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 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.

1 comment:

  1. Tulipa sp., watercolor, by Anna Arkin is colored pencil