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by Deb Shaw

There are still a few spots available for BAGSC’s first Basic Botanical Art Workshop: A Day of Skills and Techniques for All Levels. Join us on:

Sunday, January 27, 2019
9:00 am to 3:00 pm

at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden

for a day of mini-workshops and fun exploring techniques and supplies.

Cost, BAGSC Members: $50
Non-Members: $60

Register online at: https://bagsc.org/classes/bagsc-basic-botanical-art-workshop
Bring your own lunch or purchase from the Arboretum Café.

This day of botanical art is designed to allow participants of all levels an opportunity to enjoy a hands-on botanical art experience in different mediums. The day starts with a presentation about botanical art. Then, each participant can choose any combination of four (4) one-hour, hands-on workshops taught by skilled BAGSC instructors. Registration is for the entire day—no pre-registration for individual workshops is required.

Participants may choose to sit down with different artists to experience techniques applied to creating botanical art. Currently scheduled are:

  • Creating 3D forms by light to dark shading in graphite
  • How to do a watercolor wash
  • Easy color mixing in watercolor (NEW—just added!)
  • Dry brush techniques (NEW—just added!)
  • Using pen and ink in scientific illustration
  • Drawing with silverpoint
  • Color pencil techniques in botanical art
  • Labeling your painting with calligraphy
  • Creating 3D forms by light to dark in watercolor
  • How to draw a leaf in graphite
  • Using mixed media in scientific illustration
  • Graphite tips and tricks
  • Perspective for plants
  • Watercolor pencil techniques

BAGSC teacher members will be sharing their skills, displaying some of their works and bringing information. Currently scheduled to participate are:

  • Cristina Baltayian
  • Diane Daly
  • Akiko Enokido (NEW—just added!)
  • Sally Jacobs
  • Lesley Randall
  • Olga Ryabtsova
  • Gilly Shaeffer
  • Deborah Shaw
  • Ellie Yun-Hui Tu

All basic supplies, including paper and paint, are included in the price. Additionally, most artists will bring special supplies to share that can be used with their techniques. Participants are welcome to bring some of their supplies if desired. Please see the lists in the right-hand column of BAGSC’s website about the class.

Questions about the Workshop? Contact the BAGSC Education Chair.

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.

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 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 Jude Wiesenfeld, posted by Deb Shaw

Lesley Randall with one Aristolochia gigantea flower. Photo by Jude Wiesenfeld, © 2018.

Lesley Randall with one Aristolochia gigantea flower. Photo by Jude Wiesenfeld, © 2018.

Lesley Randall’s workshop, held at the LA County Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Acadia, was very informative, focusing on Aristolochiaceae, commonly known as the Dutchman’s Pipe Family of plants. Lesley began the workshop with a lecture on the origin of the Aristolochiaceae. They first appeared about 30 million years ago, when most of us were barely starting our careers!

We examined, both in hand and through our microscopes, the distinguishing characteristics to look for while drawing. Lesley encouraged us to write down measurements and notes on the specimens for future clarification in our drawings and to include for illustration work.

Aristolochea gigantea seed pod. Photo by Jude Wiesenfeld, © 2018.

Aristolochea gigantea seed pod. Photo by Jude Wiesenfeld, © 2018.

It was fascinating to see how the different techniques (stippling vs. lines) gave a variety of results. Sometimes a broken line worked better than an unbroken one! Lesley supplied great examples of this in handouts.

The final drawings are started with an outline and then the details are added with stippling. It is important to stipple with a purpose: i.e., namely to clarify a characteristic, show shape, create depth and/or show color pattern. Also, Lesley stressed how important it is to keep your paper, hands and workspace CLEAN.

Lesley encouraged us to research other artists’ work to learn about technique and mentioned Bobbi Angell as someone to study.

Two books recommended by Lesley Randall: "Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification" by Thomas J. Elpel, ISBN-13: 978-1892784353, ISBN-10: 1892784351; and, "Guide to Flowering Plant Families" by Wendy B. Zomlefer, ISBN13: 9780807844700, ISBN-10: 0807844705. Photo by Jude Wiesenfeld, © 2018.

Two books recommended by Lesley Randall: “Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification” by Thomas J. Elpel, ISBN-13: 978-1892784353, ISBN-10: 1892784351; and, “Guide to Flowering Plant Families” by Wendy B. Zomlefer, ISBN13: 9780807844700, ISBN-10: 0807844705. Photo by Jude Wiesenfeld, © 2018.

Lesley was a fantastic teacher and very generous with us all. I hope she will consider other workshops in the future.

[NOTE: click on any of the thumbnails above to view the images larger, in a slide show format.]

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 Susan Eubank, Arboretum Librarian, Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden, and Deb Shaw

Party in the Stacks!
Please join The Arboretum library and other plant and garden aficionados for a beautiful evening celebrating the Arboretum Library. The Arboretum Library is distinct among libraries as a comprehensive and very special collection of more than 20,000 books on botany, botanical illustration, gardening, California native plants, landscape design, gardens around the world, agriculture, and more.

For one night only, there will be merriment in the Arboretum Library stacks, twilight music in the Arboretum, outside viewing of mid-century travel slides, and inside viewing of mid-century library landscape materials, various nerdy library things, a little nosh and a no host bar. View a wonderful art exhibit, with personal artist tours of the exhibit “The naturalist’s desk: language and landscape” And of course a book sale too!

Consider spending an evening with your fellow BAGSC colleagues supporting the Arboretum Library. All proceeds from the event support Arboretum Library programs.

For one night only, there will be revelry in the Arboretum Library stacks and music in the Arboretum twilight!

Arboretum Library Benefit and Book Sale
Proceeds fund Arboretum Library programs

Friday, May 4, 2017, 6:30 p.m.-9:00 p.m.

There will also be…

  • Light refreshments and a No Host bar featuring wine, beer, and literary spirits,
  • Projections of Sunset magazine’s photographer, William Aplin’s mid-century travel slides,
  • Displays of mid-century modern gardening and landscape architecture books,
  • Pamela Burgess will give tours of her exhibit the naturalist’s desk: landscape + language, and
  • First chance to purchase at the used book sale. Specialty books ready for their new owners.

You are invited!
Advanced Tickets: General Public $20, Members $15. Call 626-821-4623.

At the Door: General Public $25, Members $20

Members include:
BAGSC Members
Members of the Los Angeles Arboretum Foundation
All plant, garden and landscape societies, all library organizations, and all botanic gardens and arboreta.

Questions? Contact Susan Eubank, 626-821-3213.

The Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden is located at: 301 North Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007
arboretum.org

Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Gardens Logo

 

 

 

 

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!

by Teri Kuwahara and Deb Shaw

BAGSC gathered at the Madrona Marsh Nature Preserve in Torrance for the January meeting to feature the ongoing mural project of BAGSC member Estelle DeRidder.

The interior of the meeting room walls in the Madrona Marsh Interpretive Center have been filled with Estelle’s paintings of the plants, animals and insects found in Marsh. She has spent countless hours capturing each plant in its native environment. The meeting was highlighted by featuring Estelle as our guest speaker, adding her wit and wisdom in starting and continuing this ambitious project. In addition to discussing her process and goals, Estelle also spoke about the challenges of creating such a large work, including determining scale, practical techniques, and interesting visitors (of the human, insect and avian varieties).

Estelle was recently honored by the Cultural Arts Commission in Torrance for her work on this mural. [See BAGSC News blog article about the award here.] The Marsh staff and volunteers from the Friends of the Marsh group were also present to support Estelle, a true indication of how much she is respected and admired. A video was made to highlight Estelle’s mural project for the Cultural Arts Awards ceremony and we were fortunate to view it.   It has now been posted on YouTube so members unable to attend the meeting can enjoy it, and can be found here: https://youtu.be/zExN3JWTcMY

Our sincere thanks go out to Estelle for bringing BAGSC to the attention of Madrona Marsh. Estelle’s mural can be viewed in the Interpretive Center, Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Additional thanks goes to Tracy Drake, Park Services Manager, Community Services Department, City of Torrance; Hilary and Dave Jamieson; and, Lance Hill for his wonderful photographs of the meeting.

The Marsh is located at: 3201 Plaza del Amo, Torrance, CA 90503.

Click on any image below to see larger images in a slide show format with full captions for each photo.

by Lee McCaffree and Deb Shaw

Filoli’s 20th Annual Botanical Art Exhibition is a celebration of spring flowers from their wonderful historic Garden. Artworks in the exhibition are from local and international artists (some of them graduates of Filoli’s Botanical Art Certificate Program) and are depicted in watercolor, colored pencil, pen and ink, oil, and graphite.

Jurors were Peggy Feidler, botanist, and Carol Woodin, botanical artist; curators were Lee McCaffree and Catherine Watters. The exhibition includes 44 pieces by 36 artists, including the curators and juror Carol Woodin, many of them artists who are exhibiting for the first time.

Awards:
Bourn Award for distinction with an emphasis on horticulture: “Sunflower Awakening” by Jeannetta vanRaalte
Roth Award for distinction with an emphasis on traditional botanical art presentation: Paeonia lactiflora, Pink Peony by Miksuko Schultz (and BAGSC member!)
Jurors Award for distinction with an emphasis on botanical art presentation: Papaver somniferum, Poppy by Jean Emmons
Jurors Award Honorable Mention: Tacca chantrieri, Cat’s Whiskers by Stephanie Law

The exhibition runs from February 23 – May 20, 2018.

BAGSC members in the exhibition include: Nina Anzte, Catherine Dellor, Joan Keesey, curator Lee McCaffree, and Mitsuko Schultz.  Carrie Di Constanzo has two pieces in the exhibition: Carrie will be coming to teach a BAGSC workshop in April, 2018, to be held at The Huntington Libraries, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens.

Click on any of the images by BAGSC members below to see a larger image. These paintings, as well as all of the artworks in the exhibition can be seen online at OnlineJuriedShows.com

In addition to “A Palette of Flowers,” the Filoli Florilegium is on display in its entirety throughout the House.

Filoli Historic House & Garden is A Site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is located at 86 Cañada Road, Woodside, CA 94062, (650) 364-8300.

Congratulations to the award-winners and all the participants!

by Jude Wiesenfeld, posted by Deb Shaw

Magnolia grandiflora, gouache on paper, © Carrie Di Costanzo

Magnolia grandiflora, gouache on paper, © Carrie Di Costanzo

Carrie Di Constanzo will be teaching a BAGSC-sponsored workshop, entitled Creating Botanical Paintings with Impact Using Gouache.

Participants in this workshop will learn how gouache is used to create realistic and detailed botanical paintings. Explore the benefits of using gouache and the similarities and differences between gouache and watercolor. Demonstrations will include using light washes of gouache, layering of colors with a dry brush, mixing of colors, glazing, and using semi-transparent and semi-opaque gouache. The class will be encouraged to experiment with gouache using small botanical subjects.

This workshop is suitable for artists who have previous experience with gouache, as well as those who have always wanted to try this wonderful opaque medium. Gouache will be supplied by the instructor, and a small fee will be charged to participants to share in the cost of the supplies. The workshop will be held at:
The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens,
Botanical Education Center, Allied Technical Lab
Wednesday – Friday, April 11 – 13, 2018
9:30 am – 4:00 pm
The Huntington is located at: 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, CA 91108.

The cost for BAGSC Members is $300; non-members may also attend for $350. Maximum Registration: 16 students.

To register: Send a check in the full amount, made out to BAGSC, with Carrie Di Constanzo on the subject line. Please mail the check to: BAGSC, PO Box 50166, Pasadena, California 91115.

Bring your lunch, or purchase lunch at any of the cafés on The Huntington grounds.

Questions about the Workshop? Contact the BAGSC Education Chair.

More information, materials list and map are available on the BAGSC website.

About the instructor

Carrie Di Costanzo worked as a fashion illustrator before shifting her focus to botanical art. Group exhibitions include the 14th Annual International through the 20th Annual International with the ASBA/HSNY (receiving the Ursus Award in\2013); “Following in the Bartrams’ Footsteps” and “Weird, Wild, and Wonderful” and the 14th through 19th Annual Botanical Art Exhibit at Filoli (receiving the Roth Award in 2013 and the Jurors’ Award in 2014). Her work is held in the Botanical Collections at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, and private collections.

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