It takes a gifted artist to become a great teacher and those who dare to teach never cease to learn.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Experimenting new media and different format

(Aubergine, carbon dust by Helen Smithwick)
In addition to our core media: graphite, pen and ink, colored pencil and watercolor we offer courses in other media such as carbon dust and watercolor pencil. Here are some images from recently started classes - note the images are from the 3rd session and the students are just becoming familiar with the new medium.

 (Two tomatillos, watercolor pencil by Pam O'Hara)

In the very end of last year we also had a workshop for miniatures in which the students learned how to scale down the subject matter to a small format. The paper size for these miniature masterpieces was at the most 4.5" x 4.5". More images from these ongoing and past workshops you can find by clicking here.

(Five miniatures in different media, individual paper size 4.5" x 4.5", by Cyndy Calkins)

Monday, January 26, 2015

KUNC writes about us!

(Constance Sayas and Elizabeth Lafemina)
Our school got featured at KUNC's (91.5FM) web-site. Please click here to read the article. 
KUNC is the Community Radio for Northern Colorado and a part of the npr-digital network. 

Saturday, January 17, 2015

2015 Illustrator/Artist in Residence Program

(Prunus sp. by Nels Broste, watercolor)

This is an exciting opportunity for up to three illustrators/artists to get involved in the daily happenings at Denver Botanic Gardens. Residents will document the day-to-day progress and changes in the Rocky Mountain plant world, interpreting the botanic gardens’ purpose as a place of preservation, conservation, education and diversity into images or works which bring others enjoyment and a deeper understanding of the environment some may never visit. The works completed under this residency contribute to the public understanding and appreciation of our gardens, and offer an opportunity to see our activities through the eyes of the contributing residents.

The resident is expected to contribute fully to the life of Denver Botanic Gardens. This contribution will be negotiated and tailored to the artist’s own personal interests. The residency could involve participation in any of the following:
·         Online blog about the Gardens (WordPress or similar)
·         Participation in Open Studios and presenting work in progress
·         Compiling work produced during the residency
·         Educational workshops
·         Demonstrations for the public

The illustrator/artist is expected to spend five days/week on site although this can vary from week to week depending on other professional commitments by prior agreement. The residency may involve presence during evenings and weekends.
The resident must provide their own supplies, equipment, and logistics for their activities during the residency.

Outdoor studio space, access to the Gardens’ library, herbaria, classroom and Science Pyramid.
This call for illustrators offers three residency opportunities, each for a period of six weeks:
1. April 20 – May 29
2. June 15 – July 24
3. August 10 – September 18

The residency provides a stipend of $3,000 for each selected illustrator/artist to be used for both housing and materials. 

One completed original work from each selected illustrator/artist will become property of Denver Botanic Gardens.

The resident holds the copyright and maintains intellectual property of the produced illustrations, but will give written permission to Denver Botanic Gardens to use or print images for publicity, publication, or retail product development with proper artist credit. When the resident reproduces artwork for their own purposes, publication information will include the language: “This artwork was produced under the Artist-In-Residence Program at Denver Botanic Gardens.”

The residencies are open to all illustrators/artists who have completed a certificate program in scientific illustration, botanical art and illustration, nature illustration or equivalent. Artists working in all media, including three dimensional applications, will be considered. The instructors of Denver Botanic Gardens School of Botanical Art and Illustration are not eligible for the residency.

APPLICATION (Application Form)
The application should include:
·         A description of how you will respond to the opportunity and how this opportunity will develop your practice (not more than 500 words in length, typed and double spaced).
·         CV with two references
·         Link to your website and/or blog
·         5 examples of recent work in a low resolution format (not to exceed 2MB per image)
·         Your preference for the residency time period

Please email your application to with Illustrator in Residency 2015 in the subject line.

Closing date for submissions: March 16, 2015
Selection completed by March 30, 2015

(sketchbook page by Colleen Henderson)

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Xylem - Botanical Art Exhibit

(please click the image to enlarge)
Loveland Museum and Gallery will present a botanical group exhibit of 14 artists between January 10 and March 15.
"This group exhibit of 14 artists shows a wide range of botanicals as a subject of art, from the classic to the conceptual. This exhibition links the tenets of botanical art with artists who work in a method outside the structure of classical botanical illustration. Seen together, these two approaches represent disorder within a highly ordered framework, and mirror the beauty of stability and chaos in the natural world."
The Techniques Showcase event on March 7th (noon - 3 p.m.) is warmly recommended!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Happy Holidays!

(transparent acrylics by Nance Minnick)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Bartram exhibit now displayed at UC Berkeley, CA

From the exhibit: Panicum virgatum by Susan Curnutte

"Following in the Bartram's Footsteps" exhibit features 44 original artwork in the style of John Bartram and is now on display at the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden's through February 2015.  
You can find out about the exhibit details by clicking here. You can watch an excellent video about the exhibit by clicking here.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Botanical Illustration 2014 scholarship recipients

(Stones (2012), colored pencil by Elizabeth Lafemina)

Each year the School of Botanical Illustration awards scholarships for new students who are 15 years or older and planning to enroll in any of the required classes  in Denver Botanic Gardens School of Botanical Art and Illustration. In 2013 we have five recipients:

1. Elizabeth Lafemina is already enrolled in the courses at SBAI since the past summer. She likes to learn how to render a subject accurately; and to master technically to capture the true identity and structure of plant while depicting its beauty. Her desire is to help the illustration field to grow through pioneering new opportunities, illustrating extinct or rare species or educating others.

(Polyporales (2014), watercolor by Stephanie Oliver)

2. Stephanie Oliver has been taking our botanical illustration classes already and would like to use her skills to do scientific illustrations for museums and scientific papers involving extinct and extant plant species, as well as create public awareness of the many plants and bird species that we may lose in the future as our planet changes.

 (Magnolia, watercolor by Laurel Sprenger)
3. Laurel Sprenger will start in our school in 2015. Her background is in botany and she would like to develop her observation and drawing skills and apply that into her greeting card business and illustrating children's books.  

(Swallowtail, pen and ink with watercolor by Sage Stowell)
4.  Sage Stowell  has a degree in environmental studies and is planning to start our courses in 2015. Her goal is to illustrate field guides and textbooks, and pursue a graduate degree in botany.

(Stain glass painting by Julie Talty)
5. Julie Talty will enroll in our courses in 2015. She is a practicing artist and has been painting, sculpting, welding and drawing. She has also been practicing performing arts. With her own words she needs to improve in the range of values, perspective, composition.

Congratulations to all of you and welcome to the School of Botanical Art and Illustration! 

Saturday, December 13, 2014


This 32-page illustrated story about re-introducing wolverines to Colorado has just been published in a limited first edition. It is packed with information about these fast moving animals while telling the story of Gulo M1. You can get your copy by contacting the author.
Susanne Stutzman is an illustrator, wilderness advocate, and supporter of wolverine re-introduction in Colorado. She graduated from our School last year (2013).

Monday, December 8, 2014

Winter/Spring 2015 courses open for registration

(Mary McCauley, colored pencil)
Our Winter/Spring 2015 classes will open for registration tomorrow, December 9th, 9 a.m. If you misplaced your new catalog, you can download and print a new one by clicking here.
The on-line registration site can be reached here, please note that the winter and spring courses appear now as sold out, they will go off-line between 00:00 a.m. and 08:59.99 a.m. on tomorrow, December 9th  and on 09.00 a.m. they are all on-line again and ready for the registrations.
Good luck with the registration and remember that our courses typically sell out very fast - 

Friday, December 5, 2014

El Charco del Ingenio in San Miguel de Allende, GTO, Mexico

Our School has partnered with El Charco del Ingenio in San Miguel de Allende, GTO, Mexico since 2009 and we have offered botanical illustration classes there 3 - 4 times/year. Our collaboration will continue and in 2015 we have planned to offer three 5-day-long workshops: one in March, one in July and the last one for the year in December.
Laurence Pierson was the teacher for our most recent workshop that ended today.