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

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Time to throw the tin - Happy New Year


I am re-posting my blog from several years ago as I wish you all Happy new Year:

Since 1753 the Gregorian calendar has been in use in Finland and January 1st has been the first day of the year. Traditionally the night proceeding the first day of the year has been the time for magical tricks with the intention to open the door to the future.

Casting of tin is one of the most popular magical tricks in Finland on New Year's Eve. Everyone gets a small piece of tin (nowadays mostly lead) in the shape of a miniature horseshoe, which is a traditional symbol of good luck. The horseshoe is melted and the liquid metal poured quickly into a bucket of cold water, where it quickly solidifies in fantastic shapes.
The shape and shadow of the resulting cast is examined and interpreted to predict the various future events of the coming year. Different shapes have different meaning, promising good luck or health, wealth, happiness, sorrow, sickness etc. If the cast breaks down to pieces, it is a sign of "bad luck".
This tradition originates in ancient Greece. These Magical Tricks were later spread to Central Europe and today probably only used in Finland. Instead of tin also beeswax and lead were used.
Click here to see how it is done.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

(Lois Sanford, from watercolor II class)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Artist-In-Residence Opportunity in Boulder County, CO!

(Sue Shoaff's nature journal page from our workshop at Caribou Ranch, August 2011)

Boulder County Parks and Open Space Department is announcing a Artist in Residence Opportunity for next summer at Caribou Ranch. The selected artists can stay up to 7 days  in the historic DeLonde Barn at Caribou Ranch and work in and with the inspiring landscape of the Caribou ranch. For more information, please click here.
For application rules and guidelines, please click here. The application deadline is February 15, 2012.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Focus on Nature XII -

(Amorphophallus titanum with Sarcophogid by Susan Rubin, Colored Pencil on Mylar)

At least two entries from the Denver Botanic Gardens' Botanical Illustration Program were accepted to  Focus on Nature, the biennial exhibit on natural history illustration at New York State Museum of Natural History, Albany, NY. This FON XII exhibit will hang between April 28 and December 31, 2012. The prestigious exhibit series was incepted in 1990 and typically includes superior illustrations from 10-15 different countries.


Congratulations Susan and Randy!

(Sagittarius serpentarius, Secretary Bird by Randy Raak, graphite on paper)

Conservation and Communities

(please click the image to enlarge, poster design incl. illustration by Randy Raak)

The Society of Ethnobiology is dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of the relationships of plants and animals with human cultures worldwide. The 35th Annual Conference will be held at Denver Botanic Gardens in April 11-14, 2012. For more information, please click here.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Happy Registration!

(From Colored Pencil II by Sue Klebold )

Online registration for 2012 January-July courses starts on Monday, December 12, 9 a.m. - 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Ink with Brush and Quill

(Yucca, detail by Susan Curnutte; please click the image to enlarge)
We are used to see pen and ink technique in more technical illustrations, however quill and brush combined with ink have been used for thousands of years both for writing (calligraphy) and for creating images. Bird feathers and bamboo sticks have been used both in India and Egypt prior the beginning of the common era (Prisse Papyrus, 2000 yr BCE).In the more recent time Cicely Mary Barker is well known from the late 1800s England. She illustrated accurate plants with fairies. She also illustrated religious books and painted panel for churches. Arthur Rackham's ink illustrations and art is famous for the softened pen lines which were muted with watercolor. He often placed his scenes in gardens, like Royal Botanic gardens in Kew or Kensigton Gardens in London. 

Within the Botanical Illustration Program in Denver Botanic students we using only quill, brush and ink at the "Expressive Ink" class instructed by Susan DiMarchi
Next season we will be offering Drawing on Tradition: The World of Cicely Mary Barker and you can continue the exercises with ink, quill and brush combined with color.
You can see more images from the classroom by clicking here.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mylar - Duralar - Herculene and Colored Pencil

(Bougainvillaea by Susan Rubin, Colored Pencil on mylar)

We recently encountered some confusion about various types of drafting film and their suitability to Botanical Illustration media.  Susan Rubin has been working with Mylar since 2002, and consequently has developed a bias toward that product.  In an effort to be objective, she ran a test on the most common three:  Mylar, Duralar, and Herculene, to see how they worked with colored pencil.  The Texture on Mylar class tried the same experiment, and reported essentially the same results. NOTE: these results are only for Colored Pencil and do not necessarily apply for Pen and Ink or Graphite. We will be publishing similar type of test for these media later.
The following report is put together by Susan Rubin (our Colored Pencil/Graphite instructor for many years):
Mylar and Duralar and Herculene are all polyester drafting films and can be found in thicknesses, from 2 mil to 10 mil. All of the films can be found “double frosted”, with both sides matte-finished for drawing.  All of these drafting films are archival and valid grounds for graphite, ink, and colored pencil.  
 (Test by Susan Rubin, please click the image to enlarge)
Susan lined up three little squares of the various films and worked across them with the same layers and the same pressure (2 on the pressure scale), using Faber-Castell Polychromos and Prismacolor pencils.  She tried erasing, lifting with waxed paper, smearing, and layering color. 
Susan's results:  All types of film performed well for erasing and lifting and alas, they all will smear.  The big difference is in the surface tooth and the depth of the tooth, which determine the total layers of colored pencil one can apply. All had limitations in accepting layers of waxy Prismacolor pencils, which filled the tooth very quickly.
Least compatible for COLORED PENCILDuralar.  The very fine and shallow tooth accepted very few layers of pencil, and the surface did not allow for even blending.  Save Duralar for ink work, where it is a wonderful surface.
FINE for COLORED PENCILHerculene.  With a slightly smoother tooth than Mylar, Herculene accepts color and layering well, but with a more limited tooth than the Mylar.  What does that mean?  Fewer layers overall.  Plan carefully!
BEST for COLORED PENCIL:  Mylar .005. This surface will accept up to 20 layers of Polychromos colored pencil applied with a light (Pressure Scale 2) touch.  Colors build and blend evenly and can be worked on both sides of the surface.  The .005 thickness is sturdy enough to take repeated turning of the surface and erasing without buckling, but retains its translucent quality.  

Thank you Susan for this report!

(Our Botanical Illustration Program frequently offers courses in Colored Pencil on Mylar (as an option for following classes in the coming season: Drawing on Tradition:  Georgia O’Keeffe, Art Nouveau Botanical Tile Designs and FloweringFruit Trees
Please note that the registration for these classes opens on December 12, 9 a.m., and at this moment the classes show as if they were sold out) 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Birds and Plants Belong Together

(watercolor by Karla Beatty)

When talking about plants we cannot forget the important roll of birds as pollinators, seed dispersers, and biological controllers. Birds have also been included in botanical illustrations for thousands of years, the probably oldest documentation of that has found in the  Chalcotithic pottery from Persia (ca 5000-3500 BCE) .
This fall we included two "bird" classes in our curriculum: Eggs and Nests in Watercolor and Feathers in Graphite (instructor for both courses was Karla Beatty). For both classes we borrowed the scientific material from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. A bird specialists from DMNS also gave a related presentation in the classroom for the students. Some of the student work is displayed in the BI-Facebook, please click here to view them.  
(graphite feathers of Susan Curnutte)

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Capturing The Red Color

Instructor for our Ravishing Reds Course was Constance Sayas - this is one of her class handouts for bright red flowers

Capturing the right red color is an interesting challenge for the illustrator. There should be more orange in the sunlight and more violet in the shadows, perhaps something else at the edges.
Among our elective courses selection we offer from time to time Ravishing Reds course in which the students learn to mix the red hues that are needed to create value and form in red. Please enjoy some student work (in-process) from that class by clicking here.


Judy Cochrane's poppy (in process)

Monday, November 21, 2011

2012 Arts and Archives Tour with the BI Program

March 22 - April 3, 2012

Join Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski, Manager of Botanical Art and Illustration Programs for a unique exploration of art archives in Europe. This 12-day tour includes four nights in London with the remaining time in southern Germany. Discover the hidden jewels of Kew Gardens’ Library, Art & Archives and enjoy Dr. Shirley Sherwood’s company while exploring the current exhibits in the only gallery solely devoted to botanical art. Learn about published and unpublished art treasures in the Natural History Museum and British Library and enjoy a tour of the British Library’s Conservation Studios. Presentation of the extensive three year conservation research project of the outstanding ReevesCollection in addition to William Morris Red House and the newly re-opened DeMorgan Centre are in the program. Take a one day break from collections to visit the well-known artist and teacher, Ann Swan at her studio in Wiltshire, with a stop at the Lacock Abbey and the neolithic monuments at Avebury

Travel by high-speed rail to Frankfurt (via Brussels) to explore Maria Sibylla Merian’s works from the 17th century and spend time at the University of Tuebingen with Leonhart Fuchs’ collection. Learn about the scientific side of the great poet Goethe and visit the Gutenberg Museum. Explore Germany’s oldest town Trier, and on the way to Nürnberg, visit the Heidelberg Castle to learn about pharmaceutical history in this remarkable museum, which displays one of the finest collections of paintings, manuscripts and related objects from the past two thousand years.

The tour comes to an end in Bavaria, where you can sample special wines and famous gingerbread while discovering the secrets of Faber-Castell’s 250-year history on the tour of the company’s Jugend castle. Before leaving Germany, visit the Imperial Castle of Nürnberg and the Germanic National Museum, which boasts Albrecht Dürer collections and the unique Codex aureus, produced in the 10th century.

For a detailed day-by-day program, please click here.

For more information about the program, please contact Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski or 720-865-3653. Please contact Sheridan Shamano  or 303-860-6045 to reserve your spot.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Saint John's Bible and it's illuminations in Santa Fe, NM

(Genesis 28 - please click to enlarge)

Fourty-four illuminated pages from The Saint John's Bible are on display in New Mexico History Museum in Santa Fe until April 7th 2012. Last Monday, November 7th a group of enthusiastic Botanical Illustrators went to listen to the artistic Director Donald Jacson's presentation about his 14 years with the project  and then joined with him afterwards for a private reception at the Museum. It was unbelievable to see the folio sized illuminations on velum and study the calligraphic technique used for this mastodon task. Once again it became clear how poorly the digital reproductions compare with the original work. It was a great pleasure to connect with Donald Jackson and other members of the artistic team and also meet the representatives from the Saint John's Abbey, Minnesota.

While in Santa Fe we also had an opportunity to see the Book Arts Group Show at the Capitol Rotunda Gallery. Please see some of the photos form our Santa Fe trip by clicking here
We are planning to organize another 3-day trip from Colorado to Santa Fe prior the illuminated pages leave the History Museum in April 2012. If you like to get more information about the trip, please contact Mervi   

2012 Margaret Flockton Award - Call for Entries

(Ceratozamia vovidesii by Edmundo Saavedra Vidal, 1st prize winner for 2011 Margaret Flockton Award - please click the image to enlarge)

Illustrators are invited to submit one or two original scientific botanical illustrations in black and white by close of business Monday 6th Feb 2012Prize money - 1st prize - $AUD5000, 2nd prize - $AUD2000, plus three Highly Commended awards will be presented upon the opening of the exhibition on Friday 30th March 2012. Submission details for the Margaret Flockton Award can be viewed by clicking here.

Margaret Flockton (1861-1953) was the first botanical illustrator at the Botanic Gardens in Sydney, serving from 1901 for 27 years. The Margaret Flockton Award commemorates the enormous contribution that she made to early botanical illustration for taxonomic research. The award is unique in that it promotes botanical illustration, as opposed to botanical art, it is annually sponsored by the Maple-Brown family and the Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens in Sydney, AustraliaThis unique Award is now in its ninth year. In 2011, 31 competing works were exhibited, produced by 20 artists from all around the world.  
For complete information to submit works in 2012 and to view 2011 winning works, please click here.
  You can read more information about Margaret Flockton by clicking here

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cafe Botanique, November 17 - Gates Hall


The woods of 18th & 19th Century Chinese Furniture
By Carol Goldstein, Ph.D 


The Qing dynasty (1644-1911) was the last imperial dynasty and the one from which the vast majority of furniture still available originates. However, the study of Chinese furniture and therefore the material from which it was made, is relatively recent. The materials used were not well documented and there is widespread variance in much of the information available. To say that opinions differ among botanists and connoisseurs regarding the identification of these woods is a gross understatement. The materials used for constructing furniture in today’s China and their current classification will be included in the presentation. 


Dr. Carol Goldstein was born and raised in New York City, she moved to Denver in 1972 to earn a Masters degree and a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado. In 1988, Carol and her husband moved to Hong Kong where they lived, worked, traveled and most importantly, engaged in serious collecting of antique Chinese furniture and accessories for 10 years. Her home is filled with various collections ranging from antique Caucasian rugs, Neolithic pottery and antique Chinese furniture to contemporary art. In addition to her academic teaching activities, Carol has been active with the Asian Art Association of the DAM since returning from Hong Kong and currently serves as the Association’s immediate past president.
Click here to register -

Thursday, November 17, 2011
Denver Botanic Gardens – Gates Hall
6:30 – 8 p.m.

Friday, November 11, 2011

NEW CATALOG IS OUT!

(Daucus carota by Constance Sayas)

Denver Botanic Gardens' Botanical Art and Illustration Programs' new winter/spring 2012 catalog (January - July) is published  and the courses for the first part of 2012 can be viewed by clicking here or by clicking the catalog image in the right hand column.  
We have 84 course offerings for the coming period. Certainly everyone can find something of interest and suitable for the personal calendar. Registration for these classes opens on December 12, 9 a.m..
The Distance learning catalog for Winter/Spring 2012 will be out shortly .

(Detail from Susan Rubin's Poppies - this image refers to one of our new offerings: Color Layering II: Complementary Colors)

If you wish to download this document into your computer, the username is: biprogram and the password: student (use the option "already have a Scribd account").

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Compositions with Charlotte Knox

(Pineapples by Charlotte Knox)

Each year our Botanical Illustration program is enriched by several guest workshops. The last visiting instructor for 2011 was Charlotte Knox who is known for her meticulous technique, captivating realism and bold forms. Please see some of the artists works from our weekend workshop, November 4 - 6, 2011 by clicking here.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

If you can draw...

(coconut by Marissa Tiroly)

Please see some images from our graphite classes which were completed in October. You can access the photos by clicking here.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Special Collections at University of Colorado and Miniatures

(Book of Hours from c 1420)

Our goal is to enrich the Botanical Illustration classes with special lectures, field trips, and visit to the experts on the field. Last month we visited the Special Collections Department, University of Colorado at Boulder. Ass. Professor Deborah Hollis gave us an overview of the Medieval manuscript leaves and other illuminated material included in the CU Boulder collections. We also got a glimpse of the numerous herbals in the collections. A large amount of the collections is digitized and can be viewed electronically over the internet. Nothing it better than look at the original though. Please see some photos from our visit and the material which we could study close by. Access the photos by clicking here.
This visit was a part of the class: Drawing on Tradition: Marie Angel's Illuminated  Miniatures (instructed by Renee Jorgensen). Marie Angel was a renown miniaturist and calligrapher who melded together the medieval craft and her modern eye. She died in 2010. 
Samples from art that was produced in the classroom can be found by clicking here. 
(Students examining the old collections)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Be careful on the roads (if in Colorado)!

Overpasses are icy and roads can be snow packed - The Gardens' operations are expected to start at 9 a.m. (no class delays) 
Drive Carefully! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Snow for Wednesday -

Denver Botanic Gardens' SNOW ADVISORY LINE 720-865-3620

Monday, October 31, 2011

Special Evening with Donald Jackson and The Saint John's Bible

(Donald Jackson, Artistic director for “The Saint John’s Bible”and senior scribe to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II)

Illuminating the Word: The Saint John’s Bible, on exhibit at the New Mexico History Museum through April 7, represents Jackson’s crowning achievement—the fulfillment of a goal he began nurturing as a young boy. Jackson oversaw a team of scribes who hand wrote and illuminated every page of the Bible on behalf of the Benedictine monks at Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minn. The project was completed this fall; after the History Museum’s exhibition of pages from the Wisdom Books and Prophets volumes of the work, the pages will be bound and placed in the care of the monastery.

Jackson began developing sketches that led to the project while at a Ghost Ranch workshop in northern New Mexico. In 1996, he took to Saint John’s Abbey an idea about collaborating on a millennium-worthy project, which was officially commissioned in 1998. By March 8, 2000, Jackson was able to pen the project’s first words on a page of vellum: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, the Word was God ...” On May 9, 2011, he wrote the final word, “Amen.” The pages were publicly unveiled in September.

“Now that I have inscribed the final Amen,” Jackson said in a prepared statement for the event, “I realise that over the long years of this task, a boyhood dream, I have gradually absorbed an enduring conviction of the pin-sharp relevance of these ancient Biblical Texts to the past, present and the future of our personal and public life and experience. These texts have a life of their own and their life is a mirror of the human spirit and experience.”
Jackson created a script specifically for the project that was then learned by each of the scribes who worked on it. Mixing techniques used in creating ancient illuminated manuscripts with the modern technology of computers to plan the layout, the work reveals a modern interpretation of biblical traditions. Viewers will spy chain-link fencing, DNA models, people of many races, and imagery from a variety of faiths.

At the age of 20, Jackson was appointed a visiting lecturer at the Camberwell College of Art in London. Within six years, he was appointed a scribe to the Crown Office at the House of Lords. As a scribe to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, he was responsible for the creation of official state documents and, in 1985, was decorated by the Queen with the Medal of The Royal Victorian Order, which is awarded for personal service to the sovereign. Jackson is an elected fellow and past chairman of the Society of Scribes and Illuminators and, in 1997, was named master of the 600-year-old Guild of Scriveners of the city of London. He is the author of The Story of Writing and has trained and encouraged many of America’s top calligraphers.

Their finished project is the first handcrafted Bible commissioned by a Benedictine abbey in more than 500 years. Handwritten and illuminated on calfskin vellum using quills, hand-ground pigments, natural inks, and gold-leaf gild, the Bible contains more than 160 illuminations and countless text treatments and marginalia in seven distinct books: Pentateuch, Historical Books, Psalms, Wisdom Books, Prophets, Gospels and Acts, and Letters and Revelation. For more information on the project, please click here
Download a high-resolution version of this image and other images from The Saint John’s Bible by clicking here

Our Botanical Illustration program is arranging a trip to Santa Fe on Monday, November 7th (coming back to Denver on November 8th) to visit the exhibit and attend the Donald Jackson presentation. We have one ticket left for the special reception. Please see more detailed information by clicking here.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

FIRST SNOW STORM for the season_

For possible inclement weather tomorrow  (Wednesday, October 25) in Denver please call (720) 865-3615 for possible class cancellations!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

From Outlined to Boneless

(Peonies by Sharon Eaton)


The traditional Chinese brush painting goes back to at least 4000 before our era and it has always been very closely related to the other crafts, history and traditions in China. Flower painting was separated from decorative art to form an independent section around the 9th century. There is always a great deal of symbolism in Chinese painting. The traditional media was ink and ink washes, in the modern times the painters have mixed several colors with black inks resulting to more natural and richly varied colors. The Chinese brush paintings represent one of the oldest styles of art in the world today.

Denver Botanic Gardens' Botanical Art and Illustration Program has included Chinese brush painting in its elective curriculum since 2007. This is an excellent way to get familiar with this old unique technique and explore the abiding rhythms of nature and human culture in China. In all these years we have invited Ms. Sally Yu Leung from San Francisco, CA to teach us and her classes are always immensely popular and sold out. Ms. Leung specializes in Chinese culture and folk art, often producing and curating cultural exhibits. She has many active roles at the San Francisco's Asian Art Museum - including Mayor-Appointed Asian Art Commissioner, Board of the Society for Asian Art, and Senior Docent - and has served on the boards of the Asian American International School and the Chinese Cultural Foundation. Sally teaches Chinese calligraphy and brush painting regularly not only in Denver Botanic Gardens but also at Pixar Animation Studios.
Please see more photos from the class in the BI-Facebook.
(major part of the 2011- course participants with Sally)

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Artistic Box for Art, Stationary or Precious Items

(Button box, Clam Shell Box, Box for e.g., Stationary by David Ashley)

Over the coming weekend (October 21 - 23, 2011) we ore offering a Artistic Box making class with David Ashley, the renown calligrapher and bookmaker from Denver. You will learn to make a variety of sturdy and beautiful boxes, perfect for botanical note cards, stationary, pens and pencils or small precious objects. We will create a clamshell box, a hinged lid box and a box with a separate lid. They will be constructed of bookbinding board, covered with durable book cloth and lined with a variety of beautiful papers.
We do have 3 seats available, for on-line registration, please click here.
(Button box, Clam Shell Box, Box for e.g., Stationary by David Ashley)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

May They Always Flourish


2011 Botanical Illustration Graduates at Denver Botanic Gardens are presented in this publication available through Lulu. The graduation ceremony is today (2 p.m.) in connection with the opening reception of the Annual Botanical illustration art show Art Meets Science (Sunday October 9th, 1 - 3 p.m.).
To preview May They Always Flourish 2011, please click here (takes a while after clicking the preview).

Friday, October 7, 2011

Sally Yu Leung in Cafe Botanique


Blessings without Words: Botanical Motifs in Chinese Children’s Clothing and Accessories
Sally Yu Leung, Cultural Ambassador, Asian Art museum, San Francisco, CA

In China, children’s clothing and accessories are more than mere adornments of the body; they are bearers of the hopes and blessings for these tiny human beings. In this presentation, Sally Yu Leung, an independent curator of Chinese decorative arts, collector, teacher of Chinese brush-arts at Pixar Animation Studios and also a Cultural Ambassador at the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco will reveal the enchanting mysteries behind the hidden meanings in Chinese children's clothing and accessories.


Book signing follows. A beautifully produced and illustrated 217 page book written in Chinese/English by Sally Yu Leung, Hidden Meanings in Chinese Children Clothing and Accessories, will be available at $45.
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Denver Botanic Gardens – Gates Hall
6:30 – 8 p.m.
(Register by clicking here)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Art meets Science - gallery opened for visitors today


Our annual botanical illustration exhibit is at the moment showing in University of Denver Museum of Anthropology Gallery (October 4 - October 28, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.).
It is impressive to see this type of professionally presented Botanical illustration show in Denver. Rarely we have the opportunity to study 68 top level illustrations in the same locality. This selection includes also works from the 2011 Botanical illustration Certificate recipients (eight graduates) and our eight core instructors. Please see more pictures from the exhibit venue by clicking here.


Please remember the reception (and graduation ceremony) on Sunday, October 9, 1 - 3 p.m.



Sunday, October 2, 2011

San Miguel in December -

(Rudbeckia hirta bu Constance Sayas)

If you like to experience San Miguel de Allende in December, please join our Botanical illustration workshop: 
Wildflowers in Watercolor
Put brush to paper and learn the skills to portray delicate petals, leaves and detail in transparent watercolor. Compose the perfect plant portrait and add build color to capture the beauty of El Charco’s flowers.
Monday - Friday, December 5 - 9, 2011 (10 a.m. - 1 p.m.)
Instructor: Constance Sayas
For more information or to register for the class, please click here

This workshop is part of Denver Botanic Gardens' Botanical Illustration Program in El Charco del Ingenio Botanical Garden, San Miguel de Allende, GTO, Mexico  - we will return in 2012. (The detailed 2012 program will be published soon.)
- Please see also the article published today in Denver Post

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Those who Loved, Collected and Recorded Plants ~



Celia Fisher describes in her recent publication The Golden Age of Flowers  the fascinating story of flowers and botanical illustration during the 17th and 18th centuries (The Age of Discoveries). In the detailed introduction she elucidates the complex historical development of the plant documentation from the process of revolutionary engraving method on metal in the 1600s to the epic voyages of discovery. The botanists and plant-hunters from Clusius and John Parkinson in the late 16th and early 17th century to Ehret and Redoute in the late 18th century are analyzed chronologically in a short but inclusive style.
To exemplify the development Celia Fisher has included 120 beautiful illustrations which are alphabetically arranged by the plants generic Latin name. Each of the plants has its own short interesting biography which illuminates the complementing connection between art and science. A large number of Mark Catesby’s, Ehret’s and Bauer brother’s works are included as well as works from more seldom presented plant hunters and illustrators like Hardwicke, de Ruyter and Sowerby.  
This book touches all aspects from biography to geography and is warmly recommended especially for everybody who is interested in the history of botanical illustration.
The Golden Age of Flowers has 144 pages and is published by the British Library.   
Celia Fisher is an art historian and plantswoman. Having researched economic botany at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, she gained a Doctorate at the Courtauld Institute, University of London, on flowers in manuscript borders. She specializes in garden history , identifying plants in art and discovering their history and meanings. 
    (Christoph Jacob Trew and Georg Ehret, Plantae Selectae, Nuremberg, 1750-90. 460.g.15, f.62)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

It is all about the line and stipple -

Stipple, Stipple. Stipple - dot, dot, dot...

Line and expressive line is the foundation for art. Stippling is "a process of painting and engraving in which the effect if produced by dots and points" The gradation of light and dark (form and color) is produced by different size of dots. Stipples in curved lines can suggest form and almost overlapping dense stippling indicates areas of shadow.
During the entry level Pen and Ink (Pen and Ink I) the students learn techniques to create a line, expressive line and stipple. You can see some random progress photos from recently finished Pen and Ink I class as well as from other classes, to access the photo album, please click here.

Friday, September 16, 2011

International Space Station in Cafe Botanique - Thursday, September 22, 2011 - Gates Hall


Utilization of the International Space Station: past, present, and future
Tara Ruttley, PhD,  NASA ISS Program Scientist

Tara M Ruttley, PhD is the Associate Program Scientist for the International Space Station (ISS) for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) at Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston. Her role in the Program Science Office consists of representing and communicating all research on the space station, and supporting recommendations to the ISS Program Manager and to NASA Headquarters, regarding research on the ISS.

This is a part of the NASA’s Destination: Station – Denver2011
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Denver Botanic Gardens – Gates Hall
6:30 – 8 p.m.

Highlights from the Gardens ~

Annual BI Art Show 2011

(Please click the image to enlarge)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

September Graduates On-Line

(Pneumonanthe parryi by Frank Andrus, please click the image to enlarge)

You can see a selection of works that the Botanical Illustration graduate candidates included in their portfolios. These were presented on September 12, 2011.Please click here or follow the link in the right hand column of this blog.
Congratulations once again!!! 
(Lavandula angustifolia by Linda Gerstle, Please click the image to enlarge)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Mountainside Miniatures

(Art by Randy Raak)

Mountainside Art Guild is hosting a national juried exhibit with over 100 miniature works in two-dimensional media at Foothills Art Center in Golden, CO. 
Randy Raak, a vital member of our Botanical Illustration community has two botanical pieces accepted to this show. 
The art will be displayed until October 29, 2011. (For driving directions, please click here

Monday, September 12, 2011

Congratulations September 2011 Botanical Illustration Graduates !!!

(selection from the graduate works - please click to enlarge)

Join me to congratulate the five new graduates from the Denver Botanic Gardens' Botanical Art and Illustratioin Program: Frank Andrus, Kathleen Dolan, Linda Gerstle, Valerie Smith and Kimberley Zehr. 
We are impressed with the level of competence, and we are thoroughly proud of you. The more complete presentation of the graduates' work will be on-line shortly.
The certificate awards ceremony in conjunction of the Annual Botanical Illustration Art Show will be held on Sunday, October 9th, 1 - 3 p.m. in the University of Denver Museum of Anthropology Gallery (fro driving directions, please click here). Artists, 2011 Graduates and their families are invited to attend!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Louisville Art Association honors Botanical Illustration

(Magnolia ferrofolia 'Steel Magnolia' by Barbara McKee, Honorary mention) 

The 26th Annual National Juried Fine Art Show by Louisville Art Association gave a merit award ribbon (with a monetary award attached) for Barbara McKee's work: Magnolia ferrofolia 'Steel Magnolia' which is one of Barbara's Peculiar Botanicals .
Barbara McKee, who is in the Botanical Illustration Certificate Program at Denver Botanic Gardens has two botanical pieces accepted in this show.
This Fine Art show as displayed at Louisville Center for the Arts from September 3 to September 11. There is a Special Wine & Cheese Reception today, Friday, September 9, 5:00-7:00 p.m.(Free for the public).  The show closes at 4 p.m. on Sunday. 


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Focus on Nature XII

REMINDER: Entry deadline October 1, 2011


Focus on Nature XII: Natural History Illustration
New York State Museum
April 28 - December 31, 2012

Focus on Nature (FON) is a biennial exhibition of scientific, natural and cultural history illustration. Since its inception in 1990 the number and quality of submissions have risen, range of materials and media have expanded, and the geographic representation of artists has broadened. A five-member jury of scientists and artists selects artwork that accurately represent the subjects, or research results and processes. 
FON seeks to demonstrate the connection between science and images; stimulate an interest in natural history art among practicing artists, aspiring artists, and the public; and bring natural history illustration to the attention of people who might not otherwise be aware of the important role it plays in research and the dissemination of knowledge.
Each exhibit invites a guest juror from among artists who have previously participated in FON. The guest juror for FON XII is Francesca Anderson
To get the on-line entry form, please click here, call for entries, please click here.
(Image on the left by Susan CurnuttePanicum virgatum 'Shenandoah', watercolor, in process. Please click the image to enlarge.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Greens are difficult...

(5 green leaves in colored pencil  and 5 home works, art by Barbara Weaver)

... and leaves are tricky.
Botanical Illustration program at Denver Botanic Gardens offers frequently classes on how to handle the green color, both in watercolor and in colored pencil. On these classes we also focus on the leaf structure: margins, texture and the venation. Variegated and translucent leaves are typically getting very special attention. You can see some photos from the recent Leafy Greens class by clicking here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

One Seat opened in Color Layering!!!

(Student work from a recent Colored Pencil I class)
One seat has just opened in the coming Color Layering for Colored Pencils weekend workshop (Aug 19 - 21, 9 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.). For registration, please call 720-865-3580 or follow the link by clicking here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Not only Botanicals -


(art by Renee Jorgensen)
In addition of botanical subject matter our Botanical Art and Illustration program also includes illustration of pollinators and birds. We recently concluded a class on illumination where the main subject matter was butterflies. Media used was mixed, mainly pen and ink and watercolor pencil. Instructor for the course was Renee Jorgensen. Please see more photos from the class by clicking here or access them through the BI-facebook.
  (Michael Campbell working in the classroom environment)