by Susan Eubank, Arboretum Librarian, Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden, and Deb Shaw

Party in the Stacks!
Please join The Arboretum library and other plant and garden aficionados for a beautiful evening celebrating the Arboretum Library. The Arboretum Library is distinct among libraries as a comprehensive and very special collection of more than 20,000 books on botany, botanical illustration, gardening, California native plants, landscape design, gardens around the world, agriculture, and more.

For one night only, there will be merriment in the Arboretum Library stacks, twilight music in the Arboretum, outside viewing of mid-century travel slides, and inside viewing of mid-century library landscape materials, various nerdy library things, a little nosh and a no host bar. View a wonderful art exhibit, with personal artist tours of the exhibit “The naturalist’s desk: language and landscape” And of course a book sale too!

Consider spending an evening with your fellow BAGSC colleagues supporting the Arboretum Library. All proceeds from the event support Arboretum Library programs.

For one night only, there will be revelry in the Arboretum Library stacks and music in the Arboretum twilight!

Arboretum Library Benefit and Book Sale
Proceeds fund Arboretum Library programs

Friday, May 4, 2017, 6:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m.

There will also be…

  • Light refreshments and a No Host bar featuring wine, beer, and literary spirits,
  • Projections of Sunset magazine’s photographer, William Aplin’s mid-century travel slides,
  • Displays of mid-century modern gardening and landscape architecture books,
  • Pamela Burgess will give tours of her exhibit the naturalist’s desk: landscape + language, and
  • First chance to purchase at the used book sale. Specialty books ready for their new owners.

You are invited!
Advanced Tickets: General Public $20, Members $15. Call 626-821-4623.

At the Door: General Public $25, Members $20

Members include:
BAGSC Members
Members of the Los Angeles Arboretum Foundation
All plant, garden and landscape societies, all library organizations, and all botanic gardens and arboreta.

Questions? Contact Susan Eubank, 626-821-3213.

The Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden is located at: 301 North Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007
arboretum.org

Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens Logo

 

 

 

 

by Arillyn Moran-Lawrence, posted by Deb Shaw

After choosing where you are going, find out what gardens are available to you. Choose at least three and label them:

  • Rugged (but wonderful),
  • Perfect (or almost),
  • Problematic.
Etlingera elatior, aka Pink torch ginger. Waimea Valley Botanical Gardens, Ginger and Heliconia Gardens, North Shore, Oahu. HI. Photographer: Arillyn Moran-Lawrence, © 2017.

Etlingera elatior, aka Pink torch ginger. Waimea Valley Botanical Gardens, Ginger and Heliconia Gardens, North Shore, Oahu. HI. Photographer: Arillyn Moran-Lawrence, © 2017.

I began studying endangered plants in Hawaii, when the ASBA Exhibition Losing Paradise?  was announced. I had three to four gardens I wanted to visit. One was the Lyon Arboretum, on the South Shore of Oahu, in the Rain Forest; Waimea Gardens on the North Shore of Oahu; and, Koko Head to the east of Honolulu. Ho’omaluhia on the East side of Oahu did not have endangered plants so I did not consider that garden in my plan. I also did not consider the small garden in Wahiawa nor several other gardens in downtown Honolulu. I focused on the three larger gardens.

I called the three major gardens ahead of my visit and contacted knowledgeable people with whom I made appointments. At the Lyon Arboretum I contacted Karen Shigematsu, Botanist. At Waimea I made an appointment with David Orr, Botanical Specialist. At Koko Head there was no botanist or specialist available. You are on your own with just the information on the plant labels in the specialized gardens.

These are three different gardens with three different personalities. This is true of all gardens all over the world. You can visit each of these three and decide on which one best delivers what you are looking for.

Rugged Garden Lyon, The Lyon Arboretum

This garden is very large and stunning as you walk out the backdoor of the Administration Building. It is rugged, however. Mosquitos and bugs like to bite you. Karen Shigematsu first showed me the nursery and then introduced me to the garden. The first garden has numerous plants to choose from. However, as you go deeper into the garden on the way to the falls you will find you need strong boots, a rain poncho, an umbrella and a map of the garden. Keep in mind that your cell phone may be blocked by the high mountains that surround the Lyon. If you have health issues you may want to check with the Administration Staff on the ability to make it to the falls and visiting the gardens along the way. There is a less difficult path close in area, to which they will direct you.

A back pack is the best way to carry items you will need to record plants of interest. Make it light as the trails are full of rocks and the heat or rain may wear you out. Rolling gear is only good in about a quarter of the Arboretum. There is no shuttle service, no food stands, and the toilets are in the Administration Building. You can buy t-shirts, books and more, in the Administration Building.

The Perfect Garden, Waimea

Arillyn Moran-Lawrence working on Stelechocarpus burahol, aka the Keppel Tree, while sitting on the steps in the Waimea Valley Botanical Gardens, Malesia Gardens, North Shore, Oahu, HI. Photographer: Michael Tyau, © 2017.

Arillyn Moran-Lawrence working on Stelechocarpus burahol, aka the Keppel Tree, while sitting on the steps in the Waimea Valley Botanical Gardens, Malesia Gardens, North Shore, Oahu, HI. Photographer: Michael Tyau, © 2017.

Waimea Gardens on the North Shore of Oahu is an example of the Perfect Garden. It has a retail shop, an outdoor restaurant, bathrooms, a shuttle to carry you to the waterfall for a swim, and gardens galore. All are scattered over this treasure of a garden on a paved trail with shuttles. The only problem is that the garden is in a valley and the cell phones do not work there.

David Orr, Botanical Specialist met me with a golf cart so we could cover a large area. He explained a great deal about the endangered plants and why so many are on the Red Lists. Hawaii has the most endangered place in the world, including animals, birds, insects and plants.

Ask if a guide is available to meet you on a special day, date and time. Carry bug spray, go in long sleeved t-shirts and long pants if you do not do well with bugs. Otherwise dress however you want. Any kind of shoes work in this garden. Have your small camera, iPad or cell phone with you. Carry a hand held battery charger with you as the gardens are superb and you will want many photos. If you find the perfect plant and don’t want to stand or sit on a rock go to WalMart and buy a cheap collapsible chair. You can always donate it and leave it behind when you fly home. Also, if you choose where you want to paint first and last you can then work on getting to the falls area and catch a ride back to the shop and restaurant area. One way is $5 and round trip is $10. There also are family rates available.

The Problematic Garden, Koko Head

Koko Head is an old volcano that is dormant. There is just the garden there and a gardner that is invisible. The last time I was at Koko Head you checked in with a man at a table at the entrance and you checked out when you left. There was no indication that any kind of help was available. I don’t know if the cell phone works well or at all at KoKo Head.

It is a long, hot dusty walk to the Hawaiian section, which is at the farthest point in the garden. Tackle this garden aggressively, but travel light. A small backpack with sketch pad, watercolor pencils and a water brush would be adequate. Be sure to take a bottle of water for you and your assistant. When you finally arrive at the Hawaiian Section, find your specimen, photograph your choices, and sketch and make color swatches. You can make notes about the plant from the ID labels that are below the plant. A red ID tag means the plant is endangered; a green/blue ID tag means it is not. Photograph the label so you have the information you need later.

The last time I was at Koko Head the garden was very young. I am sure you will find some nice growth there now. It is difficult to get to the plants at Koko Head, and there is no one to assist you. It would be difficult to work there alone. I fell down a small hillside in very soft dirt about 25 feet. I guess I could have been hurt but I wasn’t. However, a sprained ankle would have made it hard to walk a long way to your car.

Materials

  • Small camera, cell phone, iPad, small portable charger.
  • Sketch book, such as a Bee or Stillman & Birn, Mixed Media (both can accept watercolor).
  • Paper, 8-1/2 x 11 or smaller. Arches or Fabriano 300 lb watercolor paper can be bound into a book at Fed Ex or at an office supply store. These can be used for plein air studies in the field or in your hotel room/with photos from your iPad or cell phone.
  • Ruler, tape measure, water bottle, water brushes and three to four good watercolor brushes.
  • Pens that have their own ink supply (such as Gopie, Zig or Micron).
  • Mechanical pencil.
  • Small travel palette. Know the paint that you have in the palette. You can always shop for more paint at your destination. I have two great art supply stores that I go to in Honolulu.
  • I have tried colored pencils. I find they break and you need a good sharpener. I like watercolor pencils because you can translate that color to real watercolor paint.
  • Tombow markers with brushes. They are very strong colors but I have found them to be fun to do quick sketches and to work with on the plane. They don’t cause any problems. I carry 12 – 15 in a plastic box.
  • A small folding chair. These can be found at Wal-Mart, Rite Aid, Daiso, sporting/camping stores, any variety stores, or online.
  • Lightweight backpack. They sell some very nice lightweight backpacks in Honolulu. I bought a large one and a small-sized one made by Hawaii Island Spirit. I see them for sale in many places. If you plan on doing rugged hiking bring your own.

Things to Remember

It is not easy to work in a new environment with no desk, chairs, lighting or bathrooms. It is difficult to balance everything like paint, brush, water and paper when you are outside and the nearest place to put anything is the ground.

It also is dark in some gardens, and is hard to find what you are looking for if you have been directed to a particular plant. It can be wet and muddy.

Alpinia zerumbet. Shell ginger. Lyon Arboretum, Manoa Valley, Honolulu, HI. Photographer: Arillyn Moran-Lawrence, © 2017.

Alpinia zerumbet. Shell ginger. Lyon Arboretum, Manoa Valley, Honolulu, HI. Photographer: Arillyn Moran-Lawrence, © 2017.

You need a lot of things to make life productive so make sure you test things at home to see if they work for you. Get overly organized. Keep things light and manageable. If you have a collapsible chair, that is an advantage. If not, see if someone can lend you a TALL bucket.

Having someone to help you is advisable. You can always contact an Art Academy or High School and see if they have a list of students who want to make some extra money. Pay them well so that they will want to really assist you.

by Nina Antze, posted by Deb Shaw

Sketching Bonsai Workshop May 12, Douglas Charles © 2018.

Sketching Bonsai Workshop May 12, Douglas Charles © 2018.

The Northern California Society of Botanical Artists is holding a workshop taught by Lee McCaffree, “Sketching Bonsai in Pen and Ink.” The workshop has been rescheduled to
Saturday, May 12, 2018,  10:00am -3:00pm
in Menlo Park, California

Enjoy a day of sketching Bonsai trees among an extensive collection of plants in Menlo Park. Learn about the basic structure of this art form, and how to capture the essence of an individual specimen(s) in pen and ink. This workshop is intended to be fun and relaxing—depicting the trees overall design instead of the exact details. Everyone is welcome.

The cost is $30 for NCalSBA members; $40 for non–members. The workshop cost includes a donation to NCalSBA and the Bonsai Garden.

There are still a few seats available. To register, and for more information about the workshop (including a materials list), contact D. Hunter.

 

by Kat Powell, posted by Deb Shaw

Some of the workshop participants getting ready for a final critique with Carrie Di Constanzo. Photo by Teri Kuwahara, © 2018.

Some of the workshop participants getting ready for a final critique with Carrie Di Constanzo. L to R: Mary Jo Newman, Carrie Di Costanzo, Suzanne Bassani, Janice Sharp, Carol Readhead, Melanie Campbell-Carter, Kathlyn Powell. Missing from photo: Patricia Mark, Alyse Ochniak.  Photo by Teri Kuwahara, © 2018.

What a fabulous experience! We were honored to have the awe-inspiring Carrie Di Costanzo for a workshop on the use of gouache in botanical art. First of all, Carrie’s work is beyond exquisite — I suspect I was not alone in getting goosebumps while gazing at her originals. They are miraculous in their refinement and perfection. Although Carrie works her magic in other media such as egg tempera and watercolor as well, it is her masterful handling of gouache that we focused on for those wonderful three days.

We all had a choice of working on a large deodar cedar cone, kumquats on a branch, loquats on a branch, or tulips. One participant requested a cactus as a subject, and The Huntington very kindly supplied that subject as well.

Reviewing artwork with Carrie Di Constanzo. Photo by Kathlyn Powell, © 2018.

Reviewing artwork with Carrie Di Constanzo. L to R: Teri Kuwahara, Carrie Di Costanzo, Suzanne Bassani, Janice Sharp, Carol Readhead, Mary Jo Newman, Melanie Carter-Campbell. Missing from photo: Patricia Mark, Alyse Ochniak. Photo by Kathlyn Powell, © 2018.

Carrie demonstrated several ways of using gouache, as the medium is quite versatile. She showed her favored method of laying down a pale “wash” of her mixed paint that consisted of a highly controlled stippling using her amazingly fast feathery stroke of dilute gouache on a dry brush. Texture was instantiated from the start and retained throughout with this technique. Subsequent layers were laid down with generally successively more concentrated pigments with the occasional unifying dry brush wash over. She worked from light to dark in this method, somewhat reminiscent of watercolor.

She also demonstrated an approach using titanium white mixed to varying degrees into her colors to opacify and smooth the deposition of color and it had a depth and richness rivaling oils while retaining the luscious velvety matte surface of gouache. Indeed, in this approach, the handling is more like that of oils or acrylics and many renowned artists such as James Gurney use this method. [See some of James Gurney’s favorite gouache artists here.] Lights do not necessarily need to be retained and working dark to light is possible. Highlights and light structures such as Melanie’s cactus spines can be directly added on top.

Carrie showed us that gouache is like watercolor in re-solubility but has a higher pigment load, yielding greater opacity. It can be used in a watercolor way with wet, dilute translucent washes retaining the light of the paper, building up to a gorgeous matte depth of color. It can also, again, be used somewhat like oils or acrylics, with light pigments over dark. This allows for going over sections with many layers until one is satisfied, without harming the surface or looking overworked. Thus, you can push a painting further. One can also use gouache to exquisite effect on toned papers, like botanical artist Albert R. Valentien did. Carrie showed us how she creates a toned sheet for such an approach.

Carrie encouraged us to use the method that we felt most comfortable with and everyone had their own unique look to their paintings, and all were lovely. The medium was adaptable to each person’s individual style of painting.

A Little About Gouache:
Gouache has a history that goes back to the 9th Century. Illuminated manuscripts and Persian and Mughal miniatures were painted using opaque watercolors mixed with white or on white priming. Chinese white was also freely used in Western watercolors in the nineteenth century as “body colors”, distinguished by their beautiful precision (see, for example, the watercolor and body color work of William Trost Richards). For many subjects, such as landscapes, body color made it possible.

Zinc white (Chinese white) as a pigment had become available in Europe in the mid-19th century (although in use in Persia, India and China since at least the 12th century) and thus at least partially displaced the more opaque but very toxic lead white. It is no wonder that artists happily explored the possibilities of this new pigment! (Especially en plein air, once pigments were packed into tubes.) We are lucky to have access to nontoxic, very opaque titanium white (introduced 1921) as well as zinc white.

Gouache was favored by commercial artists during the twentieth century for its beauty, speed of drying, and matte surface which the camera loves — it is renowned for reproducing extremely well. It got a bit of a bad rap because of the fugitive quality of many of the paints then in use — pieces were made for the camera rather than the frame, so archival lightfast pigments were not always employed. Now, however, we have beautiful, fully lightfast gouache pigments available to us from numerous pigmenters. Also, the medium suffered some stigma in the pretentious “Fine Art” vs “illustration” controversy.

Technical instruction in gouache has become very difficult to come by over the last few decades, so I cherish the training we were so fortunate to obtain with a Master Artist like Carrie. I personally have longed for this type and quality of didactics for nearly half a century. Opacity is another dimension of control which enhances the ability to work the magic of mimesis.

Profound thanks to Carrie Di Costanzo, a real treasure both artistically and as a person, to the Education Committee for bringing her, to The Huntington for hosting us, to Patricia Mark for supplying subjects and to BAGSC for everything!

posted by Deb Shaw

Sally Jacobs' "Buddha's Hand (Lemon Fingers) Watercolor," 19x16. Part of Sally Jacobs' "Sundays at the Farmers Market" exhibition at the TAG Gallery in Los Angeles.

Sally Jacobs’ “Buddha’s Hand (Lemon Fingers) Watercolor,” 19×16. Part of Sally Jacobs’ “Sundays at the Farmers Market” exhibition at the TAG Gallery in Los Angeles.

BAGSC Member Sally Jacobs‘ exhibition, “Sundays at the Farmers Market” will be at the tag Gallery in its new location: 5458 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, California 90036: April 17 – May 12, 2018

The Opening Reception is this Saturday, April 21, 5 – 8 pm

Artists’ Talk, Saturday, April 28, 3 – 4 pm
(includes a raffle for a print)

Drawing Class: “How to Draw a Leaf,” Saturday, May 5, 1 – 3:00 pm. Beginners welcome. Class size limited; contact Sally to register.

Jeanette Marantos, LA Times wrote an article about Sally’s exhibition for the Home & Garden section, entitled “This L.A. artist grows luscious fruits and veggies — in watercolor”. Read the article and see a slide show of all Sally’s paintings in the show.

Congrats Sally!

tag Gallery
5458 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036
email: gallery@taggallery.net
310.829.9556
Gallery hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 11 am – 5 pm

Sally Jacobs with an armful of inspiration.

Sally Jacobs with an armful of inspiration.

by Teri Kuwahara and Deb Shaw

BAGSC gathered at the Madrona Marsh Nature Preserve in Torrance for the January meeting to feature the ongoing mural project of BAGSC member Estelle DeRidder.

The interior of the meeting room walls in the Madrona Marsh Interpretive Center have been filled with Estelle’s paintings of the plants, animals and insects found in Marsh. She has spent countless hours capturing each plant in its native environment. The meeting was highlighted by featuring Estelle as our guest speaker, adding her wit and wisdom in starting and continuing this ambitious project. In addition to discussing her process and goals, Estelle also spoke about the challenges of creating such a large work, including determining scale, practical techniques, and interesting visitors (of the human, insect and avian varieties).

Estelle was recently honored by the Cultural Arts Commission in Torrance for her work on this mural. [See BAGSC News blog article about the award here.] The Marsh staff and volunteers from the Friends of the Marsh group were also present to support Estelle, a true indication of how much she is respected and admired. A video was made to highlight Estelle’s mural project for the Cultural Arts Awards ceremony and we were fortunate to view it.   It has now been posted on YouTube so members unable to attend the meeting can enjoy it, and can be found here: https://youtu.be/zExN3JWTcMY

Our sincere thanks go out to Estelle for bringing BAGSC to the attention of Madrona Marsh. Estelle’s mural can be viewed in the Interpretive Center, Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Additional thanks goes to Tracy Drake, Park Services Manager, Community Services Department, City of Torrance; Hilary and Dave Jamieson; and, Lance Hill for his wonderful photographs of the meeting.

The Marsh is located at: 3201 Plaza del Amo, Torrance, CA 90503.

Click on any image below to see larger images in a slide show format with full captions for each photo.

by Lee McCaffree and Deb Shaw

Filoli’s 20th Annual Botanical Art Exhibition is a celebration of spring flowers from their wonderful historic Garden. Artworks in the exhibition are from local and international artists (some of them graduates of Filoli’s Botanical Art Certificate Program) and are depicted in watercolor, colored pencil, pen and ink, oil, and graphite.

Jurors were Peggy Feidler, botanist, and Carol Woodin, botanical artist; curators were Lee McCaffree and Catherine Watters. The exhibition includes 44 pieces by 36 artists, including the curators and juror Carol Woodin, many of them artists who are exhibiting for the first time.

Awards:
Bourn Award for distinction with an emphasis on horticulture: “Sunflower Awakening” by Jeannetta vanRaalte
Roth Award for distinction with an emphasis on traditional botanical art presentation: Paeonia lactiflora, Pink Peony by Miksuko Schultz (and BAGSC member!)
Jurors Award for distinction with an emphasis on botanical art presentation: Papaver somniferum, Poppy by Jean Emmons
Jurors Award Honorable Mention: Tacca chantrieri, Cat’s Whiskers by Stephanie Law

The exhibition runs from February 23 – May 20, 2018.

BAGSC members in the exhibition include: Nina Anzte, Catherine Dellor, Joan Keesey, curator Lee McCaffree, and Mitsuko Schultz.  Carrie Di Constanzo has two pieces in the exhibition: Carrie will be coming to teach a BAGSC workshop in April, 2018, to be held at The Huntington Libraries, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens.

Click on any of the images by BAGSC members below to see a larger image. These paintings, as well as all of the artworks in the exhibition can be seen online at OnlineJuriedShows.com

In addition to “A Palette of Flowers,” the Filoli Florilegium is on display in its entirety throughout the House.

Filoli Historic House & Garden is A Site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is located at 86 Cañada Road, Woodside, CA 94062, (650) 364-8300.

Congratulations to the award-winners and all the participants!

by Jude Wiesenfeld, posted by Deb Shaw

Magnolia grandiflora, gouache on paper, © Carrie Di Costanzo

Magnolia grandiflora, gouache on paper, © Carrie Di Costanzo

Carrie Di Constanzo will be teaching a BAGSC-sponsored workshop, entitled Creating Botanical Paintings with Impact Using Gouache.

Participants in this workshop will learn how gouache is used to create realistic and detailed botanical paintings. Explore the benefits of using gouache and the similarities and differences between gouache and watercolor. Demonstrations will include using light washes of gouache, layering of colors with a dry brush, mixing of colors, glazing, and using semi-transparent and semi-opaque gouache. The class will be encouraged to experiment with gouache using small botanical subjects.

This workshop is suitable for artists who have previous experience with gouache, as well as those who have always wanted to try this wonderful opaque medium. Gouache will be supplied by the instructor, and a small fee will be charged to participants to share in the cost of the supplies. The workshop will be held at:
The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens,
Botanical Education Center, Allied Technical Lab
Wednesday – Friday, April 11 – 13, 2018
9:30 am – 4:00 pm
The Huntington is located at: 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, CA 91108.

The cost for BAGSC Members is $300; non-members may also attend for $350. Maximum Registration: 16 students.

To register: Send a check in the full amount, made out to BAGSC, with Carrie Di Constanzo on the subject line. Please mail the check to: BAGSC, PO Box 50166, Pasadena, California 91115.

Bring your lunch, or purchase lunch at any of the cafés on The Huntington grounds.

Questions about the Workshop? Contact the BAGSC Education Chair.

More information, materials list and map are available on the BAGSC website.

About the instructor

Carrie Di Costanzo worked as a fashion illustrator before shifting her focus to botanical art. Group exhibitions include the 14th Annual International through the 20th Annual International with the ASBA/HSNY (receiving the Ursus Award in\2013); “Following in the Bartrams’ Footsteps” and “Weird, Wild, and Wonderful” and the 14th through 19th Annual Botanical Art Exhibit at Filoli (receiving the Roth Award in 2013 and the Jurors’ Award in 2014). Her work is held in the Botanical Collections at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, and private collections.

by Deb Shaw

Botanical Art Worldwide is listed on the American Express Essentials Culture site as one of 15 Art Exhibitions to see this spring at this link: https://www.amexessentials.com/top-art-exhibitions-events-spring-2018/

Congratulations to Akiko Enokido, her Camellia japonica var. decumbens is included (number 14 of 15 in the slide show). Thank you to the ASBA facebook page for the notification!

BAGSC and ASBA member Akiko Enokido's, Camellia japonica var. decumbens.

BAGSC and ASBA member Akiko Enokido’s, Camellia japonica var. decumbens.

by Gilly Shaeffer, posted by Deb Shaw

I recently had a wonderful opportunity to teach a workshop during the California Native Plant Society 2018 Conference that was held at the LAX Marriott Hotel in early February. The attendees at the conference were from all over California. They are a very energetic, enthusiastic and passionate group of people who are committed to protecting the plants and open spaces in our state. Since I live in an area of Los Angeles where many residents are also committed to protecting natural areas and encouraging the cultivation of native plants. I was looking forward to teaching at this venue and thought that a workshop that would be an Introduction to Botanical Art would be well received by this group and I was right.

It is always fun to share an appreciation and love for a subject with those who are attending my class. In this case, it was my love for Botanical Art. This class was intended to introduce botanical art to those who were interested and wanted to know and do more.

The class started with an introduction to the materials used to create this art. Class attendees received a list of recommended books to inspire and to give step by step drawing exercises to begin the process. Workshop attendees did exercises to learn how to shade with graphite to create a value scale which would be preparation for creating three dimensional forms using light to dark shading.

The next portion of the class was focused on line drawing and some of what this entails. We did drawing warm up exercises then contour drawing. I wanted those attending the class to have as much “hands on” experience with drawing, as possible. They were shown how to use the plexiglass view finder, also called the “Leonardo Frame” as a drawing aide.

Workshop participants applied their skills to drawing Toyon berries and leaves. Photo by Gilly Shaeffer, © 2018.

Workshop participants applied their skills to drawing Toyon berries and leaves. Photo by Gilly Shaeffer, © 2018.

Next, the group learned about how establishing a light source can be very important in the shading of their drawing. I showed them how to establish a source of light coming from the left and how it would hit the object that the artist is shading. Those in the class shaded a sphere and a cylinder. After doing this shading, the information about shading was applied to shading a branch and some berries.

Seeing as the class members were all fans of our California native plants, this was a great opportunity to to have them shade Toyon branches with some leaves and berries applying the concept of light coming from the left.

The class members did remarkably well with this drawing and shading exercise and to my delight seemed keenly interested in learning how to do more in the future.

by Deb Shaw

Every three years, the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) Conservation Conference brings together California’s conservation community for scientific sessions and lectures, field trips, workshops, special events and networking. Each conference also has a native plant botanical art and photo contest. This year included a California native plant tattoo contest as well!

BAGSC members Olga Ryabstova and Gilly Shaeffer taught botanical art workshops at the Conference.

Congratulations to the CNPS Botanical Art Contest winners (including BAGSC members):

These images and more from the exhibition can be viewed at: https://www.facebook.com/pg/CaliforniaNativePlantSociety/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1587978757905901 Participating BAGSC members included: Ellie  Yun-Hui Tu, Kim Garrison Means, Nina Antze, Donald  Davidson, Estelle DeRidder, Susan Jackson, Joan Keesey, Lee McCaffree, Olga Ryabtsova, Mitsuko Schultz, Gilly Shaeffer, Janice Sharp, Deborah Shaw, and Jude Wiesenfeld.

Kudos to all who participated, and a special thank you to Elizabeth Kubey, CNPS Conference Assistant and the CNPS art panel: Tina Curiel, Wendell Pascual, Lesley Randall, and Nancy Elizabeth Saltsman.

by Tania Norris, posted by Deb Shaw

BAGSC handouts for "Portraits of Bonsai from The Huntington Collection." Cover image, Ficus retusa, watercolor on paper, © 2018 Anna Suprunenko. Brochure and photo by Olga Ryabtsova, © 2018.

BAGSC handouts for “Portraits of Bonsai from The Huntington Collection.” Cover image, Ficus retusa, watercolor on paper, © 2018 Anna Suprunenko. Brochure and photo by Olga Ryabtsova, © 2018.

The Botanical Center at The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, is the location for the BAGSC exhibition ‘“Portraits of Bonsai from The Huntington Collection.” The paintings received many admiring comments from the public and participants at The Huntington’s Bonsai-a-Thon held the weekend of February 24 – 25, 2018.

Demonstrations during the two-day event were given by Olga Ryabtsova, Mitsuko Schultz and Tania Norris. The questions and comments from the viewers were many and varied. They ranged from ‘how do you?’, ‘I could never do that’, ‘are they for sale?’ and ‘where do I find classes?’ etc. People were really interested and appreciative of our participation.

Amazing Bonsais everywhere! Photo by Olga Ryabtsova, © 2018.

Amazing Bonsais everywhere! Photo by Olga Ryabtsova, © 2018.

The wonderful and patient Bonsai master, Ted Matson, gave a long plug for BAGSC before he started the auction of bonsai for the attendees. He mentioned how BAGSC members had come weekly to paint The Huntington Collection. Ted also mentioned the upcoming ASBA “Out of the Woods” art show at the Brody Center (May 18, 2018 to August 27, 2018) and was most complimentary about the BAGSC paintings.

Olga Ryabtsova (L) and Mitsuko Schultz (R) demonstrate in front of the BAGSC wall of Bonsai Portraits. Photo by Jude Wiesenfeld, © 2018.

Olga Ryabtsova (L) and Mitsuko Schultz (R) demonstrate in front of the BAGSC wall of Bonsai Portraits. Photo by Jude Wiesenfeld, © 2018.

It was also wonderful to see many BAGSC members attending the event. A few additional BAGSC demonstrators or BAGSC members who could answer questions would have been appreciated. Don’t be shy — all levels of expertise are appreciated at our outreach events, and seasoned BAGSC participants are always on hand to lend a hand.

Jude Wiesenfeld with her painting Juniperus Californica, © 2018. Photo by Mitsuko Schultz, © 2018.

Jude Wiesenfeld with her painting Juniperus californica, © 2018. Photo by Mitsuko Schultz, © 2018.

Thank you to Ted Matson and The Huntington for this wonderful opportunity; and kudos to all BAGSC papticipants!

by guest author Rosemarie Dempsey, posted by Deb Shaw

BAGSC member Donald Davidson will be exhibiting his second solo show, “Botanical Field Illustrations in Watercolors II” at
Wohlfarth Galleries, Washington, DC
3418 9th St., NE, DC
March 10 thru April 6, 2018
Artist’s Reception: Saturday, March 10, 2018,  3-5 pm

Davidson’s second solo show of dramatic watercolors of native botanicals at Wohlfarth Galleries goes on display March 10 – April 6, 2018. Last year’s show nearly sold out and focused on works from deserts and Vieques, Puerto Rico, as will this year’s.

Viewers will find a return to the spare, unvarnished approach that seemingly belies Davidson’s devotion to neo-expressionism back in the 1980’s. In his depiction of the Puerto Rican native plant, Talinum fruticosum, an edible succulent related to the portulaga found in many DC area gardens, the artist’s captures its rooted, yet lively dance of nature with direct brush and pen strokes that reveal the anatomical elements key to its botanical identification.

Davidson received his first solo museum show as a painter of native flora from the Centennial Museum of El Paso in 2004. The exhibition became a traveling show displayed at National Park Visitor Centers. His work was featured in a 2016 exhibition, Flora of the National Parks, at the US Botanical Garden on the Smithsonian Mall.

Awarded the Presidential Gold Medal for Volunteer Service, Davidson has created over 600 watercolors spanning 20 years, as an artist-in-the-park, under the auspices of the US Department of Interior in support of its mandate to monitor and preserve native species on public lands nationwide. Ten percent of sales will be donated to Friends Group of the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge to help with Hurricane Maria recovery.

Wohlfarth Galleries are open Wednesdays–Saturday 11-4 and by appointment in the heart of Brookland Arts’ District: 3418 – 9th St. NE WDC 20017  (1 block from Red Line Metro)
Contact: Lavinia Wohlfarth, (202) 526-8022

by Janice Sharp, posted by Deb Shaw
This weekend, (February 24 and 25) is the Bonsai-a-thon at the Brody Botanical Center, The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, California, from 10 am – 5 pm each day.

Andrew Mitchell, The Huntington, hangs the final painting in the "“Portraits of Bonsai from The Huntington Collection” in the Brody Botanical Center. Photo © 2018, Olga Ryabstova.

Andrew Mitchell, The Huntington, hangs the final painting in the ““Portraits of Bonsai from The Huntington Collection” in the Brody Botanical Center. Photo © 2018, Olga Ryabstova.

BAGSC’s “Portraits of Bonsai from The Huntington Collection” exhibition is on display in the Brody Botanical Center in conjunction with this event. The exhibition includes 12 artworks by ten BAGSC artists in a variety of media, including watercolor, graphite, ink, etching, colored pencil and oil on paper. Participating BAGSC artists include: Terri Munroe, Tania Norris, Veronica Raymond, Olga Ryabtsova, Mitsuko Schultz, Gilly Shaeffer, Janice Sharp, Deborah Shaw, Anna Suprunenko, and Jude Wiesenfeld.

BAGSC members have been invited to participate in the Bonsai-a-thon weekend, demonstrating art/drawing of Bonsais. If you are interested in participating contact Olga Ryabtsova to coordinate your participation. Artists should be prepared to be demonstrate from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm Saturday February 24 and/or Sunday February 25.

Bring friends and family and come soak in the world of Bonsai. Southern California Bonsai masters will be there, sharing their knowledge and passion for the art form in this annual event that includes exhibits, demonstrations, prize drawings, a “Bonsai Bazaar,” and a live auction at 3 p.m. each day. Proceeds from the event support the Golden State Bonsai Collection at The Huntington.

The Huntington is located at: 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, CA 91108. Parking is free, and the Bonsai-a-thon event is free; however, general admission is required. The Bonsai-a-thon and “Portraits of Bonsai from The Huntington Collection” exhibition take place in the Brody Botanical Center.

by Deborah Shaw

#ColorOurCollectionsIt’s #ColorOurCollections week! From February 5-9, 2018, libraries, archives, and other cultural institutions around the world are sharing free coloring sheets and books based on materials in their collections.

This year, 162 participating institutions are sharing free coloring content. Download coloring books from all over the world at http://library.nyam.org/colorourcollections/ in a variety of subjects, including: botany, natural history, entomology, anatomy, Shakespeare, and more! Find the original and use the opportunity to “color from the master” or create you own unique coloring page.

Join the festival online through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Color your choice of page(s) and then post your creations with the hashtag #ColorOurCollections

#ColorOurCollections was launched by The New York Academy of Medicine Library in 2016.

Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL) #ColorOurCollectionsThe Bioheritage Diversity Library (see the previous post in this BAGSC News blog) is one of the participants. Their coloring pages can be downloaded from either the Color Our Collections website, or the Biodiversity Heritage Library website.

Happy coloring!

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