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by Janice Sharp, posted by Deb Shaw

Artwork hanging above the card catalog in the Arboretum Library. Artists are: (L to R) Diane Nelson Daly, Deborah Shaw, and Estelle DeRidder. Photo by Janice Sharp, © 2017.

Artwork hanging above the card catalog in the Arboretum Library. Artists are: (L to R) Diane Nelson Daly, Deborah Shaw, and Estelle DeRidder. Photo by Janice Sharp, © 2017.

Illustrating the Urban Forest: 20 Years of Botanical Art, is now open at the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden. The exhibition, featuring Southern Californian urban trees, is now hanging in the Arboretum’s library and includes 29 artworks by 17 BAGSC artists. The exhibition is being held in conjunction with BAGSC’s 20th anniversary celebration.

Photo by Janice Sharp, © 2017.

Photo by Janice Sharp, © 2017.

BAGSC artists in the exhibition include: Diane Nelson Daly, Estelle DeRidder, Cynthia Jackson, Susan Jackson, Clara Josephs, Suzanne Kuuskmae, Patricia A. Mark, Arillyn Moran-Lawrence, Terri Munroe, Marilyn Anne Parino, Veronica Raymond, Olga Ryabtsova, Mitsuko Schultz, Gilly Shaeffer, Janice Sharp, Deborah Shaw, and Jude Wiesenfeld.

Illustrating the Urban Forest: 20 Years of Botanical Art will run from July 6, 2017 to September 28, 2017.

A collage of artwork in the exhibition in The Arboretum Library. Photo collage by Janice Sharp, © 2017.

A collage of artwork in the exhibition in The Arboretum Library. Photo collage by Janice Sharp, © 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Join BAGSC members for our 20th Anniversary Celebration at The Arboretum

On Saturday, August 26, BAGSC will celebrate their 20th Anniversary. The program for the celebration will be:

4:00 – 4:45 p.m.
“Illustrating the Urban Forest: 20 Years of Botanical Art” Exhibition by BAGSC Members • Tour of the exhibition includes light refreshments and comments by the artists and Matt Ritter, our guest speaker.

5:00 – 5:45 p.m.
Presentation by Matt Ritter, botanist and author of A Californian’s Guide to the Trees Among Us

6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Buffet Dinner • Highlights of BAGSC’s 20-year history

BAGSC members and their guests are invited to the programs and the dinner for $60 per person. Admission to The Arboretum is free; please see the Visitor’s Center attendant for free admission to the Arboretum Gardens for BAGSC guests.

Please email Gilly Shaeffer to RSVP with your name, phone number and the number in your party. Gilly will send an email reply to let you know where to send your check, payable to BAGSC, by August 15.

Los Angeles County Arboretum members and others who would like to attend only the exhibition tour and Matt Ritter presentation (but not the dinner) are welcome to join us for that part of the program. Arboretum members are $10; non-members are $15, payable at the door. There is no additional charge for Arboretum admission.

The 2017 Summer/Fall issue of The Arboretum's magazine has a page featuring the upcoming exhibitions in The Arboretum's library.

The 2017 Summer/Fall issue of The Arboretum’s magazine has a page featuring the upcoming exhibitions in The Arboretum’s library.

The Urban Forest exhibition can be seen with admission to The Arboretum during regular business hours in The Arboretum’s Library. There are no additional charges. The Arboretum is located at: 301 North Baldwin Avenue, Arcadia CA 91007-2697.

by Leslie Walker, posted by Deb Shaw

The background and basic plant shapes are blocked in. Notes and reference photos are taped on the beginnings of the mural.

The background and basic plant shapes are blocked in. Notes and reference photos are taped on the beginnings of the mural. Photo by Leslie Walker, © 2017.

BAGSC member Estelle DeRidder has been painting a mural at the Madrona Marsh Preserve and Nature Center in Torrance, California. She has been working on the wall for the past couple of weeks, but has done a great deal of planning previously.

I have been following the progress of the mural. The first time I saw it, the background was in and Estelle was beginning to paint in the big plants, but I couldn’t take any pictures as I had forgotten my iPad.

This past weekend, there were many more plants blocked in, and places were earmarked where more plants would go.

I will be keeping everyone up-to-date about Estelle’s botanical mural as the work progresses. More plants will continue to be blocked in, after which details will be added, including insects, animals and birds.

You can visit Estelle and the mural at the Madrona Marsh Preserve and Nature Center in Torrance, California. The Madrona Marsh is located at 3201 Plaza del Amo, Torrance, CA 90503, 310-782-3989.

Another section of the mural, with reference photos. Photo by Leslie Walker, © 2017.

Another section of the mural, with reference photos. Photo by Leslie Walker, © 2017.

The Madrona Marsh is open free to the public, Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, excluding holidays. Because most of the Marsh is staffed by volunteers, and because weather can be a factor, the times the Marsh and Nature Center is open is subject to change. Please call (310) 782-3989 before visiting to make sure the Marsh is open. 

Another section of the mural. Photo by Leslie Walker, © 2017.

Another section of the mural. Photo by Leslie Walker, © 2017.

Andrew Mitchell (left) and Janice Sharp (right) mark the wall for hanging the paintings.

Andrew Mitchell (left) and Janice Sharp (right) mark the wall for hanging the paintings.

by Janice Sharp and Deb Shaw

The first art exhibition by the Botanical Artist Guild of Southern California in the Brody Botanical Center at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens has been hung… and it is beautiful!

This show, Inspired by California, features plants that are both indigenous to California as well as plants that have become synonymous with California.

Janice Sharp hanging one of the selected artworks.

Janice Sharp hanging one of the selected artworks.

Thirteen of the entrants were selected for hanging. We congratulate Diane Nelson Daly, Estelle DeRidder, Patricia Mark, Terri Munroe, Gilly Schaffer, Deborah Shaw, Mitsuko Schultz, Janice Sharp, Beth Stone, Ellie Tu and Jude Wiesenfeld on their outstanding submissions.

We thank The Huntington for the exhibit space, Jim Folsom for the inspiration that resulted in the exhibition, Robert Hori for the inception and logistics, Andrew Mitchell for the designing and hanging of the exhibit and Melanie Thorpe for all the details.

Andrew Mitchell with final exhibition display.

Andrew Mitchell with final exhibition display.

Inspired by California will run from June 1, 2017 to August 15, 2017.  Current and future exhibitions in the Brody Botanical Center will coincide with events and seasons at The Huntington.

In September, Inspired by Latin America will take the place of the current exhibition. Inspired by Latin America will shown from September 1, 2017 to January 15, 2018. BAGSC member entries will be due no later than August 1, 2017. See the “Call for Entries” page in the “Members Only” section of the BAGSC website for further details.

Inspired by California can be seen with admission to The Huntington during regular business hours. There are no additional charges. The exhibition is in the main lobby area of the Brody Botanical Center. The Huntington is located at: 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, CA 91108.

"Inspired by California" by the Botanical Artists Guild of Southern California, in the Brody Botanical Center at The Huntington.

“Inspired by California” by the Botanical Artists Guild of Southern California, in the Brody Botanical Center at The Huntington. Signage about the paintings and information about BAGSC was added after this photo was taken.

by Bonnie Born Ash, posted by Deb Shaw

Many BAGSC members get together on an informal basis to go to exhibits and museums, see flowers and work on their paintings. BAGSC members in the Los Angeles county area have been getting together to work on their individual paintings. The next gathering of their BAGSC regional botanical illustration group will be held on:

TUESDAY, MAY 2
11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Norma’s Home

If you are interested in attending, please contact Bonnie to RSVP via email. Space is limited when meeting in member’s home, so no more than ten members will be able to join this day. Participants should remember to bring lunch and a portable light if needed.

A “Regional BAGSC” page has been added to the “Members Only” area of the BAGSC website. If you would like to invite all BAGSC members to an outing or a painting day, let Deb know and she will post it to the website and the blog. OR, take a BAGSC website training session and get on the team to learn how to post it yourself!

Happy painting!

by Gilly Shaeffer, posted by Deb Shaw

Save-the-date postcard, designed by Jan and Chas Clouse, featuring Gilly Shaeffer's watercolor of a California native walnut, © 2017.

Save-the-date postcard, designed by Jan and Chas Clouse, featuring Gilly Shaeffer’s watercolor of a California native walnut, © 2017.

The Botanical Artists Guild of Southern California (BAGSC) is celebrating its 20th Anniversary this year. Mark your calendars–on August 26, 2017, the Guild will be having a gala celebration in honor of our Anniversary.

Since its inception in 1997, our group has grown, changed and keeps getting better. So, we have good reason to celebrate. Members continue to develop their botanical art skills through classes and workshops, and, as a result of this dedication and hard work, we have more and more opportunities to show our art. Through outreach, exhibition and educational activities, BAGSC has increased southern Californian’s awareness and appreciation for this art form.

We have many activities planned in honor of our 20-year milestone.

The Los Angeles Arboretum Library, one of our earliest supporters, will be hosting a BAGSC exhibition, entitled “Illustrating the Urban Forest: 20 Years of Botanical Art”. The exhibition will feature trees that grow in Mediterranean climates. Opening in early July, 2017, the exhibition will run until the end of September.

On August 26 we will hold a 20th Anniversary Celebration at the Los Angeles Arboretum:

4:00 – Artists will lead a tour of the exhibition and discuss the art.

5:00 – A special presentation will be given by Matt Ritter, author of A Californian’s Guide to Trees Among Us. Matt is a professor at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, a tree expert and a photographer. This promises to be a delightful and informative presentation.

6:00 – The Anniversary Dinner will be held at the Peacock Café Patio at sunset. Olga Eysymontt, long time botanical art instructor, will share memories of BAGSC beginnings and how botanical art got started in Los Angeles. And there will be opportunities for all to connect with old friends and meet new ones.

Invitations to this special event will be available soon. The suggested donation for attending is $60.

Keep your eyes open for invitations and more information. Entries for the exhibition at the LA Arboretum Library, “Illustrating the Urban Forest: 20 Years of Botanical Art” are due May 12, 2017. The “Call for Entries” can be found on the BAGSC website Exhibitions page and in the Members Only section. Questions on the exhibition? Please contact Janice Sharp. Questions about the 20th Anniversary Celebration? Please contact Gilly Shaeffer.

bagsc20thCMYKWe are looking forward to sharing a beautiful afternoon and evening with members, friends, family, special guests from the Los Angeles botanical gardens community and more. We hope all will join us for this magical anniversary celebration.

 

by Deb Shaw

The Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden has announced the schedule for Cristina Baltayian’s Botanical Art and Illustration classes.

Each session meets four (4) Tuesdays per month, from 10 am – 2 pm (includes lunch break) in the Oak Room:

January          10, 17, 24, 31
February        7, 14, 21, 28
March             7, 14, 21, 28
April               4, 11, 18, 25
May                 2,   9, 16, 23
June                6, 13, 20, 27

Cost: $275 Arboretum members per month; $295 non-members per month (includes Arboretum Admission)

To Register please call the Education Department at 626.821.4623 or pay at the class.

These classes explore color pencil, graphite, pen and ink, and watercolor on various papers, vellum and other surfaces. The emphasis is on plant observation, drawing, composition, color theory and matching, and medium techniques. In conjunction with the Botanical Artists Guild of Southern California, students will be studying and portraying many of the Arboretum plant introductions from the last 50 years. The goal is to build a collection of paintings that will celebrate and document the invaluable contribution of the Los Angeles Arboretum to the state of California.

The Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden is located at 301 North Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007, 626.821.3222.

by Joan Keesey and Deb Shaw

Eschscholzia californica, California Poppies, watercolor, © Joan Keesey, 2016, all rights reserved.

Eschscholzia californica, California Poppies, watercolor, © Joan Keesey, 2016, all rights reserved.

Joan Keesey will be exhibiting her botanical watercolors at the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers and Native Plants from Saturday, January 21, through Saturday, April 22, 2017.

The exhibition will focus on California native plants blooming in and around the Theodore Payne Foundation and in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Everyone is invited to the opening reception for the exhibition, on Saturday, January 21, 2017, from 1 – 3 pm.

The Theodore Payne Foundation is located at 10459 Tuxford Street, Sun Valley, California 91352, 818.768.1802. Hours are Tuesday – Saturday, 8:30 am – 4:30 pm. Theodore Payne is closed Sunday and Monday each week. On-leash dogs are welcome. There is no admission fee.

tpf_single%c2%ad_logoTheodore Payne will be hosting their annual native Winter Plant Sale Thursday – Saturday, January 26 – 28, from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm all three days. Everyone will receive discounts for all three days, plus receive expert advice from Theodore Payne staff and volunteers. Members receive 15 percent off plants, seed and Theodore Payne wear all day. Non-members receive 10 percent off plants, seed and Theodore Payne wear after 11:00 am. Not yet a member? Join at the door! Shop early for best selection.

Bring your own boxes and wagons, see the art exhibition and purchase native California plants.

by Estelle DeRidder and Deb Shaw

Invitation for Estelle DeRidder's Madrona Marsh Nature Center Exhibition, © 2016, Estelle DeRidder.

Invitation for Estelle DeRidder’s Madrona Marsh Nature Center Exhibition, © 2016, Estelle DeRidder.

In 2012, BAGSC member Estelle DeRidder was awarded an education grant from the American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA) to use in creating reusable plant identification cards featuring California native plant illustrations from the Madrona Marsh Preserve in Torrence, California.

Information about Estelle’s project was presented at the ASBA Annual Meeting and Conference in Denver, Colorado during the ASBA Grant Presentations, October 17, 2014.

Estelle is now exhibiting the complete project at the Madrona Marsh Nature Center. Titled The Flashcard Project: Flora of the Madrona Marsh III, the exhibition runs from December 6, 2016 through January 20, 2017. There will be an opening reception Sunday, December 18, 2016
1:00 – 4:00 pm.

The public is invited and welcome.

The Nature Center at the Madrona Marsh Preserve is located at: 3201 Plaza del Amo, Torrance, CA 90505. Phone: (310) 32-MARSH. The Madrona March is open Tuesday – Sunday, 10 am – 5 pm.

If you are interested in applying for an ASBA grant, please apply by August 1, 2017 (open to ASBA members only). Information and the application can be found on the ASBA’s Grant page on their website.

by Deb Shaw

Plant: Exploring the Botanical World.Plant: Exploring the Botanical World is a beautifully illustrated coffee table book featuring 300 watercolors, drawings, paintings, prints, photographs and micrograph scans of botanical subjects. The book was on display during the portfolio-sharing session at the 2016 American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA) conference in Pittsburgh, and had lines of admirers thumbing through the sample copies.

Many of our ASBA colleagues are featured in Plant: the artwork was selected by a panel of international experts including Dr. James Compton, botanist and plant collector; Charlotte Tancin of the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation; and Patricia Jonas, of  ASBA.

Hailed as “a dazzling collection…that brings the evolution of botanical art right into the 21st century” (Gardens Illustrated), Plant is a wonderful resource for artists, horticulturists, and anyone who appreciates the breathtaking variety of the natural world.

Phaidon, is eager to share Plant with botanical artists and the natural science illustrators. They are extending a limited time special offer: 30% off the purchase price plus free shipping in the United States for arrival in six to seven days. Plant normally retails for $59.95; the special price is $39.95 USD (Amazon is offering the book at a 16% discount, for $50.62).

Use this link to purchase the book and receive the special offer on Phaidon’s website: http://www.phaidon.com/plantoffer/

SPECIFICATIONS:
Format: Hardback
Size: 290 x 250 mm (11-3/8 x 9-7/8 in)
Pages: 352 pp
Illustrations: 300 Illustrations
ISBN: 9780714871486

Please contact Ellie Levine, Phaidon Executive Marketing Manager, North America if you know of an institution or organization who would like to receive a complimentary copy of Plant for their library, or if you are interested in purchasing multiple copies of the book.

Thank you to Britt Griswold, Guild of Natural Science Illustrators for letting us know about this wonderful offer!

About Phaidon (from their website):
Phaidon is the premier global publisher of the creative arts with over 1,500 titles in print. We work with the world’s most influential artists, chefs, writers and thinkers to produce innovative books on art, photography, design, architecture, fashion, food and travel, and illustrated books for children. Phaidon is headquartered in London and New York City.

by Melanie Campbell-Carter, posted by Deb Shaw

John Pastoriza-Piñol demonstrating ellipses.

John Pastoriza-Piñol demonstrating ellipses. Photo by Melanie Campbell-Carter, © 2016.

The renowned Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens provided fourteen BAGSC members with a three-day Master Class with John Pastoriza-Pinol on November 8 – 10, 2016. The Huntington offered us exquisite Paphiopedilum specimens from the Conservatory and greenhouses for our subjects. Kudos to Melanie Thorpe of The Huntington, and BAGSC Education Chair Jude Wiesenfeld, for flawless organization on this long-anticipated workshop.

Quoting participant Arillyn Moran-Lawrence, “We learned so many new techniques:

  1. Using ellipses to find the proper placement of a plant on the paper.
  2. Using abundant masking fluid to keep the areas between washes pristine.
  3. Using many layers of pale colors to build to unique darker colors.
  4. Using brushes like blenders, spotters and a Neef comb to complete the painting.”

Reactions to the experience by participating artists included,

Using abundant masking fluid. Photo by Melanie Campbell-Carter, © 2016.

Using abundant masking fluid. Photo by Melanie Campbell-Carter, © 2016.

“Combing is my new favorite thing!” Cynthia Jackson

“Watching John develop the orchid painting was truly an inspiration.” Gilly Shaeffer

“(John) will rewet six or seven times before he starts dry brush work and a total of maybe 30 layers to the final work. I am so happy to have learned about his methods.” Leslie Walker

“I never named my orchid but after all those pastel washes I named my painting…my pretty pony!” Beth Stone

John Pastoriza-Piñol demonstrating to class participants. Photo by Melanie Campbell-Carter, © 2016.

John Pastoriza-Piñol demonstrating to class participants. Photo by Melanie Campbell-Carter, © 2016.

The students coordinated a “paint share” for John’s materials list, courtesy of BAGSC member/artist Beth Stone. As an unexpected bonus, Robert Hori of The Huntington graciously shared several prints from the Estate of Rory McEwen with the class. BAGSC member/artist Mitsuko Schultz shared several books, including the new publication, Flora Japonica, from the current exhibition at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery at the Kew Gardens, which she attended two months ago.

John is currently enjoying an extended stay in the US on a grant from the Australian Arts Council, and will be in New York City through the end of the year in an association with the Horticultural Society of New York. Seeing the American national election process through his eyes was an interesting experience! We are gratified that he so enjoyed his time at The Huntington that he expressed a heartfelt wish to return soon.

A few of the participants in class with John. L to R: Photo by Melanie Campbell-Carter, © 2016.

A few of the participants in John’s class. (L to R:) Teri Kuwahara, Gilly Shaeffer, Jude Wiesenfeld, John Pastoriza-Piñol, Gayle Uyehara, Sydney Tanner, Cynthia Jackson, Leslie Walker, and Kat Powell. Photo by Melanie Campbell-Carter, © 2016.

by Jennifer Lazar, 101 San Diego; and Lisa Reynolds, San Diego Botanic Garden; posted by Deb Shaw

BAGSC's exhibition "Cornucopia" at the San Diego Botanic Garden is on the home page of San Diego Media Marketing's website. The link has more information about the exhibition and a coupon for $2 off admission to the Garden.

BAGSC’s exhibition “Cornucopia” at the San Diego Botanic Garden is on the home page of San Diego Media Marketing’s website. The link has more information about the exhibition and a coupon for $2 off admission to the Garden.

San Diego Media Marketing has promoted BAGSC’s exhibition Cornucopia at the San Diego Botanic Garden in their 101 Things To Do in San Diego update.

Cornucopia: A Botanical Art Exhibit at San Diego Botanic Garden is one of the “Featured Slides” on their home website from October 31 – November 6, 2016. They have also scheduled Facebook and Twitter posts for November 2!

Clicking the link from the home page calls up a page with more information about the San Diego Botanic Garden and the Cornucopia exhibition. The page also includes a coupon for a $2 discount on adult admission to the Garden, limit of four (4) adults. The coupon is good through December 31, 2016.

by Susan Eubank, posted by Deb Shaw

Peacock! Plant! The Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden is hosting an Open Art Exhibits Call at an:
Artists’ Open House at the Gallery in the Arboretum Library 
Saturday, January 14, 2016, 1-4 p.m., and
Saturday, January 28, 2016, 1-4 p.m.

Logo for the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Gardens.

Logo for the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden.

There’s a new art space in town and the Arboretum Library is looking for artists. This open house is to encourage artists of all media to view the newly renovated Arboretum Library exhibit space and the Arboretum grounds for inspiration. Details of exhibit requirements will be discussed at the open house.

The first exhibition will run March 1 – June 30, 2017 and will use the word “Peacock” as the inspirational word for the exhibition. All media will be considered.

The second exhibition will be from October 1 – December 30, 2017 and will use plants as the theme. All media will be considered.

Deadline for art submissions for both shows is February 11, 2017. Proposals to exhibit should include at least three (3) digital scans or images of the proposed art, no larger than a total of 9 MB, submitted via email to Susan Eubank. A jury of art and plant professionals will choose the exhibiting artists and artworks. Artists will be notified by February 15, 2017. Solo shows or collaborative groups will be preferred.

Past exhibits in the Arboretum Library include: Karen Hochman Brown’s Kaleidoscopes, the Botanical Artists Guild of Southern California, and a Multicultural Weaving Exhibit. The Library contains a comprehensive collection of resources on gardening, botany, California native plants, and environmental issues as these subjects relate to the plants native to and planted in Southern California. This includes books, e-books, magazines, government documents, pamphlets, and audio-visual materials.

Light refreshments will be provided. Please RSVP to the Arboretum Librarian, Susan Eubank, by email, or by calling 626-821-3213 to attend the open house or to ask questions about this open exhibit call. BAGSC members may contact Janice Sharp with questions or comments; Janice is BAGSC’s liaison with the LA Arboretum.

The LA Arboretum is located at: 301 North Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007, 626.821.3222.

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

Aristolochia gigantea, ink on paper, Lesley Randall, © 2013, all rights reserved

Aristolochia gigantea, ink on paper, Lesley Randall, © 2013, all rights reserved

The 14th International Exhibition of Botanical Art and Illustration by The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation has been traveling around the United States for the past two years. Its final stop is at the Petaluma Arts Center in Petaluma, California, for a botanical art exhibition entitled Floribunda, which will run from October 16, 2016 through December 11, 2016.

Floribunda is a celebration of all things floral, featuring the 36 artists from nine countries in The 14th Hunt exhibition, including BAGSC members Leslie Randall and Deborah Shaw. Additionally, the Petaluma Arts Center will feature the work of Aimee Baldwin, Evan Kolker and Randy Strong—three Bay Area artists who create three-dimensional representations of flowers.

 

“This exhibition is designed as a source of inspiration and an invitation to see the natural world around us in distinct ways, to illuminate the relationship between art and science,” explained Petaluma Arts Center Exhibitions Manager Kim Chigi. “With Botany as one of the sciences, we are excited about the juxtaposition of traditional botanical illustration with the contemporary three-dimensional creations, working in tandem, to explore the connections between the creativity of both artist and nature.”

The Petaluma Arts Center will host a series of events related to the exhibition, including artists’ talks, studio workshops, and botanical art demonstrations:

  • Saturday, November 5: Botanical Art Demonstrations with BAGSC member Nina Antze, and Martha Kemp, Lucy Martin and Vi Strain, 1:00 pm, FREE
  • Thursday, November 10: Artists’ Talk with Evan Kolker and Randy Strong, 7:00 pm; doors open at 6:30 pm.
  • Sunday, November 12 -13: Watercolor Botanical Workshop with Amber Turner
Nina Antze, Martha Kemp, Lucy Martin and Vi Strain, will demonstrate botanical art in a variety of media starting at 1:00 pm on Saturday, November 5, 2016. The demonstrations are free.

Nina Antze, Martha Kemp, Lucy Martin and Vi Strain, will demonstrate botanical art in a variety of media starting at 1:00 pm on Saturday, November 5, 2016. The demonstrations are free.

Details and ticket information can be found on the Events page on the Petaluma Arts Center’s website. To arrange for group visits or school tours, email or call Kim at (707) 762-5600 x104.

Following the 14th International Exhibition at the Hunt, the travel exhibition went to the Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art—Loretto and was on display from October 18 through December 6, 2014. The exhibition then traveled to the Fellows Riverside Gardens in Youngstown, Ohio where it was on display until January 10, 2016.

The Petaluma Arts Center is located in the historic train depot at 230 Lakeville St, Petaluma, California, 94952. Gallery Hours are: Thursday through Monday, 11 am-5 pm. The gallery is closed Tuesday, Wednesday and holidays.

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.

Admission to the Petaluma Arts Center is $5 for general admission and $4 for seniors. Students, teachers, military, and PAC members are free.

by Deb Shaw

Hylocereus undatus pitahayas, Pitaya or Dragon Fruit, watercolor by Diane Nelson Daly, © 2016. The dragon fruit is the fruit of a cactus species indigenous to the Americas. The fruit is sweet and crunchy with a flavor that is a cross between kiwi and pear.

Hylocereus undatus pitahayas, Pitaya or Dragon Fruit, watercolor by Diane Nelson Daly, © 2016. The dragon fruit is the fruit of a cactus species indigenous to the Americas. The fruit is sweet and crunchy with a flavor that is a cross between kiwi and pear.

Cornucopia, a botanical art exhibition of all things edible by the Botanical Artists Guild of Southern California (BAGSC) will open Friday, September 23 in the Ecke Building at the San Diego Botanic Garden (SDBG). The exhibit runs from September 23 – November 18, and includes 47 artworks by 21 BAGSC artists, illustrating the diverse plants that people use all over the world for food, drink and flavorings. The paintings are accompanied by descriptions, stories or recipes written by the artists.

Broccoli, watercolor by Asuka Hishiki, © 2016.

Broccoli, watercolor by Asuka Hishiki, © 2016.

The opening reception will be Friday, September 23, from 3:30 pm – 6:30 pm.  The public is invited; the exhibition is free with paid admission or membership.

Artists in the exhibition include: Bonnie Born Ash, Nancy Beckham, Jan Clouse, Diane Nelson Daly, Estelle DeRidder, Asuka Hishiki, Cynthia Jackson, Susan Jackson, Clara Josephs, Teresa Kuwahara, Patricia A. Mark, Arillyn Moran-Lawrence, Kathy Morgan, Terri Munroe, Alyse Ochniak, Mitsuko Schultz, Janice Sharp, Deborah Shaw, Ellie Yun-Hui Tu, Leslie Walker, Jude Wiesenfeld.

Rosa californica, California Rose, watercolor by Estelle DeRidder, © 2016.

Rosa californica, California Rose, watercolor by Estelle DeRidder, © 2016.

The San Diego Botanic Garden is located at 230 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas, California 92024, 760.436.3036. Directions can be found on the SDBG website. Download the postcard invitation featuring a watercolor by Teresa Kuwahara: cornucopia-invitation-postcard.

 

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