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by Beth Stone
029A wonderful series of weekly classes has just concluded at the LA Arboretum and Botanic Garden. This Otis College course was taught by Olga Eysymontt. Each class in the series built upon the preceding progressing from contour drawing to shading exercises then on to visualizing basic forms as they apply to increasingly complex botanical subjects. Artistic composition was also a theme throughout.

Copy (1) of 027For some students the material was brand new, for others it was review, for myself it certainly filled in some gaps. Without question, all the subject matter and techniques which Olga covered are foundational to botanical art.

Olga makes great use of a combination of demonstration, class discussion and one-on-one guidance. Each class included at least one opportunity to share our progress with and learn from one another. Each session concluded with a homework assignment. I found this particularly valuable and just the right level of effort to keep me engaged between classes. Practicing the concepts on my own really helped to reinforce each lesson.

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By the end, each of us had several completed works…and one more work in progress to keep that momentum going.

Watch for Olga’s next series coming up in January 2016. I highly recommend it!

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by Beth Stone

It’s pre-dawn on Friday and we’ve loaded our sleepy selves into The Huntington van with Jim Folsom at the wheel. We’re off to see the flowers, the wonderful flowers of the LA Flower Mart!

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Peonies, Clematis and Lilies oh my!

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We could while away the hours, conversing with the flowers…

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and it’s back to The Huntington with The Wizard!

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by Melanie Campbell-Carter

Nepenthes! The very epitome of Weird, Wild, and Wonderful was the subject of a three-day pre-symposium workshop led by Mieko Ishikawa, a featured artist in the Weird, Wild & Wonderful exhibit currently on view at the Brody Botanical Center at The Huntington and also a Keynote Speaker at our symposium.

Mieko Ishikawa graciously traveled across the Pacific to join us here in Southern California. Her first event of the Symposium was her three-day workshop on Nepenthes. The Huntington botanical gardens staff kindly cultivated and provided living Nepenthes plants for the workshop, and Mieko provided Reindeer Vellum for her students’ paintings.

Meiko Ishikawa and Akiko Enokido unroll Reindeer Vellum to show the class what a whole skin looks like.

Meiko Ishikawa and Akiko Enokido unroll Reindeer Vellum to show the class what a whole skin looks like.

First Mieko treated us to a wonderful presentation about her adventures finding and painting the very special plants of Borneo. We then enjoyed a behind-the-scenes tour of The Huntington greenhouse where the Nepenthes were grown. Robert Hori of The Huntington and BAGSC’s very talented Akiko Enokido provided interpretive skills for the workshop.

Meiko demonstrating her techniques.

Meiko demonstrating her techniques.

After three days of intense study, graphite drawing on our vellum, and very careful application of watercolor on our drawings with extremely tiny brushes, we all had a much greater understanding of the stunning talent and achievements of Mieko Ishikawa. Her mastery of the structure of the plants, as well as her breathtaking artistic talent, gave all of us an enormous dose of inspiration to continue learning and painting!

Many, many thanks to everyone who made the workshop possible – including The Huntington gardens’ staff, the ASBA, the amazing BAGSC women who organized the symposium, and especially our tireless and patient instructor, Mieko Ishikawa.

Workshop participants with their Nepenthes paintings.

Workshop participants with their Nepenthes paintings.

by Beth Stone

photographs by Gayle Uyehara

An enthusiastic group of artists enjoyed three days with Elaine Searle for her class entitled “Liquid Shine…Sculpting Form with Light and Color”. This was one of two Weird, Wild & Wonderful pre-symposium classes held at The Huntington this week. Gilly Shaeffer searched everywhere until finally her artist’s eye found beautiful Italian peppers for our studies. The class explored the differences between Sheen, Shine and Liquid Shine learning a host of indispensable techniques and tips.

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Elaine Searle (back of room) made good use of the projection system in The Engemann Applied Tech Lab for demonstrations. Even Jim Folsom stepped in to help by printing personal photographic pepper portraits (see sample in foreground).

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Terri Monroe thoughtfully applying finishing touches to her pepper.

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The class joins in a group status check mid way through the third and final day.

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Elaine Searle (far left) treated the class to an overview of just a few samples of her beautiful artwork.

by Beth Stone

There are two georgeous Bat Flower (Tacca chantrieri) paintings featured in the Weird, Wild & Wonderful exhibition currently on display at The Huntington. The hauntingly beautiful flowers can measure up to 12″ across with “whiskers” up to 30″ long. Did I ever expect to see these jungle flowers in Southern California? Certainly not, but I must have forgotten I was in such a magical place! A whole row of plants appeared in The Huntington’s Banta Hall this morning!

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Bring on the dramatic theater lighting and just watch how this villainess poses for the camera!

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by Beth Stone

Are you planning to enter BAGSC ‘s very own adjunct exhibition to “Weird, Wild & Wonderful: The New York Botanical Garden Second Triennial Exhibition, Botanical Illustrations of Remarkable Plants” which is coming to The Huntington’s Brody Botanical Center?

Let’s all take advantage of this truly Wonderful opportunity.  First time BAGSC exhibitors are encouraged to enter!  Can YOU contribute at least one artwork? (limit is 3 artworks per member)

We have an important deadline, here’s how you can help:

Please email the complete botanical name of your subject matter no later than this coming Wednesday, May 27, 2015 to Beth Stone. Don’t worry, this does not obligate you to submit those works.

by Beth Stone

The call for entries has been sent (see email from Deb Shaw dated 5/5/15) for BAGSC ‘s very own adjunct exhibition to “Weird, Wild & Wonderful: The New York Botanical Garden Second Triennial Exhibition, Botanical Illustrations of Remarkable Plants” coming to The Huntington’s Brody Botanical Center.

BAGSC members of all experience levels are encouraged to enter at least one artwork (limit is 3 artworks per member). To date we have a list of nearly 50 subjects from 25 artists, we’re expecting many more.

Botanical oddities and curiosities could be those found locally, in natural surroundings or a botanical garden. If you’re looking for more inspiration, Dick Rauh, PhD offered ideas to artists on potentially pertinent plants:  http://asba-art.org/article/weird-wild-and-wonderful-suggested-subjects. We’d like to include as many different species as possible.

So…what visually unusual, bizarre, beautiful (or not) subject have you chosen?

We have an important deadline, here’s how you can help:

Please email the complete botanical name of your choices ASAP but no later than Wednesday, May 27, 2015 to Beth Stone. Don’t worry, this does not obligate you to submit those works.

The cut-off date is when we will submit our “list of plant subjects” as best we know it to The Huntington so they can start planning on signage, related plants from the Garden, microscopes and more, linking our artworks to The Huntington’s vast plant collection in creative, and no doubt “wonderful”, ways.

 

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