By Joan Keesey

Joan Keesey with Buckeye Painting at Filoli

Joan Keesey with Buckeye Painting at Filoli

On July 15th I attended the Artist’s Reception for the FILOLI 12th Annual Botanical Art Exhibition. There were 46 paintings from the United States and Canada; six were by members of BAGSC: Margaret Best, Akiko  Enokido, and Joan Keesey. The paintings were beautiful; the Filoli gardens in summer were lovely, and it was a pleasure to talk to other botanical artists with pictures in the exhibit.

I also attended a four-day class on Nepenthes, taught by Hillary Parker. I have admired her work since I first saw it at the ASBA Conference in Pasadena. You can see her work on her website. Her emphasis is on composition and a more conceptual and interpretive rendering of a plant species. While we did use plant specimens, she didn’t want us to “ copy the specimen” but rather to portray the characteristics of the species.

There were six students in the class, three of whom are currently in the Filoli Botanical Art Certification program. We did gesture and contour drawings of six species of Nepenthes, then we each chose a species to paint. We wrote verbal descriptions of the plants and did multiple

Akido Enokido Painting at Filoli

Akido Enokido Painting at Filoli

“thumbnail sketches” until we achieved a  composition that we thought characterized both the species as well as something of the artist’s reaction to the species. I thought that there were several outstanding compositions as a result of this process. Everyone was very enthusiastic about the class. The certification candidates have requested that she return next summer because they thought the process was so different and produced a more interesting and artistic rendering of a botanical subject. I hope that she is able to teach a class in Los Angeles sometime in the future.

Margaret Best Paintings at Filoli

Margaret Best Paintings at Filoli

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