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by John Keesey, posted by Deb Shaw

"Dutchman's Pipevine with Pipevine Swallowtail Butterflies" (Aristolochia californica with Battus philenor), watercolor by Joan Keesey, © 2015, all rights reserved.

“Dutchman’s Pipevine with Pipevine Swallowtail Butterflies” (Aristolochia californica with Battus philenor), watercolor by Joan Keesey, © 2015, all rights reserved.

A watercolor painting of “Dutchman’s Pipevine with Pipevine Swallowtail Butterflies” (Aristolochia californica with Battus philenor) by BAGSC member Joan Keesey has been accepted into the 18th Annual International Show of the American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA) at the HORT Gallery of The Horticultural Society of New York in mid-town Manhattan, September through November 2015. This seems fitting to me, because Joan first saw these butterflies and their caterpillars on pipevine during our first hike along Big Chico Creek in Upper Bidwell Park, Chico, a few years ago. In January 2015 we moved to Chico, and have discovered Pipevine and its inhabitants on our very own property. Recently two caterpillars (black with orange spikes) have each formed a chrysalis (what is the plural?) in a jar in our kitchen, and then soon emerged as beautiful Pipevine butterflies (black + iridescent blue with orange spots)!  Truly miraculous!

The stress of moving was mitigated somewhat by learning that Joan’s “Hummingbird Sage” (Salvia spathacea) watercolor painting had been awarded First Place at the Botanical Art Exhibition of the California Native Plant Society’s 2015 Conservation Conference in San Jose, California, in January 2015. Then in March 2015, Joan’s watercolor painting of Matilija Poppy (Romneya coulteri) won the Roth Award “for distinction with an emphasis on traditional botanical art presentation” at the 17th Annual Botanical Art Exhibition at Filoli in Woodside, California.

Whooeee!!!  Is it any wonder that I am proud of her?  Thanks for letting me toot her horn!

from Deb: Congratulations Joan!

By Joan Keesey

Thread-leaved Brodiaea, Second Place by Deborah Shaw

Thread-leaved Brodiaea, Second Place, by Deborah Shaw, watercolor on Kelmscott Vellum © 2012

It was very gratifying to see the Botanical Artists Guild of Southern California (BAGSC) so well represented at the Botanical Art Exhibit at the CNPS Conservation Conference 2012 in San Diego at the Town and Country Resort. There were thirteen pictures by seven BAGSC members: Diane Daly, Estelle DeRidder, Clara Josephs, Joan Keesey, Janice Sharp, Deborah Shaw, and Dorthea Yellot. Members of our group won some prizes as well: Deborah Shaw received a second place ribbon for her watercolor on vellum of Thread-leaved Brodiaea; Joan Keesey won a third place ribbon for her watercolor of Snake Lilies and Elegant Madia; Estelle DeRidder won an honorable mention for her colored pencil of Hummingbird Sage.

Snake Lily & Elegant Madia, Third Place, by Joan Keesey, watercolor © 2012

Snake Lily & Elegant Madia, Third Place, by Joan Keesey, watercolor © 2012

My husband and I visited the exhibit twice—once on Thursday evening and again on Saturday afternoon. On both visits there were 12-15 enthusiastic conference attendees who had taken the trouble to make the trip to the ninth floor of the Regency Towers to see the botanical art and photography.  Generally the conference attendees were biologists, botanists, geologists, environmentalists and land managers—a different crowd from the usual botanical art group. The focus at most botanical art exhibits is on the artistic aspects of a work—composition, values, and technique. While this group was very appreciative of the skill displayed in the compositions, they were equally if not more interested in and enthusiastic about the actual subject matter. You overheard people say things like: “Oh, that is my favorite plant”;  “Have you ever seen that beautiful sage.”; or “This is such and interesting plant. I saw it for the first time on that hike along the Merced.”

Hummingbird Sage, Honorable Mention, by Estelle DeRidder, colored pencil © 2012

Hummingbird Sage, Honorable Mention, by Estelle DeRidder, colored pencil © 2012

This is the second CNPS exhibit that I have participated in, and I thought that the pictures were better displayed and of a higher quality. I am particularly interested in California Native Plants, so I find a show like this a real treat. I also like botanical exhibits where there is a focus or theme. I find the juxtaposition of “Turnips & Tulips”, “Corn and Camellias”, “Radishes & Roses”, jarring and difficult to evaluate.   I hope BAGSC will consider sponsoring exhibits that are more focused—a plant family such as the mustard, pea, rose or lily family, plants of a particular region, trees, succulents, etc. The options are endless, but I think it makes a more interesting and informative exhibit.

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