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.

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.