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by Marilyn Parrino, posted by Deb Shaw

Sierra Madre will host their 57th Annual Art in the Park this Saturday, May 4th and Sunday, May 5th. Join one hundred juried artists who will be displaying an array of Fine Art and Fine Craft in:
Sierra Madre’s Memorial Park
222 W. Sierra Madre Blvd.
Sierra Madre, California
9:30 am to 5:00 pm

Admission is free, and each day features a food court; live music on stage at the band shell and on the southeast lawn of the park, and a silent auction!

Be sure to visit the booth “Beautiful Botanicals,” featuring the artwork of BAGSC members Marilyn Parrino, Nancy Beckham, and Robyn Reilman.

All Proceeds from the Art Fair benefit the Sierra Madre Public Library. For more information please call the Library at 626-355-7186.

Sierra Madre Art in the Park

Sierra Madre Art in the Park

by Deb Shaw

California Current, colored pencil by Nina Antze, © 2018.

California Current, colored pencil by Nina Antze, © 2018.

There are still a few seats left! Nina Antze will be teaching her color pencil technique in a two-day workshop at the Madrona Marsh Preserve in Torrance in February:

Non-Native Invasive Plants of the Madrona Marsh
Workshop in Color Pencil with Nina Antze
February 7-8, 2019

Madrona Marsh Preserve Nature Center
3201 Plaza del Amo
Torrance, CA 90505


$200 for BAGSC members, $250 for non-members

Learn about the non-native invasive plants at the Madrona Marsh Preserve in Torrance, California. Participants will tour the nature preserve and select an invasive plant to use as their specimen. Participants can remove as many specimens from the preserve as they would like!

Additionally, BAGSC members are invited to submit works for the exhibition “Non-Native Invasive Plants of the Madrona Marsh” to be held in the summer of 2019, opening June 1 and running until August. Nina’s workshop is a great opportunity to get your artwork started for submission to this important exhibition.
Exhibit submission deadline: May 15, 2019
Questions about the exhibition? Contact Olga Ryabtsova, BAGSC Exhibition Chair.

To see more details and to register for Nina’s workshop: go to BAGSC’s website at https://bagsc.org/ click on “Classes” and then on “Class details” under the workshop name, OR go directly to https://bagsc.org/index.php/classes/nina-antze-2019.

[Editor’s note: Botanical artists have a long tradition of displaying their art where it can make a difference to the those who view it. Recent examples include art exhibitions in botanical gardens, of native plants around the world, and of vanishing species. Botanical artists also have been creative in finding other venues to display botanical art and reach a wider audience. This is hopefully the first in a series of posts about such efforts in a new category entitled “Botanical Art Out and About.” Do you have a story to share? If so, please email our blog editor.]

by Jan Clouse, posted by Deb Shaw

"Cat & Bird," Quercus agrifolia (Coast Live Oak). Graphite and colored pencil on paper by Jan Clouse, © 2018.

“Cat & Bird,” Quercus agrifolia (Coast Live Oak). Graphite and colored pencil on paper by Jan Clouse, © 2018. Website at: janclousebotanicals.com

I was a volunteer in the Salud Carbajal for Congress campaign of 2016 to represent the California 24th congressional district, encompassing Santa Barbara County, San Luis Obispo County and the Los Padres National Forest in Ventura County. Salud repeatedly urged my husband and me to come visit him in Washington D.C. if he got elected. I decided that, although I might not be visiting the Congressman in Washington, I could loan him a couple of my paintings. One I selected was a painting of a Coast Live Oak as an icon of the district he represents. It hung in his Santa Barbara district office from 2016 to 2018, greeting constituents just inside the door of his local district office.

Coincidentally, when Salud won re-election this past November, the painting sold. So I changed out that original painting, replacing it with another version of the ubiquitous Coast Live Oak. This one is of a dead branch I had picked up from in front of my veterinarian’s office. The vet clinic is called the “Cat and Bird Clinic” because my vet specializes in those two species, and in the office it is not uncommon to see one of the resident cats roaming the lobby with one of the chickens who also lives there.

You can’t mistake the story of a cat’s claw and the falling feathers in the image of the branch. It seemed only fitting to call the finished painting “Cat & Bird.”

The soft vulnerability of the feathers against the sharp twigs is too often the story of sudden violence between cats and birds. But really, this time it’s just a Quercus agrifolia.

by Kirsten Rindal, posted by Deb Shaw

“Using Light to Create Realism in Botanicals”, taught by Robert McNeill at The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, October 3-5, 2018 was an amazing 3-day workshop!

Robert began with a thought-provoking quote by Leonardo da Vinci: “A painter should begin every painting with a wash of black, because all things in nature are dark except where it is exposed to light.” We were all inspired by the meticulous approach and techniques, and how he used light to reveal the drama, depth, form, transparency and detail of the subject.

Snapshot's from Robert McNeil's workshop.

Snapshot’s from Robert McNeil’s workshop.

He discussed the importance of capturing the effect of light, how it requires controlled tone/value to describe the relative lightness or darkness of color, creating an illusion of form. When we perceive tones/values, they are always relative to each other and never seen in isolation. Therefore, simultaneous contrast is always at work. Being able to create and control tonal/value gradation in watercolor is an important skill to acquire, along with the ability to see them and record them accurately. This controlled effective tone/value can take your work to a higher level by creating “enhanced relations through convincing volume”. Robert’s painting of the Cardiocrinum gigantum was a perfect example of how a painting encourages the viewer to look closer by revealing detail that has been made more apparent by light.

During the workshop, Robert shared examples of his work to illustrate the process and techniques of using light to create realism. He stressed the importance of constantly analyzing the process as one worked. Generous with information, patient in answering every question, his enthusiasm, interest and support were always encouraging.

Lighting:
Robert reviewed ways to light your subject, explaining that correct intensity and direction of light for the subject is important to reveal aspects crucial to capturing its essence. He usually uses overhead lighting that is controlled. He noted that it is not always helpful to place subjects in strong light, as extreme contrasts can create more problems than it solves. His painting of Abies koreana ‘Carron’ beautifully illustrates how studying the play of light across all aspects of his subject creates a sense of drama. We were encouraged to think about lighting in the subject’s natural habitat, and what would be typical of natural lighting. It was suggested that we avoid overhead lights in a room, and also light from windows, keeping light consistent on the subject you are painting.

Documenting Stage:
Thorough and objective observation of the subject is key. Observe the subject from all angles to ascertain which angle would convey the most convincing nature of the subject. Carefully look for overlapping and foreshortening. (Taking photos as a reference is OK, but best not to rely on photos.) For details use eyes, and measure subject for 1:1 scale, carefully documenting information, as subject will change by growing, wilting or drying out. Observe the difference that the angle of light source makes upon subject for revealing visual strengths. Fifteen minutes were given to make three quick loose, linear drawings of our subject, the rose. Fifteen more minutes were given to make three more quick, linear/tonal drawings. Color matching was made at this part of the documenting process. He asked us to be mindful of the way colors are affected by the color next to it. Robert uses Winsor Newton transparent paints only, and always mixes his own greens and oranges.

Development Stage:
We began this part of the process by producing a full size 1:1 scale drawing, referring to documenting stage material to ensure accuracy. Robert shared examples of his work showing meticulous detail to be used as a reference for final painting. Next we were to make an accurate tracing from the drawing of our rose. The tracing was placed in a variety of positions before making a final decision and transferring it to watercolor paper. After transfer, it was advised to always re-work to produce more accurate drawing. He cautioned us about erasures on watercolor paper that can cause paper’s surface to breakdown. Robert also gave a tip about using a piece of silk and an agate to smooth a ruffled paper surface.

Demonstrations:

Lifting Preparation.

  • Winsor Newton Lifting Preparation may be used for ease in lifting paint for veins, etc.
  • Use 3 layers of lifting prep, allowing 2 hours of drying time in between each layer.
  • You may use lifting prep over layer of wash.
  • Best to only use in small areas, and be extremely careful not to go over pencil lines.

Ox Gall Liquid.

  • Mix 3 drops of Winsor Newton Ox Gall in ¼ cup water. Keep small marked water jar with this mixture separate from other water.
  • This mixture helps paint to flow easily.
  • You may use Ox Gall and water wash on paper first, and when slightly damp, add paint wash. Or, you may use Ox Gall and water and paint all at the same time.
  • Never use paint with Ox Gall for dry brush work. Keep paints and brushes used for dry brush separate.

Dry Brush Technique.

  • Using a Spotter, WN 000, Robert demonstrated stipples and tiny fine lines.
  • Robert used a separate plate with tiny dots of dry paint, moistening his brush with a damp sponge.
  • For texture, only hit the high points of the paper.
  • Can use damp brush on top of stipples very carefully.
  • It is important to avoid using one technique, rather use a combination of wash and dry brush. Continually analyze the process you are using.
  • Indian Yellow may also be used as a light glaze over finished painting…very carefully.

During the three days, we all talked about Robert’s useful ideas and techniques that made an impression on us. At the end of the class, works in progress were placed on a table for sharing. Robert emphasized the importance of seeing all work within the group as a valuable learning experience. Following are ideas and techniques that resonated with members of the class:

“I very much enjoyed learning how to make fast, free sketches while not looking for details, but instead seeing the overall shape.”
“Learning how to focus on the contrasts, especially the dark and light.”
“Watching Robert using a scalpel to release bits of dried paint from the paper surface.”
“Experimenting with Ox Gall as a wetting agent in the water jar, and learning how to use WN lifting preparation was very interesting and highly useful information.”
“Hearing the words: ’Slow down, think, organize and plan’ was a reminder to always approach work with pre-planned thought.”
“Importance of continually analyzing the process.”
“Reactivate the line after a trace to create depth as a reminder while painting.”
“Remembering to soften outside edges while keeping them sharp, yet light.”
“Using a damp sponge for moisture control when using dry brush techniques.”

The time flew by far too quickly! We are all grateful to Robert McNeill, both as a brilliant artist and as an excellent teacher. His meticulous attention to detail and thorough observation of his subjects are reflected in the light and form he achieves in his paintings. He inspired us to see the subtleties and nuances of light as we create art. Thank you also to the Education Committee for bringing him here, to Tania Norris for supplying the subjects, and treats, to The Huntington for hosting us, and to BAGSC.

by Janice Hoiberg

Ellie Yun-Hui Tu,

Dudleya greenei, Greene’s Live-Forever, Watercolor on paper by Ellie Yun-Hui Tu, © 2015.

This year ASBA celebrates its 25th Anniversary! Founded 1994, with 200 original members, it has grown to the vibrant organization of over 1700 botanical artists from around the world.

As part of the celebration a special ASBA 25th Anniversary art catalog, “Celebrating Silver,” will be published. Each ASBA member in good standing is eligible to submit a scanned image of an artwork on the ‘silver’ theme. You may use the media of your choice, including Silverpoint, but all subjects must be of a plant with silver in its scientific or common name, or have a silvery appearance. Examples are Silver Birch (name) and Dusty Miller (appearance). For further information, see the Call for Entries page on the ASBA website. The catalog will not be juried. Submission deadline is June 10, 2019. The catalog is to be published October, 2019.

In addition to the Catalog each of the Chapters and Circles have been asked to plan an event as part of a rolling series of celebrations held across the country on the theme of “Celebrating Silver.” BAGSC members are encouraged to submit a scan to be included in the catalog. Plans are in the works for a BAGSC art show of “Celebrating Silver.” Stay tuned!

by Deb Shaw

Kokia drynarioides, Hau hele 'ula. Lesley B Randall, color pencil and graphite on cold press illustration board. Scale 1:1 and various for enlarged details, © 2015, all rights reserved.

Kokia drynarioides, Hau hele ‘ula. Lesley B Randall, color pencil and graphite on cold press illustration board. Scale 1:1 and various for enlarged details, © 2015, all rights reserved.

BAGSC’s exhibition “Totally Tropical,” opens Saturday, November 3, 2018, at the San Diego Botanic Garden (SDBG) in the Ecke Building. “Totally Tropical” celebrates the opening of the San Diego Botanical Garden’s tropical conservatory this past summer.

Seventeen BAGSC members are exhibiting 32 paintings of plants that grow in tropical climates in this non-juried exhibition. Originals and archival giclée prints will be shown. Artists include Natalia Alatortseva, Margaret Best, Melanie Campbell-Carter, Diane Nelson Daly, Catherine Dellor, Steve Hampson, Janice Sharp Hoiberg, Mary Jansen, Suz Landay, Arillyn Moran-Lawrence, Terri Munroe, Marilyn Anne Parrino, Lesley B Randall, Veronica Raymond, Kirsten Rindal, Deborah B Shaw, and Leslie Walker.

A casual reception will be held from 2:30 to 5:00 pm, Saturday, November 3, to celebrate the opening!

Exhibition DATES: 
November 3 – November 30, 2018


Exhibition installation: 
November 3, 2018, from 11 am – 2 pm

Potluck Reception: 
November 3, 2018, from 2:30 – 5 pm

Some of the artwork is for sale; ten percent of all sales will be donated to support SDBG.

Nepenthes ventricosa Blanco, watercolor on paper, Kirsten Rindall. scalle 1:1, © 2017, all rights reserved.

Nepenthes ventricosa Blanco, watercolor on paper, Kirsten Rindall. Scale 1:1, © 2017, all rights reserved.

As usual for SDBG exhibitions, BAGSC will install the exhibition the same day as the opening. All BAGSC members are welcome to come join in the installation, assist with the hanging, and see the amazing gardens. BAGSC members, friends, family, SDBG staff and the public are all welcome to join us for the opening reception.

The San Diego Botanic Garden is located at 230 Quail Gardens Drive, Encinitas, CA 92024. The garden covers approximately 35 acres; hours, admission, and information can be found on their website.

Looking forward to seeing everyone there!

by Jan Rasmussen, posted by Deb Shaw

Flyer for "Drawing Nature" exhibition in Long Beach, California.

Flyer for “Drawing Nature” exhibition in Long Beach, California.

“Drawing Nature,” an exhibition of artwork created in Nina Antze’s colored pencil classes at the El Dorado Nature Center will close on October 31, 2018.

Come see colored pencil drawings by 15 artists of native and non-native plants.

The exhibition can be seen at 7550 E. Spring Street, Long Beach, California 90815. The Museum hours are Tuesday–Sunday, 8:30 am–4pm. Vehicle parking fees range from $5–$8, depending on the day; directions and general information can be found here. A portion of the sales proceeds supports the Friends of El Dorado Nature Center.

 

by Deb Shaw

Midnight (Eastern Daylight Time), August 31, 2018 is the last day to register for the American Society of Botanical Artists 24th Annual Meeting & Conference in St. Louis!!

Come spend time with fellow botanical artists, take workshops, and attend lectures. Spend quality time at the Missouri Botanical Garden, one of the world’s top botanical gardens. Founded in 1859, the Missouri Botanical Garden is the nation’s oldest continuously-operating botanical garden and a National Historic Landmark.

The Foundry Art Centre in St. Charles, Missouri will host “Out of the Woods: Celebrating Trees in Public Gardens, the Third New York Botanical Garden Triennial” exhibition of botanical art along with a companion, adjunct exhibition “Out on a Limb.” A reception for conference attendees will be held Thursday, October 11, and will also feature the slideshow of artwork from the 25-country Botanical Art Worldwide exhibitions.

To register, look at the descriptions and information on the ASBA website. Then go to the Conference Registration website to register. Scroll down on the registration site to see openings remaining in various workshops and presentations. There are a lot of openings left in wonderful workshops!

If you’ve already registered but would like to add a class, contact the conference registrar to request the additions to your registration.

by Deb Shaw

Signage with artwork by Esmée Winkel, Leiden's 300-Year-Old Tulip Tree in Autumn (2016), Liriodendron tulipifera. Hortus Botanicus Leiden, Leiden, The Netherlands. Watercolor on paper. © Esmée Winkel. Courtesy of the American Society of Botanical Artists and the New York Botanical Garden.

Signage with artwork by Esmée Winkel, Leiden’s 300-Year-Old Tulip Tree in Autumn (2016), Liriodendron tulipifera. Hortus Botanicus Leiden, Leiden, The Netherlands. Watercolor on paper. © Esmée Winkel. Courtesy of the American Society of Botanical Artists and the New York Botanical Garden.

The Los Angeles Times joined The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens and BAGSC in letting everyone know that the “Out of the Woods” exhibition will be coming to a close soon. See the article: http://www.latimes.com/home/la-hm-out-of-the-woods-20180822-story.html?outputType=amp

Make it a day at The Huntington: see “Out of the Woods,” organized by The New York Botanical Garden and the American Society of Botanical Artists, and “Amazing Trees,” the adjunct exhibition by BAGSC members in the Brody Botanical Center, Flora Legium Gallery. Then pop next door to the Rose Hills Foundation Conservatory for Botanical Science to see the blooming Corpse Flowers!

The exhibition closes Monday, August 27, 2018. The traveling exhibition will then go to the Foundry Art Centre in St. Charles, MO where it will be on display October 5 – December 28, 2018, including during the American Society of Botanical Artists annual meeting and conference.

In the beginning of next year, the exhibit will travel to the Tucson Botanical Gardens, Tucson, AZ, January 25 – April 13, 2019, and then on to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chaska, MN, May 9 – August 13, 2019.

by Deb Shaw

Li'l Stinky decided not to bloom after all, but provided a wonderful dissection opportunity! The Huntington team and the public got to see what's inside!

Li’l Stinky decided not to bloom after all, but provided a wonderful dissection opportunity! The Huntington team and the public got to see what’s inside!

We were all disappointed when Li’l Stinker, Amorphophallus titanum, or “Corpse Flower” failed to bloom last week at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. The failed bloom, however, gave Jim Folsom, John Trager, and Brandon Tam the opportunity to dissect the bloom on Facebook Live to create an herbarium sheet (watch the dissection here on Facebook Live.

Then, lo and behold, not one but THREE more Corpse Flowers stepped up to the plate. Quickly dubbed the #TitanTriplets! All three plants, “Stink,” “Stank,” and “Stunk,” #CorpseFlowers can be seen in the Rose Hills Foundation Conservatory for Botanical Science at The Huntington, along with a corm and a plant with a leaf. Daily updates, photos, and FAQs are being shared on The Huntington’s website.

“Stink” suddenly decided to bloom today! See it during public hours: 10 am – 5 pm. The two other #CorpseFlowers, “Stank,” and “Stunk” look like they have a few more days to go. But who knows…they might change their minds and bloom any time.

For more stinky resources (from The Huntington) #StinkyatTheH:

The Corpse Flower inspires creativity. Lindsay Brennan made (delicious!) Corpse Flower Cake Pops and brought them to Jim Folsom's Orchid Lecture for BAGSC members.

The Corpse Flower inspires creativity. Lindsay Brennan made (delicious!) Corpse Flower Cake Pops and brought them to Jim Folsom’s Orchid Lecture for BAGSC members.

The bloom (and smell) only lasts a day or so. If you’re coming to The Huntington this weekend to see and smell, be sure to stop by the Brody Botanical Center, Flora-Legium Gallery to see “Out of the Woods: Celebrating Trees in Public Gardens,” The Third New York Botanical Garden Triennial, American Society of Botanical Artists, and “Amazing Trees,” the adjunct exhibition by the Botanical Artist Guild of Southern California (BAGSC). BAGSC artists will be on hand all weekend with drop in family activities and botanical art demonstrations. The exhibitions go through to August 27, 2018.

Another view of the chocolate Corpse Flower Cake Pops.

Another view of the chocolate Corpse Flower Cake Pops.

Deborah Shaw (L) and Tania Norris (R) took a few minutes to sketch Li'l Stinky.

Deborah Shaw (L) and Tania Norris (R) took a few minutes to sketch Li’l Stinky.

BAGSC member Tania Norris with her Li'l Stinky sketch.

BAGSC member Tania Norris with her Li’l Stinky sketch.

by Deb Shaw

The wonderful botanical art exhibitions at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens Brody Botanical Center are in their final month of display.

Out of the Woods: Celebrating Trees in Public Gardens, The Third New York Botanical Garden Triennial and American Society of Botanical Artists will be on display until August 27, 2018, along with BAGSC’s adjunct exhibition “Amazing Trees.”  BAGSC members will continue to have drop-in family botanical art activities and botanical art demonstrations every Saturday and Sunday through that time as well.

These exhibitions have been a whirlwind of wonderful opportunities. A few highlights have included:

, a volunteer author in the office of communications and marketing at The Huntington introduced the exhibition with an article in “Verso,” The Blog for The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. Read the article here.

Deborah Friedman was interviewed and videotaped by Aric Allen, Video Producer, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens about her development of her painting of the California Sycamore, Platanus racemosa in “Out of the Woods.” See the insightful video interview on YouTube here.

Steve Hindle, Interim President of The Huntington, "President's Message: The Gentle Giants Among Us," July/August "Calendar."

Steve Hindle, Interim President of The Huntington, “President’s Message: The Gentle Giants Among Us,” July/August “Calendar.” Read a PDF of the Message: huntington-pres-ltr-OOTW

“Out of the Woods” has been featured in all kinds of publicity and outreach from The Huntington, including the “President’s Message: The Gentle Giants Among Us,” by Interim President Steve Hindle in the July/August issue of The Huntington’s “Calendar.”

BAGSC participated in a Huntington open house and reception for The Huntington Fellows on Tuesday evening, May 22, 2018. BAGSC members Catherine Dellor, Estelle DeRidder, Suz Landay, Patricia Mark, Veronica Raymond, Olga Ryabstova, Gilly Shaeffer, Deborah Shaw, and Jude Wiesenfeld demonstrated at the well-attended reception. BAGSC members Susan Bartow, Teri Kuwahara, Tania Norris, Mitsuko Schultz, Beth Stone, and Leslie Walker attended too. Concurrent with the botanical art demonstrations that evening in the Ahmanson at the Brody Botanical Center, the ASBA Worldwide exhibitions were on display on the large screen, including the US exhibition (currently on display at the US Botanic Gardens) and exhibitions from 24 other countries. (See information about the ASBA Worldwide exhibition here. Information about the participating countries in the botanical art Worldwide Exhibition can be found here. Be sure to see the gallery slideshows and instructions on ordering exhibition catalogs from the US and other countries.)

Click on any of the images below to see in slide show with captions.

The calm before the crowds: (L) BAGSC member Tania Norris and Robert Hori ready the tables for the drop-in family botanical art activities.

The calm before the crowds: (L) BAGSC member Tania Norris and Robert Hori ready the tables for the drop-in family botanical art activities.

BAGSC members have provided drop-in family botanical art activities every weekend throughout the summer, including leaf-rubbings; botanical art demonstrations;  a segment in cooperation with The Huntington’s education department for their “avocado day,” and lots more! Additionally, BAGSC members have been on hand to answer questions from the public about botanical art and artworks in the exhibitions. It has been wonderful (and inspiring) to find many visitors to the exhibitions who have not only returned to see them multiple times, but have brought others to see them as well.

BAGSC members also used the weekend demonstration opportunities to paint orchids generously supplied from The Huntington’s collection by Brandon Tam, orchid collection specialist at The Huntington. Look for these paintings and drawings in our next exhibition at The Huntington in the fall, entitled “Diversity of Orchids.”

In early June, BAGSC members had the good fortune to be able to have Carol Woodin, ASBA Exhibition Chair at our quarterly meeting. Carol was in Southern California presenting at the American Public Gardens Association Conference with Devin Dotson from the US Botanic Gardens. Carol spoke to BAGSC members about painting orchids, followed by an audience-requested tour through the “Out of the Woods” exhibition. Click on any of the images below to see an enlarged slide show of the images with captions.

On Sunday, July 29, 2018, The Huntington hosted a stellar reception for the exhibitions for around 70 BAGSC members, family, friends and guests. Click on any of the images below to see a slideshow and read the captions.

Esmee van Winkel’s painting of Leiden’s 300-Year-Old Tulip Tree in Autumn, Liriodendron tulipifera, Hortus Botanicus Leiden, Leiden, The Netherlands has graced all the signage, large and small, and the printed marketing materials produced by The Huntington. The signage is everywhere throughout the campus. Click on any of the images below for a small sampling, and to read the captions.

"Out of Woods" catalogs on display in The Huntington Store, along with a selection of notecards by BAGSC members in the "Out of the Woods" exhibition. Five of the six cards are shown here; The Huntington Store sometimes has them all together, other times they are grouped with like subject areas in the store.

“Out of Woods” catalogs on display in The Huntington Store, along with a selection of notecards by BAGSC members in the “Out of the Woods” exhibition. Five of the six cards are shown here; The Huntington Store sometimes has them all together, other times they are grouped with like subject areas in the store.

“Out of the Woods” exhibition catalogs are on sale in The Huntington Store for $12.00 US. The Store also is carrying a limited edition of notecards with artwork by BAGSC members in the “Out of the Woods” exhibition, including Margaret Best (Screw-Pine, Pandanus utilis, Bermuda Arboretum, Bermuda), Akiko Enokido (Swamp Cypress, Taxodium distichum, Kobe Municipal Arboretum, Kobe, Japan), Deborah Friedman (California Sycamore, Platanus racemosa, detail from original, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, California), Asuka Hishiki (Black Pine Half-cascade Style Bonsai, Pinus nigra, The Omiya Bonsai Art Museum, Saitama, Japan), Olga Ryabstova (Roxburgh Fig, Ficus auriculata, The San Diego Botanic Garden, Encinitas, California), and Mitsuko Schultz (Sweet Gum, Liquidambar styraciflua, ‘Burgundy’, Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden, Arcadia, California).

Asuka Hishiki's notecard in The Huntington Store on display in the Bonsai area of the Store.

Asuka Hishiki’s notecard in The Huntington Store on display in the Bonsai area of the Store.

A heartfelt thank you is due to too many to list here, but a special thank you to The Huntington’s Jim Folsom, Robert Hori, Danielle Rudeen, Melanie Thorpe and Andrew Mitchell, along with The Huntington’s Exhibition, Communications, Video, Education, Store and Graphics departments. Another special thank you to the BAGSC artists in “Out of the Woods,” who generously supported our test into The Huntington Store, and to all the other members who worked to make these exhibitions a success. And, last but not least, a heartfelt thank you to Tania Norris for all her work on the exhibition and coordinating the weekend botanical art activities.

by Melanie Campbell-Carter, posted by Deb Shaw

Aloe broomii hybrid, Melanie Campbell-Carter, © 2018. Image protected by Digimarc.

Aloe broomii hybrid, Melanie Campbell-Carter, watercolor on paper, © 2018. Image protected by Digimarc.

BAGSC member Melanie Campbell-Carter is returning to Texas wearing her Botanical Artist hat! As fellow members know, in 2014 Melanie relocated to Southern California from Texas to study botanical art.

Melanie was thrilled to see an article in the March 2018 issue of The Botanical Artist about a new ASBA Circle in north Texas. The Circle’s first juried exhibition, Botanical Art: Flowers, Fruit and Fungi, will take place June 14 – August 9, 2018, at the Botanical Research Institute of Texas (BRIT) in Fort Worth.

Now living and painting full-time in Tucson, Melanie will be exhibiting two new paintings in Fort Worth, Aloe broomii hybrid and Caesalpinia pulcherrima.

Contact Denis Benjamin for more information about the Botanical Art Collective (BAC) in Texas, or if you would like to join. BAC also has a public Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1502598476445397/.

Caesalpinia pulcherrima, Melanie Campbell-Carter, © 2018. Image protected by Digimarc.

Caesalpinia pulcherrima, Melanie Campbell-Carter, watercolor on paper, © 2018. Image protected by Digimarc.

by Janice Sharp, posted by Deb Shaw

Please be aware that when you deliver artwork to a local BAGSC exhibition, the BAGSC members who are hanging the exhibition will be collecting everything together and transporting artwork to the exhibition location. This is usually done by one or two people who will be carrying the art into the location.

Mitsuko Schultz's packing box showing the interior box and artwork. Photo by Janice Sharp, © 2018.

Mitsuko Schultz’s packing box showing the interior box and artwork. Photo by Janice Sharp, © 2018.

To do this efficiently—and safely for the artwork—it is best to have all the art in portfolios with good carrying handles, clearly labeled with the artist’s name and contact information.

Facilities where we hang art often do not have convenient places to pack and unpack art. Therefore, delivery in a portfolio allows the art to be simply slipped out of the portfolio or slipped back in.

Art in the portfolio can be protected with Foam-Core or cardboard. Plexiglass is notorious for scratching easily. Foam-Core or cardboard across the front that does not touch the surface of the plexi will help protect it. Please see the sample photos of Mitsuko Schultz‘s portfolio to the left which contains an interior box made of cardboard to support and protect the framed artwork.

The box is sufficiently wide to accept at least two pieces of art. An additional sheet of cardboard could be used between the frames if two were inserted into the box. This kind of a system makes it extremely easy (and safe) to unpack and repack art.

Mitsuko Schultz's packing portfolio showing the interior box and artwork. Photo by Janice Sharp, © 2018.

Mitsuko Schultz’s packing portfolio showing the interior box and artwork. Photo by Janice Sharp, © 2018.

We ask that all BAGSC members exhibiting use a similar system to make it easy for those who are hanging and taking down exhibitions.

Of course it is expected that people mailing art will do so in a suitable mailing container instead of a portfolio!

 

We thank everyone for their attention to these important details.

by Deb Shaw

Deborah Shaw will be having a one-person exhibition at Chez Shaw Gallery—no relation 🙂

Entitled “Botanical Portraits,” the exhibition will run from  May 12 – July 31, 2018. Deborah’s watercolors and graphite drawings feature California native plants as well as other fascinating specimens of the plant kingdom.

The opening is May 12, 2018 from 6 – 9 pm, and is open to the public. Visiting the Gallery on other days is by appointment only, 562-708-3803. Chez Shaw Gallery is located at 1836 Nipomo Avenue, Long Beach, California 90815.

Opuntia spp., Fruit, Prickly Pear “Tunas,” Watercolor on calfskin vellum, © 2016, Deborah Shaw, dbshawstudios.com Digital image protected by Digimarc.

Opuntia spp., Fruit, Prickly Pear “Tunas,” Watercolor on calfskin vellum, © 2016, Deborah Shaw. Digital image protected by Digimarc.

 

 

by Kat Powell, posted by Deb Shaw

Some of the workshop participants getting ready for a final critique with Carrie Di Constanzo. Photo by Teri Kuwahara, © 2018.

Some of the workshop participants getting ready for a final critique with Carrie Di Constanzo. L to R: Mary Jo Newman, Carrie Di Costanzo, Suzanne Bassani, Janice Sharp, Carol Readhead, Melanie Campbell-Carter, Kathlyn Powell. Missing from photo: Patricia Mark, Alyse Ochniak.  Photo by Teri Kuwahara, © 2018.

What a fabulous experience! We were honored to have the awe-inspiring Carrie Di Costanzo for a workshop on the use of gouache in botanical art. First of all, Carrie’s work is beyond exquisite — I suspect I was not alone in getting goosebumps while gazing at her originals. They are miraculous in their refinement and perfection. Although Carrie works her magic in other media such as egg tempera and watercolor as well, it is her masterful handling of gouache that we focused on for those wonderful three days.

We all had a choice of working on a large deodar cedar cone, kumquats on a branch, loquats on a branch, or tulips. One participant requested a cactus as a subject, and The Huntington very kindly supplied that subject as well.

Reviewing artwork with Carrie Di Constanzo. Photo by Kathlyn Powell, © 2018.

Reviewing artwork with Carrie Di Constanzo. L to R: Teri Kuwahara, Carrie Di Costanzo, Suzanne Bassani, Janice Sharp, Carol Readhead, Mary Jo Newman, Melanie Carter-Campbell. Missing from photo: Patricia Mark, Alyse Ochniak. Photo by Kathlyn Powell, © 2018.

Carrie demonstrated several ways of using gouache, as the medium is quite versatile. She showed her favored method of laying down a pale “wash” of her mixed paint that consisted of a highly controlled stippling using her amazingly fast feathery stroke of dilute gouache on a dry brush. Texture was instantiated from the start and retained throughout with this technique. Subsequent layers were laid down with generally successively more concentrated pigments with the occasional unifying dry brush wash over. She worked from light to dark in this method, somewhat reminiscent of watercolor.

She also demonstrated an approach using titanium white mixed to varying degrees into her colors to opacify and smooth the deposition of color and it had a depth and richness rivaling oils while retaining the luscious velvety matte surface of gouache. Indeed, in this approach, the handling is more like that of oils or acrylics and many renowned artists such as James Gurney use this method. [See some of James Gurney’s favorite gouache artists here.] Lights do not necessarily need to be retained and working dark to light is possible. Highlights and light structures such as Melanie’s cactus spines can be directly added on top.

Carrie showed us that gouache is like watercolor in re-solubility but has a higher pigment load, yielding greater opacity. It can be used in a watercolor way with wet, dilute translucent washes retaining the light of the paper, building up to a gorgeous matte depth of color. It can also, again, be used somewhat like oils or acrylics, with light pigments over dark. This allows for going over sections with many layers until one is satisfied, without harming the surface or looking overworked. Thus, you can push a painting further. One can also use gouache to exquisite effect on toned papers, like botanical artist Albert R. Valentien did. Carrie showed us how she creates a toned sheet for such an approach.

Carrie encouraged us to use the method that we felt most comfortable with and everyone had their own unique look to their paintings, and all were lovely. The medium was adaptable to each person’s individual style of painting.

A Little About Gouache:
Gouache has a history that goes back to the 9th Century. Illuminated manuscripts and Persian and Mughal miniatures were painted using opaque watercolors mixed with white or on white priming. Chinese white was also freely used in Western watercolors in the nineteenth century as “body colors”, distinguished by their beautiful precision (see, for example, the watercolor and body color work of William Trost Richards). For many subjects, such as landscapes, body color made it possible.

Zinc white (Chinese white) as a pigment had become available in Europe in the mid-19th century (although in use in Persia, India and China since at least the 12th century) and thus at least partially displaced the more opaque but very toxic lead white. It is no wonder that artists happily explored the possibilities of this new pigment! (Especially en plein air, once pigments were packed into tubes.) We are lucky to have access to nontoxic, very opaque titanium white (introduced 1921) as well as zinc white.

Gouache was favored by commercial artists during the twentieth century for its beauty, speed of drying, and matte surface which the camera loves — it is renowned for reproducing extremely well. It got a bit of a bad rap because of the fugitive quality of many of the paints then in use — pieces were made for the camera rather than the frame, so archival lightfast pigments were not always employed. Now, however, we have beautiful, fully lightfast gouache pigments available to us from numerous pigmenters. Also, the medium suffered some stigma in the pretentious “Fine Art” vs “illustration” controversy.

Technical instruction in gouache has become very difficult to come by over the last few decades, so I cherish the training we were so fortunate to obtain with a Master Artist like Carrie. I personally have longed for this type and quality of didactics for nearly half a century. Opacity is another dimension of control which enhances the ability to work the magic of mimesis.

Profound thanks to Carrie Di Costanzo, a real treasure both artistically and as a person, to the Education Committee for bringing her, to The Huntington for hosting us, to Patricia Mark for supplying subjects and to BAGSC for everything!

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