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By Leslie Walker

Plumbago auriculata painting

Plumbago auriculata, watercolor by Margaret Best, © 2011, all rights reserved.

At one time blue pigments were amongst the most expensive and difficult to obtain. Unlike red pigment, the challenge was not one of permanency but availability. Technology has eliminated many of the former problems related to this color. But in the range of blue paints now available to the artist, what are the best choices and most specifically which ones serve the specific needs of the contemporary botanical artist? For an in-depth study of the color blue, exercises to help you discover which blue pigments will provide you the best colour matches for botanical subjects, join Margaret Best for this 3-day workshop in another of her series designed to expand your understanding of available pigments. You will also learn how to use blue effectively in the highlights and shadow areas of your paintings and your knowledge gained will be used to create a single flower study.

Class location is at Sally Jacobs’ new studio in LA. An email blast will be sent out with directions; for questions, please contact me. Classes will be April 15, 16 & 17, 2011, 10 am – 4 pm. Bring a bag lunch as there are no nearby places to eat. Cost will be $275 for BAGSC members and $300 for non-members. Space will be held for a non-refundable $50 deposit sent to Leslie Walker. Final payment is due April 1, 2011.

Questions? Call or email Leslie.

Iris "Fleur de lis", watercolor by Arillyn Moran-Lawrence

Iris "Fleur de lis", watercolor by Arillyn Moran-Lawrence, © 2011.

Arillyn Moran-Lawrence’s, Iris “Fleur de lis” will be in the Catharine Lorillard Wolfe Art Club’s show at the Salmagundi Club in New York City.  The show will be March 20th to April 1st, 2011, at 47 Fifth Avenue, NYC. The reception will be Friday, March 25th, from 6-8 pm.

Congratulations Arillyn!

By Sue Kuuskmae

Wendy Hollender demo

Wendy Hollender demonstrating during her colored pencil class. Photo credit: S. Kuuskmae, 2011.

Wendy Hollender of the New York Botanical Garden arrived from her snow-bound farm near New Paltz, NY, on Sunday, February 13, and stayed with me in Manhattan Beach as she got acclimated to our time zone before her workshop began.

The class was held at the Creative Arts Center, Manhattan Beach, on February 14 & 15 from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. Wendy stressed doing the form of the plant first and thinks about color only after that is complete. We began by doing the shading of a small fruit that we found on some local bushes as she demonstrated the technique of giving a 3-dimensional look. She also gave a demonstration of how to do a few different kind of leaves before she set us loose on giving it a try.

The second day we were given a demonstration of correct perspective and then worked on whatever drawing we had brought with us. Wendy walked around stopping at each desk continuously so that we all felt we got lots of attention. This is one of the good aspects of her teaching style as she never gets bogged down with one student for an inordinate amount of time. At the end of our second day, we all visited each desk to hear Wendy’s comments about each piece of work and her suggestions for improvement. This was quite educational for all.

As we had several out of town participants from San Diego, we had a dinner out on Monday night, which was lots of fun. Arlene Weinstock of the Colored Pencil Society joined us for a delicious meal at a local Lebanese restaurant. I hope that when Wendy comes out this way again, I will get enough notice so that I can once again get together a workshop for those who are interested in colored pencil skills.  For a good review of Wendy’s methods, take a look at her new book, “Botanical Drawing in Color – A Basic Guide to Mastering Realistic Form and Naturalistic Color” which can be purchased on line at

by Deb Shaw

Margaret Best will have a solo exhibition in Hamilton, Bermuda, entitled Bermuda Botanica. The exhibit will be in the Edinburgh Gallery of the Bermuda Society of Arts, from May 20 – June 7, 2011 and will feature watercolor paintings of plants from Bermuda.

Margaret taught three workshops in 2010 at the Bermuda Society of Arts, and will be teaching more workshops in March of 2011 and a class in association with the show in May/June (please see posting below).

by Deb Shaw

Bermuda Paw Paw painting by Margaret Best

Carica papaya, Bermuda Paw Paw, watercolor by Margaret Best, © 2010, all rights reserved.

Join Margaret Best at the Bermuda Society of Artists’ Gallery, Hamilton, Bermuda for a four day botanical art workshop:
Color and Composition
May 30 – June 2, 2011
10 am – 4 pm
Cost: $395 members/$445 non-members

The workshop will explore color and composition in watercolor by painting stunning sub-tropical plant specimens, including hibiscus ginger, strelitzia, plumeria, wild gladioli, magnolia and more.

For more information about the workshop and to register, contact: The Bermuda Society of Artists.

Other botanical art classes that Margaret will be teaching in Bermuda include:

Drawing with Dimension
March 5 – 6, 2011
Graphite techniques to achieve effective continuous tone

Finding Form in Watercolour
March 9 – 11, 2011
The role of light and shadow, value and colour in effective botanical watercolours

As stated on their website, The Bermuda Society of Arts is known affectionately as the “People’s Art Gallery”.  The oldest established arts organization in the country, the Society’s mission is to further the arts and artists in Bermuda.

Bermuda map

Location of Hamilton on the island of Bermuda.

Bermuda is located approximately two hours off the east coast of the United States, and is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom.

Watercolor of Mesa Prickly Pear, Opuntia x vaseyi, by Julie Schneider Ljubenkov, © 2006

Watercolor of Mesa Prickly Pear, Opuntia x vaseyi, by Julie Schneider Ljubenkov, © 2006

BAGSC Member Julie Schneider Ljubenkov is offering the following classes:

Eye on Nature, Beginning Watercolor Landscape Painting, 3 units (Adults)
January 20 to March 17th, 9 Thursday evenings, 6:00 to 9:00 PM
University of California San Diego, La Jolla. Extension. $275.00
Materials fee optional.

Mosaic Art, Mira Costa College Community Services (Adults)
7 Monday evenings, March 21 to May 2,  5:30 to 8:30. Non-credit
$109.00 to enroll. $35.00 materials fee.

Julie is also looking for three adults that would like to do a mosaic workshop with her in San Marcos. Email Julie if interested.

Introduction to Mosaic Art 1, 3 units. University of California San Diego (Adults) La Jolla, Extension. $275.00, 9 Tuesday evenings, 6:00 to 9:00 PM, April 5 to May 31st. Materials fee optional.

Watercolor Painting for Children, 4 Tuesday afternoons, 3:30 to 5:00, Feb. 1 to Feb. 22. City of Escondido, East Valley Community Center.

Gardening and Landscaping with California Native Plants at two locations:
1.       4 Tuesday evenings, 6:00 to 8:30, Feb. 1 to Feb. 22, City of Escondido
2.       3 Monday evenings, 5:30 to 8:30, May 9th to 23, Mira Costa College, Oceanside

There will be  two Saturday morning field trips to a native plant nursery. The dates will be announced. You may go to either one, or both.

Please check dates, times, and prices on-line or in the schedule of classes. Signing up early insures the class will not get canceled due to low enrollment.

by Deborah Shaw

Chinese Brush Painting

Chinese Brush Painting

Gloria Whea-Fun Teng will be teaching another session of Introduction to Chinese Brush Painting at the Arboretum:

4 Thursdays: January 6 – January 27;
4 Thursdays, February 3 – 24
12:30-2:30pm / Oak Room
$120 members / $130 non-members per session

In this introductory course the student will learn the difference between Chinese brush painting and other watercolor painting. The class will teach the beginning  painter to use Chinese brushes and ink to create beautiful paintings on rice paper. At the end of this course, a completed painting will be ready to be framed and  displayed. More experienced students will continue to refine their work  and learn new techniques.

For Reservations or Information, please call (626) 821-4623 or email Jill Berry.

Exhibition Invitation

Exhibition invitation postcard

The opening reception for “Needles & Glass”, an exhibition of baskets by Janice Sharp and Jill Carlson and glass by Phillip Smith will be held Friday, February 4, 2011 from 7 pm to 9 pm.

The gallery, Creative Arts Group, is located at 108 North Baldwin Avenue, Sierra Madre, California 91024.

Congratulations Janice (and Jill)!

by Deborah Shaw

Chapman University Leatherby Libraries are promoting the BAGSC Exhibition, “A Brush with Nature” through press releases, invitations to their mailing lists, signage and campus communications.

Here are two links to campus sites where the exhibit is being promoted.  The first — Happenings — is available on the university website and emailed to the campus community each week:

The second is the online Events Calendar posted on the Chapman website.

See you at the show!

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