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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.

Culturally Modified Trees Tours: Ute Indian Reservation- including Anasazi Heritage Center

In order to better understand how the indigenous people of Colorado, including the Ute, used native plants and Culturally Modified Trees (CMTs) in their daily lives, the Denver Botanic Gardens will offer its patrons and staff a series of field trips on public, private and reservations lands across Colorado. Our guides will be Ute Tribal Elder Dr. James Jefferson and Mr. John Anderson. Fee includes transportation and lodging. (Please meet in the main lobby promptly at your tour start time, 9 a.m. Bring your sketch/note book, camera and for the one-day tours, please take a lunch with you. Dress appropriately for the weather.)

 

Ute Indian Reservation- including Anasazi Heritage Center:

When: Thu-Sat, July 26-28

Where: Denver Botanic Gardens/ Ute Indian Reservation- including Anasazi Heritage Center/ Four Corners area

Lodging: Ute Mountain Casino Hotel

Cost: $300 Member- $350 Non-Member (fee includes transportation and lodging)

Instructor/Guide: Ute Tribal Elder Dr. James Jefferson and Mr. John Anderson

 

Drawing on Tradition: Beatrix Potter, Artist, Writer, Gardener and Naturalist

Drawing on Tradition: Beatrix Potter, Artist, Writer, Gardener and Naturalist

Victorian artist Beatrix Potter (1866-1943) is best known for her beloved illustrated children’s books featuring delightful characters such as Peter Rabbit, Jeremy Fisher, Flopsy, Mopsy and Cotton-tail. Along with anthropomorphic animals, the illustrations are filled with carefully observed plants from Potter’s gardens and nearby landscapes. Follow Beatrix Potter through her gardens and, along the way, encounter some of the whimsical characters that will become part of your plant portrait. Select your plant, then learn how to combine animal and botanical elements to compose a compelling composition. Instruction and personal guidance will help you illustrate a plant portrait in mixed media intertwined with a touch of animal whimsy that will bring a smile to the viewer.

 

Prerequisite: Botanical Illustration in Pen and Ink I, Botanical illustration in Colored Pencil II or Botanical Illustration in Watercolor I.

Fee: $275 member, $325 non-member (fee includes “Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life” by Marta McDowell).

Date(s): Tue, Sept. 11, 18, 25, Oct. 2, 9, 6-9 p.m.

Instructor: Susan DiMarchi

 

Drawing on Tradition: Ernst Haeckel and the Art Forms in Nature

Drawing on Tradition: Ernst Haeckel and the Art Forms in Nature

In the late 19th century, German evolutionary scientist, naturalist, philosopher and artist Ernst Haeckel worked to promote the Darwin’s theory of evolution in Europe. He discovered numerous new species, documenting his findings in more than a hundred elaborate etchings. Scientists admire Haeckel’s precise and accurate renderings of plants, animals and microscopic organisms that eloquently describe the relationships of all living things. Artists, designers and architects continue to be inspired by his complex compositions, use of expressive line and expert use of value and color. Learn about Haeckel’s story and study his compelling decorative style. Create your own comprehensive design using multiple images and elements of your selected subject in the medium of your choice.

Prerequisites: Botanical Illustration in Pen and Ink I, Botanical Illustration in Watercolor I or Botanical Illustration in Colored Pencil I.

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

Date(s): Thu, Nov. 8, 15, 29, Dec. 6, 13, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Charlotte Ricker

 

Epic Tomatoes

Epic Tomatoes

During these three days, you will explore how to build layers using drybrush technique. We will look at vast color range of red heirloom tomatoes. Improve your brush-handling skills and develop increased control with guided exercises. Practice paint-layering techniques to create vibrant color surfaces and sharp, clear details. New skills build confidence and can make your next watercolor project work for you.

 

Prerequisites: Intermediate skills in watercolor.

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

Date(s):Fri-Sun, Sept. 21-23, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Instructor: Asuka Hishiki, Nishinomiya, Japan

 

Asuka Hishiki holds a master of fine arts from Kyoto City University of Arts in Japan, where she studied oil painting. After spending 10 years in New York City, she now lives and works in Hyogo, Japan. Her award-winning work has been shown in exhibitions including Flora Japonica at the Royal Botanic Garden Kew (2016), the14th International Exhibition at Hunt Institute (2013), the 12th through 20th American Society of Botanical Arts exhibitions at the Horticultural Society of New York (2009-2017), and the New York Botanical Garden Triennial.

 

Exhibition Ready

Exhibition Ready

Put your best work forward after honing skills in labeling, responding to a call to artists, matting and shipping your work, and writing an artist statement. Learn more about exhibition and insurance logistics so you re prepared and protected as an artist.

No prerequisites.

Fee: $80 member, $120 non-member.

Date(s): Tue, July 24, 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Instructors: Angela Brill, Jennifer Tobias, Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski

Explore Mount Goliath's Weathered Beauty

 

Mount Goliath is the site of North America s highest constructed rock alpine garden, with some 250 species of alpine and subalpine wildflowers and a grove of 1,600-year-old-plus bristlecone pines. You'll start with a hike along the 1.5-mile M. Walter Pesman Trail with a garden specialist, where you'll have the opportunity to become familiar with the blooming wildflowers, select and sketch your specimen. The following week, we'll return to the site and do some more documentation prior to work in the classroom. You'll choose your medium and your plate might become part of the future interpretational material for the site.

 

Prerequisite: Botanical Illustration in Pen and Ink I, Botanical Illustration in Colored Pencil I or Botanical Illustration in Watercolor I.

 

 Fee: $300 member, $345 non-member.

 

Wed, July 11, 18, 10 a.m.   1 p.m. (Mount Goliath Nature Center, transportation from Denver Botanic Gardens is arranged)

July 25, Aug. 1, 8, 15, 9 a.m.   noon (Denver Botanic Gardens)

Instructor: Randy Raak

 

Fall Flowers and Fruits in Watercolor with John Pastoriza-Piñol

Fall Flowers and Fruits in Watercolor with John Pastoriza-Piñol

Learn some secrets of botanical illustration, including drawing composition, painting techniques and color application. Study the technique for achieving fine detail in your paintings. Learn how masking fluid can be used to achieve very fine detail and how to use NEEF ¼ Comb, an invaluable tool for contemporary botanical art. Properly protecting the critical edges in your drawing before laying down your watercolor washes is an invaluable process for contemporary botanical artists. By doing so, your paintings will be brought to a new level of realism and detail. During the class, you’ll complete a three-day painting project during which you will be assisted with composition, painting techniques and color theory.

 

Prerequisites: Intermediate skills in watercolor.

Fee: $350 member, $400 non-member.

Date(s): Fri-Sun, Oct. 5-7, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Instructor: John Pastoriza-Piñol, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

 

John Pastoriza-Piñol’s artistic practice operates somewhere between the centuries-old tradition of botanical illustration and contemporary art. John studied botany at both Monash University and the University of Melbourne, and he completed a doctorate course at the Universidade de Vigo, Spain. John’s work is part of numerous public and private collections around the world, including the Hunt Institute, Pittsburgh, PA; the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne; RMIT University and the collection of Alisa and Isaac M. Sutton. John is actively showing his work globally and has secured international venues in London, Paris, New York and Madrid. He has been teaching intermediate and advanced classes at the Geelong Botanic Gardens since 2005 and has expanded his teaching circuit to include interstate and international master classes that share his unique approach to the art form.

 

Feathers and Eggs

Feathers and Eggs

It is not only fine feathers that make fine birds. —Aesop

Fine feathers make fine illustrations as well! Mixed media is the perfect medium to focus on iridescent colors, soft textures, unique patterns and other fine details found in feathers and on smooth, rounded eggs with lovely colors and patterns. Start with careful observation and learn about the function of different feathers and a variety of eggs. Work from specimens provided by the Denver Museum of Nature and Science as you learn to create a compelling composition and tackle the challenges of a complex subject. Complete a natural science illustration with timeless appeal.

Prerequisite: Botanical Illustration in Pen and Ink I, Botanical Illustration in Colored Pencil I or Botanical Illustration in Watercolor I.

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

Date(s): Wed, Nov. 7, 14, 21, 28, Dec. 12, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Randy Raak

 

Himmeli- Geometric Straw Craft

Himmeli – Geometric Straw Craft

Himmeli originated in western parts of Europe. The name means “heaven” or “sky” in Swedish and German. Himmeli are mobiles you hang from the ceiling. They slowly move in the air and have been known for generations as the traditional Finnish ornament. Though simple, Himmeli structure is impressive and mystical, and it’s admired around the world. These extremely ornate mobiles are composed of geometric polygons. Typically, they are suspended above the dinner table during the holiday season in Finland. You’ll learn the structures and make your own himmeli using the original material for the purpose: rye straw, which is very glossy and yellow—peasant’s gold.

Open to everybody with no prerequisites.

Fee: $125 member, $175 non-member (including all supplies).

 

Date(s): Fri, Oct. 12, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Instructor: Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski

 

Date(s):Tue, Dec. 11, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Instructor: Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski

 

Improve Your Handwriting Skills

 

 

Handwriting is becoming a lost art since email and text messaging have become our primary written communication methods. Researchers suggest that developing writing skills will aid the visual identification of graphic shapes. This workshop will teach you how to develop and improve your handwriting skills while exploring simple methods to improve your penmanship. With practice, you will be able to make neater writing a habit.

Open to everybody with no prerequisites.

Fee: $Member $200, Non-Member $250

Date(s): Tue, Jan. 17, 24, 31, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Renee Jorgensen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction to Botanical Illustration

Start at the beginning. Whether you’ve had no experience with drawing or have forgotten what you learned way back when, this is the class for you. Learn drawing basics step by step in this gently paced course. Carefully explained demonstrations, simple exercises and helpful critiques will show you how to draw what you see. Build your drawing skills to enter the School of Botanical Art and Illustration with confidence.

No prerequisites. Note: If you have had some drawing experience, please go directly to Botanical Illustration in Pencil I.

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

Date(s): Mon, Sept.10, 17, 24, 1-5 p.m., Oct. 1, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Renee Jorgensen

 

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.

 

 

 

Linear Perspective

Do you avoid including architecture, furniture or other man-made objects in your drawings because it never looks quite right? Perhaps you have scenes in your head that you would like to share with the world, but you can’t seem to translate your ideas onto paper. Never fear! Understanding linear perspective will expand your perception of the world and allow you to approach any subject with confidence. We will use a systematic approach to learning basic perspective techniques that will help you develop methods for selecting and analyzing your subject and allow you to check your drawings for accuracy. You will also learn to integrate architectural elements into your field sketches with accuracy and create believable scenes from your imagination. In the classroom, we will construct a pastoral scene using rules of linear perspective and reference imagery to bring your drawing to life. Then we will take these skills out into the Gardens to engage in field sketching that includes architectural elements. Get ready to expand your perspective!

 

Prerequisite: Light on Form.

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

Date(s): Thu, Oct. 4, 11, 18, 25, Nov. 1, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Charlotte Ricker

 

Matting and Floating

Matting and Floating

Preparing your work can be fun and affordable if you know the tricks and techniques. This one-day workshop covers mat-cutting and inexpensive framing options. Start with an overview of equipment, materials and measuring. Learn to float your artwork for an inexpensive alternative to matting. Demonstrations and handouts show you how to measure and cut your own single, double and multi-opening mats. You’ll go home with two matted pieces ready to be framed.

Open to everybody with no prerequisites.

Fee: $90 member, $115 non-member.

Date(s): Tue, July 17, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Susan Rubin

 

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)

Mon, July 23, 9 a.m. – noon (Randy Raak)

Mon, Aug. 13, 9 a.m. – noon (Susan Rubin)

Mon, Aug. 27, 9 a.m. – noon (Renee Jorgensen)

Mon, Sept. 17, 9 a.m. – noon (Marjorie Leggitt)

Mon, Oct. 15, 9 a.m. – noon (Laurence Pierson)

Mon, Oct. 29, 9 a.m. – noon (Constance Sayas)

Mon, Nov. 12, 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: Light on Form.

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

Date(s): Thu, July 26, Aug. 2, 9, 16, 23, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Marjorie Leggitt

 

Date(s): Mon, Sept. 10, 17, 24, Oct. 1, 8, 6-9 p.m.

Instructor: Marjorie Leggitt

 

Date(s): Fri-Sun, Dec. 14-16, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Marjorie Leggitt

 

Practical Botanicals: Flower Power

Practical Botanicals: Flower Power

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Flower Power was a widespread movement that started in antiwar protest and blossomed into unforgettable design. Characterized by bright color combinations and stylized blooms, the look of the era was bold and fun. Learn about the growth of the movement and its characteristic design elements. Start with your favorite flowers and simplify the shapes to make a repeating design. Borrow the color principles of op art to add the unmistakable colors that made this era pop. Working in colored pencil and more, you’ll create a repeating design that will work as fabric or paper, as well as a coordinating decal design. Commemorate Flower Power along with the Gardens and embrace your inner hippie.

Prerequisite: Botanical Illustration in Pencil II, Botanical Illustration in Colored Pencil II.

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

Date(s): Wed, Aug. 29, Sept. 5, 12, 19, 26, 6-9 p.m.

Instructor: Susan Rubin

 

Practical Botanicals: Leaf Design in Mixed Media

Practical Botanicals: Leaf Designs in Mixed Media

Celebrate the structure and form of leaves and create a layered design incorporating every element of a leaf. From margins to veins, build detail and design with multiple layers of depth. Colored pencil, graphite, paint, ink, collage and more can help you make a solid statement about leaves. Create a repeating pattern that is perfect for printing on fabric or paper. Scarves? Stationery? Place mats? Let your imagination run wild and see where your leafy creation takes you.

Prerequisite: Botanical Illustration in Pencil II, Botanical Illustration in Colored Pencil II.

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

Date(s): Wed, Nov. 7, 14, 28, Dec.5, 12, 6-9 p.m.

Instructor: Susan Rubin

 

Ravishing Reds

Need more orange in the sunlight, violet in the shadows, pink at the edge? Capturing the right red is an interesting challenge for the illustrator. Build on your watercolor skills as you learn to mix the red hues you need and effectively apply color to create value and form. Examples of artworks representing successful use of red tones, instructor demonstrations and practical exercises with a variety of red botanical material will prepare you to complete a finished plate of a red-blossomed specimen.

Prerequisites: Botanical Illustration in Watercolor I, Light on Form.

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

Date(s): Wed, Oct. 3, 10, 17, 24, 31, 9 a.m. – noon

Instructor: Constance Sayas

 

Realism in Botanical Illustration

Realism in Botanical Illustration

Bridge the gap between abstract theory and practical knowledge through skillful instruction. You will be introduced to James Gurney’s “Color and Light” and learn to apply its principles to botanical illustration. Learn the theory of color as it applies to creating a realistic image. You’ll get plenty of individual guidance and learn how to work both in gray scale and color mediums while creating your final piece, a convincingly realistic illustration similar to those in Gurney’s book. A copy of the book, which James Gurney will sign especially for you, is included in the course price.

Prerequisite: Botanical Illustration in Watercolor I or Botanical Illustration in Colored Pencil I.

Fee: Member $280 , Non-Member $330 .

Date(e): Wed, July 25, Aug. 1, 8, 15, 29, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Randy Raak

 

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