Mission Statement

Founded in 1997, the Rocky Mountain Society of Botanical Artists (RMSBA), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is the first regional chapter of the American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA).

The Society is dedicated to promoting public awareness of contemporary botanical art, honoring its traditions and furthering its development. It is open to all, artists and art patrons alike. We believe that by joining together, we foster increased awareness and appreciation for this beautiful art form. It is our goal to educate the public about botanical art, support the artist creating these works, and support awareness of plants place in the world, and their environmental challenges with a special focus on plants in peril.

These artworks are realistic portrayals of plants, their flowers, fruiting bodies, seeds, roots and pollinators. Each piece is scientifically accurate, insuring all aspects are true reflections of the plant portrayed. Modern elements of of light, depth, composition and increased 3-dimensionality grow the tradition. The resulting renderings are exquisitely detailed, able to illustrate far more detail than found in photographs.

Work is presented in all 2-dimensional media, including ink, watercolor, gouache, scratchboard, acrylics, oils, graphite, carbon and colored pencil, excluding photos and computer generated images. Sculpture that meets scientific accuracy is welcome.

We are in an era of resurgence of interest in botanial art. These artists produce images that seamlessly blend old traditions and new, scientfic facts with contemporary creative arts, resulting in works that bloom gracefully and endlessly.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Check out these Workshops from GNSI

Registration for GNSI's annual conference, this year in BOULDER!!, is now open fully. Thought we'd remind you. There are some great workshops, presentations, field trips and more. So, review what's offered, then you can go directly to the official registration website with live links throughout the listings below.

GNSI 2014 Conference Registration Is Open!

Join us in Boulder, where the mountains meet the plains!

Come and enjoy a one of a kind experience and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow illustrators in a beautiful setting. The Conference is filled with presentations, workshops and field trips designed to inspire. Some concentrate on technique, with experts in drawing, painting, scratchboard, block printing, Photoshop, Illustrator, and digital devices sharing their expertise. Others focus on the gritty details of making a living in this challenging, but exciting career. With so many choices, participants can customize their learning experience under the inspirational setting of Boulder’s Flatirons and modern CU campus.

Register before May 30th and SAVE $50 on Full Registration!

Review the offerings on the conference website:


  • Live Animal Drawing
  • Building Backgrounds for Animal Subjects
  • Sculpting Insects in Polymer and Wire
  • Beginning Photoshop
  • Make Your Own Sketchbook, Then Use It!
  • Sketch A Storybook
  • Discovering Scratchboard Techniques
  • Colored Pencil Possibilities
  • Painting Small Animals
  • Osteology Sketching
  • From Sketch to Print
  • Intermediate Photoshop
  • Modeling in 3DS Max
  • Adobe Illustrator for Science Illust: Symbols
  • Sculpting Fossils, 2-day workshop
  • Watercolor, 2-day workshop
  • Social Media for Artists
  • Personal productivity with your iPad
  • Contract and Copyright

  • Dinosaur Ridge
  • Eldorado/Fowler Hike
  • CU Extravaganza
  • Wild Animal Sanctuary
  • NOAA Tour
  • Celestial/Dushanbe Teahouse
  • Avery Brew Pub
  • Denver Botanic Gardens/Natural History Museum
  • Rocky Mountain National Park, 2-day trip

  • Birth of the Beehive's Mesoamerica Resiste Illustration
  • Create Your Own Jobs and Get Paid to Travel
  • Using illustration to Teach 'Critical Looking' in a Zoology Lab
  • Making Photos and Art Press Ready
  • Hand-Painted Linoleum Block Prints
  • (Not Always) Funny Pages: Science Through Sequential Art
  • Marvelous Mucus: Learning about the Little-Known World of Land Snails
  • Tactile Graphics: Images for the Blind
  • Gyotaku -What your Third Grade Art teacher didn't tell you
  • Japan and its Fish Markets - a look at the fish art and culture of Japan
  • Saving a Tropical Jewel in the Heart of Vancouver
  • Nature Based Sculpture
  • iPad Tips and Tricks
  • How to Work Faster Photoshop: Shortcuts and File Setups
  • Ready, Set, Sell! Proactive Marketing Strategies
  • Teaching Illustration as a Biology Course
  • The case of the Missing Beak: Kati the Kea
  • Saving the Kakapo from extinction--Expedition to New Zealand
  • Creating backgrounds combining traditional and digital techniques
  • Art Creation From the Client's Point of View
  • Lighting and Textures: Optimizing Your Renders
  • Botanical Illustration–Then and Now
  • Illustrating Nature: Stylized Realism for Children’s Books
  • An Exploration in Public Health Communication
  • More to come....

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

GNSI 2014 Conference In Boulder Open for Registration Now!

This is a great opportunity for botanical artists, with workshops available from some of the best artists in the business, including our own Susan Rubin. The poster gives you a taste of the many activities, and you can register online now! Workshops fill up quickly, so act now to reserve your spots.


Click HERE to go directly to the registration site.
Click HERE for more information about the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Sometimes, a good read is the best inspiration...

When you are casting about for inspiration, or even just motivation, a good art newsletter is a nice place to start getting involved. To that end, we've added a new gadget to the right, called Online Newsletter Nirvana. There are three links there now, and my personal favorite is the one from Prescott, AZ, which is witty, full of information, and has a bit of humor.


There are also newsletters that talk about art news daily, weekly or monthly, more aimed at the general world of art as business, news and entertainment. There are a couple of those included here also.

How about contributing your favorite online art site for our Nirvana listing. Just click HERE and email the address. We'll do the rest, and thanks for sharing!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Day 31 - A Drawing a Day

Drawing on the Masters
It is only by drawing often, drawing everything, drawing incessantly, that one fine day you discover to your surprise that you have rendered something in its true character.
Camille Pissaro


Spring Radish, colored pencil on paper, Julie Terry. Julie tells us, "I think Easter radishes are such a reminder of Spring and that one of my favorite holidays is coming soon."
How About: Drawing a series of the plants that make you happy. Seasonal plants that speak to your heart, harvest bounty, the twigs bravely carrying on through winter...whatever moves you.

If you're looking for help in botanical drawing and painting, you can't go wrong with this book by botanical artist Ann Swan. This volume covers a start to finish method for botanical art and illustration.
Click HERE to see Ann's book online.
Summing Up: Well, you've done it! 31 days of drawing each day. It doesn't matter if it was 10 minutes a day, or hours at a time. You have ingrained your drawing skills into your very psyche, and your body has been trained to support the acts of drawing. Congratulations! We hope you have also gained the habit to draw so strongly that you'll feel sad when you don't draw every day. Then, you'll know your adventure as an artists is truly on its way. Thanks for participating. If you have images you still want to submit, please do. We'll post them right here!

Click HERE to send your drawing scans to share.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Day 30 - A Drawing a Day

Drawing On the Masters
 'To draw does not simply mean to reproduce contours; the drawing does not simply consist in the idea: the drawing is even the expression, the interior form, the plan, the model. Look what remains after that! The drawing is three fourths
and a half of what constitutes painting.
If I had to put a sign over my door [to the atelier], I would write:
School of drawing, and I’m certain that I would create painters.'

Orchid, graphite and white on toned paper, Susi Olson. Susi says, "My orchid bloomed while I was in Montana! I sort of thought they were dead; seems to like it if I ignore it. It has bloomed like crazy." This paper is a neat choice for an orchid, with an earthy organic feel and a spotty texture that mimics the spotty appearance of some orchids.

How About: collecting sketch books or just small sheets of paper that you can use for drawing and sketching. There are bound books of paper in many hues, and paper manufacturers will often provide you with test sheets, to allow you to try before you buy. Go online to your paper manufacturer and see if they don't have an artist support program that provides quality variety papers, free or at low cost. It never hurts to ask. At least that's what my cat has told me, and she pretty much gets everything she wants.
Click HERE to find a good discussion about toned papers in fine art.

Click HERE to send your drawing scans to share.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Day 29 - A Drawing a Day

Frederick Franck from The Zen of Seeing:
I have learned that what I have not drawn I have never really seen, and that when I start drawing an ordinary thing, I realize how extraordinary it is, sheer miracle.

As seen through a window, vignettes of a trip in Vietnam, by Marj Leggitt. There are great notes and drawings here, and Marj used the time in vans to
create some lasting images for her memories.

How About: Outlines, outlines, outlines. Use outlines only, also called a contour (following edges), or a cartoon (full outlines), to document things around you: landscapes, cityscapes, architecture, fruits, vegs, flowers, cacti, cats, dogs, lizards....

Click HERE to discover a lot of ways to use contour lines.

Click HERE to send your drawing scans to share.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Day 28 - A Drawing a Day

Drawing On the Masters
'Drawing and color are not separate at all; in so far as you paint, you draw. The more color harmonizes, the more exact the drawing becomes.
When the color achieves richness,
the form attains its fullness also.'
Paul C├ęzanne

Shells and Leaves, mixed media, by Libby Kyer. I cannot walk the beach without picking up detritus. Leaves fresh, leaves baked, shells broken and whole, bits of wood, exoskeletons, seaweed, driftwood and small not-so-alive-anymore animals, like tiny fish and seahorses, are all interesting. So when it's too hot for the beach (doesn't happen often) or rainy, I like to draw the stuff I've collected.
So I have many drawings of flotsam and jetsam.

How About: Collecting the bits that interest you, allow them to dry, and mix and match them into drawings of interest.

This book guides you through a series of exercises that help you define your own style. We all worry about having individual style, when in fact, your personal style comes pre-packaged in your psyche! However, how you display that, where you want to tweak it, and art processes that will show you what you know, what you don't know, and where you might want to go are all included.

Click HERE to find your connections with this book.

Click HERE to send your drawing scans to share.