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, September 29, 2013

Remembering Summer Online Exhibition is NOW!

Balanced Peppers, colored pencil, Libby Kyer

Images should be full color .jpg, about 5x7" or so, at least 150 dpi. Please include your name, the title of the image, species names in Latin and common usage, size of actual image width x height in inches, medium/a, and any short story you might want to share with other members about why you painted the specimen, or the process of painting, or the fun you had finding it, or any other related notes.

Deadline is 30 September, 2013. Gallery will be available online during October and November.

Saturday, September 28, 2013


An update about Botanical Art of the Sonoran Desert: Past and Present from Margaret Pope, who would like to tell us more about the florilegium society an take this opportunity to give credit to the people who have been working on this exhibit for 2 years, some as long as 4 years. The Sonoran Desert Florilegium Program is a non-profit organization under the sponsorship of the Tucson Cactus and Succulent Society. Volunteers with this program have been working over 2 years to prepare this exhibit. The Art Institute at the Desert Museum graciously offered gallery space to hold the exhibit. The presentation of information and artworks was done by The Florilegium Program. 
A large part of the exhibit is past works, less than one-third was a juried section. Dorothy DePaulo had a wonderful entry.  On Saturday, a reception was held which was very well attended. The exhibit is somewhat unusual as it links to the history of botanical art in general and to the history of the Sonoran Desert specifically. Also a dialogue about the characteristics of botanical art runs throughout the exhibit.  Overall, it's very informative with a lot of information as well as a lot of artwork. We were very pleased to see how interested people were in the information presented and how many read and looked very closely at the information and artwork.
Monthly meeting is TOMORROW!
This is a reminder of the RMSBA meeting tomorrow at 1:00pm, at the Belmar Library at:
555 South Allison Parkway
Lakewood, CO 80226
(303) 235-5275

We will be making greeting cards! Bring your paints, pencils, and your wonderful ideas! We will supply the cards and envelopes.

Light refreshments will be  provided.
Hope to see you there!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Floods Devastate Colorado's Front Range

Since Thursday, 12 September 2013, at least 8 lives have been lost in massive, unprecedented flooding in our state. Close to 200 persons are still unaccounted for, and cities across the front range are deeply involved in caring for their citizens as they attempt to recover their lives, homes and livelihoods.

St. Vrain outside of Lyons, CO

Aerial view near Milliken, CO

Colorado Springs resident helping out

Beleaguered Manitou Springs residents take the brunt of flooding from the Waldo Canyon burn site, this time with a backup of drains

The early summer brought fires along the Front Range, once again leaving people lost and homeless. Subsequent rain and flooding in fire ravaged areas brought further grief to these folks.

Our hearts go out to our members, their families and loved ones, and all the people affected by the raging whims of nature this year. Please know that each member of the RMSBA sends those affected many thoughts for a speedy recovery, a return to sweet normal life, and all the help you need.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Tech Treats

The bad thing about technical treats is they change so fast.
The good thing about technical treats is they change so fast!

Here are few treats you might enjoy:

Zoomy™ Handheld Digital Microscope
Zoomy digital microscope
You know, it doesn't matter why you want to see things closer, larger, more detailed. Could be a close-up rendering, a fascination with all things tiny, or the challenges of aging eyesight. This little trinket is perfect for close up viewing. The technology is essentialy the same zoom and lens your phone has. This one, however, looks like a scanning device from Star Trek (TNG)! It plugs into a USB port on your computer, and voila! You can see the object of its attention in high-res on your computer screen. Check it out here to find out more.

Wacom's Intuos5 Tablet
So, you've always wanted a tablet to use with your computer but they were either a) too large, b) too small, c) too many cords were needed or d) they needed expensive software. Perhaps this is a good solution - good size, good programs, good price, and integrates with your computer completely.
This slender, lightweight tablet comes with a panoply of programs to allow you to do anything from a sketch to a finished artwork. It can work in a tethered fashion, corded to your computer, or, with an inexpensive wireless kit, you are cord free. It's draw surface is large enough to allow you to work intuitively, with room for expression. Great in the studio, and very inexpensive for a draw tablet. Click here for more information.

8x10 Cigar Box™ V 2.0
Technology is making everything smaller. Technical skills, a knowledge of art, and some great woodworking can create the perfect building block for your outdoor painting adventures.
The start of a beautiful story
Beginning with this well designed box, you can add a tripod, water cups, etc. to make your plein air experiences worth dodging bugs and finding shade. Click here for more information about this versatile pochade box/easel/board storage unit. 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Botanical Art at the Sonoran Desert, Past and Present, Open until October 27, 2013

Ferocactus wislizenii, Arizona Barrel Cactus,
Joan McGann,  (2013)
As you can see from Joan McGann's lovely piece, this is an exhibit not to be missed if you are in Tucson. The Arizona Sonora Desert Museum is an amazing amalgam of natural habitat, wildlife, and art. Their Arizona Desert Florilegium is responsible for the artworks presented in this showing. Open daily from 10-4 in the Ironwood Gallery, you'll enjoy a wealth of botanical art.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


Five European cities in a very tiny book

The Ephemera block in the right column connects you to a variety of websites of interest. They change constantly. The most recent four additions include three websites about small treasures - miniatures! Books, paintings, sculptures, etc. And the fourth addition spotlights an ASBA member from the ASBA website gallery pages. This time, the featured artist, Kathleen Konicek-Moran, has a style that pushes the boundaries of traditional botanical art and informs the growth in contemporary art.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

What's next?

Over the years, we've spent a lot of time as botanical artists discussing what constitutes botanical art. We all appear to agree that the artwork must contain the essential scientific information of the specimen. Images must be consistently lit, regardless off whether from left or right. Aesthetics are considered only after the anatomy of the specimen portrayed is mastered.
Let's take a look at how that understanding has grown in contemporary botanical art creation, using the works in the 2013 Society of Botanical Artists exhibition in England. For this post, we'll limit ourselves to composition and lighting.
Traditional botanical art composition requires that each important anatomical aspect of the plant be represented. The painting below demonstrates that aspect, but it also shows contemporary full field design, and slightly stylized color. How does this fit the tradition of botanical art?
Grapes for Charity © Mary Tarraway SBA

One of the tenets of botanical art has been that paintings shall not contain man-made artifacts. However, this image below shows a braided bow. It's accurate, in that it shows the most common presentation of ornamental corn in today's use. Is it still botanical art?
Ornamental Corn © Valerie Dugan SBA

The composition below does not contain all aspects of the flowers portrayed - leaves are missing, stems are not shown, flowers are not portrayed as they would necessarily appear if gathered into a bouquet. There's also a complete black background, and the light source isn't entirely understood. Can it be botanical art?

Twilight Hellebores © Sarah Caswell SBA

What do these paintings have that makes them compelling? In the first case, amazing design. In the second, a nod to contemporary presentation of colorful corn, that shows how the specimen most commonly fits into our lives. And in the third case, passionate presentation vignetted on a full black background, establishes great motion and drama in the painting.

Are these composition and design elements appropriate for a botanical art show? The august SBA feels they are. Do you?

One of the burning questions in contemporary art is how do we become recognized as an art genre, as well as an art in service to science. Perhaps these able tweakings of the concepts of botanical art in its traditions point the way to the future. The more the genre is viewed as art as well as illustration, the more opportunities we have to present the essential place plants hold in our world, whether scientific, decorative, cultural or passionate.

Click here to go to the SBA website and see more of their 2013 exhibition. It appears that the discussion of the future of botanical art is being addressed by our friends across the pond also.

Click here to Send your thoughts and comments about where the future of botanical art might lie to this blog. We look forward to hearing from you.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Remembering Summer Online Exhibition - Images due by September 30, 2013

Mesquite, colored pencil on film, Dorothy DePaulo

It's time to start gathering your images together and forwarding them to our Email Server. Images should be full color .jpg, about 5x7" or so, at least 150 dpi. Please include your name, the title of the image, species names in Latin and common usage, size of actual image width x height in inches, medium/a, and any short story you might want to share with other members about why you painted the specimen, or the process of painting, or the fun you had finding it, or any other related notes.

Deadline is 30 September, 2013. Gallery will be available online during October and November.