You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2008.

One hundred twenty acres of gardens, twelve eager volunteers, 11 meeting rooms, 9 classrooms, two patios, one fireplace, one ballroom, one arcade, and one invaluable project management application. This sums up the meeting that kicked off Conference Year 2008.

On January 5th, an eager group of conference volunteers toured both venues of the 2008 ASBA conference. Members of the Conference Committee were led on a tour of all classroom and exhibit spaces that the ASBA will use during the conference. Melanie Thorpe provided detailed information about the Huntington’s classroom as she led the committee through the botanical center. Melanie also lead the group through the Teaching Greenhouse, the Head House, and the conservatory.

Upon completing the tour of the botanical center, committee members carpooled to the Pasadena Hilton where they met with Nancy Ceballos, Convention Services Manager, who gave a guided tour of the meeting rooms that will serve as the settings for half-day and full-day workshops, the Portfolio Sharing session, the Techniques Showcase, the Silent Auction and the annual banquet. Committee members also received a sneak peek of the very comfortable guest rooms that will be waiting for conference participants when they arrive later this year.

The Conference Committee continued their meeting over lunch at the hotel restaurant. Deborah Shaw introduced the committee to Basecamp, the Web-based project management application that is being used to organize the many, many, many tasks related to the conference. Deborah demonstrated how committee members can access Basecamp to complete assigned tasks and how they can notify fellow members so that all committee members remain informed about the committee’s progress. Committee members who attended the meeting were given access to Basecamp and are ready to receive conference information. Guild members who were unable to attend the meeting will be given access and a tutorial at future meetings. So do not feel left out. There is plenty of room for you at Basecamp!

Learn more about the conference at the January 19th Guild meeting. A detailed task list will be distributed and discussed. If you are unable to attend this meeting, but would like to volunteer, please contact Tania Marien.

The Conference Committee will meet again on February 2, 2008. Details will be announced shortly.

Special Acknowledgment
The 2008 Conference Committee would like to genuinely thank Melanie Thorpe and Nancy Ceballos for making time to meet with them on January 5th.

The Filoli Botanical Art Certificate Program offers a unique in-depth study of botanical art through challenging, integrated and comprehensive courses. The curriculum includes the systematic study of artistic skills and concepts, basic botany and botanical art history. A certificate will be presented upon successful completion of the course work (180 classroom hours plus homework) and presentation of a portfolio and final project. This program is for the serious student who wishes to develop knowledge and skills in botanical art.

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


BAGSC Insurance Responsibilities (Deborah Shaw)

ASBA Conference at the Huntington. Oct. 30-Nov.1, 2008 (Tania Marien)
Progress Report Handout
Revised Volunteer Task List Handout
Volunteer Sign-up Sheet

BAGSC Blog (Deborah Shaw & Rocio Martinez)


L.A. Garden Show, May 1-4, 2008 (Tania Marien & Deborah Shaw)
Introduce Marketplace Coordinator, Janice Sharp
Introduce Guild Liason, Kate Gaman

Classes for 2008 (so far)
Margaret Best
Anne-Marie Evans
Jenny Phillips
“After Conference” Classes


Collection for Julie
(Please see blog article at Donated art supplies and/or
other items from list on blog.

Portfolio Sharing (All): Bring what you’ve been working on!

Gary Greene Colored Pencil Class Review (Sue Kuuskmae)

Demonstration of Basecamp (for those interested): Project Management
for the ASBA Conference and LA Garden Show (Deborah Shaw)

Anne-Marie Evans(Submitted by Tania Norris, posted by D. Shaw)

A plant will be selected from the garden to paint in watercolour.

February 5 – 8, 2008
10:00 am – 3:00 pm daily

Virginia Robinson Gardens
1008 Elden Way
Beverly Hills, CA 90210

Fees: Members of the Friends of Robinson Gardens – $535.00: Non-members $565.00
Make checks payable to: “Friends of Robinson Gardens” and mail to the address above as soon as possible, as spaces are limited. Supply lists and other information will be sent after your registration is received.

Please call the Friends Office at (310) 550-2068 with any questions.

Jenny Phillips(Submitted by Tania Norris and posted by D. Shaw)

To be held under the sponsorship of The Botanical Artists Guild of Southern California (BAGSC)
at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens
1151 Oxford Street, San Marino, California

June 23 – 27, 2008
Fees: $525 for members of BAGSC: $550 for non-members

Checks should be made payable to: The Botanical Artists Guild of Southern California and mailed to: Tania Norris (please see her address in the roster). Registration should be received no later than June 1, 2008 as space is limited and will be allocated by the date your check is received. A materials list will be sent once registration has been received.

For further information contact Tania Norris.

(Submitted by Jill Berry and posted by D. Shaw)

301 North Baldwin Ave.
Arcadia, CA 91007
Registration: Call 626.821.4624 or email Jill Berry.

Understanding and Practicing Proportion & Perspective in Graphite
January 16, 23, 30 | Oak Room
3 Wednesdays, 9:30 am – 2:00 pm (12 hours of class)
$165 / $181 non-member

Materials for class : 14″ X 17″ Strathmore Drawing Pad, series 400, medium surface (no sketch or recycled paper), Drafting Pencil with holder and Sharpener, 2H, HB and 2B leads, Kneaded Erase, Staedtler Mars White Plastic Eraser Stick, Erasing shield, Drafting Brush, Mars Drafting Dots (masking tape,)14” x 17” Medium Weight Tracing Paper, Portable Task Lite ( Ott-Lite). (Vis a Vis wet erase fine point marker, 1 Clip, 8″ X 10″ Plexi and 2 – 8″ X 10″ format supplied by instructor for $10.00)

Using Basic Shapes with Natural Forms in Graphite
(Sphere, Cylinder and Cone)
February 6, 20, 27 | Oak Room
3 Wednesdays, 9:30 am — 2 pm (12 hours of class)
$165 / $181 non-member

Botanical Illustration: Flowers in Continuous Tone in Graphite

March 5 (Palm Room), March 12 (Bamboo Room), March 19 & 26 (Oak Room)
4 Wednesdays, 9:30 am – 1:00 pm (12 hours of class)
$165 / $181 non-member

Introduction to Colored Pencil Techniques in Botanical Illustration
April 2, 9 (Bamboo Room), 23, 30 (Oak Room)
4 Wednesdays, 9:30-1:00 pm (12 hours)
$165 / $181 non-member

Plant Families in Colored Pencil
May 7, 14, 21, 28 (Oak Room)
4 Wednesdays, 9:30-1:00 pm (12 hours)
$165 / $181 non-member

by Margaret Best

Margaret Best and Kate GamanEven the most experienced botanical artist needs inspiration from time to time. One of the best ways to find this renewed connection is to seek a change from your setting of solitary painting and to mingle with other artists. So besides BAGSC meetings, where do you find this opportunity? The answer is participation in exhibitions and workshops.

In the last quarter of 2007, I had a dizzy schedule of exhibitions (two in the USA and one in Canada) and came out of these intense few months very uplifted from meeting so many wonderful artists, appreciating amazing work and eager to try new things. I cannot believe that any artist that attended the 12th International exhibition at the Hunt Institute of Botanical Documentation at the ASBA conference last year did not leave with the same rush of enthusiasm that I felt to paint with every possible second available.

But… Thanksgiving and Christmas followed with all the usual family gatherings, crazy shopping trips (next year will be internet buying all the way) and long hours in the kitchen putting on the spread. Fortunately, being on a creative “high” between traveling to exhibitions and conferences, helped me put my new GET GOING class together that I will be teaching at the Santa Barbara Gardens on 26 and 27 January.

Laurie Hannah, a BAGSC member approached me at a class I was teaching at the Huntington Botanical Gardens two years ago to consider coming to the area again to offer a workshop. Who needs a second invitation to travel to such a magnificent setting and to be amongst botanical art enthusiasts?

I have designed the GET GOING workshop to cover the essentials that beginners need to know about the genre in order to find a positive path to follow for progress. At the same time I am offering new inspiration to more experienced artists that need to GET GOING… AGAIN with a renewed vigour. As I am both a professionally trained teacher and a practicing botanical artist, my goal is to help other artists identify areas in their skill sets that require a practical focus in order to advance.

In the class I will be referring to two excellent books that address specific technical skill development and serve to inspire. These include:
How to Draw Plants, by Keith West
The Art of Botanical Painting, by Margaret Stevens

If you do not have your own copies of these excellent reference books for botanical artists, you can purchase them from

If you would like to register for this workshop, you can do so online on the Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens’ web site, or by calling (805) 682-4726, ext. 102. You can also contact Leslie Walker, our BAGSC President.

By Margaret Best

I have painted medlars but never tasted one, however that is about to change.

In September 2006 a small group of artists went to England to paint with renowned botanical artist, Pandora Sellars. I visited her at her charming country home just before the class to discuss final arrangements and to seek suitable subject matter for myself. To my considerable pleasure I discovered she had some very old English medlar trees bearing an abundant crop of fruit in her wonderful garden. I had seen these fruits for the first time when I was looking at William Hooker’s original paintings in the Lindley Library in London in 2004 and discovered them again in southern Spain at the end of 2005.

For those readers who have no idea what the unusual and ancient fruit of a Mespilus germanica looks like, I have attached a section of my painting that resulted from this class. This painting was exhibited at the recent 12th International Botanical Art Exhibition at the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and is now in the permanent collection.

I decided to reproduce this painting in a set of limited edition prints and when preparing an artist’s statement to accompany the print, I completed some quick research on the tree and fruit. I discovered that medlars are believed to have an ancient history of cultivation originating in Persia and introduced to the Greek and Roman civilizations in approximately 2 BC. The two known European varieties, the Nottingham (English) and Dutch are still grown today for their fruit that when fully ripe and crushed, is somewhat similar in texture to apple sauce. The first written record of this fruit was in 1270 made by a monk working in the garden of Westminster Abbey in London. A medlar is highly revered in France as it forms the basis of the famous and expensive preserve known as cotignac. Apparently it is wonderful when served with cheese and wine!

Shortly after Christmas, Lugene Bruno who is Assistant Curator of Art at Hunt Institute, contacted me to let me know that my painting was enjoyed by 2 ladies at the Pittsburgh chapter of the American Herb Society. These ladies gather the fruit each year from trees in a locally sponsored herb garden and make medlar jelly. Lugene is kindly sending me one of their precious jars of jelly so that finally I can experience the taste.

BAGCS member Kathy Dunham was selected as the poster artist for the 2008 Southwest Arts Festival in Indio, CA. The January 25-27 show is in it’s 22nd season. With over 260 artists this is a must see show for collectors and art lovers. Kathy’s painting “Matilija Poppies” is the subject of the poster. A natural subject for the festival, this California native wildflower is named after the Indian Chief “Matilija”. Of course, a wonderful love story accompanies the flower. Show hours are 10-5; Friday – Sunday January 25-27, 2008.

Kathy’s upcoming workshops:

February 16th & 23rd, 2008 “Botanical Watercolor” The Living Desert, Palm Desert, CA 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. online registration @

March 10-14, 2008 “Creating Dynamic Paintings in Watercolor” Palm Springs Art Museum 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. online registration @

May 14-26, 2008 “Painting and Sketching in France” The Dordogne Region, France (south of Bordeaux). 12 days of enjoying and painting the French countryside. The flowers, local markets, the scenery. Most meals, lodging, ground transportation, instruction included. More information @

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