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.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Brazilian Watercolors on the Fly

Susi Olson continued her work in Brazil, but took time to paint. Always a good antidote to stress! She sends these mementos of her watercolors on the fly.

Both images are watercolor on paper, and the lower flower is an hibiscus. However, not sure of the beauty on top! Thanks to Susi for saving these and sharing them with us.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Planning for your garden

This summer, gardens will need to be very water thrifty. Not enough precipitation means less moisture - falling or collected - for garden plants. What to do? Well, selecting plants that can handle a hotter, drier climate than usual is a good place to start. An excellent place to locate plants that are up to the task is Plant Select. One of this year's winners is Narbonne Blue Flax, Linum narbonense.

This Mediterranean form of blue flax is much more long-lived and fuller than the western native species. Blooming for months on end, the deep sky blue flowers are larger and more flaring. This robust plant offers a dense mound of attractive, nearly evergreen foliage for garden borders, wildflower gardens and informal plantings.

Another selection blooms for most of the growing season. The lustrous, fuchsia-colored flowers are an improvement on Delosperma cooperi. During the winter the leaves remain turgid and green, often tinged with purple. This image is by Libby Kyer, in graphite and colored pencil, and was used in the publication which celebrated the Plant Select project.

Click here  Durable Plants for the Garden to take a look at the book produced locally, which includes lots of great tips for designing and selecting plants for your garden. 


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Graphic presentations

It's not yet warm enough to anticipate a ripe tomato, but if this image doesn't have you jonesing for a BLT, you're probably not a tomato-lover! Created in mixed media, this graphic (print-like) image uses an uneven frame to create tension and interest, a party of polka dots for background interest and action, and uses mixed media to create sharp edges and shiny surfaces. I'm thinking it's time to toast up the whole-wheat and find the rest of the sandwich makin's, because it has to be tomato-time.

Tomato, mixed media, Frank Merrem

Friday, April 19, 2013

Changing site, changing conditions

Member Susi Olson was in Rio de Janiero on business and took a few moments time out to paint. She reports:
"Wet on wet takes on a whole new meaning in the tropics. Quick watercolor in between science time! There is a small forest of "cannon ball trees" near the Center. What a wild looking tree and the flower is breathtaking."

Coupourita guianensis, watercolor on paper, Susi Olson

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Plan Ahead...

...when snow is coming. Kathy Cranmer tells us, "Mine don't have snow on them because I cut them and put them in a vase before it snowed! Then they were so pretty I decided to paint them."

Daffodils, saved from snow, watercolor on paper by Kathy Cranmer

A Model Follow-up

Earlier, we posted Frank Merrem's model image, and the resultant drawing. Here's a bit of follow-up on that project from Frank:

"I'm attaching two of my very quick sketches I did in a microscope class. Time was just not on my side in doing a reasonably accurate drawing of some of the compound curves I was seeing. So, well, the model was the best bet. I could turn, light, think about, draw the model and then do it all over again if something still did not look right. The model did not need to be a perfect copy of the original (no sepals and only the suggestion of a receptacle and stem), but only accurate in the areas of problems with my eye-to-hand-to-paper drawings. In some ways, making the model gave me a better "feeling" of what I was about to draw.Libby you are right AGAIN - sigh: use all of you senses about something you are about to draw before you start the actual drawing - sigh." Thanks for sharing, Frank!

Frank's images drawn from the microscope are featured here! You an see a lot of thought went into figuring out the tiny image. The model was a good choice to pump up the volume!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Can it be Spring?

Yep. Springtime in the Rockies has permutations too numerous to count. Let's beat the spring snow blues. Send me a photo of your garden under snow. We KNOW they're there. Let's pay homage to the brave little flower soldiers!

That little bit of blue? Hyacinth! Hiding out from the storm seems the better part of bravery.

Miniature jonquil, still upright after 9" of snow, some having melted.
Miniature iris...BEFORE the snow. Just to remind us all, it is indeed Spring.
Send your snowy images to Snow Blossoms. We'll all feel better!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Using Models for Accurate Images

Sometimes, a specimen is so small, it's hard to know how to create form in a bold way that is really informative. The image below is a model carved by Frank Merrem. Easily available materials (ranging from paper clay to Sculpy to Styrofoam) can be employed to make a large, easy to see specimen, which may then be lit to effectively reveal form..

Here's the finished color sketch.
Watercolor image of fruiting body, Frank Merrem

Note the scale bar to the right, which tells you how truly tiny the specimen is. And yet, Frank developed an understanding of the 3-dimensionality of his subject using his model. Frank is an experienced photographer, and his understanding of gray scale informs the photo. Sometimes, a black and white rendering of a photo can be a powerful aide to understanding form also.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Monday, April 8, 2013

Exhibits to Visit

Traveling soon in warm weather? Here are some exhibits you might enjoy:
1. Following in the Bartrams' Footsteps
Contemporary Botanical Artists Explore the Bartrams' Legacy
A Traveling Exhibition
Opens in Philadelphia April 26 - May 24, 2013
Opening Reception - May 3rd, 5 to 7pm
Additional Venue 2013
September - December, 2013
South Florida Museum
201 10th Street West
Bradenton, FL
Click here for more info

2. 15th Annual Botanical Art Exhibit, Filoli
April 16 - June 16, 2013
86 Old Canada Rd, Woodside, CA 94062
Opens at Filoli, with Artist Reception April 18, 5-7 PM
Artworks selected this year will be displayed in the Visitor and Education Center while select pieces from our three major florilegia collections: the Filoli, the Banks’ and the Highgrove, will be displayed in the historic house.
While admission is FREE, reservations are required, with deadline of Friday, April 12.
Click here for more info

3. Drawn from Nature
Annual Student Botanical Arts Exhibition
October 5 – 20, 2013
Opening reception: October 4, 2013, 6 – 8 p.m.
October 5 – 20, 2013
Each autumn the Regenstein School's Annual Student Botanical Art Exhibition features outstanding student and instructor works in the Joutras Gallery, Regenstein Center. Come enjoy vibrant landscape scenes, delicate watercolors, intricate pen and ink studies, amazing pastels and much more. Select pieces are available for purchase.
Click here for more info

4. North Carolina Botanical Gardens
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
100 Old Mason Road, Chapel Hill, NC
In the DeBerry Gallery for Botanical Art & Illustration, every two months, we feature a new exhibit of nature art or botanical illustration in media ranging from watercolor and graphite to photography. The gallery is open during Garden visiting hours.
Click here for more info

5. The Shirley Sherwood Gallery
Kew, London, England
The Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art is the first gallery in the world dedicated solely to botanical art.Take a tour with Dr. Shirley Sherwood on the 21 May 2013.

Click here for more info

6. Drawn to Nature II
Recent works by The Reed-Turner Woodland Botanical Artist' Circle
March 3- April 30
Ryerson Woods, IL
Featuring the latest works of the Reed-Turner Woodland Botanical Artists' Circle, the exhibition includes drawings and paintings of plants and wild flowers common 9and not so common) to the woodlands and prairies of the Midwest landscape.
Click here for more info

7. Tree Sketches, drawings of trees by Dick Rauh
August 1-28, 2013
In addition to teaching a week-long workshop, Drawing Native Plants of Maine,
Drawing Native Plants of Maine, from August 5-9, in association with the New York Botanical Garden, Dick Rauh’s exceptional drawings of trees will be on exhibit in the Education Center.
Click here for more info