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

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Inspired by Mackintosh

(by Lynn Williamson)

 In our series Drawing in Tradition this spring we studied the works by Charles Rennie Mackintosh  (1868-1928) who was best known for his architectural renderings and designs. In addition to that he also focused on floral subjects using simple contours and thin watercolor washes. The students were working mostly with live cut specimens and practiced the art of sketching and design.
To see more works from this class, inspired by the life and artistic approach of Mackintosh please click here.
(by Jane Smith)

Friday, May 10, 2019

True to Form - Call for Entries

(Cynthia Zyzda, Colored Pencil)

November 15 – 16, 2019
Mitchell Hall

The theme of this art salon is the complex visual language of the natural world, showcasing its incredible variety of shapes, colors and textures. From the subtle contours of flower petals to the vibrant hues of a butterfly’s wings, this exhibit explores the visual feast offered by flora and fauna. 
True to Form features 6 specific thematic categories: Hairy, Spiky, Shiny, Striped, Spotted, and Multicolored
True to Form will be a two-day, salon-style exhibition installed in Denver Botanic Gardens’ Mitchell Hall.  Artists will hang their own matted work on freestanding panel walls, provide and hang the accompanying label, and remove their work at the closing of the exhibition on Saturday the 16th. Artists must be available to hang and remove their own artworks at the opening and closing of the salon. Each artist may submit up to three artworks for consideration. Entries must be submitted digitally via Google Documents (Google account required) located at this link. 
Read the complete call for entries by clicking here.

Constance Sayas, watercolor

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Charcoal - as Old as Humankind

Bearded Iris by Kathleen Seeley

From Paleolithic cave paintings to Durer, Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Picasso and Henri Matisse – most painters and illustrators through the ages have illustrated with charcoal which is as old as humankind for a painting medium. 
We introduced charcoal to our course offerings this spring and the result were convincing. The students were working at standing easels and mostly outside.  Please see here images from that class.
Joan Tidwell  giving finishing touches for her oriental lily

Inspired by Patrick Dougherty’s One Fell Swoop we are arranging another charcoal drawing class scheduled to start on May 13th, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. please see the previous posting about that.
For registration and more information please click here.

From our current sculpture exhibit: Kendra Fleichman's Trust by Michelle Miller

Friday, May 3, 2019

Inspired by One Fell Swoop -

 If you visit our Chatfield location you can see Patrick Douherty's site specific installation "One Fell Swoop."

Inspired by the opportunity we have added  two new drawing classes into the selection of our May-June course offerings:

1. One Fell Swoop with Charcoal  May 13 and 20, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. , Chatfield Farms
During this course you will have the opportunity to interpret Patrick Dougherty's installation "One Fell Swoop" in willow charcoal, which is made from the same species as the site-specific sculpture. Learn how to use this expressive medium to create form through loose gestural drawings and intensive studies. Working alongside (or in) Dougherty's installation will provide many compositional opportunities: focus on its position in the landscape, the details of the entwined willow, or its monumental abstract forms. Willow charcoal's ease and flexibility might surprise you as you work at standing easels onsite.
Open to All, Preregistration is required as the class size is limited.
For more information and to register, please click here

2. Zoom In and Out, June 3, 10, 17, 10 a.m. - 3 p.m., Chatfield Farms 
Study the form and light on Patrick Dougherty’s larger-than-life installation “One Fell Swoop”. Work either at the macro or micro scale and learn about techniques for seeing and depicting perspective accurately. You draw either inside the sculpture or alongside it and refine your skills to show light and volume in simple or complex shapes. You learn to see the shadows correctly and bring your drawing to life. You work with graphite and/or color media of your choice and create a lasting documentation of this site specific art installation.
Open to All, Preregistration is required as the class size is limited.
For more information and to register, please click here
(Zooming in, Graphite by Randy Raak)

(Photo L. Eldred)

Saturday, April 27, 2019

2019 SBAI Summer and Fall Course Catalog is Published!

Our 2019 Summer/Fall Course catalog is out. Registration for these classes starts on June 11, 9 a.m. (MST), 2019.
You can view and download the catalog by clicking here, or the icon on the right hand column, if you are on the web version (if viewing form your mobile device, scroll all the way to the bottom to find the "View web version link"), and you'll see the right hand column.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Yellows and Birds

(Leslie Hancock, watercolor)
On our biennial 'Mysterious Yellows' class we explore the range of yellows from soft to striking bright. The students learn to create the best color mixes to convey shading while keeping yellows bright and clean without muddiness.
Our always so popular bird class teaches challenging perspective and getting the proportions right.
Please click here to see more images from both classes:   

(Great Blue Heron, graphite by Sue Carr)

Friday, April 19, 2019

Pelargoniums - did you know about the 17000 cultivars?

(graphite and watercolor by Laurence Pierson)

We have about 280 different documented Pelargonium species within the genus which was first described and illustrated by Dillenius, a German botanist, in 1732. All the 17000+ pelargonium cultivars are derived only from few species.
Most of the pelargoniums originate in South Africa, the common hardy one is native to Europe.

Join our watercolor illustration class and learn more about pelargoniums and how to paint their intricate flowers and drought tolerant leaves. For more information about this workshop, please click here.
Illustration by Johann Jacob Dillen Dillenius, 1732 (Hortus Elthamensis)

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Memories of an Iconic building

In connection of our 2014 Arts and Archives tour to France and Switzerland we visited Notre Dame Cathedral and saw the majestic interior, now only saved in our memories. At the time of our visit there was a service.

A view from the Pont Saint Louis: The 19th century spire is now gone and the oak roof from the 13th century completely destroyed 

Here part of the south Rose Window.
(please click the images to enlarge)

You can see more pictures by clicking here

The Public Domain Review published an interesting review about The Notre-Dame Cathedral in Art (1460_1921)

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Refined Hatching Techniques with Rogerio Lupo

Parallel lines, clouds and trees - practice sheet by Rogerio Lopu, ink

We have completed 6 days of intense ink work, two full 3-day workshops with 12 students in each. RogerioLupo started the classes with a thorough review of pen nibs and their care, the students learned how to analyze the nibs performance, and how to refurbish a faulty nib.

The students concentrated on refining their parallel lines and hatching technique. New skills were learned through practical exercises, demonstrations and individual instruction.
Rogerio’s teaching in Denver will be remembered as a true marathon through new techniques. His newly completed guidebooks in graphite and pen nib were successfully tested in the classes and will be used in the future to guide our new students. 
This was Rogerio’s first visit to the U.S.A and Colorado, we will happily welcome him back in the future.
To see more pictures from his classes, please click here
Rogerio demonstrating under the camera

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Rethinking Roadsides in Cafe Botanique, April 17th

Rethinking Roadsides: Exploring Rights-of-Way as Habitat
Haley Stratton, Environmental Scientist

Roadsides across the country add up to more than 17 million acres of area that could provide much needed habitat for birds, small mammals and pollinators. Simple changes in management of rights-of-way are can provide ecological, economic and aesthetic benefits.

Haley Stratton is an Environmental Scientist at Felsburg Holt & Ullevig (FHU), specializing in transportation engineering, planning, and sciences. Her favorite part of the job is combining ecology with transportation services for innovative solutions to the negative effects of transportation projects.

Cafe Botanique
April 17, 6:30-8 p.m.
Gates Hall

Monday, April 8, 2019

Rogerio Lupo – true talent with an extremely light hand

Dried oak leaf by Deanna Gammon

We have the pleasure to host Rogerio Lupo from Sao Paolo, Brazil to teach both graphite and ink techniques for scientific illustration. The first 3-day workshop on graphite ended yesterday.
The take home for all was to work with light hand and even pressure through the whole process,  letting the pencil ‘fly’ to the paper and out from the paper, and working with the general  form/value before moving into the details. 
Rogerio demonstrating how to approach a walnut in illustration

Perhaps the most satisfying part was to see the process of illustrating trees by continuously working with the negative areas in the background to enforce the foreground details.

"A deciduous tree in five minutes", graphite by Rogerio Lupo

Clicking here you can see some photos from the weekend class.

Monday, April 1, 2019

In Colorado Springs:

(by Angela Tingle)

If you are by Colorado Springs during April, please stop by the Pikes Perk Coffee House on North Academy. Angela Tingle is one of the two artists displaying their work there. Angela graduated from our School few years ago and also then received the Sydney Parkinson's Award for excellent work in Botanical documentation.
The opening night of the exhibit is Friday, April 5th  (5-8 p.m.).

Friday, March 29, 2019

Winter Blooms, Contrasting Combinations and Carbon Dust

Anthurium sp., colored pencil by Shiere Melin

 Colored pencils on mylar and carbon dust are both very popular advanced techniques and when offered as electives.
Please click here to see student work from our recently completed classes.   

Onion study, carbon dust by Leslie McGregor

Sunday, March 24, 2019

2019 SMA Tour with Sarah Simblet - the two final days

 Table full of sketchbooks ready for the final review 

We spent our final day of sketching in Posada Corazon, making thumbnails, learning about composition and producing a final memory from San Miguel to take home to the U.S.
On Saturday we toured Dolores Hidalgo and Atotonilco with Alberto, and learned more about the Mexican history. A perfect ending for our 2019 SMA March Tour.

paintings in the sanctuary of Atotonilco
Jacaranda trees and Alberto - two memorable parts of our 2019 SMA tour, March 16-23. 

More photos from our final days please click here.


Friday, March 22, 2019

2019 SMA tour with Sarah Simblet: Sketching and Bellas Artes

Early Thursday morning everybody started with their sketching activities in El Charco followed by the tour of the tour of El Charco's research department and herbarium. 

 In the afternoon we toured the Centro Cultural Ignatio Ramirez Bellas Artes. We could see several murals of Pedro Martinez. There is also a mural by Eleanor Coen from 1941 and the very famous unfinished mural by David Alfaro Siqueiros The building is a former monastery which was converted into a fine-art's school in 1938.  The beautiful building was originally constructed 1755-1765 and hosts now classes in drawing, painting, ceramic and weaving also in printmaking and music.

Finally we toured the House of Allende, the history museum in San Miguel and had a informative slide presentation by our guide, Alberto.
For more photos, please click here.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

2019 SMA Tour: Cañada de la Virgen and Museo Astronomia

The main pyramid at the Cañada de la Virgen archaeological site, This is the underworld square in front of the main structure. Only the selected individuals could climb up the stairs close to the sun.

Cañada de la Virgen archaeological site is located some 25 km outside San Miguel. This ceremonial site was occupied between 540 and 1050 CE, when it was abandoned like many other sites in the region, likely because of the severe drought that lasted for an extended period of time. It covers about 16 hectares on a private land but is now government property. We could see three complexes of the existing five: A, B, C. The Complex A, House of the Thirteen Heavens (or Skies) served as an observatory and a burial site for the elite. The complex is aligned to the rising and setting sun, and the movements of Jupiter and Venus. All these movements were related to the Otomi calendar. Complex B is called The House of the Longest Night; and Complex C The House of the Wind. 
Several bodies have been discovered and C-14 dated about 1000 years older than the site itself. The DNA analysis is showing that one of the bodies was a Mayan male. The bodies were likely kept as relics among the Otomi people. We had an exceptional tour led by Alberto Aveleyra, anthropologist by the National School of Anthropology and History. He is specialized in the interpretation of the ancient Otomi codex and the history of pre-columbian cultures related to the San Miguel De Allende surroundings. 
After the pyramids, we visited the Museo Astronomia Prehispanica and had a gastronomic experience of astrnomic proportions. We were served a precolombian meal. Dr. Rossana Quiroz Ennisas gave us an excellent presentation about the importance of the moon cycle in the prephispanic culture.The day was filled with outstanding information about the past cultures and an overall very pleasant experience.
Please see more pictures by clicking here

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

2019 SMA tour with Sarah Simblet - Third day

This was our second day of drawing and this time the students were focusing on domestic birds: chickens, roosters and ducks. 
During the day we also visited the unique mask collection of Bill LeVasseur who has spent more than 25 years acquiring an extraordinary collection of over 500 Mexican ceremonial masks (No photos).  Mr. LeVasseur also gave us a talk about the history of ceremonial masks.
In the late afternoon most of the students returned to the San Miguel Cultural institute site to observe and sketch the numerous egrets.

For some more photos, please click here

2019 SMA with Sarah Simblet

Typical view of the colorful houses in Guanajuato (from the car window)

We started our 2019 SMA  tour on Sunday with  a full day excursion to Guanajuato, the city of frogs and the state capital. Carlos was our excellent guide and gave us an detailed overview of Guanajuato’s history, especially the mining history and its importance for the city and Mexico. The Museum of Mummies was an interesting experience and certainly unique. In the house of Diego Rivera  (no photos of the collections) we could learn about his childhood and the later artistic life through the different phases - very, very interesting and educational.
 Part of Diego Rivera's mural
Later on we visited the Museo Iconográfico del Quijote, museum featuring art & craft exhibits related to Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra's "Don Quixote." Before driving back to San Miguel after the dark, we had a walking tour in the town with tunnels and extremely narrow streets.  
 Most of Guanajuato's streets are not suitable for cars

Early in the morning of our second day we gathered in El Charco del Ingenio for a bird tour and continued later with the introduction to the sketching class. 

 Sarah Simblet giving an orientation to her class after the bird tour
Early in the morning of our second day we gathered in El Charco del Ingenio for a bird tour and continued later with the introduction to the sketching class.
On Monday afternoon we enjoyed a 3-hour tour with Alberto who first explained the complicated history Mexico from the time of Cortez to the present which is displayed in the mural by David Leonardo at Instituto Allende.  We also had a walking tour to other historic places including the natural spring  where San Miguel was founded.
 This is the place where to current San Miguel was founded, the source of the water is underneath this building. The natural spring gave water for the whole town. Today the spring is still there but the water flow decreased drastically for 20-30 years ago.

For more pictures, please click here

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Stipple, line and some color -

 Old Mushrooms, entry level Pen and Ink by Christian Imhof
On the entry level Pen and Ink it is all about line and stipple - 
Jewelry boxes in process - entry level Colored Pencils by  Judith Petersen
Entry level Colored Pencil students start combining their drawing skills with the color layering techniques. The students are refining their skills in showing light and volume in any subject -
Daffodil studies, entry level Graphite by Mary Ann Bonnell
Students on the entry level Graphite often don't have any background in illustration techniques. The individual guidance  quickly teaches and helps the students to render accurate perspective, texture and detail.
More student work from these three classes please click here.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Colorado Wetlands and their conservation in Cafe Botanique!

The Importance of Plant Identification in Mile High Wetland Conservation, Regulation and Protection
Gwen Kittel, MS, Ecologist, NatureServe; Ryan Hammons, MS, Environmental Scientist, HDR Engineering; Karin McShea, MS, Pinyon Environmental

Hear from experts how wetlands provide important habitat for wildlife and biodiversity in Colorado. Learn about the importance of these areas; how conservation, mitigation and restoration are employed; and how scientific illustration is used in correct plant identification.

Gwen Kittel, MS is a vegetation ecologist specializing in wetland and riparian ecosystems. For the past 25 years, she has worked throughout the western U.S. and western Canada as an ecologist for NatureServeThe Nature Conservancy and Colorado NaturalHeritage ProgramRyan Hammons, MS works for HDR, an engineering firm, and provides biological survey and permitting support for a wide range of projects that have potential to impact protected natural resources. Karin McShea, MS is a biologist with Pinyon Environmental, Inc. She has worked in Colorado for the past 15 years assessing a wide variety of biological resources, including wetlands and riparian habitats.

Wednesday, March 6, 6:30-8 p.m.
Gates Hall

(watercolor by Charlotte Ricker, 2018)
Reserve your seat by clicking here

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Watercolor and graphite, or both combined

Entry level watercolor by Allison Gray (in process)
We teach illustration techniques in graphite, pen and ink, colored pencil and watercolor. You can see here some of the in-process work from our entry level watercolor class. We also teach a technique combining graphite and watercolor by starting with a pale graphite under-drawing or grisaille and finish with the watercolor washes.  

June Zapata, entry level graphite

Roy Sanford, graphite (from our composition class)