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by Deb Shaw

BAGSC is scheduling a full four quarterly meetings for 2013 plus the holiday party:

  • February 2, (If “A Day of Art at Roger’s Gardens” is rained out, February 2 will be the alternate date. If that happens, BAGSC members will be notified and the meeting date will be moved — February 3 is a possibility)
  • April 20,
  • June 29,
  • September 15,
  • and the December 7 Holiday Party (no meeting included, just eating, drinking, and enjoying ourselves)

Would you like to host one of the meetings? Please contact Leslie. Also let us know of any workshops or presentations you would like to see at one of the meetings.

Keep your eyes peeled for blog and email announcements of classes, workshops, activities and exhibitions. Next year will start off with a lot happening in January, and lots more to come. It promises to be an exciting year!

by Deb Shaw

We’ve added several new categories to the blog: one of them is a Kudos! section, to announce great things that happen to our members.

Kudos to BAGSC members Margaret Best and Akiko Enokido: both were selected to exhibit in the 15th Annual International exhibition for the American Society of Botanical Artists at The Horticultural Society of New York. And both sold their paintings in the show! Congrats!

Do you have an announcement, or would like to say Kudos! to another BAGSC member? If so, send your information to Deb Shaw, and she’ll make sure it’s posted.

by Deb Shaw

ArtPlantae Display at Aurea Vista in Riverside, California, © 2012 Tania Marien

ArtPlantae Display at Aurea Vista in Riverside, California, © 2012 Tania Marien

This weekend ArtPlantae will participate in the First Annual Holiday Party at Aurea Vista, Riverside’s newest shopping destination.

The holidays aren’t the only thing to celebrate this weekend, however.

ArtPlantae is celebrating the launch of a new plant-based education display featuring resources for children, parents and teachers. Dedicated specifically to botany and botanical art education, this section features curriculum by the National Gardening Association, children’s books about plants (in English and Spanish), instructional books about drawing and botanical art, plant identification guides, and the Colorful Edibles coloring book published by the American Society of Botanical Artists.

When visiting ArtPlantae at Aurea Vista, don’t miss the display area upstairs featuring books about contemporary botanical art and botanical art history.

Discover more this Saturday during the holiday party. The festivities begin at 4:00 pm and continue until 9:00 pm. Meet local artists and designers and finish your holiday shopping too. Visit ArtPlantae’s new area about plant-based education and receive a free gift. It is located downstairs across from the children’s boutique.

Stop by on your way to the Festival of Lights and the Artists Collective located just down the street on the Main Street Pedestrian Mall.

Free gifts available while supplies last.

A Little About Aurea Vista

Aurea Vista is located in a building in downtown Riverside, California whose life began in 1927 as a hotel built by architect G. Stanley Wilson. Today the building serves as an exciting new marketplace for local artisans, designers, importers, food sellers and craftspeople.

Visit Aurea Vista and discover many treasures such as delicious olive oils by Beyond the Olive, terrarium designs by Brenda Cook of Botanical Perspective, and yards of inspiration (and classes too!) at Raincross Fiber Arts.

Aurea Vista is located at 3498 University Avenue in Riverside on the corner of Lemon and University. Hours are Monday-Saturday (11-8), Sunday (11-5). Store hours are extended for Riverside’s monthly ArtsWalk and other special events.

Parking: Free customer parking is available across the street in the parking lot with the ballet mural. Aurea Vista customers can park in spaces #1-8 that face University Avenue. Street parking is free after 5 PM Monday-Friday. Street parking also is free on Saturday and Sunday.

by Margaret Best

Prosopis pubescens seed pod (Screwbean Mesquite, or Tornillo), watercolor and graphite on honey vellum, © 2012, Deborah Shaw, all rights reserved.

Prosopis pubescens seed pod (Screwbean Mesquite, or Tornillo), watercolor and graphite on honey vellum, © 2012, Deborah Shaw, all rights reserved.

It is with great pleasure that we share the wonderful news that BAGSC member Deborah Shaw has had one of her recent graphite and watercolour works on vellum accepted into the Hunt Institute’s International Exhibition in 2013.

About 11 years ago, shortly after I met Deborah at a class in Arizona, she showed me a graphite study of a white phalaenopsis orchid. Having enjoyed teaching and using graphite myself for a number of years, I recognized that Deborah had exceptional skills in this medium. I was struck by her mastery of perhaps the best continuous tone I had ever seen! The ultimate control required in the smoothest of value changes was evident throughout the piece. The work also displayed a keen awareness of the finest of edges and tiniest of details. Needless to say, I gushed about it and I clearly never forgot it.

Business and family commitments, as well as generosity of heart to fellow artists, have been obstacles to Deborah being able to focus fully on her own art. More recently she has managed to carve out time for her botanical art. She has begun exploration of a surface uniquely suited to her touch and intense awareness of texture – vellum. Vellum has brought it all together for Deborah. What has been so exciting to witness is how she has achieved a marriage of skills in a truly magical way on a surface that challenges even the most experienced artists.

Everybody is very proud of your well-deserved selection in the next Hunt Institute exhibition!

by Deb Shaw and others

There are always new tempting art supplies available, but this year there seems to have been a cascade of new art products that make traveling with art supplies a breeze. Below are just a few of our current favorites. Disclaimer: I’ve included some links and prices where it’s easy and I know the resource. I haven’t done extensive research on who carries what, or who has the best prices. If you click on any of the links below, you’ll go to the exact product page for that website, rather than the home page.

Do you have some favorite new products? Write a review and let me know and we’ll put together another column in the future.

Derwent Carry-all

Closed Derwent Carry-all

Closed Derwent Carry-all, image courtesy of the Ken Bromley website.

Not yet available in the US, this is the best portable art studio I’ve found! I can fit everything I need for pencil and watercolor artwork, all into one 10″ x 8″ x 4″ canvas satchel. Everything I need now lives permanently in my Carry-all, whether I’m working in the studio, or I’m on the road or in classes.

The Carry-all comes with three “leaves”, held in place by six small notebook-style snap rings. The leaves snap in and out, depending on your travel requirements, and have elastic straps to hold pencils, pens, brushes, etc.

Open Carry-all

Open Carry-all, image courtesy of the Ken Bromley website.

There’s a zippered mesh pocket on the inside front, and a strap on the inside back to hold an A5 sketchbook and other necessary items.

An external pocket, carry handles and a detachable shoulder strap complete the kit. The Derwent Carry-all is available at Ken Bromley Art Supplies (among other UK art suppliers), on sale now for about $26.00 (£15.99). Deb is putting together a BAGSC group order. Watch your email for an offer to participate!

Invisi Lightweight Display Easel

Invisi Lightweight Display Easel

Invisi Lightweight Display Easel, image © Ken Bromley Art Supplies website.

This one is a Ken Bromley exclusive that I’ve tested extensively and will be ordering a lot more (BAGSC members watch for the email to participate).

Originally designed as portable display easel for art exhibitions, the Invisi Easel is made from white corrugated plastic (the same material out of which the Post Office constructs its boxes). Reusable, they lay flat for storage and transport, and snap together in one easy motion to set up.

In addition to using the Invisi Easel to set up an artwork display, I’ve also been using one as an easel in art classes. My neck and back no longer allow me to work hunched over a table, and I work sitting upright at an easel in my studio. The need for lightweight packing for airline travel, however, doesn’t allow me to drag my easel along for art classes.

I’ve been setting up my Invisi Easel, adhering it to the table with a bit of kneaded eraser or tape (so it won’t scoot away as I work). I have my paper (or vellum) on a piece of foam core as I usually do, and I’m ready to draw or paint. No, you can’t put a lot of pressure on the painting as you work, but I haven’t had a problem with painting or drawing. And my back and neck are grateful as well.

The Invisi Easel is about $9.11 each (£5.65), or approximately $40.24 for a 5 pack (£24.95), or approximately $72.50 (£44.95) for a 10 pack. If enough BAGSC members are interested, a pack of 50 is available for about $272.00 (£168.50).

Porcelain Tinting Saucer

Porcelain Tinting Saucer

Porcelain Tinting Saucer, courtesy of Ken Bromley website

This item comes from BAGSC members Elaine Searle and Pat Mark (who discovered it in Elaine’s class). Again, it’s another one of those things we don’t seem to be able to get here in the US yet. A small (only 3.3″ diameter) white porcelain saucer, it has four divisions for mixing paint and is easy to pack. It’s about $3.60 each from Ken Bromley (£2.25). This too will be on our order list for BAGSC member who want to participate, so watch your email.

Koh-I-Noor Watercolor Wheel Set

Koh-I-Noor Watercolor Wheel

Koh-I-Noor Watercolor Wheel Set, image courtesy of the Dick Blick website

Thank you to Tania Marien for discovering this gem at the SCAD bookstore at the GNSI conference in Savannah, Georgia. These are available all over, including Dick Blick and my local art store (where I bought mine). Each wheel measures 3-1/4″ in diameter, and set comes with four wheels (trays) that stack and screw together. Each tray holds six colors (seven if you use the middle space, for a total of 24 – 32 colors. The transparent cover can be used for mixing, if you don’t mind mixing in plastic.

Koh-I-Noor Watercolor Wheel Set

Koh-I-Noor Watercolor Wheel Set, courtesy of Dick Blick website

Be forewarned; it’s not easy to pry, soak and scrape the original colors out of the pans. Once you do, however, your own palette neatly and easily fills the spaces. I created labels with the paint names and information for the underside of each well. Two sets gave me enough space for my entire palette, plus extra spaces for that squirt of color that I didn’t know I needed from a friend in class.

Faber-Castell Clic & Go Water Pot

Faber-Castell Clic & Go Water Pot, courtesy of Dick Blick's website

Faber-Castell Clic & Go Water Pot, courtesy of Dick Blick’s website

Expanded water pot, courtesy of Dick Blick's website

Expanded water pot, courtesy of Dick Blick’s website

Everyone seemed to discover this one at the same time! Easy to find everywhere (at Dick Blick for $3.86 — 26 percent off list), this ingenious water pot collapses for travel (or for a small amount of water) and then expands to hold at least double the amount. Easy to clean, and nicely designed scallops on the rim are the perfect holders for brushes.

I use two.

Caran d’Ache Pencils

Caran d'Ache Luminance 6901 Colored Pencils, courtesy of Dick Blick's website

Caran d’Ache Luminance 6901 Colored Pencils, courtesy of Dick Blick’s website

Thank you to Margaret Best for steering me to the Caran d’Ache Luminance Lightfast colored pencils and graphite.

The Colored Pencil Society of America (CPSA) worked with the American Society for Testing and Material to develop the ASTM D-6901 standards for lightfastness in colored pencils. After two years in development, the Swiss company Caran d’Ache released their Luminance 6901 Lightfast Pencil Sets: the only brand to offer 76 colors, 61 of which are in the most lightfast (Lightfastness I) category.

The chromatic range of the soft leads is very similar to the watercolor palettes used by botanical artists, and contains the highest level of pigments of any colored pencil. Additionally, the Luminance 6901 colored pencils have been awarded use of the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) label, guaranteeing that the logging of the California cedar for the pencils is environmentally-friendly and socially and economically sustainable.

The colored pencils come in sets of 16, 38, and 76 from many sources in the US, including Dick Blick, Cheap Joe’s, Jerry’s Artarama, Rex Art, and more. Jerry’s Artarama is the only site I’ve seen in the US that also sells individual colored pencils, but there may be others.

Range of Caran d'Ache Grafwood Pencils, courtesy of Dick Blick's website

Range of Caran d’Ache Grafwood Pencils, courtesy of Dick Blick’s website

Caran d’Ache also offers a spectacular line of graphite: their Grafwood pencils range from HB through 9B, as well as F, H, 2H, 3H, and 4H. They also carry water-soluble graphite (Caran d’Ache Technolo Water Soluble Graphite Pencils), Grafstone Woodless Graphite Pencils, Charcoal Pencils, and Grafcube Graphite Sticks. The pencils are “color-coded” the entire length of the pencil; the harder the pencil the lighter the silvery-gray color of the barrel.

The only adjectives I can come up with to describe these pencils are the same ones I would use to describe food: luscious, buttery, smooth, creamy, all come to mind. Warning: they’re not cheap. Take a deep breath before looking at the sticker price. As far as I’m concerned, however, they’re absolutely worth it.

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