and persecution by the Catholic Monarchs following the conquest of Granada and settled outside he medieval city walls. Here they could maintain their identity together with Moriscos  and an affordable form of living in the cave houses.

In addition to the ethnographic museum this location also served as an excellent botanical garden with exceptional signage informing and educating not only about the plants but also about the diversity of the fauna and geology.
Flamenco was born through the intermingling between the Gypsies and Moriscos. The earliest record of  flamenco dates to 1774 in Andalusia. In 2010 UNESCO declared flamenco one of the masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity
The day was one of the absolute highlights of our 2018 tour - More pictures can be seen here