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

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Feedback Wanted!

As you might know the U.S. Copyright office has proposed fee increase in the copyright registration and other services. The Coalition of Visual Artists wants our feedback about the proposed fee increases and asks you to take a short survey.
You can access the 10-15 min survey material by clicking here.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Water Lily intense with Lucy T. Smith, Kew

 or, How the environment and lighting effects the natural color?

Nymphaea 'Rhonda Kay' in progress, watercolor by Lucy Smith

During the past week we had two 3-day intense workshops with Lucy T. Smith, both of the courses focused on water Lilies, first one with graphite and the second with Watercolor.
Water lilies are complex, but by understanding and unraveling the patterns behind their life cycles and structures, the illustration can truly reveal their inner and outer beauty. 
Water lilies have both beautiful form and unique luminosity. The students learned the importance of careful dissections and how the same structure can vary depending where in the flower it is  positioned in relation to the central axis (i.e., stamen filaments)
Painting waterlilies in color can prove to be a real challenge as the color changes from one environment to another: color observation must often be made in the original, watery environment. We did also notice how the quality of lighting affects how we see the color in our specimens.
It was a true pleasure to have Lucy with us and learn about the ephemeral forms and beauty of water lilies. One of the highlights of her 2-week visit was her talk in Café Botanique focusing on The Long Lasting Tradition of Botanist and Artist Collaboration at The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Please click here to see more images from these classes.


The same specimen photographed in different environments: 1. in its natural habitat; 2. right after the flower was cut, still outside, natural daylight; 3. daylight lighting, indoors (4500 K; CRI:85); 4. Same flower in T-5 florescent light (3500 K, CRI:<75 75="" nbsp="" p="">

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Cafe Botanique with Lucy Smith, U.K.

(Victoria amazonica, watercolor by Lucy Smith)

The Long-Lasting Tradition of Botanist and Artist Collaboration at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew 
Lucy T. Smith, Freelance Botanical Artist, Kew, U.K.

Award-winning artist Lucy T. Smith has been producing pen and ink and color illustrations for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew since 1999. She has recently completed 200 plates for the upcoming “Palms of New Guinea” monograph and her work is reproduced in many journals, including Kew Bulletin, Curtis’ Botanical Magazine and Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society. In 2001, she spent six weeks aboard the replica of the HMS Endeavour for a BBC documentary called “The Ship,” where she followed in the footsteps of Sydney Parkinson, the artist on James Cook’s voyage of 1768-1771.
Wednesday, August 22, 2018, 6:30-8 p.m.  |  Gates Hall

Reserve your sear by clicking here

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Invisible Links-exhibit now online!

Sword-Billed Hummingbird (Ensifera ensifera) and Passion Flower (Passiflora mixta), colored pencil and watercolor by Charlotte Ricker
(The sword-billed hummingbird and the northern banana passionflower have co-evolved in South America's montane cloud forests. With its near 4" bill, this hummingbird is the only species able to reach the nectar at the base of the passion flower.)

If you missed our exhibit opening today or have not the possibility to see the exhibit in person at Denver Botanic Gardens before the closing day, October 14, you can enjoy the participating works with their interpretation online by clicking here. You can also find the link (as links to our other recent exhibits) on the right hand column of the web version of this blog.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Invisible Links


Woodland Ties- Golden-cheeked Warbler, Ashe Juniper and Oak, watercolor by Mary Tricia Burns


August 15 - October 14, 2018

Reception: Sunday, August 19, 1-3 p.m.

This juried exhibition is part of an artistic tradition of portraying plants for scientific purposes and to celebrate the beauty of the natural world featuring works from the Gardens' School of Botanical Art and Illustration.

Experience the surprising diversity of living things whose lives are intimately interconnected with plants. From food and pollination to shelter and seed scattering, Invisible Links explores the complex and often hidden symbiotic relationships between plants and other organisms.

Friday, August 17, 2018

The Art of Instruction




Crocus, watercolor (left) and Aquilegia, egg tempera (right) by Laurence Pierson

"Scientifically reliable wall charts are more enlightening than the spoken word" (Dodel-Port, 1843-1908)

Large scale wall charts were valuable tools at the intersection of education, science and art throughout Europe in the mid-19th and 20th centuries. Among the best-known artists of these charts are Gottlieb von Koch, Carl Ballmann and Ebba Masalin. From school walls to our homes, they are not only seen as practical but also artistic.
We are offering a 5-week workshop on this subject in September - you start by dissecting your specimen, then documenting the morphological details carefully and then composing a scientifically reliable plate. 
You can see more information about this workshop (and register) by clicking here.
The first educational wall charts appeared in Germany in the 1820s. Here is Equisetum arvense (illustrator: Dr. Gottlieb von Koch) as seen in Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Gardens in 2017. From our 2017 Arts and Archives tour.


Thousands of teaching charts at the Humboldt University North of Berlin, these charts are still actively used in teaching at that University. From our 2017 Arts and Archives tour.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Visit to the Land of the Ancients


 Anasazi Heritage Center, Canyons of the Ancients National Monument Visitor Center,  Headquarters and Museum


This year part of our focus has been on learning about the Native American population in Colorado and their culture and relationship to the nature.

The Ute people are the oldest permanent residents of Colorado. Today they live in two reservations in southwestern Colorado: Mountain Ute and Southern Ute Indian reservation. We visited both of them and the adjacent Canyons of the Ancients National Monument during a 3-day, 2-night trip to the Four Corners area in Colorado.   
Please click here for more photos from our trip.

Our group with our tour guide, Dr. J. Jefferson in front of the Southern Ute Museum established in 1971. The museum building is designed by Jones & Jones Architects ( also designed the National Museum of American Indian of Smithsonian)

Friday, August 10, 2018

Colorado Mycoflora-Project

Coprinus sp. by Elizabeth Virdin, watercolor

The collections of Sam Mitchel Herbarium of Fungi at Denver Botanic Gardens includes at the moment around 18 200 specimens from 2300 species. This herbarium is one of the most diverse and actively curated fungal collection in the region. It has now launched Colorado Mycoflora project to address the question how many species of macrofungi we have in the Southern Rocky Mountain Region. 
The aim is also to DNA barcode 1000 species of Colorado macrofungi over the next 5 years and provide a vouchered collections of DNA sequenced specimens to the research community.
You can find more information about this project by clicking here

Thursday, August 2, 2018

From historical trees to Ethnobotany and entry level Pencil

Aesculus glabra, graphite by Christine Hubbell

Fifty years ago landscape designer Al Rollinger undertook a huge effort of doing a street-by-street survey in Denver, documenting the location, diameter and height of over 1100 trees of 46 species. Denver Botanic  Gardens is surveying these trees to determine their health and which one still are alive.
By clicking the link here you'll get see some pictures from the finished/in progress work from our classroom.

Colored Pencil II, - By Milvi Gill; Onsite/On-line teaching model