You are currently browsing the daily archive for October 13, 2007.

BAGSC members, Margaret Best and Elaine Searle exhibited at the 12th International Exhibition of Botanical Art & Illustration at the Hunt Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA. The opening reception of this international exhibit coincided with the 13h Annual Meeting & Conference of the American Society of Botanical Artists (September 27 – 29, 2007). The show is open from 30 September–20 December 2007 and features 111 artworks by 64 artists from 14 countries (Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, England, France, Italy, Japan, Scotland, South Africa, Sweden, the United States, and Wales).

Elaine exhibited two paintings: Echeveria laui, and Astrophytum myriostigma var. nudum. Elaine’s web site can be viewed at:

Margaret’s watercolor painting of Mespilus germanica (English medlar) can be viewed at her web site:

Information about the exhibition can be viewed on the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation web site at: The catalogue for the show can also be purchased from their web site:

Margaret also had two paintings in the ASBA show at the Horticultural Society of New York, Tenth Annual International Juried Exhibition, Malus baccata (Siberian Crabapple Blossoms) and Malus baccata (Siberian Crabapple Leaves).

On November 12 – 16, 2007, master colored pencil artist Gary Greene came to the Manhattan Beach Creative Arts Center in Manhattan Beach, California and taught how to paint startlingly realistic flowers with colored pencil. Using simple floral studies, the class studied the colored pencil techniques Gary uses in his floral paintings. A sample of Gary’s work is shown below (click on the image to open an enlargement in a new window):

Maturity becomes you

Participants in the class were enthusiastic. Some comments:

“I really enjoyed Gary Greene’s Colored Pencil Class. I am a rank beginner. He took me through the colored pencil techniques step by step. By the end of the week I felt I was able to turn out a pretty good product using the techniques he taught. He was very encouraging and always helpful. Thank you so much Gary! Your class was a fun, informative, and an all around wonderful experience!” — S. Tanner

“I feel this class was well worth the time as I did learn two interesting new techniques. One was with wax-based color pencils (using Bestine) and the other was with water soluble pencils using water in three different ways. I plan to use both techniques in the future for better effect with certain subjects. Happy coloring!” — R. Hopper

Thanks to Sue Kuuskmae for arranging the class.

Gary Greene

Gary Greene class

Gary Greene class

Suzanne Kuuskmae

An exhibition at the Creative Arts Center in Manhattan Beach by BAGSC closed Friday, November 16, after a month-long stay. The show got off to a great start at our reception in early October when visitors were treated to the saxophone playing of Ken Gable with refreshments planned by Cristina Baltayian and participating artists. Over 60 paintings were shown by 15 artists. The venue showed our work beautifully in their high ceiling-ed, well-lighted gallery.

During the month of October, free lectures were offered each Saturday. Several were under the auspices of the Botanical Garden, covering gardening with native California plants, container gardening, and water conservation. On October 20, guild members Suzanne Kuuskmae taught a drawing class, and Gloria Whea-Fun Teng taught a Chinese Brush Painting class to over 15 enthusiastic participants.

ASBA, Opening 2009 (Tentative Date)

To increase public awareness of plants that are threatened with extinction here and around the world, the ASBA will be collaborating with the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and the Center for Plant Conservation to produce an exhibition of endangered plants. This juried exhibition will include approximately 45 original artworks in 3 framed sizes: 24” X 18”, 30” X 24”, and 40” X 34”. These sizes can be horizontal or vertical, and the work need not be for sale. “Losing Paradise?” promises to be an exciting project that will build relationships between artists, institutions, conservation organizations, scientists, and horticulturists.

Submission Deadline: May 2008

Additional information can be found at the ASBA website:

Clara Josephs 

I spent two delightful and enlightening days at Filoli in July taking Catherine Watters’ class on painting roses.  Catherine is on the Board of Directors of ASBA and a teacher in the new Botanical Art Certificate Program at Filoli.  Her classes sell out fast, so I was glad to get a seat. We began our first day with a tour of the annual exhibit.  BAGSC was well represented, both in number and quality.  Christina, Nancy B., Akiko, Sue, and Gilly had paintings in the show.

Back upstairs in the class, Catherine demonstrated the correct use of dividers to measure our choice of rose specimens.  She circulated constantly throughout the class, making sure every student received their share of attention. By the end of the first day, most students had their composition tea-washed and ready to paint.  I was able to complete my simple subject by the end of the second day and was thrilled with all I had learned.  Catherine uses a limited palette of (Winsor Newton) Alizarin, Crimson, French Ultra, Winsor Violet, Perm Rose, Neutral Tint, Burnt Umber, Hooker’s Green, and Holbein’s Gamboge Nova.  She recommends using those 20 cent plastic round palettes with 10 compartments, keeping each color (greens, reds, yellows) on a separate palette. Color is built slowly, with as many as 10 thin washes.  Shadows are a mixture of French Ultramarine and Neutral Tint applied in almost transparent layers. Some intense points of shadow are accented by graphite delicately applied and the sealed with a wash.  Catherine’s beautiful green “mother mix” is made from a mix of Hooker’s Green, Gamboge Nova, Burnt Umber, and Neutral Tint.  Her acronym for this recipe is “Get Your Botanicals Now (green, yellow, brown, neutral tint).

At the end of our second day we admired the array of beautiful works the class had produced.  I was thrilled with how much was accomplished in only 2 days and I’m looking forward to my next opportunity to return to Filoli!

The next day we headed to Alcatraz to see “The Softer Side of the Rock – The Historic Gardens of Alcatraz” exhibit by 18 artists in the Botanical Illustration Program at the San Francisco Botanical Gardens, directed by Mary Harden  These 38 paintings, while painted is a somewhat looser style than we are used to, were vibrantly colored and strikingly composed.

This is the process I used for getting involved in the ASBA”Paradise Lost” project that will be due in 2008. It is not mandatory to participate but I found it a fascinating adventure into Hawaiian endangered species.

Arillyn Moran-Lawrence

Hibiscus arnottianusThe project began by contacting the Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens on the windward side of Oahu, near Kaneohe. I had visited that garden the year before and thought they could help me with my project. Ho’omaluhia did not have any endangered species so they referred me to a botanist at the Foster Gardens. I contacted that botanist and discussed the ASBA project with her. She assisted me by informing me about Koko Crater and Lili’uokalani Botanical Gardens. She also provided me with the name of a botanist at Lyon Arboretum, whom I contacted regarding meeting me to introduce me to endangered species in that arboretum. I previously had visited the Waimea Valley Audubon Arboretum, on the North Shore, so called the office and they put me in contact with a very helpful botanist. We kept in touch via email.

My husband and I made plans for the trip to Hawaii in late March/April when the plants would hopefully be flowering. I emailed the botanists regarding my arrival date and worked out a schedule so that I could cover the 4 different botanical areas on the island of Oahu during my week long visit. I would be covering the rain forests, the dry land area and the city environment.

I began an in-depth study of the Hawaiian Endangered Plant Species on the internet. I read about the plants in many books but especially used the book Remains of a Rainbow. I also began sketching plants of interest. I tried to be well informed about the plants that I wanted to see. I found that the task of focusing on a small number of plants overwhelming as Hawaii has more endangered plants than any other state and more and more became of interest.

Most of the arboretums and gardens did not have lists of endangered species that they had in their collection. However, with the help of my books I was able to find species listed in the various gardens and on which islands they were located. This process was most critical as I only had 7 days to study, photograph, sketch and paint the plants.

I carried with me in a backpack, a small ultralight umbrella, insect spray, a W&N traveling watercolor set, water, one very versatile Aquabee 808 sketch book and colored pencils. I had a digital camera in a carrying case around my waist and my helpful husband by my side. I had a small 11″ x 13″ expandable plastic portfolio with cut hot press paper, a note pad, a light plastic ruler and pencils and pens. As a plein air painter of 15 years I thought I was traveling light, organized and well prepared but I wasn’t. The umbrella was very useful as rain is always available. However, sitting perched on a slope, on an uncomfortable volcanic rock, juggling an umbrella, a sketchbook and cameras was not an easy task. Adding rain to the mix really made life difficult. A small portable chair was not an option as the terrain would not have been secure. Not all sites were difficult but some were a challenge in that you had to deal with long walks and carrying a lot of gear would have been a struggle. In most cases you could not have used a wheeled case. I also found the most interesting species at the top of a long uphill walk. The camera became my best friend as did the colored pencils and sketchbook. My husband helped me with noting measurements. Having two people doing this job is perfect especially when your feet are on uneven ground and you are wrapped around rocks and trees and can’t manage writing anything. I also suggest that someone is with you at all times if you are in a remote area. I was so fascinated with a healthy specimen on a lose hillside that I fell down the hill when I turned to leave. The earth was soft and no damage was done but it is best not to investigate some areas alone.

The botanist at the Waimea Audubon Arboretum, showed me around this beautiful and fascinating garden and introduced me to many endangered species in their collection. We traveled in a golf cart but hiked over difficult terrain to remote species. Everything moved along very quickly. I did not have time to make notes so I photographed the plant ID tags. That way I would remember the plants and where they were located. Some were in very difficult locations and you had to climb and watch your feet for fear of stepping on some endangered plants. The botanist spent about 2 hours with me. He helped me over difficult terrain, to photograph plants and kept me from falling down slopes, as well as educating me. I was most impressed with him and his tour. After lunch I returned to study and photograph specific plants of interest, to measure, to sketch and observe.

Hibiscus ClayiiI met with the botanist at the Lyon Arboretum, in the Manoa Valley, the next day. The Lyon is a gorgeous rain forest arboretum and is stunningly beautiful and interesting. This garden contains a Hawaiian section, an economic section, a fern valley, gingers and palms and a host of other treasures. I was fascinated by one lone endangered Pritchcardia remota Palm that stood in a marvelous setting. We spent about 2 hours covering an area of mainly native and endangered species. I was also shown the greenhouse and saw some endangered plants of interest and was allowed to photograph them. I was very appreciative of the time that they gave to me as well as the education that I received. Leaving the botanist my husband and I walked up into the valley to the Hawaiian section and I found a Hibiscus clayii. What a thrilling find! After photographing and measuring and sketching this treasure we returned to our hotel where I made notes on the day’s plants and worked on sketches.

Two days later we visited the Koko Crater Botanical Garden. We were on our own in this garden. There was a map to guide you to the Hawaiian Section which was at the highest point in the crater, of course. It was hot and dry in this garden so you needed to be prepared with water and a cell phone as it was not well populated. Because it was virtually empty I would suggest that you not go alone. The Hawaiian section was worth the long walk as I found some very healthy endangered plants and some wonderful endangered palm trees. I was able to photograph, make notes and take measurements. Painting was not an option because I knew that the long up and down walk would be tiring and carrying the gear would be draining. There were some benches in the area and a picnic would have been fun but that was knowledge after the fact. A very nice garden.

Lil’uokalani Botanical Garden is set Honolulu. It is a small but charming botanical garden. The botanist at Foster Gardens helped me by providing me with a map of the species in this garden. I was on my own with the help of my husband who carried things for me and helped me with measurements. I found endangered Hibiscus, Abutilon and Gardenia. I photographed, sketched and measured the focus of my interest.

I returned to all of the gardens for a second visit during the remaining days and I continued to study, sketch and photograph. My only regret is that I did not have a notebook computer with me. It would have been very helpful to have one in the car and at the hotel at the end of the day.

I gave thank you gifts to the botanists who personally helped me and spent so much valuable time educating me.

Jade Vine

1.    Welcome new members and guests (Leslie Walker)
2.    Secretary’s Report (Tania Marien)
3.    Treasurer’s Report (Deborah Shaw)
4.    Membership Report (Joann Leonard)

2007 Election Results (Norma Sarkin)
Manhattan Beach Show Update (Sue Kuuskmae)
Gary Greene Colored Pencil Class Update (Sue Kuuskmae)

ASBA Convention at the Huntington, October 30 – November 1, 2008 (Tania Marien)
•    Progress Report (see handout)
•    Revised Preliminary Volunteer Task List (see handout)
•    Volunteer Sign-up Sheet

Reports from the 2007 ASBA Conference (Leslie Walker, Deborah Shaw, Tania Marien)
L.A. Garden Show, May 1 – 4, 2008 (Tania Marien, Deborah Shaw)
•    Introduce 2008 Marketplace Coordinator, Janice Sharp
•    Introduce Guild Liason, Kate Gaman

BAGSC Insurance Responsibilities (Deborah Shaw)

2008 Meeting Dates:  (Tania Marien)
The Guild meetings for 2008 will be on the following Saturdays:
•    January 19
•    April 19
•    July 12
•    October 11

* Please note that additional conference meetings will be scheduled during 2008*

•    BAGSC Blog (Deborah Shaw)
o    What is the new BAGSC blog?
o    Introduce Blog Editor, Rocio Martinez

•    BAGSC Birthday Celebration

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