You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘The Huntington’ tag.

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 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.

by Tania Norris, posted by Deb Shaw

BAGSC handouts for "Portraits of Bonsai from The Huntington Collection." Cover image, Ficus retusa, watercolor on paper, © 2018 Anna Suprunenko. Brochure and photo by Olga Ryabtsova, © 2018.

BAGSC handouts for “Portraits of Bonsai from The Huntington Collection.” Cover image, Ficus retusa, watercolor on paper, © 2018 Anna Suprunenko. Brochure and photo by Olga Ryabtsova, © 2018.

The Botanical Center at The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, is the location for the BAGSC exhibition ‘“Portraits of Bonsai from The Huntington Collection.” The paintings received many admiring comments from the public and participants at The Huntington’s Bonsai-a-Thon held the weekend of February 24 – 25, 2018.

Demonstrations during the two-day event were given by Olga Ryabtsova, Mitsuko Schultz and Tania Norris. The questions and comments from the viewers were many and varied. They ranged from ‘how do you?’, ‘I could never do that’, ‘are they for sale?’ and ‘where do I find classes?’ etc. People were really interested and appreciative of our participation.

Amazing Bonsais everywhere! Photo by Olga Ryabtsova, © 2018.

Amazing Bonsais everywhere! Photo by Olga Ryabtsova, © 2018.

The wonderful and patient Bonsai master, Ted Matson, gave a long plug for BAGSC before he started the auction of bonsai for the attendees. He mentioned how BAGSC members had come weekly to paint The Huntington Collection. Ted also mentioned the upcoming ASBA “Out of the Woods” art show at the Brody Center (May 18, 2018 to August 27, 2018) and was most complimentary about the BAGSC paintings.

Olga Ryabtsova (L) and Mitsuko Schultz (R) demonstrate in front of the BAGSC wall of Bonsai Portraits. Photo by Jude Wiesenfeld, © 2018.

Olga Ryabtsova (L) and Mitsuko Schultz (R) demonstrate in front of the BAGSC wall of Bonsai Portraits. Photo by Jude Wiesenfeld, © 2018.

It was also wonderful to see many BAGSC members attending the event. A few additional BAGSC demonstrators or BAGSC members who could answer questions would have been appreciated. Don’t be shy — all levels of expertise are appreciated at our outreach events, and seasoned BAGSC participants are always on hand to lend a hand.

Jude Wiesenfeld with her painting Juniperus Californica, © 2018. Photo by Mitsuko Schultz, © 2018.

Jude Wiesenfeld with her painting Juniperus californica, © 2018. Photo by Mitsuko Schultz, © 2018.

Thank you to Ted Matson and The Huntington for this wonderful opportunity; and kudos to all BAGSC papticipants!

by Janice Sharp, posted by Deb Shaw
This weekend, (February 24 and 25) is the Bonsai-a-thon at the Brody Botanical Center, The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, California, from 10 am – 5 pm each day.

Andrew Mitchell, The Huntington, hangs the final painting in the "“Portraits of Bonsai from The Huntington Collection” in the Brody Botanical Center. Photo © 2018, Olga Ryabstova.

Andrew Mitchell, The Huntington, hangs the final painting in the ““Portraits of Bonsai from The Huntington Collection” in the Brody Botanical Center. Photo © 2018, Olga Ryabstova.

BAGSC’s “Portraits of Bonsai from The Huntington Collection” exhibition is on display in the Brody Botanical Center in conjunction with this event. The exhibition includes 12 artworks by ten BAGSC artists in a variety of media, including watercolor, graphite, ink, etching, colored pencil and oil on paper. Participating BAGSC artists include: Terri Munroe, Tania Norris, Veronica Raymond, Olga Ryabtsova, Mitsuko Schultz, Gilly Shaeffer, Janice Sharp, Deborah Shaw, Anna Suprunenko, and Jude Wiesenfeld.

BAGSC members have been invited to participate in the Bonsai-a-thon weekend, demonstrating art/drawing of Bonsais. If you are interested in participating contact Olga Ryabtsova to coordinate your participation. Artists should be prepared to be demonstrate from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm Saturday February 24 and/or Sunday February 25.

Bring friends and family and come soak in the world of Bonsai. Southern California Bonsai masters will be there, sharing their knowledge and passion for the art form in this annual event that includes exhibits, demonstrations, prize drawings, a “Bonsai Bazaar,” and a live auction at 3 p.m. each day. Proceeds from the event support the Golden State Bonsai Collection at The Huntington.

The Huntington is located at: 1151 Oxford Road, San Marino, CA 91108. Parking is free, and the Bonsai-a-thon event is free; however, general admission is required. The Bonsai-a-thon and “Portraits of Bonsai from The Huntington Collection” exhibition take place in the Brody Botanical Center.

by Jude Wiesenfeld, posted by Deb Shaw

Ginseng, watercolor on vellum. Denise Walser-Kolar, © 2017, all rights reserved.

Ginseng, watercolor on vellum. Denise Walser-Kolar, © 2017, all rights reserved.

Denise Walser-Kolar will be teaching the first BAGSC-sponsored workshop of 2018, entitled Roots and Leaves on Vellum or Watercolor Paper.

This workshop will focus on drawing and painting roots and leaves, starting with exercises observing and drawing roots and leaves. The balance of the workshop will concentrate on painting several small leaf studies. Students may work on either vellum or paper. Vellum will be available to purchase from instructor; students wishing to work on paper will bring their preferred materials.

The class also will cover mixing greens, creating dark shadow colors, and mixing light delicate colors necessary for painting roots. Denise is known for her thorough demonstrations, discussion of materials and techniques, hands-on time for developing skills, and lots of individual attention and feedback.

The workshop will be held at:
The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens,
Botanical Education Center, Allied Technical Lab
Wednesday – Friday, February 7 – 9, 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 Denise Walser-Kolar 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

Denise Walser-Kolar began her journey into Botanical art in 2003, after receiving a botanical art class from her parents as a birthday gift. She has a degree in Graphic Design and Illustration from the College of Visual Arts in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Denise teaches botanical art workshops across the country and currently works for the American Society of Botanical Artists as the Annual Meeting & Program Coordinator. She received the Diane Bouchier Artist Award for Excellence in Botanical Art in 2015 and received a Silver-Gilt medal from the Royal Horticultural Society in 2011 for her paintings of the hazelnuts of Badgersett Research Farm. Her work is held in the permanent collection of the Hunt institute for Botanical Documentation.

by Deb Shaw

The Third New York Botanical Garden Triennial, Out of the Woods: Celebrating Trees in Public Gardens is on display at the The New York Botanical Garden, in Bronx, New York from November 18, 2017 – April 22, 2018. Information about the exhibition, including images of all the artworks is on the ASBA website.

Forty-four artworks were selected from more than two hundred submissions, depicting one of the planet’s most important and beautiful resources: trees. Each of these subjects have been found in botanical gardens and arboreta throughout the United States and around the world.

Artists have been working on this project for the past three years, not only capturing images of trees, but also drawing attention to the institutions that shelter them: botanical gardens and arboreta. A central goal of the exhibition is to highlight the role of botanical gardens and arboreta in the research/scholarship they provide, as well as their education and outreach to the public.

The artists respond aesthetically to these inspiring subjects, and have depicted everything from seedpods to branches and bark to an entire forest floor. Each artist has written a statement about their artwork; artists’ statements can be read on the ASBA website.

Jurors for the exhibition were:

  • Joanna Groarke, Director of Public Engagement and Library Exhibitions Curator, The New York Botanical Garden
  • Todd Forrest, Arthur Ross VP for Horticulture and Living Collections, The New York Botanical Garden
  • Robin A. Jess, Past Executive Director, ASBA
  • Barbara Macklowe, Photographer, former Principal, Macklowe Gallery

Congratulations go to all artists participating, including BAGSC artists Akiko EnokidoDeborah FriedmanAsuka HishikiOlga Ryabtsova, and Mitsuko Schultz. (Clicking on the names of the artists goes to their artist’s statement page on the ASBA website; click on any of the images below to see them enlarged in a slide show format, with artist and painting information.)

Congratulations to the award-winners:

Gold Medal:
Asuka Hishiki, Black Pine Half-Cascade Style Bonsai, Pinus nigra
Omiya Bonsai Art Museum, Saitama, Japan
Oil on Paper

Silver Medal:
Lucy Martin
Bigleaf Maple with Inky-Cap Mushrooms, Acer macrophyllum, Coprinellus sp., University of California Botanical Garden, Berkeley, CA, Gouache on Paper

Bronze Medal:
Ingrid Finnan
Snake Branch Spruce, Picea abies ‘Virgata’, The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, NY, Oil on Paper

Honorable mentions:
Beverly Allen
New Guinea Dinner Plate Fig, Ficus dammaropsis, The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, Sydney, Australia, Watercolor on paper

Alexandra Negoita Vulcu
Bigleaf Magnolia, Magnolia macrophylla, Hortus Conclusus, Stone Ridge, NY, Watercolor and acrylic ink on paper

Barbara Oozeerally
Stone Oak, Lithocarpus pachyphyllus, Caerhays Estate, Gorran, St. Austell, England, Watercolor on paper

Beverly Fink
Tree Aloe, Aloe thraskii, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Sarasota, FL, Watercolor on paper

As with previous New York Triennial exhibitions, Out of the Woods will be traveling after the closing date at The New York Botanical Gardens, including coming to The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in May, 2018. Watch for future postings of lectures and other activities at The Huntington that will occur around the exhibition. BAGSC Members also will host a concurrent exhibition of local artists around the same theme at the Brody Botanical Education Center at The Huntington.

The current traveling schedule includes: The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens, San Marino, CA, May 19 – August 27, 2018; Foundry Art Centre (in time for the next ASBA conference), St. Charles, MO, October 5 – December 28, 2018; Tucson Botanical Gardens, Tucson, AZ, January 25 – April 13, 2019; Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, Chaska, MN, May 9 – August 13, 2019.

Front cover of exhibition catalog, featuring Leiden’s 300-year Old Liriodendron tulipifera, by © Esmée Winkel, watercolor on paper.

Front cover of exhibition catalog, featuring Leiden’s 300-year Old Liriodendron tulipifera, by © Esmée Winkel, watercolor on paper.

Exhibition catalogs may be purchased on the ASBA website for $12.00 ($10.80 for NYBG members). The full-color, 60-page catalog features all of the artwork in the exhibition as well as essays illuminating the pivotal importance of living collections in the conservation of the planet’s trees, and the continued significance of botanical art in the 21st century.

 

by Beth Stone, posted by Deb Shaw

BAGSC members might like these two upcoming events at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens:

Lecture – Cochineal in the History of Art and Global Trade
Sunday, 12/10/17 at 2:30 pm

Garden Talk & Sale – California “Super Bloom” 2017
Thursday, 12/14/17 at 2:30 pm

by Janice Sharp, posted by Deb Shaw

The exhibition wall faces the stairway in the Brody Botanical Center. The BAGSC logo is a permanent sign, and information about BAGSC and ASBA is available as a handout. Photo by Janice Sharp, © 2017.

The exhibition wall faces the stairway in the Brody Botanical Center. The BAGSC logo is a permanent sign, and information about BAGSC and ASBA is available as a handout. Photo by Janice Sharp, © 2017.

BAGSC’s latest exhibit at The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens, “Inspired by Latin America,” is now open in the Brody Botanical Center.

The art was hung on September 5, 2017, and the show will run through to January 15, 2018. Eleven paintings by eight BAGSC artists are featured in the exhibition, including Melanie Campbell-Carter, Sally Jacobs, Arillyn Moran-Lawrence, Kathly Powell, Olga Ryabtsova, Mitsuko Schultz, Janice Sharp, and Deborah Shaw.

Janice Sharp and Andrew Mitchell review the plans for the exhibition layout. Photo by Beth Stone, © 2017.

Janice Sharp and Andrew Mitchell review the plans for the exhibition layout. Photo by Beth Stone, © 2017.

We thank The Huntington for providing the beautiful new signage identifying the artwork on the wall as belonging to the “Botanical Artists Guild of Southern California.” The plexi banner will be a permanent feature of the display. We have also added a container to dispense handouts. For this exhibit, the handout lists the artists and their paintings, with information about BAGSC and ASBA on the back. We also thank Andrew Mitchell for his patience with us in hanging the artwork.

The next Huntington exhibition, beginning in January, will be “Bonsai’s of the Huntington.”

By Janice Sharp and Beth Stone, posted by Deb Shaw

On September 6 – 8, 2017, Marjorie Leggitt taught at BAGSC-sponsored workshop entitled “Fresh Art: Pencil and Paint in the Garden” at The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens. Marj expertly led us on a scary path down the road of fast drawing and minimal supplies.

This class presented a unique opportunity to escape the classroom and venture out into the gardens. We were all grateful that it was cooler than previous weeks, so we enjoyed being outside.

It was great, challenging and yes, frustrating, to use quick techniques: modified blind contour drawing; big wet brushes and simple pallets. Each designed to shift our focus away from the tools and back to observation of our subject. We came away with good tips which we can apply to making thoughtful studies or even initial drawings for a full botanical rendering.

Click on any one of the circles to see the images in a slide show format:

By Gilly Shaeffer, posted by Deb Shaw

Matt Ritter talking with Diane Nelson Daly about her watercolor of Bauhinia x blakeana, Hong Kong Orchid Tree.

Matt Ritter talking with Diane Nelson Daly about her watercolor of Bauhinia x blakeana, Hong Kong Orchid Tree.

The Botanical Artists Guild of Southern California (BAGSC) celebrated its 20th Anniversary on August 26, 2017 with a three-event program held at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden. The late afternoon program started in the Arboretum Library with a tour of our current exhibition, Illustrating the Urban Forest: 20 Years of Botanical Art. Following a welcome from LA Arboretum Librarian Susan Eubank and BAGSC President Janice Sharp, our guest speaker, Matt Ritter, led the exhibit tour and called on several BAGSC artists to join him in discussing their paintings.

From the exhibition, BAGSC members and guests went to Ayres Hall at the Arboretum for Matt’s keynote presentation on the trees of Southern California. We were grateful to have Matt, a botanist, tree expert and very engaging speaker, share his knowledge of trees and take us on a tour of the urban forest. His presentation shed light on many issues that affect trees in our Southern California environment, as well as focusing on those that do well in our climate, neighborhoods, streets and parks.

BAGSC member Terri Munroe played beautiful harp music to accompany our dinner on the Peacock Café patio.

BAGSC member Terri Munroe played beautiful harp music to accompany our dinner on the Peacock Café patio.

After Matt’s presentation, BAGSC members and guests meandered over to the Peacock Café patio. As members and guests arrived on the patio, we were welcomed by heavenly harp music by BAGSC member, Terri Munroe, and a magnificent view of the setting sun casting a golden light over our dinner celebration. Members and guests checked out a table display of our 20-year history in photographs, past BAGSC newsletters and other memorabilia from group events.

Before beginning a delicious dinner, we heard a few words from a letter sent by Olga Eysymontt about the beginnings of our group, and listened to fun reminiscences of early times in BAGSC by Leslie Walker (a former BAGSC president). Janice Sharp (current BAGSC president) spoke about what the group is doing now and our plans for the future, including exhibitions, workshops and collaborations with various public gardens in Southern California.

An elegant and delicious dinner on the patio of the Peacock Café.

An elegant and delicious dinner on the patio of the Peacock Café.

Later during the dinner program, I had the pleasure of expressing the group’s deepest appreciation on behalf of BAGSC members to three members who have made outstanding contributions to our group over the years.

The first person to be mentioned was Tania Marien. She was responsible for starting our BAGSC newsletter, and was editor for a number of years. Her selfless spirit and dedication to botanical art found further expression when she became one of the main organizers for the American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA) 2008 Annual Conference which was held at The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino, California. In 2015, Tania played a major role again as a key organizer of the ASBA “Weird, Wild & Wonderful” Symposium which also was held at The Huntington. Her tireless efforts have increased awareness about plants and botanical art in Southern California and around the world.

We are also grateful for the contributions made by Deborah Shaw to furthering people’s awareness of botanical art and the role of our BAGSC organization. Deb has been instrumental in helping our group become acquainted with current digital technologies. Some of her accomplishments include creating the BAGSC Blog and the beautiful BAGSC website. She has been an extraordinary force in keeping our membership well informed about BAGSC events and ASBA events. She was also a key organizer of the ASBA Annual Conference of 2008 and the ASBA “Weird, Wild & Wonderful” Symposium of 2015. It is hard to imagine how Deb manages to keep our group well informed while also creating paintings that draw great admiration.

And last but not least, our Tania Norris deserves a big thank you for outstanding contributions she has made to BAGSC and botanical art. Tania helped to get the “ball rolling” which led to the 2008 ASBA Annual Conference being held at the The Huntington. She helped in many ways to make the first ASBA Conference held in LA a big success. Tania was also a key organizer for the 2015 ASBA “Weird, Wild & Wonderful” Symposium held at The Huntington. Her selfless efforts have helped to lay the foundation for a special collaboration between BAGSC and The Huntington Brody Botanical Center. Her love for botanical art and her generous support have helped in establishing Los Angeles as a great place for this art form to thrive.

A big and heartfelt thank you to the many others who also have contributed to BAGSC and botanical art over the last 20 years. The truth is, we could not have reached this 20-year milestone without everyone’s contributions and support, too numerous to name.

We could not have had this lovely event without the help of BAGSC member, Jan Clouse and her husband, Charles, who designed the printed post cards and invitations for this 20th celebration. Additional thanks go to Cristina Baltayian for designing and creating the floral centerpieces for the tables. Thank you to Terri Munroe, for volunteering to play music for the dinner, which added a special magic to our evening. And, of course, a heartfelt thank you to Susan Eubank and the LA Arboretum—one of our first botanical homes and an avid supporter of BAGSC, plants, and botanical art.

Most importantly, thank you to all our dedicated members and supporters for all you have done during this 20-year period to make us the strong and vibrant group we are today. We gratefully look forward to the next 20 years.

P.S. from BAGSC members: A big thank you to Gilly Shaeffer, who served as BAGSC President for many years, and volunteered to chair our 20th Anniversary Celebration committee.

Click any of the circles to see the slide show and the captions:

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.

%d bloggers like this: