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by Lesley Randall, posted by Deb Shaw

In preparation for the upcoming BAGSC Exhibition, Ficus at San Diego Botanic Garden, here is a bit of information about this extraordinary group of plants.

We’ll start with the one most of us know best: the edible fig. Ficus carica, has been in cultivation since ancient times. Though humans typically eat only this species of Fig, others are considered to be keystone species in their habitats, providing food (leaves as well as figs) and shelter for a wide variety of mammals, birds and insects. Several species are plants of special significance in many cultures. For example, Ficus religiosa, the Bo Tree, is said to be the tree under which Buddha sat while gaining enlightenment.

Some figs are cauliflorous, a botanical term for plants which have flowers and fruits growing directly from their main stems or woody trunks rather than from new growth. The word comes from Latin. Caulis means trunk or stem and Flory means flower. Photo by Lesley Randall, © 2017.

Some figs are cauliflorous, a botanical term for plants which have flowers and fruits growing directly from their main stems or woody trunks rather than from new growth. The word comes from Latin. Caulis means trunk or stem and Flory means flower. Photo by Lesley Randall, © 2017.

The genus Ficus is a member of the Moraceae, or Mulberry Family. There are more than 800 species of Ficus. Most are tropical, but there are some species that survive in more temperate zones, such as the edible fig. The genus is highly diverse, with species growing as epiphytes, massive banyans, stranglers, shrubs, caudiciforms, vines and small trees. They are found from rainforests to dry rocky deserts.

 

So what makes a Ficus a Ficus?

Ficus auriculatus cut to reveal the interior and white latex. Photo by Lesley Randall, © 2017.

Ficus auriculatus cut to reveal the interior and white latex. Photo by Lesley Randall, © 2017.

There are a couple of key characteristics that separate this group. First is the unusual flower/fruit arrangement—the fig itself. Known as a syconium in botanical lingo, the fig is an urn-shaped structure lined with tiny flowers on the inside. The flowers are pollinated by a specialized group of wasps that enter the syconium through an opening called an ostiole.

The second key characteristic are the paired stipules that enclose the developing leaf. Though these often drop off as the leaf begins to unfold, they leave a distinct scar at the base of the leaf. The stipules may be separate, or fused into one structure.

The third key characteristic is the sap: a striking white or yellow latex.

Other characteristics to note are: an alternate leaf arrangement, and typically, pinnate venation. All figs share these characteristics that, combined, distinguish them from other plant genera. How these characters are expressed are what makes the group so interesting. The syconium can be as large as a baseball or less than a centimeter wide. It may be scaled or smooth, sessile or stalked and borne in leaf axils or on the main branches and trunk (cauliflorous.) The leaves are typically entire, but several species have lobed leaves. Leaves may be thick and tough, light and delicate, very large or very small. The bark can be smooth, rough, or in the case of a couple Australian species, corky and fire retardant.

Ficus with stipules and scars. Photo by Lesley Randall, © 2017.

Ficus with stipules and scars. Photo by Lesley Randall, © 2017.

Where to find Ficus in Southern California?
The Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden, San Diego Zoo, and San Diego Botanic Garden all have nice collections. The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens have some as well. They also can be found in parks, lining city streets, in back yards, as house plants, in nurseries and as Bonsai specimens.

Want to learn more? Check out Fig Web which has information on specific species as well as general information on the group. BAGSC members who are interested in organizing and/or attending expeditions to find and paint specimens should let us know your interest and stay tuned!

Information about the Ficus exhibition at the San Diego Botanic Garden can be found on BAGSC’s website. Information about the “Call for Entries” can be found on the “Members Only” page of the BAGSC website.

Ficus religiosa, the Bo Tree, with reddish new growth. Photo by Lesley Randall, © 2017.

Ficus religiosa, the Bo Tree, with reddish new growth. Photo by Lesley Randall, © 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 Deb Shaw

Paphiopedilum ‘Hideki Okuyama', © 2017, Carol Woodin, watercolor on vellum, all rights reserved.

Paphiopedilum ‘Hideki Okuyama’, © 2017, Carol Woodin, watercolor on vellum, all rights reserved.

Carol Woodin will be teaching a workshop entitled “Painting Orchids in Watercolor on Vellum” at The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, June 2, 3 and 4, 2017, from 9:30 am – 4:00pm each day. There are still some spaces available in this coveted workshop, with subject specimens specially selected from The Huntington’s prized Orchid collection.

In addition to teaching about painting on vellum, and all about orchids, Carol will demonstrate how to select, cut and stretch vellum over a board.

The cost to BAGSC Members for the three-day workshop is $250; the cost for Non-Members is $275. Payment should be received by BAGSC by Saturday, May 27. Participating artists can provide their own vellum for the workshop, or can purchase a piece from the instructor, who will provide a 10” x 13” piece of vellum for $50, payable at the workshop.

Details about the workshop, enrollment, directions and a materials list can be found on the BAGSC website.

See you there!

By Jude Wiesenfeld, posted by Deb Shaw

Lee McCaffree (left) and Pat Mark (right); photo by Jude Wiesenfeld, © 2017.

Lee McCaffree (left) and Pat Mark (right); photo by Jude Wiesenfeld, © 2017.

BAGSC held a one day class with botanical artist (and BAGSC member), Lee McCaffree, at The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens on May 6, 2017 on “Leaf Detail: Start to Finish, Veins and Edges”.

Susan Jackson; photo by Jude Wiesenfeld, © 2017.

Susan Jackson, enjoying her leaf studies; photo by Jude Wiesenfeld, © 2017.

Lee stayed with Pat Mark, who also acted as her assistant in the class, arranging for specimens, distributing hand-outs, etc. We brought our lunch, which was a very good idea, as there turned out to be a special film event at The Huntington that took over the Brody side parking lot and added to the crowd.

Lee is a very affable teacher and took time with every student checking their work on the assignments. She began showing us examples of different leaf vein patterns and margin (edges) patterns. We divided our watercolor paper into sections and worked on different techniques in an effort to decide which ones we preferred.

I liked leaving the whites of the veins, rather than “lifting” or “masking” the veins. Lee also suggested tools that would best suit rendering our veins and edges for the best results.

We hope Lee will join us again in future. All of us enjoyed meeting her and enjoyed the class very much.

Class members, © 2017.

Class members, © 2017.

Kat Powell (left) and Estelle De Ridder (right); photo by Jude Wiesenfeld, © 2017.

Kat Powell (left) and Estelle De Ridder (right); photo by Jude Wiesenfeld, © 2017.

Jude Wiesenfeld, © 2017.

Jude Wiesenfeld, © 2017.

by Jude Wiesenfeld and Lee McCaffree, posted by Deb Shaw

BAGSC will be sponsoring a one-day Leaf Detail workshop with Lee McCaffree, on:

Saturday, May 6, 2017
9:30 am – 4:00 pm

The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, Botanical Education Center

Cost, BAGSC Members: $100
Non-Members: $120
Maximum Registration: 16 students

Roger's Red Grape, watercolor by Lee McCaffree, © 2017.

Roger’s Red Grape, watercolor by Lee McCaffree, © 2017.

Leaves form the background for most botanical paintings. It is important to spend the time to make them accurate. We will work to make the veins and margins realistic in their finishing touches while following the form and texture of  several leaves. This workshop will cover leaf-painting techniques using dry brush work, masking fluid, lifting and leaving the white paper.

For more information about the workshop, sign-up, and the materials list, please see the BAGSC website “Classes” and “Class Details” page.

About the Instructor

Lee McCaffree is a botanical illustrator in watercolor. She shares the coordination and implementation of the Filoli Botanical Art Certificate Program and is a primary instructor. She served on the Board of Directors of The American Society of Botanical Artists. She gives regular private classes in the Bay area and instructed at the ASBA Annual meetings and the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden. She supports botanical artists by participating in coordinating teams for art exhibits and jurying.

Lee McCaffree

Lee McCaffree

She began her career in London, England studying under Christabel King of Kew Gardens. She received Medals for showing her “Pinus” series and “Plants in Peril” series at the Royal Horticultural Society exhibitions in London. Her works are in the permanent collections of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew Collection, London, the Filoli Florilegium and Hunt Institute of Botanical Documentation; Lee won Best of Show at the Northwest ASBA Exhibition in Portland, OR. Her showings include juried exhibitions at Contemporary Art Center, MOMA-New York; Longwood Gardens; Hunt Institute, Pittsburgh; Seattle Science Center; Flinn Gallery Greenwich, CT; Horticultural Society of New York; Missouri, Chicago, Denver and UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens; Strybing Arboretum, CA; Arizona Desert Museum, New York State Museum; Johnson & Johnson Headquarters; Oakland Museum; Loveland Museum (Colorado); Filoli exhibits and Florilegium; Northern California Society of Botanical Artist’s Alcatraz Florilegium and other venues. She created the poster for the California Native Plant Sale for the East Bay for ten years. Her work is published in Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, England and Today’s Botanical Artist. Her work was included in “Losing Paradise”, an exhibit of endangered species illustrations which traveled throughout the U.S and to the Shirley Sherwood Gallery at Kew Gardens, London. Currently, she is exhibiting in the Weird, Wild and Wonderful Traveling Exhibit from the New York Botanical Gardens.

Lee’s work concentrates on native plants which she hopes will increase their visibility and use in public and private landscaping. Her skill as a botanical artist allows her to focus her creativity on the finest details of each plant she paints. Her enthusiasm inspires her students to develop their own skills and enjoy the creative process.

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 Veronica Raymond and Deb Shaw

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens has created an internal online resource for staff and volunteers for What’s In Bloom! [Click on the title to be connected to the link.]

Although this in-house resource is not generally available to the public, Jim Folsom, the Marge & Sherm Telleen/Earle & Marion Jorgensen Director of the Botanical Gardens, has shared the link to this fabulous site for use by botanical artists.

Thank you to Jim and his team for producing this valuable resource!

by John Pastoriza-Piñol, Jude Wiesenfeld and Deb Shaw

Tulipa x hybrida, watercolor by John Pastoriza-Piñol, © 2016.

Tulipa x hybrida, watercolor by John Pastoriza-Piñol, © 2016.

BAGSC will be offering a Masterclass with Australian botanical artist John Pastoriza-Piñol in November, 2016. Students will learn the intricacies of achieving fine detail with watercolour masking fluid and NEEF ¼ Comb, invaluable tools for contemporary botanical artists. As a result, your paintings will be brought to a new level of realism and detail. Students should have skills in drawing and watercolor. Over three days, John will assist you with painting the chosen class subject. John will show how masking fluid can be used to achieve very fine detail and will instruct students how to use the NEEF ¼ Comb.

November 8, 9 and 10, 2016
9:30 am – 4:00pm each day
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
Cost: BAGSC Members: $300; Non-Members: $330
Maximum Registration: 16 students

To register:
Send a check for your $50 non-refundable deposit fee (or payment in full), made out to BAGSC, to BAGSC Education Chair, Jude Wiesenfeld. Please write “JohnPP” on the memo line of the check. Payment in full is due by Monday, October 25, 2016.

Bring your lunch, or purchase lunch at The Huntington Cafes, at The Huntington.

Questions about the Workshop? Contact the BAGSC Education Chair.

Fragaria x ananassa, Strawberry, watercolor by John Pastoriza-Piñol, © 2016.

Fragaria x ananassa, Strawberry, watercolor by John Pastoriza-Piñol, © 2016.

Learning Objectives:
Students who enroll in this workshop would have completed some level of introduction to Botanical Art and be at an intermediate to advanced level. The structure of the class involves a three-day painting project and the demonstrator assists each student with composition, painting techniques, colour theory which will be offered in class and assigned for homework.

Download a PDF of the materials list: John Pastoriza Pinol Materials list 2016

About the Instructor:
Rich luminous hues and gorgeously exotic and rare botanical specimens epitomize John’s work, however his are much more than mere flower paintings:closer inspection reveals a certain ambiguity of form and intent directing us towards a complex narrative.

John Pastoriza-Piñol, © 2016.

John Pastoriza-Piñol, © 2016.

A master of his medium, his perfectly executed watercolours remain true to the accuracy that is vital to botanical illustration yet they have a fluidity and sensuality that stirs the viewer to experience more than a mere marveling of technique.

The artist suggestively urges us to look beyond the aesthetic and move into slightly more uneasy territory as his work inhabits a territory somewhere between scientific analysis and symbolic realism, prompting a reading that goes beyond the purely representational and literal. The artist intends for literal and subversive elements to coexist uneasily on the same plane, while the aesthetics will remain true to the fundamental principle of objective observation of the natural world.

Location:
The workshop will be held at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, in the Botanical Education Center. The Huntington is located at: 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, CA 91108.

 

by Deb Shaw

Not too long after Jim Folsom, published his free ebook, “A Botanical Reader for the Curious Gardener,” in February 2016, it mysteriously disappeared from iBooks, much to the disappointment of those who hadn’t yet had a chance to download it. The problem turned out to be some technical glitches.

Cover, "A Botanical Reader for the Curious Gardener", James P. Folsom, © 2016, all rights reserved.

Cover, “A Botanical Reader for the Curious Gardener”, James P. Folsom, © 2016, all rights reserved.

Jim used the opportunity to issue version 1.2 of “A Botanical Reader” as they got the ebook back online. The new version includes edits, expansion of the Botanical Calendar, and an enlarged Plant Trivia TimeLine.

BAGSC News covered the initial launch of “A Botanical Reader” [read the full article at: https://bagscblog.com/2016/03/04/a-botanical-reader-by-jim-folsom-now-available-in-ibooks/]

The ebook is downloadable for free through iTunes/iBooks, at https://itun.es/us/XDT5ab.l  It’s listed in the category of Life Sciences, and is available on the iPad, iPhone and Mac. Search in iBooks under “A Botanical Reader” or “James P. Folsom” and it will come right up. The print length is 332 pages. 

About the Author
James P. (Jim) Folsom, PhD., rides the demographic peak of baby boomers, having been born in southeastern Alabama in 1950. His lifelong love of plants is reflected in a BS in Botany from Auburn University, an MA in Biology from Vanderbilt University, and a PhD in research botany from The University of Texas at Austin. Though his research has centered on the orchid family, with much of the research time spent in Tropical America (including a year in Colombia on a Fulbright Pre-Doctoral Fellowship), Jim’s botanical interests are wide-ranging. As Curator of the Botanical Gardens at The Huntington in San Marino, CA, he dedicates much of his effort to educational programs that increase public interest and understanding of the science, culture, and history of plants and gardens. He lives at The Huntington with his wife, Debra (also a botanist) and children Molly and Jimmy. Jim was recognized as a Friend of the Cactus and Succulent Society of America in 1996, a Member-at-Large of the Garden Club of America in 1998, and presented a Professional Citation by the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta in 1999. The Garden Club of America awarded him their Medal of Honor in 2007.

by Deb Shaw

Cover, "A Botanical Reader for the Curious Gardener", James P. Folsom, © 2016, all rights reserved.

Cover, “A Botanical Reader for the Curious Gardener”, James P. Folsom, © 2016, all rights reserved.

It’s here! Jim Folsom, has just published his ebook as of February 29, 2016: “A Botanical Reader for the Curious Gardener.”  The Reader is a wealth of resources; Jim’s Botany for Artists is just one chapter in a line-up of content that Jim lists in his introduction:

  • Introductions (Chapters 1, 2, and 3) explain the organization of the Reader, suggest places and activities of interest, and lay out overarching themes that pervade the study and cultivation of plants.
  • The Literature Review presents some commonly available texts and resources, suggesting which might be most useful for different readers.
  • In Botanical Terms is a series of short essays dedicated to highlights that showcase topics fundamental to plant science and eliminate barriers presented by useful but arcane botanical terminology.
  • Conversational Botany is a Primer that tells the story of plants in textbook-style.
  • Issues – Plants, Politics, & Practice includes background and discussion of topics that are part of today’s public discourse as well as transcriptions of presentations I give on current topics.
  • An annotated Plant Trivia Timeline gives snippets of plant-related stories and discoveries in chronological sequence, so as to provide historical context to plant use and cultivation.”
  • Hands-on Discovery suggests particular plants and instructive techniques that will help students make their own observations and learn-through-doing, which is the most effective and delightful method.

    Excerpt From: James P, Folsom. “A Botanical Reader.” James P. Folsom, 2016. iBooks. https://itun.es/us/XDT5ab.l

Chapter from "A Botanical Reader", listing "Botany for Artists" as one of the sections. James P. Folsom, © 2016.

Chapter from “A Botanical Reader”, listing “Botany for Artists” as one of the sections. James P. Folsom, © 2016.

Easy to read, this is a book of RESOURCES. In addition botany, horticulture, gardening, food, and the secret world of plants, Jim introduces his readers to his favorite Plant Destinations (where we can see the “wonders of the plant world”) and compiles a list with descriptions of the books we should have on our shelves and the websites we need to have bookmarked in our browsers.

ASBA and BAGSC members will be treated to a three-part series, starting in the March issue of The Botanical Artist, excerpted from Jim’s chapter, Botany for Artists.

The ebook is downloadable for free from iBooks, at https://itun.es/us/XDT5ab.l  It’s listed in the category of Life Sciences, and is available on the iPad, iPhone and Mac. Search in iBooks under “A Botanical Reader” or “James P. Folsom” and it will come right up. The print length is 332 pages. 

Jim Folsom lecturing during the "Weird, Wild & Wonderful Symposium." Photo by Clara Josephs, © 2015, all rights reserved.

Jim Folsom lecturing during the “Weird, Wild & Wonderful Symposium.” Photo by Clara Josephs, © 2015, all rights reserved.

About Jim Folsom, Telleen/Jorgensen Director of the Botanical Gardens, The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens

Jim Folsom, PhD., rides the demographic peak of baby boomers, having been born in southeastern Alabama in 1950. His lifelong love of plants is reflected in a BS in Botany from Auburn University, an MA in Biology from Vanderbilt University, and a PhD in research botany from The University of Texas at Austin. Though his research has centered on the orchid family, with much of the research time spent in Tropical America (including a year in Colombia on a Fulbright Pre-Doctoral Fellowship), Jim’s botanical interests are wide-ranging. As Curator of the Botanical Gardens at The Huntington in San Marino, CA, he dedicates much of his effort to educational programs that increase public interest and understanding of the science, culture, and history of plants and gardens. He lives at The Huntington with his wife, Debra (also a botanist) and children Molly and Jimmy. Jim was recognized as a Friend of the Cactus and Succulent Society of America in 1996, a Member-at-Large of the Garden Club of America in 1998, and presented a Professional Citation by the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta in 1999. The Garden Club of America awarded him their Medal of Honor in 2007.

by Alyse Ochniak, posted by Deb Shaw

Leaves of the Quercus ruber (English Oak) outside the Botanical Ed Center. Photo credit: © 2015 Alyse Ochniak, all rights reserved.

Leaves of the Quercus ruber (English Oak) outside the Botanical Ed Center. Photo credit: © 2015 Alyse Ochniak, all rights reserved.

On October 24, 2015, BAGSC members enjoyed an informative class taught by Dr. Jim Folsom, Telleen/Jorgensen Director of the Botanical Gardens at The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens.

The class focused on the growth and structure of trees. Students looked at branches from the Quercus ruber (English Oak), from outside the Botanical Ed Center, studying leaves and growth buds. Dissection and compound microscopes were used to bring tiny cell structures of oak leaves and bark into focus.

After studying the different cells and structures students enjoyed a walk with Jim looking at different growth habits, bark, leaves and acorns of different oak trees in the gardens.

Quercus suber, Cork oak tree, from looking at trees with Jim Folsom. Photo credit: © 2015, Alyse Ochniak, all rights reserved.

Quercus suber, Cork oak tree, from looking at trees with Jim Folsom. Photo credit: © 2015, Alyse Ochniak, all rights reserved.

The class ended with refreshments and discussion of the next workshop on January 17, 2016.

Hurry space is limited, if you want to sign up for the next workshop! The January 17, 2016 workshop is limited to 20 students, and will be held in the Engemann Applied Tech Lab, from 8:30 am – 12:00 pm. Cost is $10.00, payable at the workshop. Reservations are required, however; please RSVP to Alyse Ochniak. Reservations are first come, first served.

For more information about the New York Botanical Garden Triennial “Out of the Woods, Celebrating Trees in Public Places” visit the ASBA website.

Quercus suber, Cork oak tree, close up of bark. Photo credit: © 2015, Alyse Ochniak, all rights reserved.

Quercus suber, Cork oak tree, close up of bark. Photo credit: © 2015, Alyse Ochniak, all rights reserved.

The Huntington is located at: 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, California, 91108.

About the instructor:
Jim Folsom, PhD., rides the demographic peak of baby boomers, having been born in southeastern Alabama in 1950. His lifelong love of plants is reflected in a BS in Botany from Auburn University, an MA in Biology from Vanderbilt University, and a PhD in research botany from The University of Texas at Austin. Though his research has centered on the orchid family, with much of the research time spent in Tropical America (including a year in Colombia on a Fulbright Pre-Doctoral Fellowship), Jim’s botanical interests are wide-ranging. As Curator of the Botanical Gardens at The Huntington in San Marino, CA, he dedicates much of his effort to educational programs that increase public interest and understanding of the science, culture, and history of plants and gardens. He lives at The Huntington with his wife, Debra (also a botanist) and children Molly and Jimmy. Jim was recognized as a Friend of the Cactus and Succulent Society of America in 1996, a Member-at-Large of the Garden Club of America in 1998, and presented a Professional Citation by the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta in 1999. The Garden Club of America awarded him their Medal of Honor in 2007.

by Deb Shaw

Icon for the "Weird, Wild & Wonderful" Symposium keynotes, available for free from iTunes U > The Huntington.

Icon for the “Weird, Wild & Wonderful” Symposium keynotes, available for free from iTunes U > The Huntington.

The keynote lectures from the “Weird, Wild & Wonderful” Symposium have been made available in audio format by The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens for free, via iTunes U > The Huntington. To listen, go to: https://itunes.apple.com/us/institution/the-huntington/id416672109. This link will take you to the iTunes U where you can hear all of the keynote talks from the symposium unedited, including:

  • Jim Folsom’s opening remarks
  • Dr. Jodie Holt, “Do you ‘see’ plants? Using Art and Technology to Teach Science”
  • Mieko Ishikawa, “Painting the Wonder Plants of Borneo”
  • Dr. Phillip Cribb, “The Art of Orchids”
  • Dr. Alain Touwaide, “Plants, Artists, Languages: A Sense of Time and Places”

If you are having trouble connecting with the link above, go to The Huntington’s website, scroll down to the bottom of the page to the social media icons on the lower right side, and click on the iTunes U icon (the music notes). While there, take a look around at all of the free lectures offered by The Huntington.

The “Weird, Wild & Wonderful” Symposium was held this summer in conjunction with the southern California showing of Weird, Wild & Wonderful: The New York Botanical Garden Second Triennial Exhibition, Botanical Illustrations of Remarkable Plants, a traveling exhibition curated by the American Society of Botanical Artists.

by Alyse Ochniak, posted by Deb Shaw

Jim Folsom lecturing during the "Weird, Wild & Wonderful Symposium." Photo by Clara Josephs, © 2015, all rights reserved.

Jim Folsom lecturing during the “Weird, Wild & Wonderful Symposium.” Photo by Clara Josephs, © 2015, all rights reserved.

More looking forward to the next New York Botanical Garden Triennial, “Out of the Woods”:

Jim Folsom, Marge and Sherm Telleen Director of the Botanical Gardens, will be teaching two workshops about the structure of trees at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, on:
October 24, 2015 (limit 30 students) in the Brody Teaching Lab, from 8:30 am – 12:00 pm, and
January 17, 2016 (limit 20 students) in the Engemann Applied Tech Lab, from 8:30 am – 12:00 pm

Cost is $10.00 each session, payable at the workshop. Reservations are required, however; please RSVP to Alyse Ochniak. Reservations are first come, first served.

Come to one or both! Each session will be a 3-hour demonstration/workshop. Students will use dissection and compound microscopes to examine tree architecture, growth patterns, and structural characteristics using fresh and prepared material (provided by the Gardens). Discussion will include characteristics and terminology used to describe trees, and most useful in identification. Instruction will give particular attention to natural growth patterns and specific details of tree morphology and anatomy that would impact veracity of depiction.

Workshops only require pencil/pen and sketchbooks for taking notes, although artists are welcome to bring whatever materials they would like to use. Attendees are welcome to stay and draw in the Gardens after the class.

For more information about the New York Botanical Garden Triennial “Out of the Woods, Celebrating Trees in Public Places” visit the ASBA website.

The Huntington is located at: 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, California, 91108.

About the instructor:
Jim Folsom, PhD., rides the demographic peak of baby boomers, having been born in southeastern Alabama in 1950. His lifelong love of plants is reflected in a BS in Botany from Auburn University, an MA in Biology from Vanderbilt University, and a PhD in research botany from The University of Texas at Austin. Though his research has centered on the orchid family, with much of the research time spent in Tropical America (including a year in Colombia on a Fulbright Pre-Doctoral Fellowship), Jim’s botanical interests are wide-ranging. As Curator of the Botanical Gardens at The Huntington in San Marino, CA, he dedicates much of his effort to educational programs that increase public interest and understanding of the science, culture, and history of plants and gardens. He lives at The Huntington with his wife, Debra (also a botanist) and children Molly and Jimmy. Jim was recognized as a Friend of the Cactus and Succulent Society of America in 1996, a Member-at-Large of the Garden Club of America in 1998, and presented a Professional Citation by the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta in 1999. The Garden Club of America awarded him their Medal of Honor in 2007.

by Gilly Shaeffer, posted by Deb Shaw

Asuka Hishiki demonstrating during the "Weird, Wild & Wonderful" Symposium at The Huntington, July 2015. Photo by Gilly Shaeffer, © 2015.

Asuka Hishiki demonstrating during the “Weird, Wild & Wonderful” Symposium at The Huntington, July 2015. Photo by Gilly Shaeffer, © 2015.

During the recent “Weird, Wild & Wonderful” Symposium at The Huntington, I watched Asuka Hishiki as she demonstrated how she would paint a segment of an heirloom tomato skin. Here are my impressions of the way she went about developing this small sample of the tomato skin with paint.

  • Asuka says every time she approaches her subject it is new for her.
  • Asuka starts sketches on tracing paper.
  • She uses a wood pencil in a pencil holder which she sharpens with a box cutter.
  • She goes over her pencil lines with a lighter color paint or yellow ochre.  So she will have thin lines in watercolor for her drawing.
  • At this point she erases any pencil lines.
  • She covers the entire form with a Chinese white wash. (The Chinese white that she likes is the Holbein brand.)  She says one should stay very light when applying the first layer of this white paint. This Chinese white wash acts as a protection for the paper. Much of it gets taken off during the removal of the masking fluid (to be mentioned later).
  • Asuka will add more Chinese white paint on the places where she wants the paint to bleed to create  soft color transitions. She also mentions the importance of keeping  harmony in the colors used as the form develops.
Asuka Hishiki masking fluid technique. Photo by Gilly Shaeffer, © 2015.

Asuka Hishiki masking fluid technique. Photo by Gilly Shaeffer, © 2015.

  • She mixes three colors together in a small amount to be used to develop the form using the dry brush technique. She uses Interlon brand brush #3/0 for her dry brush work.
  • In preparing to use masking fluid to prevent certain areas of the paper from getting painted, she would prime the brush to be used with liquid soap. The soap helps to keep the masking fluid brush in good shape for future use. This brush is used exclusively for masking fluid.
  • She will use the masking fluid to hold the places that she does not want to get painted—in this case the place where a leaf would be (which looks like a skinny wiggly line in the photos), where the highlights would be and where imperfections would be found on the tomato skin.
Asuka Hishiki masking fluid technique. Photo by Gilly Shaeffer, © 2015.

Asuka Hishiki masking fluid technique. Photo by Gilly Shaeffer, © 2015.

  • Asuka stipples on the masking fluid with a very skinny brush on the section that she has begun to paint.
  • She uses tissue to blot any extra paint from her paper.
  • Then she adds a second layer of  masking fluid. So, this layer of masking fluid dots will have more tone than the first layer of dots that she applied that prevent any paint from getting through to the paper.
  • She always makes sure that the paint and the masking fluid that she has applied are absolutely dry before proceeding.
  • She says that you can lift paint more easily when you have first applied a Chinese white wash to the paper.
  • She applies a layer of Yellow Ochre wash.
  • She continues to develop the form through her dry brush technique. At this point the masking fluid remains on the painted area.
Asuka Hishiki masking fluid technique. Photo by Gilly Shaeffer, © 2015.

Asuka Hishiki masking fluid technique. Photo by Gilly Shaeffer, © 2015.

  • Asuka uses Winsor Newton Series 7 brushes, #5 and #3 for the colored washes.
  • She adds a third layer of masking fluid dots.
  • With WN Series 7 #5 brush, she puts a colored wash on the section that she had previously dry brushed. This makes any lines from dry brushing disappear.
  • Now she lifts the masking fluid dots. When she does this she is also lifting the Chinese white paint that was applied to the paper at the very start.  The white of the paper now shows through in the places that had masking fluid on them.
  • She decides that she wants to apply another layer (this would be the fourth layer) of masking fluid dots. This will make the dots appear lighter and less visible than the layers applied earlier.
  • Next more dry brushing with a deeper color paint. Some stippling is used. Then some more wet strokes (colored washes) to further the development of the form.
  • When she removes the fourth layer of masking fluid, it is easy to see the section of the heirloom tomato skin developing on the paper with its highlights, its shiny smooth skin, its roundness, its imperfections and its rich colors of orange, red, and purple.

by Veronica Raymond and Deb Shaw

Kathy Musial and feathered friend during a botanical trip.

Kathy Musial and feathered friend during a botanical trip.

The Southern California Horticultural Society (SCHS) is honoring Kathy Musial with a “Horticulturist of the Year” award at their 2015 Annual Award Banquet at the Los Angeles Arboretum.

BAGSC members may be most familiar with Kathy’s tireless work as part of The Huntington/BAGSC team for “Weird, Wild & Wonderful: The New York Botanical Garden Second Triennial Exhibition,” Weird, Wild & Wonderful Symposium, and the BAGSC adjunct exhibition.

The Southern California Horticultural Society is recognizing Kathy with the 2015 Horticulturist of the Year award for her work as Curator of Living Collections at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens. During her work there during the last 30 years, Kathy has made significant contributions to horticultural and botanical knowledge, both locally and globally.

Kathy has authored numerous publications, ranging from professional papers to excerpts from her travel diary of her tours to Chile, to editing the massive tome, Conifers Around the World, with Zsolt Debreczy and István Rácz. She has led botanical tours to Australia, Chile, New Zealand, South Africa and Madagascar.

Everyone is invited to join SCHS in celebrating Kathy’s remarkable work and dedication in the field of horticulture and in advancing a greater understanding of the flora of our world on:

Thursday, September 10, 2015
Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden
301 N Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007
Peacock Cafe
6pm, social hour and silent auction. Dinner and presentation begin at 7pm.

Purchase banquet tickets on-line, $45 each, by Thursday, September 3, 2015.
Please call Steven Gerischer, (323) 257-3629 with any questions.

 

Kathy has been a great resource for many BAGSC members and plant lovers everywhere. Congratulations Kathy!

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