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.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Start of the Winter Holidays...

...sometimes sends us back to summer, remembering the warmth of friends, family and weather, bountiful harvests, vacations, and our art and artist friends. Below are some words and images about our summer activities, followed by a bit about our new online exhibition, Remembering Summer 2012.

November Member Meeting
Our RMSBA meeting this month, will be on Sunday, November, 25th at 1:00pm at Susie Olson’s house. Please contact her directly for directions.

I am so pleased to announce that Susan Fisher and Rhonda Ballard will talk to us about “How Art Shows are Juried”.

Also, if you have a piece that you would like Susan and Rhonda to critique, please bring it to the meeting. This doesn't have to be your RARE piece, and it doesn't have to be finished. If you would like help with a piece, Susan and Ronda would be glad to help.

Please plan to come! This is going to be good!

Dorothy DePaulo, President, RMSBA

July RMSBA Meeting Review

Julie Ann Terry hosted five RMSBA members at her lovely home for the July 29th meeting. After admiring and critiquing beautiful artwork, members laughed to tales of huge chickens, cute chickens and chicken raising as well as vacation stories. An afternoon of laughter, snacks and good companions marked this relaxing time.

Artists of all skills and levels can be aided by hints and experiences of others. Just beginning a piece? Are you wondering if just one more leaf in that corner will make or break the composition? Just need a tad more encouragement? Critique and "show and tell" with other RMSBA members is invaluable.

August RMSBA Meeting Review

The August meeting, held at Teresa Burkert's home in Northglenn, was enjoyed by five RMSBA members. Artists, especially those who are beginning or are trying new techniques or products, are helped immensely by the support and hints offered by others. The hints to add a dark here or there can be invaluable. The shared experiences of others can increase the enjoyment and accomplishments of the individual.

Members Julie Sprinkle, Sharon Garrett and Dorothy DePaulo review a painting being prepared for Rare II, our next large exhibition to open in 2013
Dorothy discusses composition with other members
Artworks shared help everyone learn
September RMSBA Meeting Review

Twelve members met at the Foothills Art Galleryin Golden, Coloradoto to admire and critique the annual Watercolor Exhibition. This is a juried, national show of 100 beautiful water media pieces chosen from several hundred entries. Genres range from portraits, abstracts and realism; something for everyone. The lovely miniature show held in the building next door generated much lively discussion about the levels of detail and work involved. Mary Jo Ramsdale, a RMSBA member, has entries in the show and several members have taken part in past years.

Realism is realism, regardless of the subject, and members spend time scrutinizing techniques and results

Large or small, there is a lot to take in
October RMSBA Member Meeting Review
Members met at the Lakewood Library, for a presentation by CU Boulder botanist Dina Clark. She presented information on finding data for RARE II illustrations.
Sharon Garrett presented information on using the USGS map store at the Federal Center.
Members shared works-in-progress for RARE II. for full minutes, go to Documents of use to the right, and click on the minute header of your choice.
RMSBA Member Marjorie Leggitt Receives
Prestigious ASBA Award

At the Annual Meeting this year, ASBA Botanical Illustrator Award For Excellence in Scientific Botanical Art was presented to Marjorie Leggitt of Boulder, Colorado. Nominees are assessed on scientific accuracy, technical proficiency, aesthetics and a body of work that demonstrates significant accomplishment in scientific illustration, as well as a history of achievements through exhibitions, awards and publications.

Marjorie is a graduate of Colorado College, with a degree in art studio. She started freelance work in her sophomore year, working on the illustrations for Jack Carter’s Trees & Shrubs of Colorado. Thirteen years later, the book was published and is still in print today. Following graduation, Marjorie was hired by the Curator of Invertebrates at the Field Museum of Chicago. For the next year, Marjorie reports, she “…peered through a stereomicroscope and drew the reproductive parts of Australian land snails.”
Marjorie Leggitt

It was while illustrating snails that she taught herself the art of pen and ink illustration. Having had no instruction in the medium, she studied the works of other scientific illustrators to come up with her own unique style.

In 1986 Marjorie became a full-time freelance scientific illustrator and artist. Although her work encompasses both flora and fauna, Marjorie particularly enjoys botany-based projects. From 1990 to 1995 she worked as the paleobotanical illustrator at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, under the direction of Dr. Kirk Johnson (now the Director of the Smithsonian Natural History Museum), to pictorially reconstruct prehistoric flora from impression fossils. Her drawings were used by mural painters and modelers for the “Prehistoric Journey” permanent exhibit.

In 2010 Marjorie worked with scientists from the Miami Science Museum to digitally illustrate plant fossils discovered in China. In 2011, she illustrated the interpretive panels for exhibits on fungus and the nutrient cycle at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

Since 2006, she has prepared works for the Flora of North America, in Vols. 19, 20, 21. She was lead illustrator for Volume 9, (Rosaceae), illustrating over 156 figures, and currently is working on Volume 13 (Magnoliophyta) with approximately 150 pen and ink illustrations scheduled.

Crataegus mendosa, ink on paper, Marjorie Leggitt
An instructor at the Denver Botanic Gardens Certificate Program in Botanical Art and Illustration since 1990, Marjorie teaches pen and ink, composition, perspective, traditional and Adobe Illustrator electives. It would appear that she barely has time to eat or sleep, and Marjorie confirms that! Scheduling is just part of business - “managing teaching and freelance projects so that work flawlessly ‘zippers’ together.”

She has been an ASBA member since 2006, and a GNSI member since 1979, serving on their Board for the last 12 years.

Marjorie has a definition of botanical arts that is well thought out – “Art is to evoke and provoke, whereas illustration is to inform.” Neither excludes the other, and she feels that the “art” in illustration comes from evocative and engaging composition. Whether artist or illustrator, Marjorie emphasizes that it is important for those who portray botanical subjects in a realistic manner, to pay close attention to botany. “All too often, an artist creates a ‘new’ species by artistically altering the science of a plant.”

Although she started as a traditional medium artist, Marjorie has embraced the computer as a wonderful art tool. She uses the computer to scan and clean up drawings or to add labels, but also as a drawing tool, to create her scientific illustration directly, using the stylus and WACOM tablet as a drawing and painting board. “Although I swore I would never ever use the computer in my art, I find it to be an incredible art medium.”

Marjorie was taken completely unaware when she learned she had won the ASBA award. She thought someone was playing a joke on her! When the truth was discovered, she was overwhelmed. “I was thrilled when I discovered this was not a joke, and the framed award certificate is beautiful.” Marjorie’s artwork can be viewed at www.science-art.com/leggitt.
Congratulations, Marjorie, for creating an amazing and educational body of work, and for inspiring others to follow your lead. 

Exhibitions Feature RMSBA Artists
The Hunt Institute is now featuring Portraits of a Garden, a display of works from the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens Florilegium. This exhibition showcases 48 American botanical artists who are revitalizing the centuries-old tradition of the florilegium by creating a lasting archive of watercolors and drawings of the plants growing at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (BBG). This selection of original artwork, on loan from the BBG’s permanent collection, will be displayed with a sampling of historical printed volumes representative of the florilegium tradition from the Hunt Institute’s Library collection.

There are 48 members of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden Florilegium Society included in this exhibition. RMSBA artists are Libby Kyer and Constance Sayas. Go to huntinst@andrew.cmu.edu for more information.
Center Image, Pseudolarix amabilis, by Libby Kyer. Signage provides information about each artist, and where the plants are located at the Brooklyn Botanic Gardens.
Connie Sayas' work, Campernelle jonquil at the Hunt.

Planning Meeting Wants YOU

There will be a meeting on November 29th at 6:00pm to plan next years’ RMSBA activities. It will be at Julie Ann Terry’s home. This is your opportunity to make RMSBA the organization that you would like it to be! Please email Julie at jandlt@comcast.net to let her know you are coming. If you can’t make it, please email her with ideas that you have for meetings and activities.
Remembering Summer 2012
Go to  http://rememberingsummer2012.blogspot.com/to see some summer works by our members. If you have images you want to have posted, please send them to Libby at rmsbartists@gmail.com. I'll keep posting until the end of November.

A Special Happening at DBG
In a reflection of the enormous growth of botanical art education at the Denver Botanic Gardens, a new name is announced - The School of Botanical Art and Illustration at DBG. The title more accurately reflects the depth and breadth of the program, which has grown to over 1200 registrations annually. Core classes for the Certificate program are available to anyone interested in learning botanical art. Elective Classes, Visiting Teachers and Masters Classes are also offered year 'round. For more information, go to Mervi.Hjelmroos-koski@botanicgardens.org for more information about the program and current class offerings.