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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.

"The Kiss": Klimt's Masterpiece

Back by request!

Austrian painter Gustav Klimt created his most iconic painting, “The Kiss,” between 1907 and 1908. After studying Klimt's painting in detail, we will design, paint and embellish our own work in his style. Linear elements from Vienna art nouveau, organic forms from the arts and crafts movement, metallic components and textural embellishments will blend to create pattern-rich works sure to enchant.

Prerequisite: Entry-level color media.

Fee: $285 member, $335 non-member.

Date(s):

Fri-Sun, June 19-21, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Meredith Feniak

 

Autumn Arrangement with Graphite and Watercolor

Challenge your drawing skills and merge them with your watercolor expertise. Your favorite flowers and botanical subjects will be analyzed for the best approach to drawing strategies. Focus on developing a delicate hand with a smooth graphite tone. You will start with a pale pencil underdrawing, or grisaille, which will allow you to tackle a watercolor painting with confidence. You’ll achieve continuous tone both in your graphite and watercolor washes. Demonstrations and individual help will guide you toward a finished work as you discover a set of new skills and tricks ready for use in your future illustrations.

Prerequisite: Botanical Illustration in Watercolor Pencil I.

Fee: $265 member, $315 non-member.

Date(s):

Thu, Sep. 10, 17, 24, Oct. 1, 8, 9am - noon

Instructor: Laurence Pierson

 

Autumn Blooms in Acrylics

Lilies are some of the most loved and cherished plants in our gardens: they are delicate, intricate and perfect for capturing in a transparent medium. Although transparent acrylic looks similar to watercolor, the damp-on-damp technique offers a more controlled and methodical application process. After a guided field trip to see the blooming lily varieties at the Gardens, select a specimen of your choice. Back in the classroom, step-by-step instructions, demonstrations and exercises provide the necessary skills for you to build washes, colors, textures and details for a final lily portrait. Online zoom meeting.

Prerequisites: Color Mixing, Composition for Botanical Illustration, Perfecting Perspective.

Fee: $260 member, $310 non-member.

Date(s):

Mon, Sep. 14, 21, 28, Oct. 5, 19, 1-4 p.m..

Instructor: Marjorie Leggitt

 

Botanical Illustration in Colored Pencil I

You’ve learned to layer colored pencil; now learn techniques to draw effectively in this medium. Apply your drawing skills and learn new methods specific to colored pencils. Techniques include layering, building and burnishing in color. This versatile, portable medium is perfect for sketching on location as well as producing studio pieces. Learn through instruction, demonstration and practice on small studies of botanical subjects. You’ll be ready to produce a finished plate in Botanical Illustration in Colored Pencil II.

Prerequisites: Light on Form, Color Layering for Colored Pencil.

Fee: $265 member, $315 non-member.

Date(s):

Wed, Sep. 9, 16, 30, Oct. 7, 14, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Susan DiMarchi

 

Thu, Aug. 13, 20, 27, Sep. 3, 10, 1-4 p.m. (106)

Instructor: Susan DiMarchi

 

Botanical Illustration in Colored Pencil II

Take your colored pencil skills to the next level and become proficient in this fun, versatile medium. Work through a step-by-step process to create a preparatory layered drawing. Learn techniques to create texture, detail and depth to enhance your subject. Experiment with different surfaces and solvents for blending and shading. Add depth with atmospheric perspective and learn finishing techniques that will make your drawings pop. Individual attention will guide you to create a finished botanical plate.

Prerequisites: Botanical Illustration in Colored Pencil I, Botany for the Botanical Illustrator, Composition for Botanical Illustration, Perfecting Perspective.

Fee: $265 member, $315 non-member.

Date(s):

Tue, March 17, 24, 31, April 7, 14, 6-9 p.m.

Instructor: Susan DiMarchi

 

Mon, Oct. 12, 19, 26, Nov. 2, 9, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Susan DiMarchi

 

Botanical Illustration in Pen and Ink II

Take your pen and ink skills to a new level of sophistication. Explore the Gardens’ limitless world of color, texture and complex botany and incorporate this information into black-and-white illustrations. Working with both technical pen and traditional quill, learn advanced techniques to make strokes mimic the fuzz on a fern, the down in a milkweed pod or the mottled colors of a variegated begonia. Learn how to layer and manipulate lines and stipples to develop a full range of value, texture and atmospheric perspective. Pen techniques take on new meaning as you flesh out the final inked illustration of a plant of your choice.

Prerequisites: Botanical Illustration in Pen and Ink I, Perfecting Perspective, Botany for the Botanical Illustrator, Composition for Botanical Illustration.

Fee: $275 member, $325 non-member.

Date(s):

Mon, Oct. 5, 12, 19, 26, Nov. 2, 9 a.m. - noon

Instructor: Renee Jorgensen

 

 

 

 

 

 

Botanical Illustration in Pencil I

Learn to draw! Begin with an overview of the specific elements of botanical illustration. Learn the skills of careful observation and realistic drawing in graphite pencil, including line drawing, shading and perspective. Step-by-step added techniques help you render accurate perspective, texture and detail. This is the entry course for every program student and a prerequisite for all required courses to follow. You’ll emerge from this class with the tools you need to draw anything.

No prerequisites.

Fee: $285 member, $335 non-member.

Date(s):

Tue, Jan. 14, 21, 28, Feb. 4, 11, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Laurence Pierson

 

Fri-Sun, Feb. 14-16, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Charlotte Ricker

 

Thu, Aug. 20, 27, Oct. 3, 10, 17, 1-4 p.m. - ONLINE

Instructor: Laurence Pierson-Bonenberger

 

Fri-Sun, Sep. 11-13, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. - ONLINE

Instructor: Laurence Pierson-Bonenberger

 

Thu, Nov. 5, 12, 19, Dec. 3, 10, 6-9 p.m.

Instructor: Renee Jorgensen

 

 

Botanical Illustration in Pencil II- Online with Onsite Component

Simple and classic, pencil drawing is a timeless art form. Expand on the drawing skills you learned in Botanical Illustration in Pencil I as you reinforce and refine your knowledge of graphite pencil. Learn additional techniques for shading, texture, perspective, depth and composition. A good drawing is the basis of botanical illustration in any medium. Group instruction and individual attention are tailored to help you complete a botanical plate in this subtle and striking medium.

**Online with On-Site Component**

 

Prerequisites: Light on Form, Botany for the Botanical Illustrator, Composition for Botanical Illustration, Perfecting Perspective.

Fee: $310 member, $405 non-member
In-class sessions: Fri-Sat, Nov. 20-21, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

**All assignments are to be completed no later than December 22, 2020.**

Instructor: TBA

 

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.

 

Botanical Illustration in Watercolor I

Become part of the watercolor botanical tradition. Combine drawing skills and your knowledge of color mixing as you discover the delight of putting brush to paper to learn the specific techniques of transparent watercolor. Instruction, demonstration and practical exercises will guide you through a variety of watercolor techniques: flat and graded washes, highlights and drybrush detail. Learn to build washes for depth of tone and shading, and how to create soft and hard edges. With these foundational skills, you will be ready to create a finished plate in Botanical Illustration in Watercolor II.

Prerequisites: Light on Form, Color Mixing.

Fee: $285 member, $335 non-member.

Date(s):

Fri-Sun, Feb. 21-23, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Constance Sayas

 

Thu, Sep. 10, 17, 24, Oct. 1, 8, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Laurence Pierson

 

Botanical Illustration in Watercolor II

Watercolor basics got you started; now develop your confidence as you work toward completing a finished plate from a live specimen in this most traditional of botanical media. The emphasis here is on bringing it all together. Learn and refine additional techniques through instruction, demonstration and practice, with special attention given to layering, shading and building form. Discover brush techniques and colors that enhance perspective and depth. Follow painting steps through completion, from broad washes to final detail. Learn how to fix mistakes and understand why watercolor is a forgiving medium.

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

Fee: $265 member, $315 non-member.

 

Date(s):

Mon, June 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, 9 a.m. - noon

Instructor: Constance Sayas

 

Botanical Illustration in Watercolor II- Online with On-site Component

Watercolor basics got you started; now develop your confidence as you work toward completing a finished plate from a live specimen in this most traditional of botanical media. The emphasis here is on bringing it all together. Learn and refine additional techniques through instruction, demonstration and practice, with special attention given to layering, shading and building form. Discover brush techniques and colors that enhance perspective and depth. Follow painting steps through completion, from broad washes to final detail. Learn how to fix mistakes and understand why watercolor is a forgiving medium.

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

Fee: Member $310, Non-Member $405

Date(s): Fri-Sat, Aug. 21-22, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

*All assignments are to be completed no later than Sep. 27, 2020*

Instructor: Constance Sayas

 

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.

 

Botany for the Botanical Illustrator

What is the difference between a carpel and a pistil? Where can I find the stamen? The science of the subjects you draw determines what you see! Put away your pencils for this enlightening lab class designed specifically for students of botanical illustration. Take a close look at plant anatomy and learn to recognize botanical details that will make your drawings more accurate and realistic. Learn plant morphology through detailed instruction and supporting visuals. Your botanical art will improve when you understand the subjects.

No prerequisites.

Fee: $315 member, $370 non-member (18 hours).

Date(s):

Wed, Feb. 19, 26, March 4, 11, 18, 25, 9 a.m. – noon

Instructor: Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski

 

Fri-Sun, March 6-8, 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

Instructor: Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski

 

Tue, Sep. 8, 15, 22, 29, Oct. 6, 13, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Jennifer Ackerfield

 

Cafe Botanique - Botanical Illustration and the Prairie: A Tale of Two Sisters - ONLINE

Botanical Illustration Diploma presentation

Learn about the collaboration of sisters Linda Forbess (illustrator) and Helen Alexander (ecologist and writer) to produce Tallgrass Prairies in Mid-America: A Guide to Common Plants and Reflections on Prairie Landscapes of the Past, Present, and Future. Botanical illustration requires observational skill, artistic talent, and a willingness to work closely with scientists—and all three were important in this endeavor. In this program you’ll explore the drawings, fieldwork, and review process that celebrates the tallgrass prairie, the book’s inspiration.

Linda Forbess earned her Foundational Certificate in Botanical Art and Illustration from Denver Botanic Gardens in 2015. She plans to complete the Gardens’ Diploma in Botanical Illustration in 2020.

Helen Alexander is an ecology professor at the University of Kansas. She is currently collaborating with Forbess and biologist W. Dean Kettle on a book about environments and environmental history of the central United States.

Color Layering for Colored Pencil - ONLINE

Colored pencil presents a special challenge: mixing color directly on your drawing! Learn to use a simple color-mixing method adapted to the application of colored pencils. Two-, three- and four-color mixing will get you to the gorgeous greens, radiant reds and luscious lilacs you have been missing. Learn to determine shadow colors for vibrant results. Practice color matching with a variety of plant material as you create your own extensive color workbook to speed color selection and application for all future colored pencil drawings. ONLINE Zoom-session

No prerequisites.

Fee: $370 member, $420 non-member. Fee includes supplies (specified in the supply list).

Date(s):

Fri-Sun, Jan. 24-26, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Instructor: Susan DiMarchi

 

Fri-Sun, July 24-26, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. - ONLINE

Instructor: Susan DiMarchi

 

Fri-Sun, Sep. 25-27, 9 a.m.  2:30 p.m. - ONLINE

Instructor: Susan DiMarchi

 

 

Color Mixing

The first step to watercolor painting is mixing colors. Learn a system for combining colors consistently to eliminate frustrating trial and error. Exercises, demonstrations and discussion will show you how to achieve the broadest possible spectrum. Learn about paint properties and important information about choosing pigments. Practice mixing colors to match a variety of plant material. You’ll gain confidence and skills to improve your color work.

No prerequisites.

Fee: $265 member, $315 non-member.

Date(s):

Tue, Feb. 18, 25, March 3, 17, 24, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Constance Sayas

 

Tue, Oct. 20, 27, Nov. 3, 10, 17, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Constance Sayas

 

Composition for Botanical Illustration

The arrangement of line, shape and color in artwork is itself an art form. The difference between a pleasant picture and amazing artwork is often found in composition. This course begins with a study of recognized masters and contemporary illustrators. Learn how to use compositional elements and principles in your botanical illustration. Create your own thumbnail compositions and develop insight and expertise to enhance your future illustrations.

No prerequisites.

Fee: $265 member, $315 non-member.

Date(s):

Mon, Jan. 13, 20, 27, Feb. 10, 17, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Marjorie Leggitt

Fri-Sun, Aug. 7-9, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. - ONLINE

Instructor: Marjorie Leggitt

 

 

 

Composition for Botanical Illustration - ONLINE

The arrangement of line, shape and color in artwork is itself an art form. The difference between a pleasant picture and amazing artwork is often found in composition. This course begins with a study of recognized masters and contemporary illustrators. Learn how to use compositional elements and principles in your botanical illustration. Create your own thumbnail compositions and develop insight and expertise to enhance your future illustrations.

No prerequisites.

Fee: $265 member, $315 non-member.

Date(s):

Friday-Sunday, September 25, 26, 27 - ONLINE

 

Creative Oxygen Bubble: Explore the Color Green - ONLINE

The serene green color has a rich history filled with challenges. Learn about its poisonous past, then take a deep breath, oxygenate and reinvigorate in its nuances as you experiment with flowing green watercolor shades.

No Prerequisites

Fee: $25/session member, $35/session non-member

Date/Time: August 11, 1-2PM

Instructor: Laurence Pierson

 

Embossed Botanicals

Embossing is an art form used to raise a shape from the surface of paper. The embossed shape casts a delicate shadow and, when combined with color, creates an elegant effect. We provide decorative letter and flower patterns, and you learn how to design, cut a stencil and choose the best paper surfaces for embossed subjects. Finish your project with ink or colored pencil accents and leave the class with an elegantly embossed design.

No prerequisites.

Fee: $$290 member, $$340 non-member.

Date(s):

Wed, April 22, 29, May 6, 13, 20, 6-9 p.m.

Instructor: Renee Jorgensen

 

Explore the Galleries and Living Collections (Charcoal)

Drawing at a large scale can be daunting, but with charcoal it is surprisingly quick! Charcoal is easier to control than most media, and in this class you will get your hands dirty while we complete four large, loose drawings. Modeled after a classic figure drawing class, we will work at standing easels (perhaps working up to 22” x 30”) and focus on single central subjects in the newly opened Freyer-Newman Center galleries. Afterward, we will go outside and concentrate on the Gardens’ conifers.

Note: We will be standing for the entirety of each three-hour class (no drawing horses are available for seated drawing).

No prerequisites.

Fee: $275 member, $325 non-member.

Date(s):

Wed, Sep. 9, 16, 23, 30, Oct. 7, 9 a.m. – noon

Instructor: Meredith Feniak

 

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