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by Lori Vreeke/Diane Daly/Deb Shaw

The jurors for the BAGSC exhibition at the Santa Barbara Zoological Gardens, “Zoo in Bloom” have been announced: Olga Eysymontt, Ann Swan, and Chris Briggs.

Their bios are as follows:

Olga Eysymontt:
Olga is one of the founding members of BAGSC, and has taught botanical illustration classes for the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden since 1997. She is a former instructor at Otis College of Art, and a graduate of Rochester Institute of Technology in Fine Arts. Olga is passionate about teaching and the thrill of bringing out each student’s vision. In addition to botanical illustration, she enjoys landscape and macro photography.

Ann Swan:
Based in Wiltshire, UK, Ann works primarily in graphite and coloured pencil. She is well known for her exquisitely fine detail, vibrant colours and strong contemporary style. Ann champions the underdogs of the plant kingdom—drawing attention to Brussels sprouts or beetroots and demonstrating through her art that they are just as beautiful as the iris or tulip. She is equally passionate about coloured pencils, believing they are easy to master, forgiving and accessible, enabling even a complete beginner to produce quality artwork.

Ann began exhibiting in 1990 and now shows her work worldwide. Exhibitions include The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in 1994 and the Hunt Institute’s 8th International Exhibition in Pittsburgh. Ann is a member of the RHS Picture Committee and exhibits with the Society of Botanical Artists on a regular basis. She has exhibited numerous times at the Chelsea and Hampton Court Flower Shows. Her work is represented in the prestigious Shirley Sherwood Collection and is in many private collections around the world.

Chris Briggs:
Following six years in the Navy and a seven year hiatus in Hawaii, Chris Briggs returned to the mainland to attend the University of Oregon in Political Science and Environmental Studies, and then the University of Florida for a degree in Photojournalism. He came to California in 1992 to attend Brooks Institute for a degree in Commercial Photography. Chris is currently the Director of Safety and Security at the Santa Barbara Zoo and personally hangs all the exhibitions at the Zoo. He continues to photograph nature and landscapes with an emphasis on Southern California.

Chris has spent the past 20+ years chasing, photographing, and identifying spring wildflowers. In his spare time he is an active gardener, or at least he was before the drought!

A warm welcome to our jurors.

More plants!

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Thank you to Diane and a very patient Jack Daly for more plant images. We’ve included Lori’s images in the slide show as well. They are the same as those published in the previous Santa Barbara “Zoo in Bloom” article, but are single images and larger here, so they may be easier to see.

As the exhibition title suggests, artwork of plants at the Zoo in flower fits the theme perfectly. Additionally, any plant species that grows at the zoo is eligible for entry even if it is not currently blooming.

Submission Deadline is September 5, 2015. Questions? Contact Lori Vreeke.

by Beth Stone, posted by Deb Shaw

The Techniques Showcase featured three artists covering a very broad range of approaches: Hillary Parker, Ann Swan, Kelly Leahy Radding.

Hillary Parker shared her artistic problem-solving approach to very large format botanical watercolors which most of us would surely consider impossible! First was a driftwood commission on 40 x 60 inch, 300 lb cold press paper. The second was a 9 foot long (!) watercolor of a stone wall with a foreground of woodland plant silhouettes worked in masking fluid. Can you imagine fitting such a massive work in your studio? Then consider how you would maneuver yourself and your paints around to work on it!

Ann Swan completed a kiwi botanical in front of our eyes as just a portion of her wonderful segment of the Techniques Showcase. The seemingly magical techniques Ann demonstrated included: colored pencil layering strategies; exploiting colors that resist adhesion of subsequent layers (for example, creating veination); use of alcohol-based solvent or baby oil (actually not oil, but dilute paraffin) to blend and spread color; and embossing to create fine hairs for kiwi and pussy willows.

I’m told Ann’s blog is one to watch. She posted photos of the Chihuly glass sculpture exhibit currently at the Denver Botanic Gardens. http://annswan.wordpress.com

Finally Kelly Leahy Radding demonstrated the technique she used to paint the beautiful water lily she entered in the show’s Small Works exhibit. The water lily is painted with gouache on a dramatic black background. Kelley demonstrated her painting process with gourds. She shared a tip regarding both zinc white and the warmer titanium white. Both dry with a slight blue cast which can be counteracted by mixing in just a touch of yellow.

As a special additional treat to complete the Showcase, John Cogley, founder, President and CEO of Daniel Smith, spoke on the manufacture of pigment. The process involves fracturing/cleaving the crystalline materials rather than grinding them. It was great to see the actual mineral samples John brought including a beautiful, huge, piece of Lapis. John graciously answered audience questions: explaining that his company bought out all the Quinacridone close-out stock, so we will always be able to buy a consistent Quinacridone Gold; that we shouldn’t be concerned if Gum Arabic binder oozes from a newly opened tube, it’s just excess that rose to the top; and we should use distilled water in our painting work rather than introduce tap water impurities. Deb Shaw went to John’s lecture, and will include pictures in the next posting.

by Lori Vreeke, posted by Deb Shaw

Beech Leaves, coloured pencil by Ann Swan. © 2013, all rights reserved.

Beech Leaves, coloured pencil by Ann Swan. © 2013, all rights reserved.

Ann Swan will come across the pond to teach a four-day coloured pencil workshop: Wednesday, September 25 – Saturday, September 28, 2013, in the Oak Room at the Los Angeles Arboretum. The class will meet from 9:30 am – 3:30 pm, and is limited to 16 students. The cost is $440.00.

This workshop will focus on techniques used in Botanical Art Illustrations working in Color Pencil. Workshop will include lecture, demonstrations, and one-on-one critiques. All skill levels are welcome, though some colored pencil experience is recommended as is drawing and sketching of botanicals.

Students need to bring their own materials (list will be supplied). Supplies also can be pre-ordered, and a limited number of supplies will be for sale at the workshop.

Complementary tea, coffee and light snacks will be available in the classroom; food is available in the Peacock Cafe for purchase.

Ann works primarily in graphite and coloured pencil and is well known for her exquisitely fine detail, vibrant colours and strong contemporary style She is passionate about coloured pencils, believing they are easy to master, forgiving and accessible so that even a complete beginner can quite quickly produce work of quality.

Ann’s many exhibitions include: The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, Hunt Institute’s 8th International Exhibition, Society of Botanical Artists, Chelsea and Hampton Court Flower Shows. Her work is represented in the prestigious Shirley Sherwood Collection and features in many private collections around the world.

  • RHS Silver Gilt Medal
  • RHS Gold Medal 4X
  • Silver Medal 14th World Orchid
  • SBA President’s Award
  • SBA Suzanne Lucas Memorial Award
  • UKCPS 3rd Best in Show
  • UKCPS People’s Choice Coloured Pencil
  • UKCPS People’s Choice Mixed Media (shared) for ‘Merlot’

A deposit of $150.00 holds a place in the class; the final amount is due by September 1, 2013. Questions? Contact Lori Vreeke via email.

Oriental Poppies, coloured pencil by Ann Swan, 36 x 75 cms. © 2013, all rights reserved.

Oriental Poppies, coloured pencil by Ann Swan, 36 x 75 cms. © 2013, all rights reserved.

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