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

Friday, August 18, 2017

Color with Pencil and Brush

Gala apple with its gamut by Deanna Gammon, colored pencil

One of our regularly repeating elective offerings is following James Gurney's book Color and Light and focusing on botanical subject matter. The students learn about limited color palettes and gamut mapping. This method is found to be effective and helpful in Botanical illustration. See more images from this class by clicking here.
During the summer we have also completed several other classes both in watercolor and colored pencil. You can see some random examples of them in the BI-Facebook album Color with Pencil and Brush.
 Watercolor by Karey Swan 

Friday, August 11, 2017

Lichens Discovered through Colored Pencils!

David Morrison's work in-progress and the subject matter to the left with some colored pencils

David Morrison is a professor of art at Herron School of Art and Design, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. We had a pleasure to enjoy his tutoring over the past weekend. The students were thrilled to learn new methods applied with colored pencils mixed with watercolor pencils.
You can see work from this workshop by clicking here.
For this work magnifiers were needed!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Botanical Illustration in the Prime Vacation Time

Entry Level Pen and Ink by Janet Bell

In spite of the summer and vacation times our teaching schedule continues in the Hibiscus-classroom. Please keep in mind the availability of the spectacular specimens for your botanical drawings during summer and browse our summer/fall catalog for suitable classes. The online registration can be found by clicking here.

You can see more works from our recently completed entry level classes by clicking here. Even though our elective class' selection changes and is more season oriented, our required core classes repeat regularly throughout the year and you can begin learning anytime. 



Entry Level Graphite by Morgan Williams

Story of the 5 cherries by Valerie Teska, colored pencil. 
This plate is from the regularly offered Realism in Botanical Illustration class (more from this class shortly in its own post)

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Billy Showell Workshops and Lots of Roses

Student work from one of the 3-day workshops

Billy Showell visited us during last week and we were able to offer two 3-day workshops. The students concentrated on roses and rose leaves, practiced how to capture the fragility and smooth texture of the petals and tightly packed staminodes with coiling forms.    
Lots of individual guidance
Workshop #1

One of the numerous demonstrations, this is part of the workshop #2
We are looking forward to get Billy back to teach dark, 'black' flowers - perhaps in 2019 (?!!!)
To see a few more images form the classroom, please click here.


Friday, July 21, 2017

Chatfield Farms Historical Iris collection


Nels Broste, in process

Denver Botanic Gardens' historic iris collection at Chatfield Farms contains more than 400 varieties of iris. The entire collection was donated in 2014 by the Lankow family from Washington State and was installed in fall 2015. The known varieties are planted in chronological order based on the year they were introduced into the nursery trade. The oldest variety dates back to 1597! Many are award-winning varieties that are held in high esteem among iris enthusiasts for their significance in the long history of iris breeding. Our students visited and illustrated some representatives from that collection during the 2017-prime blooming season. Please click here for more images, most of them still in process.

(Iris 'Swertii', introduced in the collection 1612  - by Irene Young)

Monday, July 17, 2017

Harriet Isabel Adams



(Watercolor by H. Isabel Adams)

Harriet Isabel Adams' drawings and illustrations were developed out of the Arts and Crafts movement, including distinctive lettering for labeling. She published one book: Wild Flowers of the British Isles (volume I, 1907, volume II,1910). This publication, which got digitized in 2016, got reviewed by Spectator Archives in 1907 (page 20). Katherine Tyrell also included H. Isabel Adams in her selection of Famous Masters of Botanical Art & Illustration (1500-1900).
In our series of Drawing on Tradition you can learn about Adams' working style and practice her techniques. You can still register for this watercolor pencil class by clicking here.

(watercolor pencil by Renee Jorgensen)

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Katherine Rudebusch, our first 2017 artist-in-resident


Katherine Rudebusch, our Artist-in-Resident for the summer 2017, has started her 6-week period at The Gardens. She will mainly be working with interpretative material for our Restoration project at Chatfield Farms.  Her main focus will be the animal/plant interactions. 
Katherine demonstrates botanical illustration at the Science Pyramid as a part of her residency. Our visitors are delighted!
Chatfield Farms' Beavers in Focus 

Monday, July 10, 2017

From a Singer to an Iconic Pattern Designer: Florence Broadhurst

(design by Pat Grace)

A class on pattern design for fabric, wallpaper or gift wrap is regularly included in our elective offerings. This spring we studied Florence Broadhurst from Australia.  She is considered one the most extraordinary wallpaper and textile designers of all time in Australia. She dominated the interior design world in the 1960s and 70s, and her clear large-scale patterns are still very popular around the world.  In the age of 60 Broadhurst established a high-end wallpaper studio in Sydney. Today the company has over 500 designs in its collection of which a small production is printed as wallpaper and fabric. A documentary movie was produced about her life in 2006: Unfolding Florence: TheMany Lives of Florence Broadhurst

Please see some of the designs inspired by Florence Broadhurst and created in our classroom (please click here). There is also a random selection of images from our entry level colored pencil class and some from the class focusing on bugs and pollinators. 
(Pollinators by Susan Willis, colored pencil)

Saturday, July 1, 2017

2017 Denver Comic Con - Comics for Scientific Storytelling

SBAI's  Awesome panel team with Jay Peteranez, the moderator (Donna Uyeno, Hannah Rottman, Sally Grew, Patti Hearn and Randy Raak) - Thank you all for participating in the Denver 2017 Comic Con!

No Color Needed - Drawing in Black and White

Maianthemum stellatum  by Suzanne Stutzman, ink

During the spring we repeated the popular workshop Observe, Collect and Document guided the students trough the plant collection and reconstruction process to completed scientific botanical illustration in ink.
There is no color needed to tell the story of graphite or pen and ink plates.
Please click here to see more from our recent black and white classes.


N.B. If you like to practice more pen and ink, we have a “Living Soil – Fascinating World of Small Creatures” class starting in the end on July (seats are yet available).

Lynn Williamson, graphite
(Please click the images to enlarge)

Friday, June 23, 2017

Mosses in Microscope


Meiotrichum lyallii, watercolor and ink by Jo Webster
Mosses grow in a variety of shapes, colors and textures, and are perfect subject to observe under the microscope. This was a weekend workshop that we completed in May. All the mosses are collected from Colorado and identified by Dr. W. Weber, University of Colorado, Boulder. You can see more images from this class by clicking here.

Dicranoweisia crispula, ink by Stephanie Bures
(Please click the images to enlarge)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Global Interactive Art Library

Be a part of a Global Interactive Art Library and leave your legacy. Check out the Brooklyn Art Library's Sketchbook Project 2018

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Whimsy: Botanical Art and Illustration - CALL FOR ENTRIES


(Cockscomb, Celosia cristata by Susan DiMarchi, colored pencil)
  

WHIMSY: BOTANICAL ART & ILLUSTRATION

You are cordially invited to submit work to the jurying process for the annual botanical illustration exhibition, this year featuring unusual plants. Your dedication to mastering the skills of this art form and illustration makes us extremely proud, and we would like to showcase your success in a public venue.

November 19, 2017-February 11, 2018
Venue: Denver Botanic Gardens, Gates Garden Court Gallery
Reception: November 19, 2–3 p.m.

Eligibility:
We welcome artists who have participated in courses at Denver Botanic Gardens’ School of Botanical Art and Illustration after June 2015. 2-dimensional artworks of all levels and in any media taught in the school are welcome.

Subject:
The organizing theme of this exhibition centers on plates that are playful, humorous, unusual, or unique. Artists are encouraged to take poetic license. Jurors will be looking for works that either are a unique interpretation of the subject matter or that feature a plant that is inherently whimsical.  We welcome all submissions whether traditionally based, contemporary, or “experimental” and we are eager to see a wide variety of thematic representations. Please refer all questions to Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski.

Media:
All media taught in the Denver Botanic Gardens’ School of Botanical Art and Illustration are accepted. All artwork must be original. No photography or digitally generated work will be accepted. No giclée prints or offset lithographs are considered.

Scale:
If scale is included on the plate, only metric units are allowed.

Submission Method and format:
Each artist may submit up to three two-dimensional entries for juror consideration. Digital files only. Entries must be submitted digitally via CallforEntry.org, also known as CaFÉ. Detailed on-line submission instructions are available on the CaFE site. A complete submission includes a completed entry form and digital image for each entry. Images must be submitted as JPG files only, minimum of 1920 pixels on the longest side and 5.0 MB maximum with artist’s last name and title of artwork as the file name (e.g., Smith_Planta communis).

Submissions accepted:
September 1—September 22nd, 2017

Submission Deadline:
11:59 pm, September 22nd, 2017, Mountain Daylight Time.

Jurors:
Denver Botanic Gardens curators will be reviewing submissions. The work will be judged according to the standards of the media (typically composition, technical skills, and botanical accuracy), along with thematic relevance. 

Presentation, Size and Format:           
Upon acceptance to the exhibition, artists will submit matted artwork only; no frame. Mats must be 4- or 8-ply white rag (no eggshell, cream antique, warm white or any off-white mats), fitting exactly into a 16” x 20” frame (interior measurement). Pieces must be matted with both a backing board and a face mat and must be appropriately and securely attached within the matting—hinging and photo corners are both acceptable. Please do not submit matting with any loose elements, i.e. backing board or face mat not attached or piece not secured inside the matting. Artwork must be delivered in appropriate housing, such as paper wrapping or a mylar sleeve, and housing must be labeled with the artist’s name.

Delivery and Insurance:
Delivery requirements will be detailed with acceptance notices. While on site, artwork is insured by Denver Botanic Gardens. For insurance purposes, a valuation of your piece MUST be on file. Please complete this portion of the entry form accurately upon submission.

Publicity and Catalog:
By submitting your entry form, as sole owner of the copyright and intellectual property rights in and to any images submitted, you agree to irrevocably authorize Denver Botanic Gardens, without compensation to yourself or any third party, to reproduce, distribute, transmit, communicate, display and perform submitted images and any related images and materials provided by myself, privately or publicly, in whole or in part, throughout the world by means of any device or process (examples include but are not limited to online, print, film, and television), and authorize others to do the same, without contacting me, for nonprofit, educational, artistic, publicity and related purposes or for the purpose of promoting Denver Botanic Gardens or the exhibition. This non-exclusive license, which does not transfer ownership of your copyright to Denver Botanic Gardens, shall endure for the entire term of the copyright in and to said images and shall survive all assignments of copyright.

Contact MerviHj@botanicgardens.org with questions.
Please direct all technical questions about submitting your work to CallforEntry.org.

(Bird of Paradise, Strelitzia reginae  (Trouble in Paradise) by Barbara McKee, watercolor)

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Portrait of the Artist: Meredith Feniak


Great interview article of Meredith Feniak with plenty of images in the current June/July 2017 Colorado Homes & Lifestyles (pages 53-58).
If you do not have the possibility to get the printed issue you can see it on-line here.
Meredith received the foundational certificate in botanical illustration in 2014. She is currently part of our teacher crew at the SBAI and our main community outreach representative.
(Meredith Feniak: Best Watercolor Plate of the 2014 Foundational Certificate Portfolios)

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Agave, Bats and Tequila


(By Sally Grew, click the image to enlarge))

Did you know that nectar-feeding bats are the main pollinators for Agave tequilana? Agave is harvested for tequila and mezcal production right before blooming thus the reproduction of this plant is strongly restricted. This is also decreasing the food availability for bats. Tequila Interchange Project (TIP) advocates for the preservation of sustainable, traditional and quality practices in the industry and for incorporating bat-friendly practices in the production system.   
Here is Sally Grew's story board illustrating the relationship, and challenges for Agave and bats. 
(Panel #2, by Sally Grew, please click to enlarge)

(Panel #3, by Sally Grew, please click to enlarge)

Monday, June 5, 2017

SBAI will participate in Denver 2017 Comic Con: Comics for Scientific Storytelling

The School of Botanical Art and Illustration will participate in the Denver Comic Con with a panel discussion on Saturday, July 1st 12-noon – 1 p.m.: 

Drawing Science: Comics for Scientific Storytelling
Graphic novels present an interesting opportunity to introduce readers to challenging scientific ideas. Combining text with images creates an easy to understand platform that appeals to a wide variety of learning styles. Panelists address the process of scientific storytelling through botanic-based comic stories with a focus on pollinators.

Get your tickets now! Denver Comic Con at Denver Convention Center June 30 – July 2. The tickets typically sell out early!
We have recently completed a successful 5-week workshop on the topic “Pollinator's Journey” with the instructor Jay Peteranez affiliated with Pop Culture Classroom. 
You can see a few example panels from our workshop by clicking here


(part of Christine Hubbell's story about pollen wasps and Penstemon; please click to enlarge)

Friday, June 2, 2017

The Illustrated Urban Garden


(Please click to enlarge)

An urban garden can take on many forms—tiny backyard plots, community gardening in city parks, guerrilla gardening on vacant lots, indoor hanging gardens, rooftop growing, vertical gardens, patio container gardens, or a full urban farm.
According to the USDA about 15% of the world’s food supply is now grown in urban centers. Growing fruits and vegetables is the biggest emphasis of the movement, but backyard chickens and goats, rain water collection, pollinator gardens and beekeeping are also on the rise. (More...) 
Gallus gallus domesticus, (Barred Plymouth rock rooster), watercolor and gouache by Randy Raak


Thursday, May 25, 2017

Tulips, Tulip Mania, Tulip Fever…

Dancing Tulips in progress (watercolor and graphite) by Rebecca Swain 

In the 17th century a fanatical interest in horticulture caused wealthy collectors to buy tulip bulbs for extraordinary amounts of money. The Persian poets were praising their beauty as early as on the 12th century. This spring several of our courses focused on tulips, the symbols of devotion and love. Tulip Mania class studied the history of tulips in Europe and concentrated on watercolor techniques combined with graphite.

Today we have over 3000 different varieties of tulips and 87 accepted species.

See some works from our tulip mania and other tulip inspired courses  by clicking here.
 (by Jean Scorgie, colored pencils)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Label Designs for the 2017 Plant Sale

(Plant compositions suggested by Angela Tingle) 

 Denver Botanic Gardens has many years included in their annual plant sale Container-in-a-Bag plant groupings based on the color palettes of famous artworks. This year our students simplified and slightly stylized the plant selections which normally are shown by photographs. This gave the students an opportunity to compose and draw small compositions to show gardeners what to expect. They also learned how to work to specs, including following templates, adhering to style and color requirements, and meeting deadlines.
One of the illustrated tiles was selected to the final Container-in-a-Bag label, see all the designs by clicking here.
(The final Edgar Degas' Label, plant #5 by Angela Tingle)

Monday, May 15, 2017

2017 Arts and Archives: Final days




On Saturday morning we visited the Berlin Museum of Medicinal History at the Charite. At the end of the 19th century, Rudolf Virchow created one of the largest collections of pathological-anatomical specimens. He wanted to provide specimens of healthy and diseased organs to improve the education among physicians, students and even the public for every known illness, and to also show what was under the human skin.  The museum opened in 1899 and included about 35000 specimens. A great number of collections were lost during WW II, only some 1800 specimens survived without greater damage. In 1998 the Museum at Charite was reopened to the public. The former Rudolf Virchow Lecture Hall was also destroyed at the very end of the war, the ruins were preserved and now form a unique atmosphere for scientific gatherings and other events. 
In this unique museum we could view not only 300 years of medicinal history starting from the time when the Charite was established as a plague hospital (around 1700), but also patient treatment history. With the help of our excellent guide (a medicine historian) we were able to view the 750 piece specimen collection and documentation of the founder's views of health, illness and the course of diseases. This was very interesting and educational - no photos could be taken.

On Saturday evening we had an exceptional opportunity to enjoy a sold-out concert with the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra with the guest conductor Mariss Jansons (chief conductor of Royal Concertgebow in Amsterdam).  It was an unforgettable experience be among the 2440 others and listen to Sibelius, von Weber and Mahler with one of the world's greatest orchestras (ranked as #2 after the Royal Concertgebow in Amsterdam). The concert building by Hans Scharoun was inaugurated in 1963 and still is one of the most impressive and significant spatial creations of the 20th century in the whole world. 

  
Entombment of Mary by Giotto di Bondone, 1310. This painting is Giotto's finest demonstration of his skills and deep philosophical understanding of religious events. Giotto was also one of the first  artists to implement perspective.

On Sunday, many of us returned to the Kupferstichkabinett and revisited the Maria Sibylla Merian-exhibit and also the Gemäldegallerie with its extensive Paintings from the 13th to 18th century.
Before it was time to say good bye to Berlin we made sure to visit the Jewish Museum with the Daniel Libeskind building.

“Voided Void,” or Holocaust Tower is a part of the Libeskind building at the Jewish museum in Berlin.  Daylight penetrates the tower only through a narrow slit in the unheated concrete silo and any exterior sounds are heavily muffled by the walls. 

This was the end of our 2017 Arts and Archives Tour, another inspirational and successful trip. We were fascinated with the science history in both Copenhagen and Berlin, and also the current architecture, infrastructural efficiency, friendliness, the very moving WW II legacy, and so on.
Next year we'll return to Europe, to the south of Spain (Grenada and Seville) and Amsterdam.  

For more pictures please click here


Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Summer and Fall 2017 Course Catalog

Our 2017 Summer and Fall catalog is out. Registration for these classes begins on June 6th, 9 a.m. The catalog will be shortly added here. You can also view and download it from here.
ENJOY!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Arts and Archives 2017: Potsdam, the city of history

In Summer 1945 Harry Truman, Josef Stalin and Winston Churchill met at the Cecilienhof Palace for the Potsdam conference. The very famous photo of the Big Three was taken right at this point. 

The goal of the Arts and Archives Tours is not only to familiarize the participants with the science documentation and cultural history but also some of the political history of the nations that we visit. For centuries Potsdam has played an important role in German history and we visited this historical town, now UNESCO World Heritage Site, for one day. The day was a successful sightseeing experience and a teaser to return when more time is available.
Please see photos from our sightseeing tour by clicking here

 Neues Palace on the western side of Sanssouci park. The building was begun in 1763, after the end of the Seven Years' War, under King Frederick II (Frederick the Great) and was completed in 1769. It is considered to be the last great Prussian baroque palace.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

2017 Arts and Archives: Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Garden and Botanical Museum

The Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Garden has 16 glass houses open to public.
One of the very highlights of our 2017 Arts and Archives tour was the visit to the Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Garden and Museum where our guide was Dr. Norbert Kilian, the head of the library and museum.
Berlin Botanical Garden was originally developed by the Great Elector of Brandenburg, Frederick William as a model agricultural garden in 1679. In 1879 a Botanical Museum was created to house and promote research on the continuously growing collection. It is today the second largest botanical garden in the world with an area of 43 hectares (126 acres) and ca 22000 plant species. In 1995 the institution became part of the Freie Universität Berlin.

Carl Ludwig Willdenow's Album Amicorum  from the latter part of the 18th century. Willdenow was the director of the Berlin Botanical Garden from 1801 until 1812. He formed the basis for the herbarium and library.

During the bombings of WWII the Museum lost 90% of its herbarium collections, 99% of the library and 100% of the rare collections. The rebuilding started 1957 and the museum and herbarium today includes the Willdenow Herbarium, Bridel Herbarium, spirit collection, gymnosperm cone collection, fruits and seed collection, wood collection, gall collection, plant remnants from Egyptian tombs (G. Schweinfurth Collection), collections of resins and plant fibres, and DNA bank.
The museum has a large herbarium of about 3.6 million preserved specimens in 24 herbarium rooms, and the library includes 300000 books (on some 9.5 km of book shelves). The Garden publishes two periodicals, Willdenowia and Englera.
Dr. Kilian gave us an enlightening presentation of the history of the Garden and Museum, a tour of the library and Herbarium, showed a collection of rare and antique books with botanical illustrations, and explained how botanical illustrations have been a part of the botanical sciences through the millennia.


The oldest herbarium at the Berlin-Dahlem Botanical Museum. The individual plants are attached on the pages of a bound book, This book-herbarium is from 1660.   

Please click here for more photos from our visit