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.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Beauty, Science and Contemplation in a wonderful new book

Brain Pickings is a website that is impossible not to love! It talks about books, art, humanity, science, pretty much the gamut of life. In their most recent post, they provided this moving contemplation, which as botanical artists seems especially appropriate. You may want to add them to your personal Favorites, and you'll find them on our BlogSpot in the right hand column.
"Our overblown intellectual faculties seem to be telling us both that we are eternal and that we are not," philosopher Stephen Cave observed in his poignant meditation on our mortality paradox And yet we continue to long for the secrets of that ever-elusive eternity.
For nearly a decade, Brooklyn-based artist, photographer, and Guggenheim Fellow Rachel Sussman has been traveling the globe to discover and document its oldest organisms – living things over 2,000 years of age. Her breathtaking photographs and illuminating essays are now collected in The Oldest Living Things in the World (public library | IndieBound) – beautiful and powerful work at the intersection of fine art, science, and philosophy, spanning seven continents and exploring issues of deep time, permanence and impermanence, and the interconnectedness of life.

Llareta | 3,000 years | Atacama Desert, Chile

Baby llareta

With an artist's gift for "aesthetic force" and a scientist's rigorous respect for truth, Sussman straddles a multitude of worlds as she travels across space and time to unearth Earth's greatest stories of resilience, stories of tragedy and triumph, past and future, but above all stories that humble our human lives, which seem like the blink of a cosmic eye against the timescales of these ancient organisms – organisms that have unflinchingly witnessed all of our own tragedies and triumphs, our wars and our revolutions, our holocausts and our renaissances, and have remained anchored to existence more firmly than we can ever hope to be. And yet a great many of these species are on the verge of extinction, in no small part due to human activity, raising the question of how our seemingly ephemeral presence in the ecosystem can have such deep and long-term impact on organisms far older and far more naturally resilient than us.

Pando (quick aspen) | 80,000 years | Fish Lake, Utah, USA

Alerce (Patagonian cypress) | 2,200 years | Patagonia, Chile

Above all, however, the project raises questions that aren't so much scientific or artistic as profoundly human: What is the meaning of human life if it comes and goes before a patch of moss has reached the end of infancy? How do our petty daily stresses measure up against a struggle for survival stretching back millennia? Who would we be if we relinquished our arrogant conviction that we are Earth's biological crown jewel?

Dead Huon pine | 10,500 years | Mount Read, Tasmania; Royal Tasmanian Botanical Garden, Hobart

Sussman offers no answers but invites us, instead, to contemplate, consider, and explore on our own – not as creatures hopelessly different from and dwarfed by the organisms she profiles, but as fellow beings in an intricately entwined mesh of life. What emerges is a beautiful breakage of our illusion of separateness and a deep appreciation for the binds that pull us and these remarkable organisms in an eternal dance – our only real gateway to immortality.

Bristlecone pine | 5,068 years | White Mountains, California, US

Welwitschia Mirabilis | 2,000 years| Namib-Naukluft Desert, Namibia

Stromatolites | 2,000-3,000 years | Carbla Station, Western Australia

Interwoven with Sussman's photographs and essays, brimming with equal parts passion and precision, are the stories of her adventures – and misadventures – as she trekked the world in search of her ancient subjects. From a broken arm in remote Sri Lanka to a heart-wrenching breakup to a well-timed sip of whisky at polar explorer Shackleton's grave, her personal stories imbue the universality of the deeper issues she explores with an inviting dose of humanity – a gentle reminder that life, for us as much as for those ancient organisms, is often about withstanding the uncontrollable, unpredictable, and unwelcome curveballs the universe throws our way, and that resilience comes from the dignity and humility of that withstanding.

Antarctic moss | 5,500 years | Elephant Island, South Georgia

See more, including Sussman's TED talk, here, then see my conversation with the artist about the deeper conceptual and philosophical ideas behind her project.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Perfect Present...

...not the verb tense, but the object of desire, makes a great Holiday gift for all artists, struggling and otherwise. What to get? Here are a few ideas that define essential needs and wants for all artists. We used Jerry's Artarama as a starting place. You can research on your own, but this is a decent starting place! Or, you can forward the URL for this entry to someone who would simply love to know what you want or need for your studio!
Click on the colored titles to go to a full description with image.
Storage: EVERY artist can use more storage. Here are couple of units that are versatile, well-sized and well priced. 
Creative Marks Work Station: Rolls around, big drawers, lots of space that you can configure as you need, light weight.
Matisse French Painter's Taboret: Beautiful, good drawers, folding work surface.
Belgian Art Horse: This clever multipurpose tool is a bench, storage space and easel in one. Check it out. Tight spaces? This is a wonderful innovation that folds down entirely into a strong bench.

Drawing Supports: Working at the right height, right angle and in good light is essential to being able to work well and for years in the future. Here are some ideas:
SoHo Urban Artist Adjustable Drawing Board: this inexpensive table model has a good number of positions, from a little lift, to a large one. Will keep your drawing surface lifted enough to allow good line-of-sight to your specimen, and help keep shoulders, neck and arms comfortable.
Jullian JT3 Table Easel: This little easel can be used for display or work. It provides a more upright surface than a drawing board, if you prefer that.
Jullian Rexy Watercolor Easel: This is a full-on easel that can be used in the field or in the studio, but it is lightweight, comes with a travel bag, and really can suit your every need.
Gadgets: Every artist is a sucker for the perfect gadget! Here are a few that would make great gifts or stocking stuffers for the artist in your life.
Rockwell Brush Easel Storage Cases: This brush storage carrier cleverly folds up into it's own easel stand, presenting your brushes in an easy to see format.
The Brush Crate - Artist Brush Holder: Storage for on the taboret or desk, keeps points up on pens, pencils and brushes. Will hold up to 100 items!!!
Conte Crayon Sets: Want to spice up your sketch days? Try one of these kits of Conte crayons to challenge and inspire you. Earth tones provide dimension and interest to even the simplest sketch.
Books: Inspiration, support, relief and humor are all available for artists in some good books. Here are a few we found on Amazon.com:
Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being an Artist: by Austin Kleon      You don’t need to be a genius, you just need to be yourself. That’s the message from Austin Kleon, a young writer and artist who knows that creativity is everywhere, creativity is for everyone. A manifesto for the digital age, Steal Like an Artist is a guide whose positive message, graphic look and illustrations, exercises, and examples will put readers directly in touch with their artistic side.
The Daily Book of Art: 365 readings that teach, inspire & entertain: by Colin Gilbert (Author), Dylan Gilbert (Author), Elizabeth T. Gilbert (Author), Gabriel Guzman (Author), & 4 more : In today's fast-paced world, creative people are as eager as ever to pursue their artistic passions, but many of them simply don't have enough time. Catering to this modern dilemma, we've concocted the perfect remedy for over-burdened artists. The Daily Book of Art includes a year's worth of brief daily readings and lessons about the visual arts that entertain as they inform. Ten exciting categories of discussion rotate throughout the course of a year, giving readers a well-rounded experience in the art world. 

The Artist's Way: by Julia Cameron, the seminal book on the subject of creativity. An international bestseller, millions of readers have found it to be an invaluable guide to living the artist’s life. Still as vital todayor perhaps even more sothan it was when it was first published one decade ago, it is a powerfully provocative and inspiring work.

Want to share your holiday gift ideas? Just click HERE and let us know your secret desires!



Friday, December 5, 2014


Click on the image to get a larger version of this year's invitation to our annual Holiday Party. Then get your party hat on, and plan to join the celebration!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Holiday Presents for Yourself

In this season of many holidays that celebrate light in the darkness, how about bringing light to your own work as an artist! Botanical art is sometimes looked at as 'just' an illustrator's work, as if anyone could do it for $x/hour. Yet we know the dedication, excitement, perseverance, joy, struggle, talent and so many more factors that go into creating our art, regardless of its uses, either in science or in fine art, it's all art! Perhaps if we had more support as artists, that is, we gave ourselves more time to think of art and the process of art, then we could view what we do as full-on art. Art for science. Art for exploration. Art for education. Art for joy.
Here's an easy way to peer into the heart of art. BrainPickings  This website is free, intensely researched, beautifully put together, and brings new insights into art with each week. Books from so many authors and artists are discussed in depth, and are creative fodder for each of us.  For example, this week's offerings include:
Leonardo's Brain: What a Posthumous Brian Scan Six Centuries Later Reveals About the Source of DaVinci's Creativity, by Leonard Shlain.
How to Find Your Purpose and Do What You Love, by Maria Popova

Hugh MacLeod on Setting Boundaries

And here's another offering to your creative self, Bad at Sports. Based on the sometimes flippant response when an artist is asked why he or she went into art, and responds, "Well, I was bad at sports so...". And yet we know, art takes courage, being creative takes belief in one's self. So, check this out for good stories and support.

Or you can check into a lot of blogs at Contemporary Art Blogs. This aggregator has it's fingers in so many pies, you will be sure to find a flavor that you love.

I guess the gift we give ourselves is belief. Belief that what we do is art. That why we do it matters! The world needs artists, because we combine logic and creativity. We see things a little differently. We open doors for others to find their bliss.

Happy Holidays! Keep creating, and your blog will keep on bringing news, education and joy.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Lots of News

I had to take a month off as BlogMeister, due to some health needs. Feeling much better, and with my apologies regarding timeliness of posting, here's all the news that's fit to print!

First up: ASBA Conference!
This was an amazing event. Attendees were blown away by the organization, support and content offered to them. At the banquet, Susan Fisher called up Committee Chairs, and then, in her inimitable style, thanked each committee members. In your Botanical Artist, which should have just arrived, you'll find a rundown on the happenings and most importantly, the vibe of this conference, which included the most intense sharing, conversation, friendships and fun I ever seen. So, check out the details in TBA!

Conference Coordinator Marilyn Garber loved working with us, and sent this lovely card and note:

Dear RMSBA Members,
Thank you soooo much for everything you did to make the ASBA Denver Conference successful!  Your great team made my job easy.  We could never accomplish such a diverse and interesting conference without the support of people "on the ground"  Your willingness to pitch in and get the job done is much appreciated.  Every detail was taken care of by you all - from the complexity of putting on Small Works to choosing the right hotel the right transportation company, to the lovely brush holder gift, to the beautiful banquet center pieces - and much, much, much, more.  Even the zombie event was lots of fun for our members!  Like the first conference in Denver, this second one was a huge success - all due to your work.
With great appreciation,

The wrap party happened at our regular October Member Meeting. Becky Hall organized and managed amazing finger food, Heidi Snyder provided an heirloom Black Forest Cake made with, truly, an heirloom kirschwasser (cherry liquor) as a a special ingredient, as well as sugar/gluten free individual cakes for those who require them. There was champagne, mimosas, and faux-mimosas with great sparkling apple cider.

Dorothy DePaulo led the discussion assessing strengths and weaknesses, how to help the next Conference organizers for the event in Miami next year, and then passed the podium to floor, asking each member present who had attended the conference to discuss their individual experiences. Again, there were helpful comments, but the theme of all comments was the absolute pleasure working together provided. We were all somewhat tearful that the effort was over, and yet happy to have done it right!

In closing, on behalf of RMSBA, Dorothy presented Susan Fisher, Conference Coordinator, and Ronda Ballard, who were present at committee meetings, work sessions, stuffing events and pretty much anywhere you needed them for the entire year of planning, with gift certificates. Many thank yous,  followed by applause from the entire group and hugs all around closed the meeting. Susan and Ronda send many thanks to the members for their help AND the lovely gift certificates.

Susan (left) and Ronda say, "Thank you, RMSBA, for your kind thank you gift. The ASBA conference was a great experience for us because of this terrific group of hard working botanical enthusiasts!"
Changes Afoot!
Every healthy organization benefits from changes in leadership, and we are definitely a healthy organization! In that vein, here are some things to look forward to in 2015:
RMSBA President: Vanessa Martin has accepted the position of RMSBA president. You know Vanessa from her tireless work for Exhibitions. In her new position, she'll continue to lead us into new growth and adventures.
Treasurer: Vicki MacWilliam has served in this position forever! Many thanks for her amazing dedication. She has now passed the baton to Ronda Ballard. Ronda was our first Treasurer, and we're so pleased she's helping again!

November Member Meeting:
Don't miss this opportunity to hang out with fellow artists at the Rocky Mountain Land Library. This amazing resource serves botanists, artists, authors, naturalists and historians with a collection of books that exist because of this land we live on.
The meeting this month will be on Sunday, November 30th at 1:00 p.m. at the Rocky Mountain Library's  Waterton Canyon Library (located at Denver Water's Kassler Center). 
This library is so unique and such an important resource for us as botanic artists. It is truly one of the most unusual libraries in America! and it is right here in Colorado! You don't want to miss this.
Please visit the Rocky Mountain Land Library at https://landlibrary.wordpress.com/ to find out more about about this unusual library.
We will be visiting their Waterton Canyon Library and they will be telling us more about their South Park Library/Inn as well. 
As always, feel free to bring a piece of art to share with us.

Directions from C-470 & Wadsworth Blvd:
Go south on Wadsworth, 4.4 miles. Turn Left onto Waterton Road. You'll quickly pass the Audubon Center to your left. Continue on Waterton and you'll see a cluster of White brick buildings to your right. At the far end of those buildings, turn right into the Kassler Center parking lot. The library is located in the brown building, which is the first building to your right as you pass through the gate. 

Here's anAudubon link that has a couple of maps (folks just need to remember that we are just south of Audubon, and on the opposite side of Waterton Road):

New BlogMeister: Libby Kyer (that's me!) created our blog 3.5 years ago. I offered to do this when the Board was trying to decide how/if to continue the website. At that time, the best option for an easily updated web presence was a blog. Benefits included it's complete timeliness, as it could be updated each and every day if needed, as well as flexibility in layout and design. Since then, it has become a valuable tool for RMSBA functions and mission goals. However, it's time for Libby to pass our blog to a new BlogMeister. Our immediate past president Dorothy DePaulo has volunteered to step in and learn the ropes.  Here's Dorothy!

Dorothy is an accomplished artist and becoming an author with her book with Heidi Snyder about Wild in the City - the flora and fauna that thrive in city parks and preserves. To add to her busy schedule, she's volunteered to be your BlogMeister starting in January of 2015. Here's a sample of her artwork, entitled "Spotted Towhee," created in colored pencil on film:

Dorothy is excited about learning to create an interesting and informative blog for you. You can help her by emailing her images and words about your life as an artist and RMSBA member. Let her know if March's Drawing a Day theme is something you enjoyed and benefitted from. Have a conversation about online exhibitions using the blog - pro or con! Update your member gallery, to provide fresh new artwork for members and patrons to enjoy. And look for great new things right here! Starting with about 12,000 views in our first full year, we now total over 74,000 views from interested folks around the world! Yep, WORLD!! Take advantage of this wonderful service to you, your art, and our organization.

I'll continue until the end of the year, and then help Dorothy learn the ropes in the next couple of months. This has been a great learning experience for me, and rather unexpectedly, so much fun! I'll miss providing this service to you, but have loved the support offered, and know the new Blogmeister will love it as much as I have.

Friday, November 21, 2014

In JUST 41 Days All This Can Be YOURS!!!

You may delay, but time will not.”
Benjamin Franklin
We NEED and WANT YOU NOWas  a new Blogmeister! Libby has produced and managed our blog for the last 3 years, and it's time for a break! However, she's happy to shepherd a new Blogmeister into easy and fun understanding and use of the blog design tools provided by Blogger, and to provide some ideas for future interesting and informative spots on the blog to get our new leader started. Get in step with time. Contact Libby HERE to make your move NOW!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

In Just 81 Days All This Can Be YOURS!

“Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.”
Anthony G. Oettinger
We NEED a new Blogmeister! Libby has produced and managed our blog for the last 3 years, and it's time for a break! However, she's happy to shepherd a new Blogmeister into easy and fun understanding and use of the blog design tools provided by Blogger, and to provide some ideas for future interesting and informative spots on the blog to get our new leader started. Click HERE to contact the Blogmeister herself. Time yourself on how fast you can jump into this adventure. .