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

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)

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Beauty in the Details II

(fr. left) Shepherdia argentea, Crataegus ambiquaPopulus deltoides, Tilia americana and Pyrus calleryana, colored pencil by Mary Crabtree

This is the second posting about winter twigs and dormant buds, a class inspired by Identification of Trees and Shrubs in Winter using Buds and Twigs by Bernd Schulz. The first part was posted here on February 5th. Please click here to see more images from the class

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Colorado's Lost Apples in Cafe Botanique


Colorado's Lost Apples: Rediscovering our Forgotten Legacy

Katharine Suding, Ph.D., University of Colorado, Boulder

Join us to learn about the Boulder Apple Tree Project, which strives to map, identify and preserve the amazing biological and historical heritage of apples in Colorado. In the mid-1800s, there were thousands of unique varieties of apples in the United States, some of the most astounding diversity ever developed in a food crop. Later, the apple industry narrowed their promotion to only a handful of varieties and the rest were forgotten. These forgotten varieties became commercially extinct but not biologically extinct; some trees remained near old homesteads and in abandoned orchards. This story played out in many places such as Colorado, where remnants of old orchards dot the landscape. Here, these abandoned trees represent cultivars that have resisted disease and the environmental stress of a dry climate as well as the genetic diversity absent from commercial apple production.

Professor Katharine Suding is a plant community ecologist, professor of environmental biology and a fellow of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at University of Colorado Boulder. She works at the interface of ecosystem, landscape and population biology. Her goal is to apply cutting-edge 'usable' science to the challenges of restoration, species invasion and environmental change.

Gates Hall, Wednesday February 20, 6:30-8 p.m.

Reserve your seat by clicking here


Chenango Strawberry, watercolor by M. Palmer (The Archives and Special Collections of Colorado State University Libraries)

Sunday, February 10, 2019

The Historic Palmer Wax Apple Collection

 Each of the apples are labelled and numbered by Ms. Palmer. This variety is Stayman's Winesap collected from Canyon City, CO; the date on the card is February 1905 (grower J.E.Snow)


Colorado State University Morton Library's Special Collections houses an unique set of more than 80 wax apples with related illustrations created by Miriam A. Palmer in the early 20th century.
One of the exceptional illustrations by Ms. M. Palmer (watercolor and graphite)

Ms. Miriam Augusta Palmer was born in Pennsylvania on August 28, 1878. She enrolled in the University of Kansas and received her M.A. in Art in 1904. She became associated with the Colorado Experiment Station of Colorado Agricultural College as an Illustrator and Instructor of Drawing in 1904. 
Ms. Palmer was considered an expert for her ability to illustrate insects, but also to create life-like wax models of fruit. Most of the wax apple models of Colorado varieties were created in 1905 and 1906. 
In 1925 Ms. Palmer earned her M.S. in entomology from Colorado Agricultural College where she served as associate professor of entomology and zoology until 1951. She was a recognized world authority on aphids. 
Plate I from the Aphids of the Rocky Mountain Region, text and illustrations by Miriam A. Palmer , 1952 (The Thomas Say Foundation, Volume V,  452 pages)

Colorado State University honored Ms. Palmer with the D. Sc. Honorary degree in 1959, she died in Fort Collins in 1977.
CSU is in process of digitizing this amazing collection to make the history of the early Colorado apple varieties available for wider audiences.

Please see more images of the Palmer Collection by clicking here

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Observing deciduous trees and shrubs in Winter


Syringa vulgaris, ink and colored pencil by Jane G. Smith

We often think that identifying dormant deciduous plants is complicated. These few examples illustrates how dormant twigs are bursting with beautiful energy, textures and colors providing important information before the leaves appear. In addition to fresh plant material the students were using Bernd Schulz’s monumental work: Identification of Treesand Shrubs in Winter using Buds and Twigs (including 700 species and over 1400 color illustrations) as their textbook.
For more images please click here.
 Tilia cordata, ink and colored pencil by Mary Crabtree