Mission Statement

The Rocky Mountain Society of Botanical Artists is an open and diverse group of artists, collectors and admirers who share a love for the practice and perpetuation of botanical art and illustration with a fond focus on plants in the Rocky Mountain Region.
We encourage and participate in educational outreach, juried and non-juried exhibits, lectures, workshops and regular chapter meetings. The RMSBA is proud to be the very first chapter affiliation of the international organization, the American Society of Botanical Artists.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Pictures! I forgot the Pictures!

Here are some pictures from our annual Holiday Meeting (AKA - "The Party").

Buffet or Conga Line. You decide.

Live chat group caught in the act!

Holiday luminaries, gathered around the buffet and on the tree.

See what you missed? There were many more folks there, and lots of  "live" chat groups, many of which included laughter! The constant bubbling noise level reflected the lively good times. Next time, be there too. You're gonna love it.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Holidays are Upon Us!

Cardinals, colored pencil on film, Heidi Snyder

Let's celebrate the joys of the season - the friendships we share through our organization. Good food. Family and friends we haven't seen for awhile gathering together. The peace we've been granted this holiday season. Our thoughts for safety for those in harm's way protecting that peace. Crisp weather and pine-scented festive rooms. Cookies! The list goes on and on! Best wishes to all. Let's each be a light in the winter darkness this holiday, helping those in need, remembering friends near and far, and creating art to illuminate the world of plants.

Under Useful Documents you'll find the minutes from our Holiday Meeting which took place on December 11th at Susi Olson's festively decorated home. There's lots of good news there. New for 2012, RMSBA will have a meeting every month on the last Sunday of each month, instead of meeting quarterly, as we have done in the past. Julie Terry, our industrious program chairman, has been hard at work finding programs and venues for meetings for the year. She and her team created a bookmark that lists scheduled activities. Here's what's happening:


I think the appropriate comment here is, "Wow!" probably followed by, "Way to go, Julie!" Thank you for all the work that has gone into this project. We will all benefit from increased contact through the year.

Officer listings have been updated, to the right. Take a moment to say "Thanks for working for us," to the folks on the list. Lots of commitment and hard work there. Also look at Events, where exhibits and other goings on are listed. Dorothy DePaulo, our hard-charging president, has secured exhibition space at the Denver Botanic Gardens for our RARE II exhibition, and it will hang while the ASBA 20th anniversary conference is here hosted by the RMSBA in Denver. What a coup! Many thanks to Dorothy!

Our first online exhibition, Remembering Summer, has ended, but it was a wonderful display. During the 3 to 5 weeks that elapse between postings on this blog, we generally get 200 viewers. While the exhibition was online we had over 500 viewers. You're work is being seen! Congratulations.

The next online exhibition will be open for entries February 15, 2012. It's theme is Winter Wonders, and we're looking for your work during these colder months. So many saved specimens, hardy grasses. and luscious imported exotics from the florist will become works of art. Be sure to send your entries in. I'll post the guidelines in early February to remind you. Happy creating!

And finally, there are two new little gadgets on the right. One is a search block, allowing you to search the blog and blog links by key words that you determine, and the second called Bulletin Board. I welcome you to post your wants, needs, heck - even your desires! - there. You submit for the Bulletin Board by emailing the blog at rmsbartists@gmail.com. Make your announcement, wish list, help wanted entries, and they'll be posted for up to 6 weeks. It's another service we provide to members to make your art life easier and more productive.

Happy Holidays, and Best Wishes for a wonderful New Year in 2012!

Monday, December 5, 2011

New Calls for Entries

We are busy getting ready for the new year! Our new Exhibits Director, Heidi Snider, has lined up two shows for us, and the calls for entry for both of them are posted under Calls for Entries. 

We would have liked to have had more time to prepare for these shows, but the opportunities came to us, and we need to take advantage of them. The shows are not until March, so we want to give you as much time as possible to get ready for them. I am so proud of the artwork that was in the Evergreen Show and I can hardly wait to show our work to two new audiences.
We hope to see as many of you as possible at the Holiday Party at Susan Olson's home at 2:00pm on Dec.11th. Please bring a snack, and come and join the fun!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Calling All Images

It's a busy time of year, and to add to your task list, I'd like to invite you to once again send images for use on our blog. We've about run through the things donated this summer. There are, of course, the lovely images in "Remembering Summer," our first online exhibition. However, we need more seasonal images if you have them, and anything new you're working on and would like to share. Please send them to me, your BlogMeister, at rmsbartists@gmail.com. We'll be looking for your masterpiece soon.

There, there. They're there!

Don't worry! If you're looking for Board Minutes, or Meeting Minutes,  or any other relevant document, just go to "Useful Documents" in the column to the right. Click under that where it says "Documents" and you'll have the full text of all our useful documents. Scroll through to find the one you need. They're always there for you. If the listing has been updated, I'll make a note of it in a blog entry, and you can find the new entries the same way.

If you're looking for Calls for Entries, select it in the column on the right. Click on All Calls for Entries. You'll be there! So will they.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

'Tis the Season

Heading Home for the Holidays! Colored pencil on sketch paper, by Libby Kyer

Yes. It is. It’s time for the winter holiday festivities, whether we’re ready for it or not! However, it’s a great time to share your art with friends and family, making gifts that reflect your talent and passion for botanical art. If you have a scan of your artwork(s), you are good to go to get creative and get your art out there. Here are a few suggestions for treats for those you love:

Cucurbita sp., watercolor on paper, Estelle deRidder
  • Note cards printed with your art, including an envelope – Kinko’s and many other quick print vendors can print for you, or you can print yourself if you have the right equipment and programs.
  • Small matted prints, especially those with a holiday theme – again, local quick print vendors can handle this nicely from your scan.
  • Gift tags, using snippets of actual paintings – a way to use artwork that is either too dated for exhibition, or simply doesn’t fit your current goals.
  • Gift tags, using prints of parts or all of your artwork – this is very easy to do on your own printer, and with a decorative paper punch and some coordinating ribbons, it makes a lovely gift.
  • Custom wrapping paper complete with matching ribbons – go online to find printers for this, or talk to local quick print vendors. This makes a special gift, and sends your artwork out into the world.
  • Calendars – hanging, CD case and mini-CD case are always appreciated – quick print vendors can make these from your designs, or help you design them with their tools.
  • Mugs with a selection of your artwork or 4 matched images – these take a little longer in the planning department, but make a wonderful project. Check online for vendors.
  • Glass or acrylic cutting boards with your artwork underneath – there are local vendors who can do this for you, making a lovely gift.
  • Coasters – simply purchase “photo coasters” and print and insert your artwork. Makes a great housewarming gift too.

Christmas Boxwood, pen and ink, scanned, color manipulated, by Libby Kyer

Just the Facts
After reports that some members were having problems getting prints of items that are on our file host (calls for entries, etc.) we’ve decided to provide a new way to give you access to documents you need. In the future, there’ll be a selection in the right column for “Documents”. Just click that, and you’ll go to a blogspot that will have documents posted. You can copy directly from that by highlighting the text you want to copy. No fees, just the facts.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Skip Autumn, go straight to Winter

Pine cones, watercolor on paper, Jan Boyd Haring

That’s the way we do it in Colorado, and we like it! The aspens this year had so long to sugar before they got too cold that 20% of them turned red with happiness. They were spectacular, nestled in among their brothers and sisters dressed in their golden hues. Around our home, we watch for the scrub oak to begin turning in earnest as a sure sign that Winter is on its way. They create a colored tapestry across the foothills.

It’s time to put flower and veggie gardens to bed, rake up any leaves your not using for mulch, and, most importantly, gather every interesting dead plant specimen you can find. Always good to have inspiration in the cold dark months, and the sere, twisted, oddly textured specimens that are remnants of lush Summer are always so compelling.

Martynia parviflora, Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski

Of course, a true tell that Winter lurks just out of sight is the ASBA Conference, held every Fall around the country at different sites. This year, Boston was the place of choice. It was pretty close to spectacular! Scenery was beautiful, driving from Logan Airport out to Newton, MA, the nearby suburb where our hotel was located. There were tours of the area and Back Bay Boston, with historic homes, gardens, landmarks, libraries and schools.

Days of classes, lectures, workshops, demonstrations and activities had terrific breadth and depth in chosen subjects. Every meal, every walk in a hallway, every moment not scheduled was filled with friends, old and new, laughter and some great collegial sharing of techniques, concepts, solutions, problems and support.  We were all happily exhausted as we headed home early Sunday morning, dodging the worst of the blizzard that eventually stalled air traffic in New England. You can read all about the Conference when your ASBA Journal arrives in December.

Ephemera adds four websites for you to explore. Karla Beatty offers tips on plein aire painting. The Life of Flowers is a breath of fresh air that Barbara Mckee found. Calvin Nicholl’s site highlights his creation of flora and fauna paper sculptures. And there is a link to an inspiring graffiti artists creation in Montreal. If you have sites you’d like to share, ping me at rmsbartists@gmail.com. . Would love to see your favorites.

It’s time for Remembering Summer, our online exhibition of paintings from your summer experiences. We have a small but lovely selection. Go to http://rmsbaexhibitrememberingsummer.blogspot.com/to see what your confreres have been doing. If you simply forgot the date for submission, but have some wonderful summer images, don't despair.  I am happy to add more images until November 15.

Take a look at the new galleries listed for members. Jan Boyd Haring, Susan Rubin, Susi Olson, and Dorothy DePaulo have all provided information and images so that they can have their own gallery page. You can have one also. It can be as simple as a brief paragraph about you and your art, and three or four of your artworks, or as complete as the space allows. Take a moment to think what works for you, and then put your materials together, send them to me, and voila! You have a BlogSpot gallery.

Being scheduled so heavily in October, with classes to teach and classes to take, lots of travel and variable weather support, I have not been able to update the blog as often as I wish. However, I hope you find it informative, and you too can write an article for publication on the blog, or create images to share, or find websites that you think others will enjoy. Send your thoughts, inspirations and finds to rmsbartists@gmail.com.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Things to do in Denver when... it's Autumn!

Let's start with this lovely invitation:

This exhibit celebrates the DBG Certificate in Botanical Art and Illustration students and their artworks. Over 65 images will be on display, including the certificate recipients from this year as well as works by students who are beginners. What a treat to see their work too!

An annual exhibit, this year it has traveled to the University of Denver Museum of Anthropology Gallery, to allow new viewers a chance to see what the botanical art fuss is all about. DU students and educators will have the pleasure of seeing the artworks during October, with the images providing a nice reminder of summer's fading lushness. Please RSVP to Exhibits@botanicgardens.org by October 5th if you plan to attend.

Alyson B. Stanfield addresses RMSBA members, discusing her methods for getting into successfull self-promotion, a skill all artists need to master to get their art seen and sold

Read this report about our September meeting!I’d Rather Be In The Studio” The Artist’s No-Excuse Guide to Self-Promotion is written by Alyson B. Stanfield, our speaker at the RMSBA 9/18/11 meeting in the Jefferson County Public Library. 

Alyson is a professional art business coach who books speaking engagements nationwide, and is very familiar with the issues of artists and the different levels of technical knowledge of the art community.  Alyson cheerfully shared her successes and failures with blogs, websites, Twitter, and other self-promotion strategies. 

We discussed exposure via websites and blogs, principles of no-excuse self-promotion, balance of technology vs. older methods of communication, and where to begin when starting from scratch.Her book was very well received by our members, as she as updated and modified the text to keep up with the dynamic business world.

You can learn more about Alyson at her website: http://www.artbizcoach.com/. A huge round of thanks to Julie Terry for arranging this successful and informative meeting.

Rustle, Ornamental Grass, colored pencil, by Susan Rubin

There's also your opportunity to exhibit your art online in the first online gallery for RMSBA, "Remembering Summer." All the info you need to enter is listed in the last entry just below this one. Time is of the essence. Please send your enries by Monday!

Acorn and Maple Leaf, Fall Fire, watercolor on paper, by Libby Kyer

Take a drive and head for the hills. This weekend, the aspen should be at peak color. Rumor has it there are orange and red leaves in profusion in the well-watered mountain valleys. If you have time, enjoy painting and share the results with us on this blog!

Say "Thank you!" to Denver area city gardens workers. The parkways, parks, event centers and other available growing spots have been lovingly tended and are in their last moments as eye candy and visual relief  for the car bound commuter, biking enthusiast, walking citizen, jogging enthusiast and anyone else who has passed them. My favorite garden in Denver is Alamo Placita Park on Speer. Find your favorite, and if there's a gardener there, give them the appropriate hug wave, kiss-noise and hearty thanks. You know they deserve it!

Estelle deRidder, graphite on paper, Pinus redutis

Start planning your winter projects: There's nothing quite as delicious as making decisions without deadlines to influence choices! Now is the time to think about what kind of artwork will sustain you in the winter. Choose your subjects, get to know them with some gesture sketching, work out some interesting compositions, and make the drawing perfect now.

Color studies, pressing plant parts, researching species information can all be done at a more leisurely pace while summer winds down, autumn heats up in color and complexity. Collect seeds, seed casings, seed pods, dry grasses, yucca pods, cones and other enticing detritus in your area. Take care of your art needs! You deserve it!

Pseudolsugo menziesii, watercolor on paper, by Julie Sprinkle

Send us your pictures! You may notice we have some repeat names in the artists responsible for the images on our blog. That's because they have sent me pictures. If yours haven't been displayed yet, send them now! And if you have had work on the blog already, we still want to see what you're doing now!Color .jpgs at about 150 dpi are perfect. Please be sure to send your name, the media used in your artwork, and the substrate - paper, film, etc. Also, you may send a comment about the image, telling us why the species is special to you. Send them to me at rmsbaritsts@gmail.com. It's only your blogspot when you participate! Can't wait to see what's coming in.

After the Frost, graphite and colored pencil on film, by Dorothy DePaulo

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Picturing Botanical Art

When we think of botanical art, we think of the artworks! In a slightly less linear approach, perhaps we ought to think more about the artists on occasion. Many galleries and exhibitions now require an image of you, the artist, and it makes it so much easier to have your portrait ready ahead of time.   Which is my way of saying, you need a really good photograph of you, as you appear within the most recent 3 years, to accompany your artworks. The glamour shot from 15 years ago is probably cute as a button, but doesn't represent the person you are now. Your artwork has changed over the years as you grew and learned and, sigh, matured. Show those beautiful laugh lines and thought furrows. You earned them.

I of course had no picture of myself, except the "glamorous" image of me coming up from diving, with wet hair and goggles on! However, during the last week or so when the light outside was really diffuse, my husband and I pottered around finding the right image of me to use. Using a Sony Super Steady Shot DSC-T50 digital camera, we came up with two images out of 10 taken, offered here to show you that you too can take a photo that works, without hiring a pro.

The standard good-backdrop-with-slightly-tilted-artist shot. I love the background on this, as it has lots of botanically interesting bits. It's the wall of ivy on my garage. The tilted posture adds a nice diagonal compositional element. I choose a white shirt with a neckline that I'm comfortable with (read: seems flattering!) and I practiced smiling in the mirror for awhile! Sounds contrived, but in my life, pictures of me that I like are hard to find. This one doesn't make me all that unhappy, so I called it good!

If you're teaching, you may want the artist-at-work shot. That one was a little harder, as my drawing table faces into a corner! However, limber husband/photog crawled up on the counter to take the next shot.
Holding my favorite medium - colored pencils - sitting at the drawing table part works. Did lose the image I was working on! However, this is what I'll use right now, and when I run into that rare confluence of attitude, good light and need, I'll try again! I know my contractors are glad to finally get a photo of me from me! Hope this helps you think about what image you'd like to represent the real you!

Ephemera has been updated with sites that take you to some really fine botanical artists around the country and in England. Sometimes, just looking at the best is so inspiring that our own work takes a new direction, gains a new insight, finds a new way to see. The physics of light - how it travels, how it reflects, how it changes by angle of impact on a subject - applies to all painting. Realism becomes great when it understands science.

To that end, you might want to take a look at http://gurneyjourney.blogspot.com/, Jim Gurney's blog. He's the author and artist for Dinotopia, and works extensively in creating realism in support of movie making, art and design.

Right now, he's doing a good 3-day discussion of gamut masking (see sample above), a way to understand and reproduce color to mimic the conditions extant in the image as it occurs in reality, as well as ways to change color to reflect different lighting effects on the same subject. Jim is a super-generous artist, and is open to your comments, questions and suggestions in his blog. Take a look!
Tulipa sp., watercolor, by Kathy Fraughnaugh

Don't forget, the first annual "Remembering Summer" Blogspot Exhibition
Needs Your Summer Artworks.
It's so easy to participate. Any current RMSBA member is eligible. Just:

    1. Select up to 3 paintings, sketches, journal pages or drawings from your summer experiences.
    2. Scans, 150 to 360 dpi, .save as .jpgs in color.
    3. For each image list:
        Latin name and/or Title
        Medium/a used, substrate used
        Size in inches wxh
        Any comments about creating an individual image you'd like to share.
4. Email them to rmsbartists@gmail.com, with "Remembering Summer" in the subject line.
5. Please time your submittals so that I have them by 30 September 2011.

Tulip sp. colored pencil on Mylar, by Dorothy DePaulo

Tulipa sp., watercolor, by Anna Arkin

Sooooooooooo easy. The three images previous are from early summer, representing various Tulipa sp. by 3 RMSBA artists. The variety in approach, media and composition is wonderful to see.

All images received will be posted with captions and small paragraph about each image if desired. It's a great way to remember your summer, get a little exposure for your work, and share and learn from your fellow artists. Hope to hear from each of you. What a great gallery this will be! It will be available online for 6 months, and give way in March for your fall/winter images. Plan ahead!

Summer officially ends next week, and fall arrives. Wishing us warm weather, blue skies, glorious fall color and lots and lots of painting. Your comments, articles, and images are welcome to the blog. Please send me yours to grace these pages.

Sunday, September 4, 2011


Now that we have your attention, wanted to invite you to two new botanical art exhibitions opening shortly. September 3rd, The Colorado Garden is open at the Center Stage Theater at 27608 Fireweed Drive, Evergreen, Colorado. Thirty-five artworks from 17 RMSBA members are on display through October 30 in the Rotary Gallery, Center Stage. The opening event is September 11, from 2 to 4 PM. Join the artists and their guests for nibbles, a touch of wine, and some terrific artworks.  The Rotary Gallery is open during their busy performance schedule, and by appointment. Call them at 303.674.4934 to get additional gallery hours or make an appointment. 
Please note the correct number for contact the Rotary Gallery, Center Stage, is 303.674.4934

Old Fashioned Rose by Heidi Snyder is exhibited at the Rotary Gallery, Center Stage, Evergreen CO

Highlights from the Gardens' Botanical Illustration Program is a celebration of the work of students and instructors in the Denver Botanic Gardens Botanical Art and Illustration school. The exhibition will be open from October 4-28 at the University of Denver Museum of Anthropology Gallery. The opening reception and celebration of the 2011 Certificate Graduates is Sunday, October 9, from 1 to 3 PM. This annual event has been held at DBG for years, but moves to DU this year, to bring botanical art to an expanded audience. Contact Mervi Hjelmroos-Koski at Hjelmroos-Koski@botanicgardens.org with your questions.We hope to see you soon at these events supporting your fellow members and the growth of botanical art in our region.

Peony, by Cathy Criddlebaugh

You too can be an exhibitionist! Sign up to portray an endangered species for RareII, the reprise of RMSBA's wildly successful project Rare. You'll find the "taken" list to the right, and contacts are also listed to the right for further information.

Physaria bellii, watercolor, by Connie Sayas, is one of the artworks produced for the first Rare project and exhibition, which travelled to 3 exhibition venues in addition to its first showing.

Dorothy DePaulo has news of our next meeting:
Fall is on the way and we'll be inside a bit more as weather cools. What a great time to get revived up for the year ahead and gain confidence and enthusiasm to do some of those projects you have stowed in that creative brain of your’s.

At our September meeting we will have the opportunity to ask questions of professional business coach Alyson Stanfield, who works exclusively with artists. From 1:30 to 2:30, she'll engage us in an hour of questions and answers about how to successfully sell your art. From how to schedule for yourself so you are painting consistently, to web presences, blog creations, contacting galleries and more, Allyson is ready to help. She'll have DVD’s and her newly reprinted book I’d Rather Be in the Studio for purchase. Her book is organized around eight common excuses that limit an artist's business that she’s heard while counseling several thousand people get out of their studios and get down to the business of self-promotion.

We'll have some face time with each other too! Add this date to your calendar, and come to this helpful and interesting meeting:

Meeting date: Sunday September 18, 2010
Time 1:00 to 4:00
Location: Golden Library, 1019 10th Street
Golden, CO

Let's exhibit ourselves at each of these gathering opportunities. Good for us, good for our genre, good for association. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Purple Carrots

Yep. That's what I said. Originally, purple carrots or red carrots or maroon carrots were the bridge between wild and domestic carrots. Then, carrot fashionistas went through their buff, beige, pale yellow and yellow periods. Picasso's Blue Period has nothing on them! Purveyors of carrots found that purple carrots cooked up to a less-than-appetizing grey, and didn't taste all that good either. Finally, after many false starts and cross breeds, the "new black" in carrot fashion became orange. However if you go to Ephemera and click on Don't You Carrot All, you'll find the wonderful online Museum of Carrots, complete with images of purple carrots from 1500's realist art.

Also available in Ephemera are links to veggies as art, food, and fun.

"Saving Summer," squash, gourds, bulbs and seeds, colored pencil on paper, Libby Kyer

Lots of updates this time. Below is the invitation to our exhibition, The Colorado Garden. Opening Reception is September 11, from two to four PM. Hope to see you all there! Double click on the image below to enlarge the view.

Next,  the Gallery section of our blog has changed dramatically. I found the single page format in Scribd not particularly exciting. Our goal is to promote botanical art and illustration, and the format was too limiting. Now, each member may have their own individual blogspot, with your own address, so that patrons may go directly to your blog page.

You may submit images and information to your faithful BlogMeister, according to the guide found under Gallery, labeled appropriately enough "Gallery Page Submission Guide," and present up to 12 images of your artwork, plus a bio and artist's statement, and the opportunity to list selected exhibitions, awards, publications and affiliations. Double-clicking on any image enlarges it for you. There is also a little counter that will tell you how many viewers your blog page gets. Check out the gallery page for Libby Kyer to see a fully filled out gallery, and there are several other members pages with more limited information. Either approach is fine.

Internet presences don't work if not updated regularly, so you will be able to update your bio and artist's statement annually, and all other entries every 4 months (3 times a year) based on your own start date. I encourage you to take advantage of update opportunities. Any member with dues paid for the year may participate in this gallery. Members in arrears will have their gallery closed in February of the calendar year dues are are not received.

Questions about Gallery pages? Email me at rmsbartists@gmail.com.

Poppies, colored pencil, Annie Reiser

Don't forget to enter the first annual "Remembering Summer" blogspot exhibit. It's so easy to participate. Any current RMSBA member is eligible. Just:

    1. Select up to 3 paintings, sketches, journal pages or drawings from your summer experiences.
    2. Create scans, 150 to 360 dpi, .jpgs in color.
    3. For each image list:
        Latin name and/or Title
        Medium/a used, substrate used
        Size in inches wxh
        Any comments about creating an individual image you'd like to share.
4. Email them to rmsbartists@gmail.com, with "Remembering Summer" in the subject line.
5. Please time your submittals so that I have them by 30 September 2011.
Sooooooooooo easy!

Origami Columbine, Susie Olson

Update on 2014 ASBA Conference: The 2014 meeting will be held at the downtown Denver Westin Hotel from 16-18 October 2014. Committee needs are listed  below:
    Logistics – Open
    Education – Ann Fleming, Heidi Snyder
    Registrar – Open - registrar manages registration activities at the meeting
    Exhibit (possibility of three concurrent exhibits during the meeting) – Dorothy Depaulo, Ann
    Fleming, Marge Sjoden, Edie Devis, Teresa Burkitt, Wendy Peterson, Heidi Snyder
    Website and Blog - Libby Kyer
    PowerPoint Welcome to Denver Presentation for 2013 ASBA Meeting – Dorothy Depaulo
    Silent Auction (to work with ASBA Silent Auction Committee) – Open
    Notebooks/ASBA Gift/Registration Packet – Susi Olson, Jan Boyd Haring
    Marketing/Communications – Chair Open, Graphics - Libby Kyer
    Budget – Open
    Grants/Sponsors – Carol Till, Vicky MacWilliam, Susi Olson, Ann Fleming
    Denver/Front Range/Rocky Mountain Interest – Sharon Garrett, Saundra Dowling, Heidi Snyder, Jan
    Boyd Haring
    Transportation – Saundra Dowling, Sharon Garrett, Jan Boyd Haring
    Hospitality – Teresa Burkitt
Volunteers are still needed. There are 4 committees needing chairs, and each committee listed can also use your help. It's a few years off, but if we plan early, it all gets easier. Contact Terry Ruiter (303.798.9452) or email her at  tlruiter@msn.com and let her know how you can help.

The RareII plant list has been updated. If you wish to participate in this project, you'll need to "claim" species from the list of plants eligible. Check out what's been taken already, and find your favorite among the availables. It's entirely first come-first served.

Aquilegia barnebyi, watercolor, Jan Boyd Haring

We'd love to see your updates here. Send us your comments, notices of exhibitions, workshops or other interesting bits to rmsbartists@gmail.com. Look forward to hearing from you!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Mid-August blues...

 Mertensia lanceoleota, colored pencil, Heidi Snyder

Meaning, of course, the amazing skies we're enjoying now. Monsoon is almost done, afternoon storms have lightened. And the skies range from a deep cobalt blue just before full dark, to an airy forget-me-not blue in mid-day. Don't forget to include those blues in your paintings. They reflect off all objects in natural light, so specimens in plein aire or your window are fair game. You can hint that an item is outside by surrounding a full white highlight with the barest breath of blue - turquoise, ultramarine, sky blue - just on the outer edges of your highlight. Or get gutsy, and pop that blue into leaves and flowers before your final color coat. It will light up your painting.

Clematis 'Cezanne', watercolor, Karla Beatty

Speaking of blue skies, find out what botanical science is doing in space! September 22 NASA's International Space Station Science team will visit Denver Botanic Gardens to make a presentation at Cafe Botanique, in Gates Hall, from 6:30 to 8 PM. How's that for the farthest out tie-in to botanical art you could capture? This is bound to be fascinating.

Viola wittrockiana, watercolor, Marjorie Sjoden

Let's not forget the allure of the mountains, shaded in blue layers as the sun moves further down across the sky. You can head for the mountains to attend the opening for the  the sky. RMSBA "Colorado Garden" exhibition, featuring any plant, flower or veggie that grows in your local gardens. Deadline for entries is August 15th. The show hangs on September 2 at the Evergreen Center Stage. We need volunteers to help with this. Please contact Dorothy at ddepaulo@gmail.com if you can help. Opening info will be included in the next blog update.
Drop off of work, entry form (available under Calls for Entries) and check for $5.00 will be between 9:00 and 11:00 AM at Center Stage in Everegreen, 27608 Fireweed Drive, 80439. Click this link for map. http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=27608+Fireweed+Dr+Evergreen,+CO+80439-8322&sll=37.0625,-95.677068&sspn=105.319452,103.359375&layer=&ie=UTF8&z=16&ll=39.639174,-105.313504&spn=0.013698,0.019655&om=1&iwloc=addr

Hope you'll be singing' the blues for a few weeks, while we have this great light. And hope to see all of you at the RMSBA Colorado Garden exhibition at Evergreen's Center Stage.

Don't forget to add your comments to our blog in the little box below. Simple, easy, and so welcome.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Fighting words?

Recently I read a review of botanical art online. The author stated that traditional botanical art, or more accurately flower painting, was a rich genre. Then lamented that botanical art in the contemporary scene was really just illustration, and contained no aesthetic. The last comments offered did concede that there were a few botanical "artists" out there with obvious artistic sensibilities, but the genre simply relied too much on the needs of science.

Mesmerize, White Giant Allium, Allium giganteum, 18x18", colored pencil on film, Susan Rubin

My first reaction was to prepare to do battle for my own beloved genre. Then, I realized that the reason I was prepared to do battle is that there is a kernel of truth in the author's statements. Sometimes it seems that historical "plant on a page" needs of science drive the composition, media and methods of contemporary botanical art. Is that a bad thing? Isn't it a fact that contemporary botanical art springs from this approach and is the genesis of what we do? However, botanical art is not limited by its origins. In fact, the art used to illustrate science isn't even limited by its origins. The complaining  author obviously hasn't seen enough botanical art!

Then, what is that annoyng kernel of truth? To me, it's knowing that not enough viewers get to see botanical art, and that not enough of us market our art appropriately. So, how did a discussion of botanical art segue to marketing? It followed the money! Let's look to the pros. Those artists who succeed in growing the genre sell their art. And they sell it as "art" with terrific accurate botanicals, not "botanical art." The difference in the words broadens the acceptance and interest in our work.

Brassica,  watercolor on paper, Estelle DeRidder

So yes, let's fight! Let's fight to find more appreciators of botanical art. Let's start thinking about our work as art first. Stunning and useful and necessary illustration is embraced by that concept. Let's think of ourselves as artists who swim in the large pool of art in general. Let's grow our genre to embrace people who love flowers, who love mystery, who love innovative use of media, who love seeing an artist's point of view about any subject.

It's where we belong to insure that our work is seen broadly and informs contemporary art trends. It's where our art belongs to serve our goals of educating the world about the importance of plants, their beauty, their utility, their service to humans, their essential fit in ecology.

Penstemon, cinquefoil, and fairy trumpet, watercolor and colored pencil, Jan Boyd Haring

To this end, find ways to expand how you see your own art via general art education. Find a great course on linear and atmospheric perspective. Try plein aire work - especially since the weather is fine in the mornings now. Study color in the media of your choice. Pursue composition as avidly as you do the right color or scientific accuracy. And use this venue to display what you discover. That's why the blog is here.

New School Hopper Juan, Fly, mixed media, Julie Sprinkle

Check the blogspot today. New links in Ephemera take you to some amazing art with botanical subjects in oil, pastel, watercolor, graphite and mixed media. There are a few precious spots left in the two workshops listed, Drawing Basics in Denver,  and A Watercolorist's Best Kept Secrets in Crested Butte. Both classes promise growth and exploration. When you have picked the plant you want to portray for RareII, go to Contacts and submit your choice to the email there to register your plant(s). If you haven't registered for the ASBA conference, there's still time to beat the August 15 deadline for savings in registration fees.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Colorado Garden, An RMSBA Exhibition

This exhibition will feature any images you have created in the last 4 years of plants in your gardens. Veggies, flowers, rock garden plants, cacti, succulents, and even invasives are welcome. All 2-dimensional media are accepted. The exhibition will hang at the Evergreen Library, a lovely venue that we have been invited to use before. Time now to submit your entry to Dorothy DePaulo. Click on the call for entry to the right, and enter today.

Larkspur, colored pencil, by Annie Reiser

When the heat gets to you, try a museum tour. DAM has their Marvelous Mud exhibit on display, and Renaissance Cities is still available. Combine the two and you can easily spend 3 hours in welcome cool halls where you can discover the art of now and then. Taking my young family members, since they know I paint "flowers", we played a game finding all the botanical images contained in these offerings. One sharp-eyed grandnephew found the Columbine in a Renaissance painting. Another found a garden in a huge ceramic installation. And still another botanical find popped up in some amazing tapestries.

Water Lily, colored pencil, Annie Reiser

The links in Ephemera will be updated next week. As your BlogMeister just did them after returning from vacation on Wednesday, she's embarked on a new search for things to amaze, amuse, inspire and educate. Catch them here, next week.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Are you feelin' it?

Here's a quick beach picture, in case you haven't quite immersed yourself in summer (despite repeated thunderstorms, which have greened the plains beautifully - in their defense):

"Too Hot for the Beach", a variety of Caren d'Ache pencils on PastelBord, 4x6", Libby Kyer

I painted this little fun piece when it was just too hot to be on the beach one afternoon. Your BlogMeister has returned from a week of bobbing in the welcoming waters of the Gulf, and it brought summer into full bloom for me. Hope your plans are unfolding well also. We'd love to see your summer paintings, botanical or otherwise. To that end, we're announcing the first annual "Remembering Summer" blogspot exhibit. It's so easy to participate. Any current RMSBA member is eligible. Just:

    1. Select up to 3 paintings, sketches, journal pages or drawings from your summer experiences.
    2. Create scans, 150 to 360 dpi, .jpgs in color.
    3. For each image list:
        Latin name and/or Title
        Medium/a used, substrate used
        Size in inches wxh
        Any comments about creating an individual image you'd like to share.
4. Email them to rmsbartists@gmail.com, with "Remembering Summer" in the subject line.
5. Please time your submittals so that I have them by 30 September 2011.

That's it! So easy. All images received will be posted with caption and small paragraph about the image if desired. Great way to remember your summer, get a little exposure for your work, and learn from your fellow artists. Hope to hear from each member. What a great gallery this will be!

Pleated Cactus, watercolor on paper, Anna Arkin 2010

RMSBA Summer Meeting
The RMSBA Summer Meeting was held June 26, 2011, at Koelbel Library, Centennial, with 21 members attending. Due to a misunderstanding on event dates, Kirk Gillespie representing M.Graham & Co. Watercolors, who mount their pigments in honey, was unavailable to make his presentation. We will reschedule with him for a later date. We did have time to visit, exchange ideas and snack on refreshments.

Susi Olson discussed Julie Terry’s proposal for a future meeting featuring Alyson B. Stanfield and her book I’d Rather Be in the Studio. Alyson has developed a number of systems to help you plan your art future. In I’d Rather Be in the Studio! and this demo, she takes on the top eight excuses she hears from artists who aren’t promoting themselves. Each excuse is discussed with practical action steps that can be implemented into an art-marketing plan.

Two options were discussed: A no fee meeting with Alyson selling her books and CDs; or, a nominal fee to attend the meeting with each member receiving her book to take home. If you are interested in this business-of-art topic and find your paintings piled up with no place to go, please contact Susi at susiolson@msn.com by August 15th.

Mary Jo Ramsdale demonstrated Zen Tangle (zentangle.com) as a possible meeting activity. Zentangle is an easy to learn method of creating beautiful images from repetitive patterns. It is a fascinating new art form that is fun and relaxing. It increases focus and creativity. Let us know if you are interested in this topics by contacting Susi at susiolson@msn.com.

RareIICarol Till discussed RareII, our exhibit targeted for the 2014 ASBA Conference. She reviewed the Call for Entries. RareI was a list of plants at risk per the Colorado Heritage Program CU Ft. Collins. RareII species will be generated by 121 federally listed plants rated G1 and G2, the most imperiled plants in Colorado. The list of plants is under Calls for Entries on the right. Review the list and submit your choice via email at rare2014@q.mail.

We now have legal non-profit status so we can apply for grants resulting in money for scans, framing, and possibly a book. Evaluations and critique sessions will begin September 2011. We need to locate a willing artist and botanist for the sessions.

Other notes:
Use caution while searching for a plant on public lands. Climb no fences, harm no plants. The ASBA website lists a Code of Ethics for artists in the field if you need guidance in finding and illustrating rare plants.
RareII also needs volunteers:
    A committee to manage critique sessions
    A volunteer to write a grant(s).
    Someone to generate educational materials.
    Volunteers to communicate with artists.
    Susi did pursue bank funding. They were interested in education of the public and offered their grant   representative to attend one of our meetings.

Working Drawing, watercolor on paper, Frank Merrem

2014 ASBA ConferenceTerry Ruiter announced that we need more volunteers to participate in committees for the 2014 Conference in Denver. She has hosted two meetings to date and can provide information on what is in place and what is needed.
The 2014 meeting will be held at the downtown Denver Westin Hotel from 16-18 October 2014. The venue is lovely and promises to provide the support needed for the exchange of ideas and information that characterizes an annual ASBA meeting.
Thus far we have the following Committees:
    Logistics – Open
    Education – Ann Fleming, Heidi Snyder
    Registrar – Open - registrar manages registration activities at the meeting
    Exhibit (possibility of three concurrent exhibits during the meeting) – Dorothy Depaulo, Ann
    Fleming, Marge Sjoden, Edie Devis, Teresa Burkitt, Wendy Peterson, Heidi Snyder
    Website – Actual website will be set up by ASBA designer, but liaison is needed, and a blog designer   from our group is needed.
    PowerPoint Welcome to Denver Presentation for 2013 ASBA Meeting – Dorothy Depaulo
    Silent Auction (to work with ASBA Silent Auction Committee) – Open
    Notebooks/ASBA Gift/Registration Packet – Susi Olson, Jan Boyd Haring
    Marketing/Communications – Open
    Budget – Open
    Grants/Sponsors – Carol Till, Vicky MacWilliam, Susi Olson, Ann Fleming
    Denver/Front Range/Rocky Mountain Interest – Sharon Garrett, Saundra Dowling, Heidi Snyder, Jan Boyd Haring
    Transportation – Saundra Dowling, Sharon Garrett, Jan Boyd Haring
    Hospitality – Teresa Burkitt
Please identify your area of interest and call one of the names listed or contact Terry Ruiter (303.798.9452, tlruiter@msn.com) and offer help. If you have not been able to attend an ASBA annual meeting in the past, it would be worth checking out the Boston meeting website at asba-conf.org/. It will be a busy time! There is plenty of need for everyone in the RMSBA to contribute something for 2014. The next meeting of the whole planning committee is expected to be in December. In the meantime, things should be happening!

Lavandula spica, watercolor on paper, Jan Boyd Haring

The RMSBA website was closed due to lack of use. Because of the way we were able to have it updated, it couldn't be as timely as we needed. It was beautiful, gave us a presence, but didn't serve as well as we'd hoped. In a single year, we had less than 1000 hits by members and others.

This blog site was created to address the needs the website couldn't meet. The blog is updatable at any time, so that timely news, calls for entries, events, and fun can be shared. Gallery pages are available for each member at no cost to the member. Newsletter archives are readily available and save you that hunting for the right issue event! The blog is searchable using labels. We think it's a good choice. In it's 3 months of existence, we've already had almost a thousand hits by members and others, so there is certainly some improvement in reaching our members.

In the future, within 3 months, we will be phasing out the RMSBA Newsletter for a number or reasons. Most of the info that is put in the newsletter has already appeared on the blog in "real time." Most members already receive an electronic newsletter, to save print and mail costs, and are accustomed to looking to their email to get the latest edition. The contacts and "go-to" info we need is all listed on the blog, and if it has to be changed or updated in any other way, it is done in real time. And we can publish so much more of your art on the blog.

We want to hear your thoughts on this development. It's a bit of a sea change, but with a little preparation, a manageable one. Instructions to find the blog, use its features, and other helpful hints will be distributed later in an email, and all members have already received information about the blog by email in the past. So, take a moment to share your thoughts with us regarding the future. We can't do it without you!

Friday, July 8, 2011

So Many Great Paintings

I asked. You sent! I now have a great gallery of images to post with the blog. There's a new Gallery Page for Margaret Sjoden, with words and pictures. And I'm feeling like your art will make this blog the happening botanical art place to be. Take a look!

In  journaling mode:

Shady Lane at DBG, Watercolor sketch by Karla Beatty

Succulent fruits of summer:

"Sweeties" by  Cynthia Rothbard

In an aesthetic and experimental mode:  

Rosa "John Cabot," Essence, Climbing Rose, Acrylic, Barb Schwarz Karst

More fruits of summer:

It's Not Easy Being Green! colored pencil on film, Dorothy DePaulo

And a picture created after Dorothy's colored pencil on film demonstration at the May meeting:
Vellum Orchid, Colored pencil on film, Irma Sturgell

It's wonderful to see the diversity of approach, media and aesthetics in our member's works. If you haven't sent me two or three of your own favorite artworks, now's a good time to take care of that task! This is your blog, and it needs pictures from each of you.

There's still time to sign up for workshops listed or referenced in the blog. And if you have a class/workshop offering you'd like to share, please contact me. I'll be taking some beach-time renewal therapy for a few days, but hope to come back relaxed, tan (politically incorrect but lovely!) and replete with images of beach life, the ambulatory kind as well as plants. Wishing you warm sea breezes in the interim, and hope you take time to draw for your inner child.