You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2011.

by Deb Shaw

Morgan Kari will be teaching “Amazing Colored Pencils” at the Manhattan Beach Creative Center Tuesday nights July 5-August 9, from 7:00-9:30 p.m. The cost is  $140 for residents of Manhattan Beach, and $154 for nonresidents.

Registration is available online. There are still spaces available. If you need help with registration, call (310) 802-5448. A supply list is available by calling (310) 802-5448.

Students will be introduced to colored pencil and exciting techniques, including odorless turpentine blending, embossing, frisket erasing, burnishing, and optical blending. This class will further students’ knowledge of composition, form, value, color, line, paper selection and lightfast color pencils. The class will be held in the Performing Arts Room at the Creative Arts Center, at 1560 Manhattan Beach Blvd., Manhattan Beach, CA 9026.

by Jody Williams, ASBA Public Relations Chair, via Leslie Walker

What began in 2006 with a preliminary call for entries to the membership of the American Society of Botanical Artists is culminating in the final showing of Losing Paradise? Endangered Plants Here and Around the World, a botanical art exhibition in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art at the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, UK. The exhibition opens Saturday, June 25 as part of a broader exhibition Plants in Peril which will be on view at the gallery until Sunday, October 16.

The exhibition opened at the Missouri Botanical Garden October 5, 2009 with an address by world renowned botanist and then President of the Garden, Dr. Peter Raven. It traveled to the Chicago Botanic Garden in January, The New York Botanical Garden in May, and concluded its originally planned tour of the United States at the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. Then thanks in part to the efforts of Dr. Sherwood, a strong supporter of Losing Paradise? over the years, the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, UK was added to the schedule, the first International venue for an ASBA exhibition.

A catalog of the exhibition including images of the artwork and stories of each plant and the artists that depicted them as well as essays by leading plant scientists and conservationists is available for sale from the ASBA. A blog site showing artwork from the exhibition with excerpts from the catalog and hundreds of links to resources about the plants, conservation efforts, the artists, and other organizations is accessible online. A video interview with professional illustrator Alice Tangerini, images of herbarium specimens of the plants, and downloadable lesson plans based on the exhibition are available online from the Smithsonian Institute. See the links below:

ASBA Exhibition Website

Information about the exhibition at Kew

Information about the American Society of Botanical Artists

Exhibition Catalog

Smithsonian Exhibition Webpage

Smithsonian Lesson Plans

By Jesselyn Cyr

When I saw the announcement for Margaret Best’s “Color and Composition” workshop in Bermuda at the end of May I thought, “This is what I really need.” I checked my calendar and made the arrangements right away. I learned happily that Leslie Walker was scheduled to attend as well. This four day workshop took place in the Bermuda Society of the Arts (BSOA) gallery in the City Hall in Bermuda—an excellent central location with good light. The class was just the right size so we could work comfortably. The group’s skills were wide but most of us had good experience. It was a great chance to meet new painting friends.

Introduction and Goals from Margaret Best

Beautiful specimens available for students to paint.

Beautiful specimens available for students to paint.

While we reviewed the goals, the class was inspired by the plant specimens presented from an array of Bermuda plants that had been collected for the workshop. Bermuda is very beautiful and the local plant specimens ranged from plumeria, dates, ginger, passion flowers, agapanthus and more. After we each selected our specimens and while we started drawing, Margaret taught her ambitious subjects “Colour and Composition.” We started by discussing the palette of botanical watercolors that had been selected for the class—primarily transparent colors and most (but not all) of them from M. Graham.

Chroma and Value

The subject of how to test our watercolors for chroma was discussed and we reviewed the difference in chroma with various pigments such as yellows vs. blues. We started the process of color matching and value. Many of us had brought our color tests from previous classes so that we would have a starting place for color matching of our specimens. Then we tested our paper. Most of us used Arches 140# HP. Bermuda’s high humidity meant that our colors dried slower when we applied our watercolors to paper. Leslie and I were used to a faster drying process so we enjoyed time to move our paint.

Composition and Painting

Classroom in Bermuda.

Classroom in Bermuda.

We spent quite a bit of time drawing which was very helpful to understanding the specimens. Then the time came for Composition. Margaret offered a good fast course in various Composition styles while we traced our specimens. Since our class was in the Bermuda gallery we had the advantage of using many of the paintings in the gallery to look at composition techniques. One technique I used was to trace my drawings so that I could organize the right composition for my project.

Bermuda and Goodbye

Soon it was time for the class to end and look at our work. We all worked hard but no one’s goal was to finish, only developing new skills. We had all made excellent progress. Bermuda and this class had offered me a unique relaxed setting and workshop in which to learn. In the beginning I had said, “This is what I really need.”  It was true. Then I headed home to LA with a new level of confidence.

by Deb Shaw

Tania Marien, ArtPlantae will be teaching a children’s nature class presented by Back to Natives on Saturday, 25 June from 10 am to 11 am at the Santiago Creek Nature Center, 600 E. Memory Lane, in Santa Ana.

The class is part of the series, “Learning through Natural Science Illustration: Mother Monarch” and will introduce children ages five and six to natural science and illustration through Mindy Lighthipe’s book, “Mother Monarch”. Children will become more aware of butterflies and insects and the important role they often play as pollinators. In a hands-on nature-themed art project using paper sculpture and gouache, each child will create a beautiful butterfly life cycleand learn about plants, how they grow, and why plants are relevant to our lives.

The cost is $10.75/child. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times. Space is limited. To register, send an email to Back to Natives Restoration to reserve your spot and fill out the City+of+Santa+Ana+Registration+Form, which can be brought with payment the day of class.

by Deb Shaw

Buddha’s Hand, Citrus medica var. sarcodactylus, watercolor by Akiko Enokido, © 2011, all rights reserved.

Buddha’s Hand, Citrus medica var. sarcodactylus, watercolor by Akiko Enokido, © 2011, all rights reserved.

The Awards for the Filoli Botanical Art Exhibition have been chosen, and Akiko’s painting, Buddha’s Hand, Citrus medica var. sarcodactylus has been awarded the Juror’s Award. This award was chosen by the Art Exhibition jurors, Kristin Jakob and Susan Fisher for distinction  in botanical art representation.  The Award will be given at the Reception on June 30.  Congratulations Akiko!

by Sue Kuuskmae

There are still a few openings left for Mike Sibley’s “Drawing From Line To Life Workshop”; a 3-Day Graphite Pencil Workshop focusing on botanical subjects, June 24 – 26 at the Torrance Airport Zamperini Field meeting room. The cost for the workshop is $385 and there is a full description of the class on his website. All materials will be provided. Sign up on Mike Sibley’s website, or contact Suzanne Kuuskmae.

by Bonnie Born Ash

Susan Frei Nathan, lecturing at the Huntington.

Susan Frei Nathan, lecturing at the Huntington. Photo by Leslie Walker.

Susan Frei Nathan, ASBA Board Member and gallery owner specializing in contemporary botanical art, presented a workshop to BAGSC members on Thursday morning, April 28 at the Huntington Library. She summarized her career working with antique and contemporary botanical prints, watercolors, and drawings. In 2002 she established Susan Frei Nathan Fine Works on Paper, which represents botanical artists, offers consultation for private and corporate collections, and provides professional services including appraisals and expertise on conservation. Susan reviewed the current market values for botanical art and cited examples of sales prices for antique and contemporary botanical art.

She advises artists who are new to botanical art begin with small works and hone their skills. As technical ability improves, artists may challenge themselves to larger, more complex works. She recommends that artists choose subjects for which they have a passion, consider a “specialty,” and create a series of works of the same subject, all with the intention of developing a “body of work.”

With the intention of selling work, Susan advises artists to focus on regional plant life, the most popular subjects to collectors. Artists need to be aware of conservation issues in their choice of materials, and provide detailed descriptions for their mixed media works. She recommends that works on paper be handled with care – use cotton gloves. In finding the right gallery to represent your work, familiarize yourself with the galleries in the community that represent natural history related work. To exhibit your work publicly, consider ASBA juried exhibitions, the New York Botanical Garden, The Hunt Institute International Exhibition of Botanical Art and Illustration, and check Susan’s website for additional links.

As Curator for the Sutton Collection, Susan described the development of the collection and discussed the exhibition at the Hunt Institute, Botanicals:  Environmental Expressions in Art, the Alisa and Isaac M. Sutton Collection. We were delighted to each receive a copy of the exhibition catalogue at the conclusion of Susan’s presentation. The workshop was followed by individual meetings with artists in half-hour sessions to discuss technique, composition, color and subject matter.

by Akiko Enokido and Deb Shaw

Akiko Enokido and her family attended the opening of the Green Currency show at the New York Botanical Gardens, where Akiko exhibited her Pomegranate, Punica granatum. Although the days were hazy and a little cold, they enjoyed their trip to New York, where the sun came out in the afternoon and the artists were treated to a tram tour of the New York Botanical Garden. Cherry Blossoms and Magnolias were in full bloom, and the daffodils were strikingly beautiful against the green fields.

The opening of the Exhibition was so well attended (and crowded!) it was difficult to even move, let alone see all the artwork! The artwork was all painted to a very high standard, and Akiko reports learning a lot from the exhibited work.

In the first juried show in the United States, the gold medal went to Beverly Allen; the silver to Asuka Hishiki (unfortunately, she could not come to New York), and the bronze went to Ingrid Finnan. Karen Kluglein’s Corn was listed in the Botanical Garden’s collection. Beverly Allen’s coconut was huge, with dyanamic composition and elegant color. Karen and Ingrid got also honorable mention award for their other work in the show.

Dr. Shirley Shirwood and Akiko Enokdo at the NYBG and ASBA "Green Currency" opening.

Dr. Shirley Shirwood and Akiko Enokdo at the NYBG and ASBA "Green Currency" opening.

Dr. Shirley Sherwood attended the opening and Robin Jess introduced her to Akiko! (Thanks, Robin!) She spoke about the exhibition, and how wonderful of all the works are. Carol Woodin and the ASBA would like to bring this exhibition to other cities if the artists agree on a plan.

The Green Currency Exhibition has been so successful, it has been extended through August 21. For updates on the exhibition visit

An audio tour for the show is now available online.  It is very easy to access and use. The audio tours can be accessed from the NYBG Audio Tours page, where you can hear each of the artists talk about the subject of their painting in their own words. (You’ll hear Akiko’s daughter doing a wonderful job reading Akiko’s piece.)  The exhibition was linked to the NYBG; visitors can listen to the artists’ audio from their cell phones, and plants growing in the gardens that appear in the exhibit have been identified with special signage.

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