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by Patricia Van Osterhoudt

(left to right) Lori Fields, Arillyn Moran-Lawrence, Cristina Baltayian, and Gayle Uyehara gather around Lee McCaffree (seated) while she demonstrates a technique.

(left to right) Lori Fields, Arillyn Moran-Lawrence, Cristina Baltayian, and Gayle Uyehara gather around Lee McCaffree (seated) while she demonstrates a masking fluid technique. Photo by Clara Josephs, © 2013.

Hairs, dots, indentations! It’s enough to make the hairs on your neck stand up and salute! Who can count the hairs on a lime green Icelandic Poppy stem or the odd shaped rectangles on a peanut shell, and more importantly, why would one want to? This is the question all botanical artists wrestle with in the process of drawing and painting from nature, and it is one Lee McCaffree skillfully guided fourteen artists through in a two-day workshop on November 9 – 10, 2013 at the Environmental Nature Center (ENC) in Newport Beach. The classroom is in a LEED Platinum building at the ENC; the space is light and airy, perfect for botanical painting.

Through Lee’s expertise as an artist and teacher, we were encouraged to experiment with several specimens including peanuts, dry grasses, pussy willows, and various types of bumpy leaves. We began with careful observations and then did tracings for form, shape, and texture. From these we did graphite drawings as a reference point to come back to often during the actual painting. Lee continually stressed the importance of an accurate drawing for a successful painting. In the painting process we mixed color and did washes staying within the lines of the pencil lead, which all built up to texture. Many of the artists used color pencils as well. Most importantly, Lee encouraged everyone to move along rather than dally over any one particular part so we could “get the feel” for various types of texture. That nudge kept us all going!

Throughout the workshop, Lee consistently demonstrated the techniques she wished us to attempt. During the demos, she made comments such as the “importance of letting each layer of paint dry so that after several layers the light from other colors could shine through.” Later as we painted and drew, she consistently came around to each student giving constructive and creative comments that helped us move to a new and improved place. As she circled back to see our progress, she made very encouraging comments such as, “Great, see how much better that shading looks now!” As we worked side-by-side with our attention focused completely on the subject at hand (peanuts in the shell), Cristina Baltayian looked up and quietly stated, “We are the Peanut Gallery!”

In our final critique, as each artist laid her many paintings and drawings on the end of each table, Lee asked, “What did you like and not like about creating your art?” Overall, we had a general feeling that we were encouraged to try new and more challenging subjects having learned the techniques for how to get there. I always think of the botanical workshops as “a booster shot,” and I certainly got that from Lee!

A special thank you goes out to Leslie Walker, Deb Shaw, Clara Josephs, and Diane Daly for organizing this fantastic workshop!!

by Deb Shaw

"Waterlily Garden," pastel by Morgan Alexandra Kari, © 2013.

“Waterlily Garden,” pastel by Morgan Alexandra Kari, © 2013.

BAGSC member Morgan Alexandra Kari is exhibiting in Step Up for Pastels 2013 on the mezzanine of Gallery 113, November 4 – 30, 3013. All participating artists are members of The Pastel Society of the Gold Coast. The closing reception will be held November 30, 2013 from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm.

Gallery 113 is located in the La Arcada Courtyard, 1114 State Street, Santa Barbara, California 93101, 805.965.6611. Gallery hours are Monday – Saturday, 11:00 am – 5:00 pm, and Sunday, 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm.

Congratulations Morgan!

by Deb Shaw

Cover art: American Botanical Paintings: Native Plants of the Mid Atlantic.

Cover art: American Botanical Paintings: Native Plants of the Mid Atlantic.

The Botanical Artists for Education and the Environment (BAEE) is pleased to announce that their book, American Botanical Paintings: Native Plants of the Mid Atlantic is now available to pre-order.

The book, which was more than three years in the making, contains 60 reproductions of original paintings and drawings of plants and 40 original paintings of butterflies, moths, and other pollinators. Each plant is briefly described with its habitat, and includes relevant information about the plant family and ways in which Native Americans or early settlers used the plants. For plants unsuitable for home gardens, their environmental importance is mentioned, such as food and habitat for birds and animals.

Proceeds from the sale of the book will be used to support native plant education, conservation, and horticulture.  Publication costs are covered by donations, including a grant from the American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA), for which BAEE is most grateful. For additional information about BAEE, please visit the website at

Pre-Sale Special Offer – Free Shipping. Scheduled for release February 2014. A limited number will be published, selling for only $39.95 plus shipping. Shipping is free on orders received by December 31, 2013 (US only). ORDER your copy today at

An exhibition of the artwork will be held at the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C., February 15 through June 15, 2014. Learn more from the USBG website: See the BAEE website for complete details about the project at

Geared toward a broad audience, the book has been well received, and is endorsed by respected authorities in the fields of both art and science, including the following:

This is a delightfully illustrated book, beautifully designed and with lots of variety in the choice of plant subjects. I admired the standard of painting and the fresh, appealing studies that will be attractive to both naturalists and gardeners.
Dr. Shirley Sherwood, OBE, Botanical art collector

The U.S. Botanic Garden was thrilled to be a part of this book as it embodies what we know to be vital—our world is better and richer with fine botanical art, and the plants in our backyards, in our woods, and along the roadsides are amazing!
— Holly H. Shimizu, Executive Director, U.S. Botanic Garden

Like the exquisitely illustrated floras from past centuries, this volume carries on a rich tradition of detailed and deftly created botanical artistry. Each painting portrays the abundance and diverse beauty of the natural world around us, from early spring ephemerals to the towering monarchs of our deciduous forests.
— Peggy Cornett, Curator of Plants at Monticello

Botanical Artists for Education and the Environment (BAEE) is an incorporated 501(c)(3) Federal tax-exempt nonprofit in Virginia. The book is funded solely through donations. Any profits generated by the sale of the book will benefit nonprofit organizations that support native plant education and conservation.

If you have questions, please contact Judy Rodgers.

by Deb Shaw

Begonia, watercolor by Gloria Whea-Fun Teng, © 2013

Begonia, snapshot of watercolor by Gloria Whea-Fun Teng, © 2013

BAGSC member Gloria Whea-Fun Teng has an exhibition at the Long Beach Main Library from November 1, 2013 through December 22, 2013.

Gloria has started painting in oils, and has still life paintings and landscape watercolors on display in addition to her botanical art and Chinese brush paintings.

The Long Beach Main Library is located at 101 Pacific Avenue, Long Beach, California 90822. Hours are Tuesday, 12:00 noon – 8:00 pm; Wednesday, 12:00 noon – 6:00 pm; Thursday, 12:00 noon – 7:00 pm; and Friday and Saturday, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm. The Library is closed Sunday and Monday.

Congratulations Gloria!

Snapshot of Chinese Brush Painting by Gloria Whea-Fun Teng, © 2013

Snapshot of Chinese Brush Painting by Gloria Whea-Fun Teng, © 2013

by Deb Shaw and Leslie Walker

"One Truth, Many Lies: A New View of Art and Natural History Collections," Artist Residency Program, California Academy of Sciences.

“One Truth, Many Lies: A New View of Art and Natural History Collections,” Artist Residency Program, California Academy of Sciences.

One Truth, Many Lies: A New View of Art & Natural History Collections [click on the title to view web page application information] is a new Artist Residency Program being offered to West Coast visual artists by The California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco.

The deadline is coming up soon: proposals are due December 13, 2013, by email by 5:00 pm.

The Academy will select a total of four Artists for the program, to take place during the Spring/Summer of 2014. Artists will receive an honorarium and compensation for travel, lodging, meals and incidentals for three days and two nights in San Francisco, California.

Selected artists will be require to present two programs during their residency, at least one of which will be a public educational program consisting of a lecture or demonstration for the general public. A “hands-on” workshop or other class taught by the Artists in Residence will be offered free of charge to the public.

Artists will have at least one day to work with researchers at the Academy and with the collections housed in the Academy’s Institute for Biodiversity Science and Sustainability.

Questions? Contact Diane T. Sands, Collection Development Librarian, California Academy of Sciences by email, or phone, (415) 379-5489. Additional application information and information about the Artist Residency Program can be found on the website. This Residency is made possible in part by a generous grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

by Deb Shaw

BAGSC member Tania Norris has generously donated 41 rare books from her personal collection to The Getty Research Institute (GRI)

Tania has been collecting these books individually for the past 13 years from booksellers in the United States, the United Kingdom, Europe and Australia. The collection provides the opportunity to study and compare the contributions of natural science and the visual display of scientific and botanical illustration from the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries.

"Chrysanth," Crispijn van de Passe, 1614 From Crispijn van de Passe, Hortus floridus (Arnhem, 1614) The Getty Research Institute, 2898-803 Donated by Tania Norris

“Chrysanth,” Crispijn van de Passe, 1614
From Crispijn van de Passe, Hortus floridus (Arnhem, 1614)
The Getty Research Institute, 2898-803
Donated by Tania Norris

Two important works include Crispin Van de Passe’s Hortus Floridus, published in 1614, and Johann Christoph Volkamer’s Nürnbergische Hesperides, published in 1708. The  Hortus Floridus is believed to be the first illustrated book to illustrate plants using magnifying lenses. Johann Christoph Volkamer’s Nürnbergische Hesperides is a fascinating documentation of the introduction of Italian citrus to Germany, as well as the revolution in urban planning and the design of parks.

The collection also includes a copy of Maria Sibylla Merian’s Derde en laatste deel der Rupsen Begin (Birth of the Butterfly), published in 1717, the first book to depict insect metamorphosis. The volume is believed to be one of the few surviving copies that was hand-colored by Merian’s daughter. Tania’s donation will have a companion in the GRI vaults: Merian’s stunning Metamorphosis of the Insects of Surinam (1719), the self-published book which documented the her explorations and documentation of the wildlife of the South American jungles. BAGSC members will remember the Metamorphosis fondly, as it was featured prominently in the Getty Museum’s exhibition, Merian and Daughters in 2008, which celebrated the extraordinary contributions of Maria Sibylla Merian and her daughters.

“The Getty Research Institute is deeply honored to receive the donation of the Tania Norris Collection of Rare Botanical Books from one of the founding members of our GRI Council. This gift promises to open novel paths to explore the complex historical intersections between science and art,” said Marcia Reed chief curator at the Getty Research Institute. “Tania’s passionate interests and her collecting instincts have created a very generous gift which has also served to raise the profile of an important subject with strong relevance for researchers who use our special collections.”

David Brafman, curator of rare books at the GRI, said “The Norris Collection offers inestimable rewards for scholars researching global botanical trade and the ensuing stimulus of cultural exchange to the trend of collecting curiosities spawned in Renaissance and Baroque European culture. Other books in the collection document the codependent progress of technologies in the history of medicine, pharmacology, and the color and textile industries from the sixteenth to nineteenth centuries. No less important are the opportunities to study the complex artistic relationship between physiognomy and ‘naturalism’ in visual representation, as well as developments in urban planning and landscape architecture. Ms. Norris’ generous donation enhances significantly GRI’s existing collections in such subjects and promises to transform the way art historians examine the past in the future.”

The Norris Collection will also provide insights in ongoing research in landscape- and still-life painting, as well as recipes and global trade in color and pigments.

Tania was a founding member of the Getty Research Institute Collections Council, and also serves on the J. Paul Getty Museum Disegno Drawing Council and Paintings Conservation Council. “It was one of the proudest moments of my life when the Getty Research Institute accepted my books for their library. I never collected expecting anyone else to think my books of interest, “ she said. “But now at the GRI, anyone can view them; some have been or will soon be in exhibitions and programs. More importantly, they will be preserved for generations to come.” She added, “You don’t need much money, just passion to collect and you just never know what treasures you may have.”

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