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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: Jefferson & Douglas Counties

  

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.)

Jefferson & Douglas Counties:

When: Tue, June 19, 9am-5pm

Where: Denver Botanic Gardens/ Jefferson & Douglas Counties (private land)

Cost: $75 Member- $100 Non-Member (fee includes transportation)

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

 

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: Butterflies and Bees of William H. Lizars

 

William H. Lizars (1788-1859) of Edinburgh was an established portrait and genre painter who went to work in the book trade and created plates for British Butterflies and J.J. Audubon's "The Birds of America." Lizars experimented with new techniques and is perhaps best known for his colored insect and bird illustrations on monochromatic habitat backgrounds. Working in ink and your choice of color media, design a final plate in the scientific style of Lizars.

 

Prerequisite: Expressive Ink, Botanical illustration in Colored Pencil I or Botanical Illustration in Watercolor I.

 

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

 

Tue, June 5, 12, 19, 26, July 10, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Susan DiMarchi

 

Drawing on Tradition: Ida Pemberton

 

Ida Hrubesky Pemberton (1890-1963) was born in Nebraska but lived in Colorado most of her adult life. She created 64 botanical watercolors during the 1930s and 1940s, taking inspiration from plants she grew and nurtured at her Denver home. She is revered among botanical artists who applaud her work for its beauty and painstaking detail: hairs, fibrous roots, pistils and stamens. Learn the secret depicting these specific details through the drybrush technique in the style of Ida Pemberton. A traditional watercolor method, drybrush means working with small strokes and limited use of washes. 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.

 

Prerequisite: Botanical Illustration in Watercolor I.

 

Fee: $300 member, $350 non-member

 

**The first class is offsite**

 

Tue, April 17, 10 a.m.   1 p.m. (CU Herbarium, Boulder);

Tue, April 24, May 1, 15, 22, 29, 9 a.m. - noon
Instructor: Laurence Pierson

 

Drawing on Tradition: Superb Natural Detail of Keith Brockie's Birds and Nature Illustration

 

 "The more you draw and paint, the more you look, and not necessarily for the usual things, but for peculiar patterns, interesting light and shade, new reflections. The subject is the key. Get hold of that and everything else opens up from it, including the sunlight"-Keith Brockies

Keith Brockies is actively involved in wildlife conservation. He has written seven books and illustrated 14, and has worked as a full-time wildlife artist for more than 20 years. His superb natural details, freshness and vitality will be the inspiration for this workshop. Learn common approaches to illustrating birds and how to overcome the challenging proportions and perspective of bird illustration. Start with a specific how-to session on bird photography and learn how to effectively use photographic references in artwork. The second session takes place at Denver Zoo, where you will study a moving subject while sketching and photographing it at rest and in flight. Learn bird anatomy and physical characteristics through group instruction and individual attention. Using provided props, students will reference sketches and/or photos to create a sophisticated bird portrait ready to be framed or submitted to an exhibit.

 

Prerequisites: Light on Form.

 

Fee: $300 member, $350 non-member

 

Wed, March 21, 9 a.m. - noon (Hibiscus), March 28, 9 a.m. - noon (Denver Zoo), April 4, 9 a.m. - noon (off-site), April 11, 18, 25, 9 a.m.   noon (Hibiscus)

Instructor: Randy Raak

 

Drawing on Tradition: The Double Life of Piet Mondrian

 

Piet Mondrian is considered one of the founders of the Dutch modern movement De Stijl and recognized for the purity of his abstractions. He drastically simplified the elements of his paintings to reflect what he saw creating a clear, universal aesthetic language within his canvases. His use of asymmetrical balance was crucial in the development of modern art, and his iconic abstract works remain influential in design and familiar in popular culture to this day.

Hidden away in a back hallway of Mondrian's studio were his poetic drawings and paintings of flowers; botanical specimens that, along with trees, inspired his abstract works. Analyze Mondrian's private flower studies, investigate their structural contribution to abstraction, play with exercises to help loosen up your own drawings, then apply his secretive natural and expressive style to your own flower portrait in a newly developed medium: water-soluble pigment blocks from Portugal.

 

Prerequisites: Pencil II, Color Mixing.

 

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

 

Thu, April 5, 12, 19, 26, May 3, 9 a.m. - noon

Instructor: Meredith Feniak

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Fri-Sun, April 13-15, 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Renee Jorgensen

 

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.

Pricing, Prerequisite and 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

 

Mastering Quill with Sarah Simblet

 

 "Drawing is the mirror through which I can understand my place in the world; it shows me how I think and makes me feel excited to be alive."-Sarah Simblet

 

This course offers three intensive days of experimental drawing with artist Sarah Simblet. Through practical sessions using pencils, dip pens, ink and paper and daily illustrated talks looking at great contemporary and historical works of art, you will explore the power and importance of drawing as an expressive medium through which we can learn to see, understand and record the world of plants  

 

Prerequisites: Intermediate skills in Pen and ink including quill usage.

 

Fee: $400 member, $460 non-member (fee includes ink, nibs, and Copic sketching pens).

 

I.

Fri-Sun, March 30-31, April 1, 9 a.m.   2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Sarah Simblet, U.K.

 

II.

Mon-Wed, April 2-4, 9 a.m.   2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Sarah Simblet, Oxford, U.K.

 

**No refunds for registration cancellations after March 1, 2018, unless your seat can be filled.**

Dr. Sarah Simblet is a fine artist, broadcaster, lecturer and anatomist whose works explores the relationship between science, history and art. She has published three major art reference books with DK:  Anatomy for the Artist,   The Drawing Book  and  Botany for the Artist  and exhibits her drawings through her books. She also recently co-authored  The New Sylva,  a breathtaking contemporary version of John Evelyn s  Sylva  from 1664. Sarah is dedicated to sharing and encouraging visual intelligence in others through her drawings, teaching and broadcasting worldwide. She contributes to contemporary art shows, festivals and live events, and her work is held in national and private collections. She also contributes regularly to British, American and international television and radio programs about science and art, and consults on national exhibitions. She is a tutor in anatomy at the Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford, and a lecturer at the National Gallery, London.

 

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)

 

Pen and Ink Brush-Up

 

Was your last pen and ink class years ago? Time to brush up! We've presented many different pens and surfaces over the years - technical pens, sketching pens, quills, bristol, mylar, plastic and paper. Each has its benefits. But, at this same time, all this information can be confusing. It s time to clear the air. Test some different tools, sample various surfaces and refresh you techniques. These three hours are just what you need to refresh your knowledge, update your techniques, explore some new tools and reinvigorate your passion for pen and ink.

 

Prerequisites: Botanical Illustration in Pen and Ink I

 

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

 

 

Mon, March 26, 9 a.m.   noon

Instructor: Marjorie Leggitt

 

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). Use natural materials: wood panels gessoed with naturally ground, genuine gold leaf and egg tempera made from natural pigments. Learn the language of light, color, image and symbol, with the iconic symbolism 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

 

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

 

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

 

Sacred Doorways: Gilding

 

Whether gold is applied on haloes, backgrounds or even painted on garments and buildings, its use in icons is very important as it symbolizes the Divine Presence. Learn the oil gilding technique and discover more about the symbolism and use of gold leaves in Byzantine icon painting.

 

Prerequisite: Several previous iconography glasses.

 

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

 

 Mon, March 19, 9 a.m.   noon

Instructor: Laurence Pierson

 

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