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by Deb Shaw

The Third New York Botanical Garden Triennial, Out of the Woods: Celebrating Trees in Public Gardens is on display at the The New York Botanical Garden, in Bronx, New York from November 18, 2017 – April 22, 2018. Information about the exhibition, including images of all the artworks is on the ASBA website.

Forty-four artworks were selected from more than two hundred submissions, depicting one of the planet’s most important and beautiful resources: trees. Each of these subjects have been found in botanical gardens and arboreta throughout the United States and around the world.

Artists have been working on this project for the past three years, not only capturing images of trees, but also drawing attention to the institutions that shelter them: botanical gardens and arboreta. A central goal of the exhibition is to highlight the role of botanical gardens and arboreta in the research/scholarship they provide, as well as their education and outreach to the public.

The artists respond aesthetically to these inspiring subjects, and have depicted everything from seedpods to branches and bark to an entire forest floor. Each artist has written a statement about their artwork; artists’ statements can be read on the ASBA website.

Jurors for the exhibition were:

  • Joanna Groarke, Director of Public Engagement and Library Exhibitions Curator, The New York Botanical Garden
  • Todd Forrest, Arthur Ross VP for Horticulture and Living Collections, The New York Botanical Garden
  • Robin A. Jess, Past Executive Director, ASBA
  • Barbara Macklowe, Photographer, former Principal, Macklowe Gallery

Congratulations go to all artists participating, including BAGSC artists Akiko EnokidoDeborah FriedmanAsuka HishikiOlga Ryabtsova, and Mitsuko Schultz. (Clicking on the names of the artists goes to their artist’s statement page on the ASBA website; click on any of the images below to see them enlarged in a slide show format, with artist and painting information.)

Congratulations to the award-winners:

Gold Medal:
Asuka Hishiki, Black Pine Half-Cascade Style Bonsai, Pinus nigra
Omiya Bonsai Art Museum, Saitama, Japan
Oil on Paper

Silver Medal:
Lucy Martin
Bigleaf Maple with Inky-Cap Mushrooms, Acer macrophyllum, Coprinellus sp., University of California Botanical Garden, Berkeley, CA, Gouache on Paper

Bronze Medal:
Ingrid Finnan
Snake Branch Spruce, Picea abies ‘Virgata’, The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY, Oil on Paper

Honorable mentions:
Beverly Allen
New Guinea Dinner Plate Fig, Ficus dammaropsis, The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, Sydney, Australia, Watercolor on paper

Alexandra Negoita Vulcu
Bigleaf Magnolia, Magnolia macrophylla, Hortus Conclusus, Stone Ridge, NY, Watercolor and acrylic ink on paper

Barbara Oozeerally
Stone Oak, Lithocarpus pachyphyllus, Caerhays Estate, Gorran, St. Austell, England, Watercolor on paper

Beverly Fink
Tree Aloe, Aloe thraskii, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota, FL, Watercolor on paper

As with previous New York Triennial exhibitions, Out of the Woods will be traveling after the closing date at The New York Botanical Gardens, including coming to The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in May, 2018. Watch for future postings of lectures and other activities at The Huntington that will occur around the exhibition. BAGSC Members also will host a concurrent exhibition of local artists around the same theme at the Brody Botanical Education Center at The Huntington.

The current traveling schedule includes: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, CA, May 19 – August 27, 2018; Foundry Art Centre (in time for the next ASBA conference), St. Charles, MO, October 5 – December 28, 2018; Tucson Botanical Gardens, Tucson, AZ, January 25 – April 13, 2019; Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chaska, MN, May 9 – August 13, 2019.

Front cover of exhibition catalog, featuring Leiden’s 300-year Old Liriodendron tulipifera, by © Esmée Winkel, watercolor on paper.

Front cover of exhibition catalog, featuring Leiden’s 300-year Old Liriodendron tulipifera, by © Esmée Winkel, watercolor on paper.

Exhibition catalogs may be purchased on the ASBA website for $12.00 ($10.80 for NYBG members). The full-color, 60-page catalog features all of the artwork in the exhibition as well as essays illuminating the pivotal importance of living collections in the conservation of the planet’s trees, and the continued significance of botanical art in the 21st century.

 

by Deb Shaw

The 20th Annual International Exhibition by American Society of Botanical Artists and The Horticultural Society of New York was on display from November 09 – December 21, 2017 at The New York Design Center. Congratulations to all ASBA artists who participated, including BAGSC members Asuka Hishiki, Joan Keessey, Lesley Randall, Olga Ryabtsova, and Mitsuko Schultz.

Forty-six works from more than 200 submissions were chosen, including artists from the United States, Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Slovenia, and the United Kingdom. Jurors were: Susan Fraser, Director, Mertz Library, The New York Botanical Garden; David Horak, Curator of the Aquatic House, Brooklyn Botanic Garden; and, Esther Klahne, Botanical Artist.

The New York Design Center hosted the 20th Anniversary exhibition and reception.

If you weren’t able to see the exhibition or the opening in person, you can still view the artwork online on the ASBA website, as well as read statements about their work from each of the artists.

Congratulations to the award winners (artist’s names listed below are linked directly to their statement page):
Mariko Ikeda (Screw Pine), The Hort’s Best in Show Award, $500
Annie Patterson (Cardoon Seedhead), ASBA Eleanor Wunderlich Award of $500
Monika deVries Gohlke (‘Blackcurrant Swirl’ Datura), Helen Gray Garber Award of $500
Martha Kemp (Ornamental Gourd 2), Brooklyn Botanic Garden Award for Print or Drawing of $250
Linda Medved Lufkin (Sunflower x 2), Richmond and Lili Bates Award for Excellence of $300

In recognition of an Artist by a Fellow Artist
Honorable Mentions (4):
Olga Ryabtsova (Bird of Paradise)
Liz Shippam (Merryweather Damsons)
Mitsuko Schultz (Pink Peony)
Tammy McEntee (Shenot Crown of Thorns Gourd)

Click any of the images below to see an enlarged image and a slide show of BAGSC members in the exhibition. Congrats to all!

by Asuka Hishiki, posted by Deb Shaw

Flora Japonica opened mid-September, 2016 at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, in London. Before the opening, I personally felt very overwhelmed and was worried about how we would be received. It turned out GREAT! The people at the Kew were so nice and friendly. When Dr. Shirley Sherwood congratulated us at the opening speech, I felt so honored to be a part of the celebrated show.

There is so much to tell about the exhibition. There are, however, so many good writings about the show already available. Instead of summarizing those good reads, I thought I would make a list of the links for you to visit. Meanwhile, I would love to share my thoughts on several specific artworks. This are just my opinions and maybe rather boring ones at that, but I hope you enjoy walking with me through the show.

I have mentioned that these are just my opinions. Keep in mind, my bold statement is this: I think that most Japanese endemic plants are rather unflattering. Meaning that they are not obviously gorgeous like roses, tulips or tropical plants. Maybe this is the case not only with Japanese native plants; perhaps many endemic plants appear very humble looking. Well, really? It could be because these plants are not looked at properly.

Idesia polycarpa, watercolor on paper, © 2016, Akiko Enokido.

Idesia polycarpa, watercolor on paper, © 2016, Akiko Enokido.

Take a look at the watercolor Idesia polycarpa by Akiko Enokido. I think the actual plant (not her painting!) is very modest looking. Its male and female flowers are especially small and plain. However, if you look at it up-close as Akiko did, it is obvious that the flower clusters are very gorgeous! Akiko successfully converted the modest look of the plant into a dynamic figure using her vivid and strong color. The beauty is sometimes there in front of us, but it doesn’t reveal itself until we open our eyes properly. I think as artists we have the wonderful power to help open the secret door, clearing the smoke that hides nature’s beauty.

Speaking of color, I thought many of the artists’ subjects held a very clean but pastel color. I wondered how they achieved their shades. On first look, I thought perhaps the artwork was done in color pencil, but no, it was watercolor. In some parts, I saw tiny, tiny brush strokes. Instead of washing those stitches out, the artists kept them, floating them onto white paper, like a Georges Seurat painting. I couldn’t get an answer about this technique from my fellow artists, so I will tell you when I find out.

Magnolia obovata, watercolor on paper, © 2016, Mieko Konishi.

Magnolia obovata, watercolor on paper, © 2016, Mieko Konishi.

You may have the same question I have: how to portray something huge like a whole tree, or a plant like Magnolia obovata, which has leaves that grow up to 45 cm long and 25 cm wide? Two fantastic artists had the answers for me in this show.

The way Mieko Konishi portrayed Magnolia obovata was awesome! She positioned a main flower right up the center, and from it huge leaves spread in all directions. The leaves are cropped off in the middle. Only the two front leaves show almost the complete leaf shape, but even these leaves are cropped off at the tips. This is a huge painting already, but Mieko uses cropping and composition to indicate that the plant is too big to fit the paper. Her image reminded me the surprise I had when I picked up a Magnolia obovata leaf from the ground. I knew it was big, but seeing the actual leaf and holding it gave me additional amazement.

Pinus x densithunbergii, watercolor on paper, © 2016, Masumi Yamanaka.

Pinus x densithunbergii, watercolor on paper, © 2016, Masumi Yamanaka.

The other example is done by Masumi Yamanaka. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see her Pinus x densithunbergii in person. It was planed to be exhibited at the Japanese embassy in London a few weeks after I visited. This tree is known as the “Miracle Pine”, which survived the devastating tsunami that accompanied the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011 and somehow remained standing, even though the entire 70,000-tree pine forest along the beach was uprooted.

I had a privilege, however, to visit her studio in Kew Garden where she works with other official botanical illustrators of Kew. I could go on and on about the visit, but I would like to go back to her tree painting. I wondered how she created the tree painting without the actual tree in front of her. I watched her short documentary about the painting. Yes, she had many many references of the tree. Yes, she visited the actual tree and made the color samples at the site. But if she had had only those references, the tree would not be portrayed as accurately as it is in her artwork. What her painting contains is her experience and knowledge as a botanical illustrator. She has studied hundreds and thousands of plants with her keen observation and has painted them. This wisdom is laid on underneath the image.

I think the time we spend on a painting is not only spent on that specific artwork, but the knowledge we gain remains and accumulates in us as wisdom.

When I walked in the Kew garden and bumped into one of the trees Yamanaka had portrayed, I had a warm sensation as if I had just run into someone I knew.

Lastly, I couldn’t pass up telling you about what I do not know how to explain. Confusing, yes.

Cercidiphyllum magnificum, watercolor on paper, © 2016, Mieko Ishikawa

Cercidiphyllum magnificum, watercolor on paper, © 2016, Mieko Ishikawa.

I just had a “wow” when I saw Mieko Ishikawa’s Cercidiphyllum magnificum. The plant itself is again, very humble looking at first glance. Yet it grabbed my attention immediately. What captured me the most is the perfection of the drawing, The leaves look soft and slightly rounded, and the male and female flowers are delicate, yet lively. It is extremely realistic, yet informative. Even though she includes many details in various sizes and different angles, everything fits fantastically into one frame. In her illustration, I think that Art and Science meets in a precise middle point and keep a golden balance. Well, to be honest with you, I have no background nor knowledge of the science of botany, so I may have no idea what I am talking about. There are just so many things in this one painting to gaze at, to be amazed by, to learn, and questions to pose and think about.

“Good artists copy; great artists steal.” This is a famous quote by Picasso. I simply wish he also told us how to steal it.


The Flora Japonica exhibition is open from 17 September 2016 to 5 March 2017, 10 am to 5:30 pm in the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art at the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew, London, UK. Price is included with entry to the Gardens.

This exhibition includes about one hundred Japanese wild, native, endemic plants, portrayed by 36 of the most eminent contemporary Japanese botanical artists. The exhibition also features historic drawings and paintings by some of Japan’s most revered botanists and artists such as Dr. Tomitaro Makino (1863-1957), Sessai Hattori and Chikusai Kato (Edo period artists 1603-1868).

Additionally, works from Kew’s Illustration and Economic Botany collections also are on display, including an early Japanese botanical illustration, Honzō Zufu by Kanen Iwasaki (1786–1842), an illustrated encyclopaedia of medicinal plants from 1828, and Japanese wood panels by Chikusai Kato (1878), which are made from the wood and framed with the bark of the trees that they depict.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is located at: Kew, Richmond TW9 3AB, United Kingdom, +44 20 8332 5655.

Find information about Flora Japonica on Kew’s website.
Two press releases about the exhibition can be found here, and here.

Purchase the Flora Japonica catalogue.

Read the DAIWA Foundation article about the exhibition.

Read about the Flora Japonica exhibition on Asuka’s website and view Asuka’s artworks and exhibitions.

by Deb Shaw

Open Parrot Tulip, oil on paper, © 2016, Ingrid Finnan.

Open Parrot Tulip, oil on paper, © 2016, Ingrid Finnan.

In San Francisco? Arader Galleries is currently exhibiting Outside In: Contemporary Natural History Artworks, from September 9 – October 12, 2016. Original artworks are on display by seven ASBA artists, including Francesca Anderson, Jean Emmons, Monika de Vries Gohlke, Ingrid Finnan, Asuka Hishiki, Catherine Watters and Carol Woodin.

An article by ArtPlantae has information about each artist, with links to their websites.

In addition to the exhibition, Outside In, Arader Galleries will also feature the Highgrove Florilegium at the same time. Both volumes of the Florilegium will be on display, capturing HRH The Prince of Wales’ celebrated garden at Highgrove in 124 paintings by contemporary botanical artists from around the world.

by Deb Shaw

Prunus dulcis, Almond, watercolor by Margaret Best, © 2016, all rights reserved.

Prunus dulcis, Almond, watercolor by Margaret Best, © 2016, all rights reserved.

BAGSC members Margaret Best, Akiko Enokido, Asuka Hishiki, Mitsuko Schultz, and Deborah Shaw have been accepted into the 19th Annual International American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA) and The Horticultural Society of New York.

Jurors Susan Fraser (Director, Mertz Library,The New York Botanical Garden), David Horak (Curator of the Aquatic House, Brooklyn Botanic Garden), and Catherine Watters  (Botanical Artist) chose 48 artworks from 258 submissions. Works in the exhibition include artists from the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom.

Camellia japonica 'Hakuho', Heirloom Camellia "Hakuho', Akiko Enokido, © 2015, watercolor on vellum.

Camellia japonica ‘Hakuho’, Heirloom Camellia ‘Hakuho’ ‘White Phoenix’, watercolor on vellum by Akiko Enokido, © 2015, all rights reserved.

This year’s exhibition is in a new venue: it will be hosted by the New York Design Center and installed in their bright, airy, contemporary gallery space, 1stDibs, on the tenth floor. The Horticultural Society of New York, New York Design Center, and ASBA are designing special outreach events and programs, to be announced in September.

The opening reception will take place on Thursday evening, November 3, 2016 and will be on display through December 30, 2016. The catalog of artwork images will be posted on ASBA’s website the day of the opening. A full-color catalog will be published and available on ASBA’s website, as well as at the 1stDibs Gallery and at The Horticultural Society of New York. For further information please contact ASBA’s Exhibitions Director.

1stDibs is located on the 10th Floor of The New York Design Center, 200 Lexington Avenue, New York, New York, 10018. Gallery Hours are 9:30 – 5:30 Monday – Friday.

Solanum lycopersicm, Dancing Duo 34-A, Portrait of an Heirloom Tomato, watercolor by Asuka Hishiki, © 2016, all rights reserved.

Solanum lycopersicm, Dancing Duo 34-A, Portrait of an Heirloom Tomato, watercolor by Asuka Hishiki, © 2016, all rights reserved.

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, Hibiscus, watercolor by Mitsuko Schultz, © 2016, all rights reserved.

Hibiscus rosa-sinensis, Hibiscus, watercolor by Mitsuko Schultz, © 2016, all rights reserved.

Opuntia spp. Fruit, Tunas or Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit, watercolor on vellum by Deborah Shaw, © 2016, all rights reserved.

Opuntia spp. Fruit, Tunas or Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit, watercolor on vellum by Deborah Shaw, © 2016, all rights reserved.

by Deb Shaw

Pincushion Protea, watercolor and colored pencil on paper, © 2015 Estelle DeRidder, all rights reserved.

Pincushion Protea, watercolor and colored pencil on paper, © 2015 Estelle DeRidder, all rights reserved.

The American Society of Botanical Artists and The Horticultural Society of New York announce the opening of the 18th Annual International at a new venue: the New York Design Center at a new venue. The ASBA’s longest-running collaboration, this prestigious exhibition will be held for the first time in mid-town Manhattan.

The opening reception will be on Wednesday, November 4, 2105 from 6 pm – 8 pm. Awards will be announced at 7 pm.

The evening’s events will begin with a book talk by author Amy Goldman at 5 pm. Limited seating is available. To attend Amy Goldman’s talk, an RSVP is required: scourtade@thehort.org. No RSVP is required to attend the opening reception.

As always, the catalog of the exhibition is available through ArtPlantae, starting November 4th.

BAGSC artists accepted into the exhibition include: Margaret Best, Melanie Campbell-Carter, Estelle DeRidder, Akiko Enokido, Asuka Hishiki, Joan Keesey, and Lesley Randall. Jurors for the exhibition were: Susan Fraser, Director, Mertz Library, The New York Botanical Garden; David Horak, Curator of Orchids and Aquatic House, Brooklyn Botanic Garden; Catherine Watters; Botanical Artist and ASBA Board Member.

The New York Design Center is located at: 200 Lexington Ave. New York 10016, (212) 679-9500.

by Janice Sharp and Bonnie Born Ash, posted by Deb Shaw

People's Choice first place award went to Estelle DeRidder’s, Fuller’s Teasel, Dipsacus fullonum, colored pencil on paper, © 2015 Estelle DeRidder, all rights reserved.

People’s Choice first place award went to Estelle DeRidder’s, Fuller’s Teasel, Dipsacus fullonum, colored pencil on paper, © 2015 Estelle DeRidder, all rights reserved.

During the opening reception for the adjunct exhibition by the Botanical Artists Guild of Southern California (BAGSC), friends, family and the public were able to vote for their personal favorites. The votes are in and the ribbons have been hung for the last three days of the show, Friday, 7 August – Sunday, 9 August.

People's Choice second place award went to Lori Vreeke's, Field Pumpkin, Cucurbita pepo var.  ovifera, colored pencil on paper, © 2015 Lori Vreeke, all rights reserved.

People’s Choice second place award went to Lori Vreeke’s, Field Pumpkin, Cucurbita pepo var. ovifera, colored pencil on paper, © 2015 Lori Vreeke, all rights reserved.

First prize went to Estelle DeRidder’s Fuller’s Teasel with 16 votes. Second prize went to Lori Vreeke’s Field Pumpkin with 12 votes and third prize to Asuka Hishika’s Black Daikon Radish with 11 votes.

There were a surprisingly large number of votes cast (191) and the votes were distributed throughout all the artworks in the show. It is clear that there are many different themes and media that appeal to different viewers, but everyone agrees that the chosen works are fabulous!

People's Choice third place award went to Asuka Hishiki's, Black Daikon Radish (Kuromaru Daikon), Raphanus sativus, watercolor on paper, © 2015 Asuka Hishiki, all rights reserved.

People’s Choice third place award went to Asuka Hishiki’s, Black Daikon Radish (Kuromaru Daikon), Raphanus sativus, watercolor on paper, © 2015 Asuka Hishiki, all rights reserved.

by Deb Shaw

Asuka Hishiki, WasabiThe New York Botanical Garden/ASBA Second Triennial Exhibition entitled “Weird, Wild & Wonderful” announced the medal winners for the show. The Gold medal went to Asuka Hishiki for her watercolor of Eutrema japonica (Wasabi Root); silver was awarded to Beverly Allen for Taca integrifolia (White Bat Flower); and Julia Trickey took the bronze for her Polystichum sp. (Fern Crozier).

Beverly Allen, White BatflowerJulia Trickey, Shield FernThe awards jury included: Shirley Sherwood, D. Phil, Caroline A. Wamsler, Ph.D., and Jean Emmons, who met on April 16 to select the medal recipients.

See the ASBA website and The New York Botanical Garden website for more about the exhibition. Catalogs can be ordered through ArtPlantae. Be sure to include your ASBA member discount code at checkout.

Congratulations to all!

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