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Botanical Illustration

Denver Botanic Gardens' School of Botanical Art and Illustration program is designed to offer a comprehensive series of classes in botanical illustration, providing participants the drawing and painting skills required to render accurate and useful depictions of the plant world with a focus on detail. This program is for the dedicated illustrator, as well as the devoted amateur. It culminates in a portfolio and certificate for some students and offers an ongoing program of botanical illustration classes for others.

 

Attendance is required at the first class for all required courses. Please contact the program manager for the attendance policy on elective courses.

 

Please make sure that you have completed all the pre-requisites for this class by the time of the first session. Materials list for each course is attached to your registration confirmation.

 

Cancellation Policy: Cancellations more than one week prior to a class are subject to a 15% cancellation fee. Cancellations with less than one weeks notice are non-refundable; please consider your payment a donation to the Gardens.

In the Footsteps of Stephen H. Long with Watercolor

 

Focus on Colorado's Plant Explorers: Stephen H. Long's Expedition of 1820

 

These are the first classes in our new series focusing on scientific expeditions to Colorado, which in the early 1800s belonged partly to the Louisiana Territory and partly remained a part of the Viceroyality of New Spain. President Monroe directed Major Stephen H. Long to find the source of the Platte and Red rivers, and this expedition was the first staffed with scientists assigned to document plant and animal life, and geology between the Missouri River and Rocky Mountains. The expedition was short, taking place over 100 days during the summer of 1820. A young botanist, Dr. Edwin James, naturalist Titian Peale and zoologist Thomas Say were included in the expedition staff, along with a landscape painter and a journalist. About 700 plant species were collected 140 of which were unknown at the time. The expedition ran through present day Jefferson County (Clear Creek, Sheep Mountain), Douglas County, El Paso County (Palmer Lake, Monument Creek and on July 14th Pikes Peak). Dr. James kept an exceptional diary and the locations can be estimated for many of his collections. With very few exceptions, Dr. James  extant collections are housed in the herbarium of New York Botanical Garden. Let's start preparing to celebrate the 200-year anniversary of Long's expedition!

 

In the Footsteps of Stephen H. Long with Watercolor

It's Colorado wildflower season. Choose a favorite Rocky Mountain wildflower from Long's expedition to explore, study and paint. Rendering wildflowers requires careful observation and planning. Learn to use perspective, overlap and value contrast to create a painting with depth and spatial clarity. Then plan your approach to painting. A transparent and fluid medium, watercolor is ideal for blending color to create luminous flowers and facilitates drybrush techniques to produce fine detail as well. Demonstrations and individual guidance will show you strategies for combining the right watercolor techniques for your subject. In the spirit of exploration and discovery, create a painting of your chosen Rocky Mountain wildflower.

 

Prerequisites: Watercolor I

 

Fee: $250 member, $300 non-member.

 

Mon, June 4, 11, 18, 25, July 2, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Constance Sayas

 

Iris in Watercolor – Chatfield Farms Historic Collection

 

The historical iris collection at Chatfield Farms contains more than 400 varieties of iris. The entire collection was donated in 2014 by the Lankow family from Washington State and was installed in fall 2015. The known varieties are planted in chronological order based on the year they were introduced into the nursery trade. The oldest variety dates back to 1597! Many are award-winning varieties that are held in high esteem among iris enthusiasts for their significance in the long history of iris breeding. You'll start with a full-day field trip at Chatfield Farms for a presentation of the collection and to select and document your specimen. You'll get a cutting to take with you to the classroom to finish your piece in watercolor during the following five weeks.

 

Prerequisites: Botanical Illustration in Watercolor I, Botany for the Botanical Illustrator, Perfecting Perspective.

 

 Fee: $330 member, $395 non-member.

 

Thu, May 31, 9 a .m.   2:30 p.m. (Chatfield Farms), Thu, June 7, 14, 21, 28, July 5, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Constance Sayas.

 

Light on Form

 

Take your drawings from flat to fabulous. The secret to portraying light and shadow on your subjects lies in understanding the scientific method of lighting as it applies to different forms. Beginning with basic geometric shapes, refine your skills in showing light and volume on any subject. The class will work entirely in graphite pencil, but the principles apply to all other media. As you progress from fruits and vegetables to leaves and flowers to entire plants with complex shapes, you will overcome the obstacles in creating three-dimensional drawings.

Prerequisite: Botanical Illustration in Pencil I

Fee: Member $250 Non-Member $300

Instructor details are provided when you select a date.

 

 

 

Make an Art Portfolio Case

 

This workshop is geared toward graduate candidates but is open to everyone. Students will produce an attractive archival case for portfolio pieces or other art, papers or ephemera. It will be covered in quarter cloth with paper sides and ribbon ties. Three flaps inside the case protect the contents.

No prerequisites

 

 Fee: $110 member, $155 non-member. Fee includes supply kit for the portfolio case (12  x 16 ) produced during the class. Additional fee if a larger portfolio case is made.

 

Wed, May 2, 9 a.m.   4 p.m.

Instructor: Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski

 

Open Studio

Open Studio is for anyone who wants to experience a creative and supportive environment without attending a structured workshop. You can work on your own projects during open hours, at your own pace. A tutor is available for help and advice (10 a.m.-noon), but there will be no formal teaching. The tutor will help you get started on a project or advise how to add the finishing touches. Attending the Open Studio is ideal for anyone who wants to advance his/her personal projects (or ideas) or needs to refresh his/her knowledge of any media.

 

Fee: $30/session member, $40/session non-member.

 

Pre-registration required.

 

Mon, Jan. 22, 9 a.m.-noon (Constance Sayas)

Mon, Feb. 5, 9 a.m.-noon (Susan Rubin)

Mon, Feb. 26, 9 a.m.-noon (Renee Jorgensen)

Mon, March 12, 9 a.m.- noon (Susan DiMarchi)

Mon, April 9, 9 a.m.-noon (Randy Raak)

Mon, April 23, 9 a.m.-noon (Renee Jorgensen)

Mon, May 21, 9 a.m.- noon (Randy Raak)

Mon, June 4, 9 a.m.-noon (Marjorie Leggitt)

Mon, July 9, 9 A.m.-noon (Susan DiMarchi)

 

Perfecting Perspective

 

Do you shy away from complicated plants? Even experienced illustrators sometimes struggle with foreshortening and simplify their subjects to eliminate difficult elements. Work with botanical subjects that demonstrate each aspect of perspective and learn techniques for seeing and depicting perspective accurately. The class will work entirely in graphite pencil, but the principles apply to all art media. Gain confidence in your drafting skills and improve your drawings from this class forward.

 

Prerequisite: Botanical Illustration in Pencil I.

 

Fee: $250 member, $300 non-member.

 

Thu, Feb. 22, March 1, 8, 22, 29, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Marjorie Leggitt

 

Fri-Sun, May 25-27, 9 a.m.   2:30 p.m.
Instructor: Marjorie Leggitt

 

 

 

Sacred Doorways – Byzantine Iconography- Beginner

 

More than a decorative element, color plays a very important role in Byzantine iconography, which is one of the oldest art forms to survive unchanged for the past 2,000 years. Students are introduced to both the practical and the theoretical part of the iconographic tradition (iconology). You'll use natural materials wood panels gessoed with naturally ground, genuine gold leaf and egg tempera made from natural pigments and learn the language of light, color, image and symbol. Iconic symbolism is explained alongside the technical instruction. Note: The sessions are independent from each other and you can skip a session, however it takes several sessions to finish an icon.

 

 

Pre-registration required. Open to both experienced and amateur students. No artistic experience is required from the beginning student.

 

Fee: $55/session member, $70/session non-member.

 

Instructor: Laurence Pierson

Mon, Jan. 29, 9 a.m.-noon

Mon, March 5, 9 a.m.-noon

Mon, April 16, 9 a.m.-noon

Mon, June 11, 9 a.m.-noon

 

Laurence Pierson has over 25 years of experience in icon painting. She studied iconography at the Louvre, Paris, under a Lebanese master. Later, she studied with a Greek and a Chilean iconographer, and thus was exposed to different schools and different techniques while refining her own approach. Laurence has taught in France and Ireland, and since 2010, in Denver.

Sacred Doorways- Byzantine Iconography- Advanced Students Only

 

More than a decorative element, color plays a very important role in Byzantine iconography, which is one of the oldest art forms to survive unchanged for the past 2,000 years. Students are introduced to both the practical and the theoretical part of the iconographic tradition (iconology). Use natural materials: wood panels gessoed with naturally ground, genuine gold leaf and egg tempera made from natural pigments.

 

Prerequisite: One or two previous iconography glasses.

 

 

Fee: $55/session member, $70/session non-member.

 

 

Mon, Feb. 12, 9 a.m.   noon

Mon, Feb. 19, 9 a.m.   noon

Mon, April 30, 9 a.m.   noon

Mon, June 25, 9 a.m.   noon

Instructor: Laurence Pierson

 

Laurence Pierson has over 25 years of experience in icon painting. She studied iconography at the Louvre, Paris, under a Lebanese master. Later, she studied with a Greek and a Chilean iconographer, and thus was exposed to different schools and different techniques while refining her own approach. Laurence has taught in France and Ireland, and since 2010, in Denver.

Sacred Doorways: Gesso

 

Egg tempera works best when applied on an absorbent and smooth surface. Traditional gesso being the best material for icon painting, learn the characteristics of a good gesso, how to prepare it and the different steps to apply it on a wooden panel.

 

Prerequisite: Several previous iconography glasses.

 

Fee: $55/session member, $70/session non-member.

 

Mon, May 14, 9 a.m.-noon

Instructor: Laurence Pierson

 

The Historical Trees in Denver

 

In 1968 landscape designer Al Rollinger undertook the huge effort of doing a street-by-street survey in Denver, noting the species, location, diameter and height of over 1,100 trees of 46 species. Nearly 50 years later, we have realized how valuable the data collected in this survey could be to analyze the health, mortality and growth patterns of these species. The Gardens is in the process of finding, measuring and photographing these trees to determine which are still alive and to determine growth patterns. The data will be analyzed and stored in a database held by the Denver Office of the City Forester and the results will be reported in a book along with before and after pictures, stories of some of the most interesting or unique trees and implications for the future of trees in Denver. Illustrations from this class will be included in the book.

 

Begin with a tour to find some of these historical trees close to the Gardens. Learn how to scale and draw entire trees from a distance outdoors, including the canopy, branches and trunks. Back in the classroom; create a composition including the silhouette as well as detailed views of leaves, bark and twigs. Work in graphite and color of your choice to carefully depict form and texture. Your finished portrait will be a record of a growing part of Denver s history.

 

 

Prerequisites: Pencil II and/or entry level of medium of your choice.

 

Fee: $250 member, $300 non-member.

 

Thu, May 10, 17, 24, 31, June 7, 9 a.m. - noon

Instructor: Randy Raak

 

Transparent Acrylics

 

Spring offers such beauty in the garden capture it in color. Although transparent acrylic looks similar to watercolor, the damp-on-damp technique offers a more controlled and methodical application process. The result: gorgeous, luminous washes. Step-by-step instruction, demonstrations and exercises provide students with the necessary skills to build washes, variegated patterns, soft textures, intricate detail and a final iris illustration. Select your favorite spring blooms and create a breath-taking final painting.

 

Prerequisites: Watercolor I

 

Fee: $250 member, $300 non-member.

 

 

 

Tue, June 5, 12, 19, 26, July 10, 6-9 p.m.

Instructor: Marjorie Leggitt

 

Trompe L'Oeil: Plants and People, the Art of Ethnobotany- Online with On-Site Component

 

Explore the Gardens' Ethnobotany Collection

The ethnobotany collection in Denver Botanic Gardens' herbarium documents plants used by humans in our region, including medicinal, plants used for spiritual purposes, plants used to track the seasons, aphrodisiacs and others. Three main components make up the collection: The Market Collection (specimens purchased at Botanicas and other Native and Hispanic markets), Colorado Native Plants (species that grow in our region that are used by people) and Plants Used by Native Americans.

 

Trompe L Oeil: Plants and People, the Art of Ethnobotany

You ll start this class with a presentation by the curator of the Gardens  ethnobotany collection. Select your subject and tell a story with trompe l'oeil, or fool-the-eye, artwork. Difficult but delightful, work in this style requires meticulous attention to detail and perspective, and relies on cast shadow to create the optical illusion that the two-dimensional work exists in three dimensions. With careful instruction in the style as well as specific techniques, you ll create a small tableau. Step by step, you ll work out every detail of the effect, starting with a graphite layout along with careful study in light and shadow, and finishing with artwork that will have everyone scratching their heads.

 

Prerequisites: Colored Pencil II.

 

ONLINE WITH ON-SITE COMPONENT

 

Fee: $305 member, $405 non-member


  In-class sessions: Fri-Sun, June 22-23, 9 a.m.   2:30 p.m.

**All assignments are to be completed no later than July 27, 2018.**

Instructor: Susan Rubin

 

The Off-Site Learning Approach

Following the two-day concentrated classroom instruction, three internet sessions cover the remaining course elements. The successful completion of final artwork (a plate) one month (30 days) after the conclusion of the on-site session is the culmination of each of the distance learning courses.

 

Students must use a scanner or digital camera to record their weekly achievements and email the high-resolution image to the instructor and the school manager. All student questions, as well as instructor answers, recommendations and suggestions are handled by email. The student must send a scan of the final plate to the instructor and the school manager in order to receive credit for the course.

 

Watercolor Pencil on Dura-Lar™

 

 

Take colored pencil a step further and enhance your botanical illustration with watercolor pencil as you work on Dura-lar film. Enjoy effective color layering, time-saving techniques for jewel tone color and detail enhancements, and no more buckling paper.

 

Prerequisites: Watercolor Pencil I.

 

Fee: $250 member, $300 non-member.

 

 

Wed, May 16, 23, 30, June 6, 13, 9 a.m. - noon

Instructor: Renee Jorgensen

 

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