Archive for the ‘sketchbook’ Category

When reading about artists traveling on European expeditions, we learn that artists worked in watercolor. Marianne North worked in oil. Does North ever explain why she chose oil over watercolor or other color media?

Yes, she does – and the answer is really interesting in terms of getting a handle on North’s motivations for painting and her self-image as an artist. North took watercolor lessons as a young woman, but once she tried oil painting she found it to be “a vice like dram-drinking, almost impossible to leave off once it gets possession of one.” Besides enjoying the feel and effects of oil colors, it is important to note that North was not a botanical illustrator. If we examine North’s oil sketches within this tradition, the only conclusion that can be, and has too often been made, is that she was bad at her work. This isn’t helpful for reconstructing what it was she was doing. North’s project is more closely aligned with the kind of work being done by the Hudson River School painters in North America, who traveled throughout the United States, the Arctic, Jamaica, and South and Central America with the goal of painting the beauty, unity, and character of nature – and who did so in oils. For North, it wasn’t interesting to paint an uprooted, idealized type-specimen against a white background as per botanical illustration. Instead, she treated the plants and botanical landscapes she encountered as individuals and groups of individuals met with in distinctive settings, all of which she wanted to portray with the vibrancy and materiality of the original encounter, a task best done with oils.

Catch up with our conversation with Katie Zimmerman

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Here is what’s new at Classes Near You > Southern California!

Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Gardens, Arcadia

Courses in introductory botanical drawing, beginning and intermediate watercolor, colored pencil, sketching and Chinese brush painting are taught throughout the year. Go to Events & Classes for more information. The Arboretum is located in Arcadia, CA. To register, contact Jill Berry or call (626) 821-4624.

    Drawing with Colored Pencil for Children
    Children ages 9-13 will use pencils to develop observation and fine motor skills, focusing on color mixing and drawing techniques while using  objects  from  nature  and everyday life. This class will be held on Thursday afternoons (3:30 – 5:30 PM). Two sections of this class are available for Fall 2012. Cost: $145 Arboretum members, $160 non-members; 10% discount for siblings. Minimum enrollment: 5 children, Maximum enrollment: 10 children.

    Thursdays, September 6, 13, 20, 27
    Thursdays, October 4, 11, 18, 25

    Using Colored Pencil in Botanical Art
    Learn the colored pencil techniques used by botanical artists! All levels of experience are welcome. Students will receive a supply list. Pre-registration required. Registrants may bring a lunch or buy lunch at the Peacock Cafe. Both Tuesday and Saturday classes will be offered beginning in May. The Summer/Fall 2012 schedule is as follows:

    Tuesdays, 2012
    Sept. 4, 11, 18, 25
    Oct 2, 9, 16, 23
    Nov (No Classes)
    Dec 4, 11, 18 (Dec classes 10:00 AM – 3:15 PM)

    These classes will focus on techniques, composition and color mixing. All levels of experience are welcome.

    10 AM – 2 PM (includes lunch break)
    $255/mo. Arboretum members per month
    $275/mo. Non-members per month
    Pre-registration required; please call (626) 821-4623

    Saturdays, 2012
    September 15
    October 13
    (No class in Nov.)
    December 15

    Each individual class will explore flowers, fruits, vegetables and related subjects. Participants will learn how to use colored pencils techniques to achieve beautiful, painterly results. You may register for one class at a time. A supply list will be provided upon registration; you can also bring your lunch or purchase it at the Peacock Café.

    10 AM – 4 PM, includes a one-hour lunch break (5 hours of class)
    $95 Arboretum members per Saturday
    $115 Non-members per Saturday
    Pre-registration required; please call (626) 821-4623

Cristina Baltayian is a botanical artist with a background in drawing (graphite, charcoal, pen & ink), two-dimensional design, watercolor and colored pencil. Her work has been shown at Filoli, the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Chapman University. She is a member of the Botanical Artists Guild of Southern California and the American Society of Botanical Artists.

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Many new exhibitions have been added to the Exhibits to Visit section. So many in fact, it is necessary to create an announcement to bring attention to all of them.

Some exhibitions are already open and others will open this week, such as the exhibition at the Northbrook Public Library in Northbrook, IL featuring the award-winning botanical art of Heeyoung Kim. On view will be the collection of paintings for which Heeyoung was awarded a gold medal by the Royal Horticultural Society earlier this year.

Here is what’s new:

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Would you like to start your own illustrated diary?

Botanical artist and teacher, Nina Antze, will teach you how to start a nature journal using colored pencils. See her updated listing in Classes Near You > California:

Northern California

Nina Antze
Drawing Nature in Colored Pencil

Nina received a degree in Fine Art from San Francisco State University and a Certificate in Botanical Illustration from the botanical art program at the New York Botanical Garden. For more information about the classes below, contact Nina Antze or call (707) 237-7014. Nina’s teaching schedule can also be viewed on her website.

  • Nature Drawing Classes – Four Tuesdays, ongoing. 9AM – 12 PM. Learn to capture the forms and colors of nature at Sebastopol Center for the Arts in Sebastopol, CA. Cost: $89. Contact Nina Antze or
    call (707) 237-7014.
  • Drawing Autumn Leaves – Saturday November 12, 2011; 9 AM – 4 PM. Learn how to create the rich colors of Fall using colored pencils. Point Reyes National Seashore Association. Cost: $135 non-members, $115 PRNSA members. Register online.

Southern California

    Nature Drawing Classes – Learn to capture the forms and colors of nature at El Dorado Nature Center in Long Beach, CA (2nd Saturday of the month). Contact: (562) 570-1745

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Stephen Joseph, Herbarium Print. California Polypod, Polypodium californicum. Polypodiaceae. Hab. Sierra Nevada, California. Collected by John Muir. 1875

The Oakland Museum of California (OMCA) presents A Walk in the Wild: Continuing John Muir’s Journey, on view August 6, 2011, through January 22, 2012, in the Museum’s Great Hall. In this provocative new exhibition, OMCA celebrates the legendary naturalist’s life, work, and legacy in California and beyond. Told through OMCA’s collections of art, history, and natural science, as well as interactive digital technology and extensive loans―Muir’s journals, manuscripts, original drawings and plant collections―the exhibition pays tribute to the “Father of the National Parks,” whose legacy continues to inspire environmental stewardship in California today.

Through interactive, multisensory displays, A Walk in the Wild invites visitors to explore the vast natural environment of California and experience the sights, sounds, and smells that Muir encountered during his explorations. Through video and interactive technology, visitors will be able to meet “Modern Day Muirs” and learn about their work and motivations. The featured Modern Day Muirs include: Shelton Johnson, Yosemite National Park ranger; John Wehausen, wildlife biologist; Dune Lankard, Alaskan environmental activist/fisherman; Rick Deutsch, Half Dome hiker/author; Jean Krejca, cave explorer; Greg Stock, Yosemite National Park geologist; Steve Sillett, redwood canopy researcher; Tori Seher, Yosemite National Park bear biologist and Alcatraz bird biologist; and Kemba Shakur, tree planter for Oakland Relief.

“This exhibition is filled with wonder and discovery,” says guest curator Dorris Welch. “We all have many things to learn from John Muir’s legacy. To be able to honor and bring John Muir’s legacy into a modern-day light is an extremely important thing,” Welch says of the OMCA-exclusive show.

A Walk in the Wild: Continuing John Muir’s Journey is made possible by generous support from the Oakland Museum Women’s Board, The Bernard Osher Foundation, the J.M. Long Foundation and the University of the Pacific Library, John Muir Papers, Holt Atherton Collections/Muir-Hanna Trust.

The museum is located one block from the Lake Merritt BART station on the corner of 10th Street and Oak Street. The accessibility ramp is located at the new 1000 Oak Street main entrance. Daily hours and admission information are available online at the OMCA website.

Journal. Yosemite Journal, 1872. John Muir Papers, Holt-Anderson Special Collections, University of the Pacific Library. ©1984, Muir-Hanna Trust.

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Example of a "vintage" photo transfer. © Val Webb

New classes for spring and summer have been announced at The Illustrated Garden!

Alabama artists are invited to join Val Webb and thousands of artists worldwide on Worldwide SketchCrawl Day. Local artists will gather at 5 Rivers Delta Resource Center on the Causeway on April 16 ( 9 AM – 3 PM). This is a free event and open to all artists. If you can’t make this event, stop the Earth Day Mobile Bay event near the Fairhope Pier on April 23 (10 AM – 6 PM). Val Webb will be at The Illustrated Garden’s booth drawing heirloom vegetables and handing out free seeds from Sustainable Seed Company.

Here is what’s new at Classes Near You for Alabama and Louisiana:

  • Draw and Paint Six Culinary Herbs – Saturday, April 30;
    10 AM – 4 PM. Learn the basic structure of a leaf, then put that knowledge to work as you create a color rendering of six culinary herbs in layered watercolor and colored pencil. No previous experience necessary, and all supplies are provided. Take home completed botanical art and six potted herb plants. Lunch will be at a nearby cafe in downtown Fairhope. This is a very limited small-group workshop, and it is expected to fill-up quickly.  Your registration fee must be received to reserve your spot. This class will be taught at Val’s studio in Fairhope, AL. Cost: $60 includes refreshments, all art supplies and six potted herb plants to take home. Contact Val Webb if you plan to participate.
  • Old and New: The Lost Art of Hand Lettering… and a New Way to Make “Vintage” Photo Transfers – Saturday, May 21; 10 AM – 3 PM.
    This is not calligraphy, but the “drawn letters” used by old-fashioned sign painters and type designers. Learn to adapt this method to label your botanical artwork or write beautifully in your sketchbook or art journal. Learn how to letter on curves, how to use perspective in your lettering, and how to design your own personal lettering style. After lunch in a nearby cafe, learn how to transfer photos. Val will show you how to transfer a vintage-looking image to paper, cloth or wood using butcher’s paper and acrylic medium. The original photo is not affected in any way, and the final product has a hauntingly ephemeral look that is quite beautiful. Plus, you will learn how to tint your transfer with watercolor for a more impressionistic result. This works especially well with old family photos and garden subjects.  Embellish a journal or family album, make truly lovely greeting cards, frame them as keepsakes or gifts — the possibilities go on and on.  Class size is limited. Early registration required. Cost: $60 includes refreshments and all art supplies, plus illustrated tutorial pages to take home. Contact Val Webb if you plan to participate.
  • Botanical Drawing in Pencil and Watercolor – Saturday, May 28;
    9 AM – 3 PM. Join Val for an intensive day of botanical drawing and watercolor at the New Orleans Botanical Garden, New Orleans, LA. With more than 2,000 varieties of plants from around the world to choose from, participants will create plant portraits using layers of graphite pencil and watercolor. This class will be held in the historic Garden Studies Center, a charming renovated 1930s potting shed that would look right at home in a Beatrix Potter story.  The day will begin with a detailed demonstration and some guided practice time before heading out into the gardens to draw and paint. This workshop is appropriate for ALL levels of art experience, and there is no supply list — all art supplies and materials (plus admission to the gardens) will be provided. Morning refreshments will be provided. Participants must bring their own lunch. Class size is limited. Early registration required. Cost: $120, includes refreshments and all art supplies. Contact Val Webb if you plan to participate. A detailed itinerary and information about a very reasonable and dog-friendly hotel in New Orleans is available upon request.
  • Botanical Drawing: Springtime in the South (daytime class) – Tuesdays, April 5 – May 9, 2011; 2 -5 PM (six weeks). Alabama’s botanical world gets all dressed up with the arrival of spring. Draw and paint Louisiana iris, native wildflowers, flowering bulbs and more, working from live specimens. Participants will use traditional scientific drawing methods to create realistic botanicals in pencil, ink, colored pencil and gouache. Learn in a relaxed, encouraging atmosphere. No experience necessary. Everything you need for this class will be provided. In addition to regular class meetings, participants have the opportunity to attend one optional weekend field sketching trip. Class size is limited. Early registration required. Cost: $140 includes art supplies. Contact Val Webb if you plan to participate. Location: Val’s studio in Fairhope, AL.
  • Botanical Drawing: Springtime in the South (evening class)
    Tuesdays, April 5 – May 23, 2011; 6:30 – 8:30 PM (eight weeks).
    Same course description as the daytime class. This class has been designed for people who need a class with evening hours. Cost: $140.
  • Every Picture Tells a Story: Illustrating Children’s Books
    Wednesdays, May 18 – July 6, 2011; 6:30 – 8:30 PM (eight weeks). 
    This lively, relaxed and encouraging course will cover character design, creative page layouts, how to draw for publication and how to use pictures to move a story forward. Have questions about submissions, copyright or publishing markets? We’ll cover those topics, too. Our drawing work will focus on depicting children and animals in action settings. ALL levels of art experience are welcome.  Class size is limited. Early registration required. Cost: $125 includes art supplies. Contact Val Webb if you plan to participate. Location: Val’s studio in Fairhope, AL.
  • Botanical Drawing: Tropical Summer (daytime class) – Thursdays, May 19 – June 23, 2011; 2-5 PM (six weeks).
    It’s the season of brilliant colors and unusual forms! Participants will use watercolor and colored pencil to create realistic renderings of summer plants including palms, succulents and tropical flowers. Butterflies and other insects associated with summer blooms will also be painted. In addition to regular class meetings, participants have the option of sketching one day in the field. No experience necessary. All art supplies are provided. Cost: $140 includes art supplies. Contact Val Webb if you plan to participate. Location: Val’s studio in West Mobile, AL.
  • Botanical Drawing: Tropical Summer (evening class) – Thursdays, May 19 – July 7, 2011; 6:30 – 8:30 PM (eight weeks).
    Same course description as the daytime class. This class has been designed for people who need a class with evening hours. Cost: $140.

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New at Classes Near You > Texas:

Sibley Nature Center, Midland

This 49-acre site is home to programs educating the public about the southern Llano Estacado and surrounding area. Each course is 5 weeks in length. The five fundamental courses are listed below and are prerequisites to the advanced courses. Advanced courses may include: Nature Drawing, Pen and Ink, Colored Pencil, Textures in Nature, Drawing Animals, Drawing and Painting Animals, Botanical Illustration, and Scientific Illustration. Museum specialist and scientific illustrator, Michael M. Nickell, teaches the Center’s courses about nature drawing and journaling. He has been a professional practicing scientific illustrator and nature artists for over 30 years. He clients include National Geographic, Texas Parks and Wildlife, The Museum of Texas Tech University, Lubbock Lake Landmark, The University of Texas at Austin, The University of Oklahoma, the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, The Square House Museum, Encyclopedia Britannica, and others. Course Fee: $50 Sibley members, $80 non-members. Single Sibley memberships are $25/year. For more information, contact Michael Nickell.

  • Pencil Drawing II
    Saturdays, January 15 – February 12, 2011; 2 – 4 PM
  • Pencil Drawing I
    Saturdays, January 22 – February 19, 2011; 12 – 2 PM
  • Light on Form – TBA
  • Composition – TBA
  • Color Theory – TBA

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