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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.

May Flowers in the Chinese Way

May Flowers in the Chinese Way

Chinese flower painting is not so much about botanical specimens as it is a poetic expression of the beauties of nature. In this workshop, students will learn to paint roses and tiger lilies by employing two types of Chinese brushwork: baimiao (the outline method), which captures the details that characterize the gorgeous flowers, and mogu (the boneless technique), which emphasizes speed and energy with splashed ink and colors on absorbent paper. Students will also explore a number of Chinese characters that will make up interesting sayings to go with their rose and tiger lily paintings. Writing Chinese characters and painting not only give insight into Chinese culture but can also be a relaxing and meditative practice for people of all ages.

No prerequisites.

Fee: $365 member, $415 non-member.

Date(s): Fri-Sun, May 15-17, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Instructor: Sally Yu Leung, San Francisco, CA

 

Sally Yu Leung is an independent researcher and curator of Chinese decorative arts, collector and the founder of the James Cahill Asian Art Study Center at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive. She has been a teacher of Chinese calligraphy and brush-painting at Pixar Animation Studios since 2000, as well as guest instructor for Denver Botanic Gardens since 2008.

 

Nature Illuminated

Nature Illuminated

Use your illustration skills to create and work with traditional media as you develop an illuminated illustration on skin vellum, applying 23-karat patent gold, a limited gouache palette and ink. Create a stylized border to frame your painted impression of nature, whether it is a botanical, animal, bird, insect or a combination. This class will explore composition, materials and traditional media.

Prerequisites: Botanical Illustration in Pen and Ink I, Color Mixing.

Fee: $280 member, $335 non-member.

Date(s):

Tue, Feb. 18, 25, March 3, 10, 17, 9 a.m. – noon

Instructor: Renee Jorgensen

 

Old and Original: Focus on Jurassic Flora

Old and Original: Focus on Jurassic Flora

The Jurassic period began over 200 million years ago. When you think of the Jurassic, you might think of plant-eating brachiosaurs and diplodocus ... most people do. But these massive plant-eating dinosaurs could not have survived without a food source. In this class, learn about the flora that covered the subtropical Earth during this period, then select and illustrate one of its modern relatives. Whether defining the fine detail of ginkgo leaves or the complexity of cycads and yews, combine line techniques acquired in Botanical Illustration in Pen and Ink I and II with newly mastered quill pen finesse to create a pen and ink illustration you’re sure to frame.

Prerequisite: Botanical Illustration in Pen and Ink II.

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

Date(s):

Mon, March 16, 23, 30, April 6, 13, 9 a.m. – noon

Instructor: Marjorie Leggitt

 

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: $35/session member, $45/session non-member.

 Pre-registration required.

 Date(s):

 

 

Mon, Feb. 3, 9 a.m. – noon (Susan DiMarchi)

Mon, May 4, 9 a.m. – noon (Renee Jorgensen)

Mon, May 11, 9 a.m. – noon (Marjorie Leggitt)

Mon, June 1, 9 a.m. – noon (Renee Jorgensen)

Mon, June 8, 9 a.m. – noon (Constance Sayas)

Mon, June 22, 9 a.m. – noon (Renee Jorgensen)

 

 

Perfecting Perspective

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: $265 member, $315 non-member.

Date(s):

Mon, Jan. 13, 20, 27, Feb. 10, 17, 9 a.m. – noon

Instructor: Marjorie Leggitt

 

Fri-Sun, May 22-24, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. (105)

Instructor: Marjorie Leggitt

 

Rosemaling in the Os Style

Rosemaling in the Os Style

Although folk art flourished throughout Europe in the 18th and 19th centuries, it achieved its highest level of creativeness in the remote valleys of Norway from 1750 on. From its origins in the Telemark and Hallingdal, regional styles developed as generations of itinerant painters spread their trade westward to the fjord districts. Latest to develop was folk art in the area south of Bergen known as Os. This style features bright, colorful flowers painted on cupboards, trunks, beds and smaller traditional baskets and boxes. During this class you will create an Os design on a small box using typical flower motifs and a colorful palette. These designs are especially attractive to the modern eye. You will also learn about the traditional Norwegian rosemaling styles and how interest in this vigorous art form continues to the modern era.

Prerequisites: Botanical Illustration in Watercolor I or equivalent.

Fee: $295 member, $355 non-member (Box and paints included).

Date(s): Thu, Feb. 20, 27, March 5, 12, 19, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Louise Bath, Colorado

 

Louise Bath has been studying the Norwegian art form of rosemaling for 30 years. In 2017, she was awarded a Gold Medal in Rosemaling from Vesterheim, the Norwegian American Museum in Decorah, Iowa. That same year she graduated with a certificate in botanical art and illustration from the Denver Botanic Gardens program. She now teaches rosemaling in Colorado and across the United States. Three trips to Norway in 2013, 2016 and 2018 have given her a wealth of rosemaling knowledge and ideas.

 

Roses in Reality

Roses in Reality

Native to the Northern Hemisphere, roses evolved millions of years ago, before North America separated from Eurasia. Of the estimated 159 species of wild roses, more than half are endemic to China. Ever since the Greek and Roman Empires, no flower has captured the human imagination in quite the same way. Start by studying rose paintings from masters of the past such as Alfred Parsons and Pierre-Joseph Redouté. Learn how to draw the complex petal configurations, contrasting luminous and velvety petal textures, prickles and thorns. Practice techniques from wet-on-wet to drybrush and learn how to use them appropriately. You will leave this class with a finished, exquisite rose painting!

Prerequisite: Botanical Illustration in Watercolor I.

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

Date(s):

Wed, June 3, 10, 17, 24, July 1, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Constance Sayas

 

 

 

 

Sacred Doorways- Byzantine Iconography

Sacred Doorways: Byzantine Iconography

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. You’ll learn the language of light, color, image and symbol, with the iconic symbolism explained alongside the technical instruction.

Prerequisite: Open for beginners as well as more experienced icon painters.

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

Date(s):

Thu, May 21, 28, June 4, 11, 18, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Laurence Pierson

 

 

 

Scratching the Surface

Scratching the Surface

Discover the potential and excitement of scratchboard, where contrasts in textures and values produce dramatic, luminous effects. Unlike any other medium, ink is correctible and, by using a blade, you can combine black-and-white lines and dots, which are the basis of ink textures. Students will add color as an accent to highlight areas of specific botanical interest or to create a compositional element. Demonstrations and examples show you how to create a vast range of textures to portray subjects with detail and accuracy. Choose favorite subjects from nature to create a composition, then sketch, transfer and render them in ink or pencil on white scratchboard using techniques to convey form, shading, textures and spatial placement. Students will work toward completing at least one final illustration.

Prerequisites: Botanical Illustration in Pen and Ink I, entry-level color media.

Fee: $280 member, $330 non-member.

Date(s):

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

Instructor: Randy Raak

Spines and Shadows: The Magic is in Perspective

Spines and Shadows: The Magic Is in Perspective

Cacti are botanical subjects that present all kinds of fun perspective challenges! In this class, discover how cacti conform to basic geometric forms. Practice building a realistic linear model using the three-step perspective method. Learn about the principles of cast shadows through observing the effects of light falling on spines. Experiment with combining watercolor, graphite and hints of colored pencil to create a colorful composition of a cactus of your choice.

Prerequisites: Color Layering for Colored Pencil, Color Mixing, Perfecting Perspective.

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

Date(s):

Tue, May 5, 12, 19, 26, June 2, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Marjorie Leggitt

 

Spirals in Nature

Spirals in Nature

Discover the beauty of mathematics—the golden ratio, phyllotaxy and the Fibonacci sequence—in botanical subject matter. Leaves, petals, seeds and other plant organs are not arranged randomly; rather, they follow well-defined rules. After learning about and observing these patterns, hands-on instruction provides the tools for illustrating inherent botanical patterns. You will focus on unusual viewpoints, perspective and composition. Start with a skeleton drawing from a live specimen and then flesh it out to generate an accurate final plate. Individual instruction helps you enhance full-value ink techniques that are applicable to future illustrations created in any other media.

Prerequisites: Botanical Illustration in Pen and Ink I.

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

Date(s):

Wed, Feb. 19, 26, March 4, 11, 18, 6-9 p.m.

Instructor: Marjorie Leggitt

 

Spring Bouquet with Graphite and Watercolor

Spring Bouquet 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, May 7, 14, 21, 28, June 4, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Laurence Pierson

 

Spring Flowers in Watercolor with Vincent Jeannerot

Spring Flowers in Watercolor with Vincent Jeannerot

This intense three-day watercolor master workshop focuses on spring flowers. Vincent will specifically concentrate on composition, how to approach the green and brown nuances in bright but delicate spring colors and how to tackle the shadows. The workshop will conclude with specific finishing approaches. Individual guidance and demonstrations throughout the workshop will help you to complete your plate.

Prerequisite: Botanical Illustration in Watercolor I or intermediate skills in watercolor.

Fee: $365 member, $410 non-member.

Note: Choose one session only.

Date(s):

Fri-Sun, April 3-5, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Tue-Thu, April 7-9, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Instructor: Vincent Jeannerot, Lyon, France

 

Vincent Jeannerot is an internationally represented botanical artist. In addition to several French exhibitions, he has exhibited in London, Melbourne, Moscow, Seoul and Florence. He is a much sought-after botanical art instructor and has taught workshops in the United States, New Zealand, Italy, Japan, Latvia and South Korea. His gallery, Aquarelles Botaniques, is located in Lyon, France.

 

 

Spring Lilies in Acrylics

Spring Lilies 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.

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

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

Date(s):

Tue, May 5, 12, 19, 26, June 2, 6-9 p.m.

Instructor: Marjorie Leggitt

 

Textures in Colored Pencils on Mylar

Textures in Colored Pencils on Mylar

Beauty is in the details: fuzzy, thorny, smooth, matte, shiny, crinkly or translucent. Learn to see detail in a new way that allows you to create realistic textures using a variety of colored pencil techniques. Through guided exercise and practice, assemble a collection of texture technique studies that you can reference for all future drawings. As you learn to interpret the surface of your specimen more intuitively, new methods for producing that texture in colored pencil will become rewarding and fun.

Prerequisite: Botanical Illustration in Colored Pencil II.

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

Date(s):

Mon, April 20, 27, May 4, 11, 18, 1-4 p.m.

Instructor: Susan DiMarchi

 

The Essentials of Paper

Jaclyn Mednicov, Artist Educator for Strathmore Artist Papers™, will present The Essentials of Paper, a 90-minute hands-on presentation on Strathmore Drawing and Watercolor Papers. The presentation will focus on how understanding a paper’s fiber, weight, texture, surface, grade and permanency affect an artist’s choice and usage of fine art paper. Attendees participate in hands-on exercises, using a selection of papers and drawing materials. The goal of the presentation is to provide information to help artists select the right papers for their medium and techniques.

Time: February 21, 10 a.m.-noon

Location: Gates Hall

Fee: Free- registrating is required and space is limited.

 

The Magic of Moths in Ink and Color

The Magic of Moths in Ink and Color

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. During this class we concentrate on moths. Moths are masters of disguise. They can camouflage to hide from predators, and, because of their large numbers, moths are a significant source of food to other species in the ecosystem. These nocturnal insects are as beautiful as butterflies but are hidden from us in the dark. Working in ink and your choice of color media, design a final plate in the scientific style of Lizars.

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

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

Date(s):

Mon, June 8, 15, 22, 29, July 6, 6-9 p.m.

Instructor: Susan DiMarchi

 

The Skin of Trees: Expressive Ink Textures in Bark on Mylar

The Skin of Trees: Expressive Ink Textures in Bark on Mylar

We often overlook bark, the structured and always important part of the plant, and only focus on leaves and flowers. You will discover the diversity of tree bark while stepping away from tradition to try new techniques and learn about this essential protective element of the tree. Trade your technical pen for a quill and brush and learn to express ink lines in a relaxed and painterly fashion. Begin with a look at how other artists have used ink expressively. Demonstration and practice with the new tools and colored inks prepares you to start your own drawing. Choose a botanical subject and experiment with techniques for successfully depicting line, form and texture. Make a mistake? No problem! You can erase ink from Mylar and try again. Complete a botanical study and enjoy a fresh, fun way to approach this time-honored medium.

Prerequisite: Botanical Illustration in Colored Pencil II.

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

Date(s):

Wed, May 13, 20, 27, June 3, 10, 9 a.m. – noon

Instructor: Susan DiMarchi

 

Tour to The International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe

Santa Fe International Folk Art Market July 9-13

For more information or to register, call Mervi (720-865-3653)

Tour includes (in addition to the travel, accommodation):

- Behind the scenes tour of Georgia O’Keeffe Home and Studio in Abiquiu

- Visit to New Mexico Historical Museum and Palace of the Governors

- Tour of El Rancho de las Golondrinas

- Saturday Early Bird Entry to the Folk Art Market

- Entry to the Sunday Market

Friday Market Opening party ($250) extra

Tour fee $670:

-Nonrefundable deposit $300

-Remaining $370 by May 1st.

Friday Market Opening party ($250) extra

 

For more information or to register, call Mervi (720-865-3653)

 

 

 

 

Wall as Canvas: Painting Murals

Wall as Canvas: Painting Murals

Learn how to paint interior and exterior walls with your own designs in this introduction to mural painting. Students will learn about process, tools and techniques (as well as a few trade secrets), but this is also a hands-on course. You will design a wall mural and experience “going large” by painting one of our break rooms at the Gardens.

No prerequisites.

Fee: $460 member, $510 non-member.

Date(s):

Thu, June 25, July 2, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Fri-Sun, July 10-12, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. (25 hours).

Instructor: Meredith Feniak

 

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