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, December 23, 2014

Happy Holidays

Take a moment to enjoy the coming of winter. Walk in the brisk air, or under pelting, dancing snowflakes. Curl up with a great book and a cup of hot chocolate. Or head out to our blog, and enjoy this lovely Winter Holiday Art Share...Lovely pieces by all.

Teresa Burkert, colored pencil, Indian Corn

Jan Boyd Haring, mixed media, Stag Ponders Snow

Jan Boyd Haring, watercolor, Doe in Snow

Jan Boyd Haring, watercolor, Stag in Forage

Dorothy DePaulo, Colored Pencil, Father Christmas and the Red Birds

Dorothy DePaulo, colored pencil, Red Bird

Dorothy DePaulo, colored pencil, Scots Pine

Karen Bogus Bryant, watercolor, Winter Window

Marjorie Leggitt, watercolor, Illustration from Seeking the Wolf Tree
"This is a book I’m working on as we speak! Seeking the Wolf Tree by Natalie Laura Cleavitt. It’s a kids’ natural history book based in an real life experimental forest in New Hampshire. This illustration (to which I added an ornament for my Leggitt Design holiday card) shows one of the main characters discovering the actual “wolf tree”.  The book will be published in 2015.

Martha Narey, Horedendron flavescens, mistletoe from the Guadalupe Mountains

Martha Narey, Acrylic, Amaryllis

Annie Reiser, white ink, Zentangle inspired Christmas balls

Annie Reiser, white and black ink, Snowflake detail

Annie Reiser, white and black ink, Snowflake Package

Annie Reiser, ink and watercolor, Zentangle Cone

Irma Sturgell, watercolor, Pale Amaryllis

Irma Sturgell, watercolor, Holly

Libby Kyer, watercolor, Remembrance

Libby Kyer, colored pencil, A Touch of Festive Red

Libby Kyer, Lenten Rose on Vine Wreath, Print from ink illustration

Friday, December 19, 2014


Inspiration is where you find it, and I'm pretty sure you'll find some at the American Society of Marine Artists new website. They've posted their latest exhibition, and there is so much to see. Just click on their name, and you'll go right to their site.

Here's an opportunity that is inspirational start to finish:
ISLAND LIFE: Tropical Field Studies of Art+Nature in Puerto Rico
March 8-14, 2015
Embark on an artistic exploration of the diverse tropical wildlife of Puerto Rico, including rainforest, mountain, beach and coastal environments.
Info and registration:  islandlifepr.org
Registration Deadline: February 8, 2015 The ART+BIO Collaborative, an educational nonprofit organization, offers ongoing art and nature travel opportunities that creatively explore the living environment of Puerto Rico and the American Southwest. Our next program, ISLAND LIFE: Tropical Field Studies of Art+Nature in Puerto Rico, will take place March 8-14, 2015. Participants use hands-on observation, artistic interpretation and biological and natural history methods to utilize the natural habitat as a studio+lab and make informed art inspired by plants, animals, and nature.
Please consider joining this program and share the information with colleagues, students and anyone who may be interested via email and social media. The program is for anyone over 18 and registration is open now.  You can also follow us on Twitter @artbiocollab for updates. I hope to hear back from you either way to let me know if you are interested. Please let me know if you prefer not to receive emails about our workshops and I will unsubscribe you from our list. Thank you!

Now would certainly be a good time to look up great travel/art study/internship opportunities for 2015.  Here's a brief list:

1. School of Botanical Art & Illustration at Denver Botanic Gardens once again is offering a broad and exciting round of classes for the first semester of 2015.
Amaryllis by Laurence Pierson, teacher at SBAI
Egg Tempera, Botanical Zentangle and Creating an Art Portfolio Case join all the usual suspects in watercolor, graphite, colored pencil, ink, and illumination, with master educators and artists.
2. Art Students League of Denver can lead you into areas you may not have considered, including 3-D arts in a variety of media, life-drawing and silverpoint!
3. The Society of Botanical Arts in England Distance Learning Course: Want to see what botanical art is like 'across the pond?" Check out the SBA's distance learning process. It may provide a new look at how to create botanical art.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Beauty, Science and Contemplation in a wonderful new book

Brain Pickings is a website that is impossible not to love! It talks about books, art, humanity, science, pretty much the gamut of life. In their most recent post, they provided this moving contemplation, which as botanical artists seems especially appropriate. You may want to add them to your personal Favorites, and you'll find them on our BlogSpot in the right hand column.
"Our overblown intellectual faculties seem to be telling us both that we are eternal and that we are not," philosopher Stephen Cave observed in his poignant meditation on our mortality paradox And yet we continue to long for the secrets of that ever-elusive eternity.
For nearly a decade, Brooklyn-based artist, photographer, and Guggenheim Fellow Rachel Sussman has been traveling the globe to discover and document its oldest organisms – living things over 2,000 years of age. Her breathtaking photographs and illuminating essays are now collected in The Oldest Living Things in the World (public library | IndieBound) – beautiful and powerful work at the intersection of fine art, science, and philosophy, spanning seven continents and exploring issues of deep time, permanence and impermanence, and the interconnectedness of life.

Llareta | 3,000 years | Atacama Desert, Chile

Baby llareta

With an artist's gift for "aesthetic force" and a scientist's rigorous respect for truth, Sussman straddles a multitude of worlds as she travels across space and time to unearth Earth's greatest stories of resilience, stories of tragedy and triumph, past and future, but above all stories that humble our human lives, which seem like the blink of a cosmic eye against the timescales of these ancient organisms – organisms that have unflinchingly witnessed all of our own tragedies and triumphs, our wars and our revolutions, our holocausts and our renaissances, and have remained anchored to existence more firmly than we can ever hope to be. And yet a great many of these species are on the verge of extinction, in no small part due to human activity, raising the question of how our seemingly ephemeral presence in the ecosystem can have such deep and long-term impact on organisms far older and far more naturally resilient than us.

Pando (quick aspen) | 80,000 years | Fish Lake, Utah, USA

Alerce (Patagonian cypress) | 2,200 years | Patagonia, Chile

Above all, however, the project raises questions that aren't so much scientific or artistic as profoundly human: What is the meaning of human life if it comes and goes before a patch of moss has reached the end of infancy? How do our petty daily stresses measure up against a struggle for survival stretching back millennia? Who would we be if we relinquished our arrogant conviction that we are Earth's biological crown jewel?

Dead Huon pine | 10,500 years | Mount Read, Tasmania; Royal Tasmanian Botanical Garden, Hobart

Sussman offers no answers but invites us, instead, to contemplate, consider, and explore on our own – not as creatures hopelessly different from and dwarfed by the organisms she profiles, but as fellow beings in an intricately entwined mesh of life. What emerges is a beautiful breakage of our illusion of separateness and a deep appreciation for the binds that pull us and these remarkable organisms in an eternal dance – our only real gateway to immortality.

Bristlecone pine | 5,068 years | White Mountains, California, US

Welwitschia Mirabilis | 2,000 years| Namib-Naukluft Desert, Namibia

Stromatolites | 2,000-3,000 years | Carbla Station, Western Australia

Interwoven with Sussman's photographs and essays, brimming with equal parts passion and precision, are the stories of her adventures – and misadventures – as she trekked the world in search of her ancient subjects. From a broken arm in remote Sri Lanka to a heart-wrenching breakup to a well-timed sip of whisky at polar explorer Shackleton's grave, her personal stories imbue the universality of the deeper issues she explores with an inviting dose of humanity – a gentle reminder that life, for us as much as for those ancient organisms, is often about withstanding the uncontrollable, unpredictable, and unwelcome curveballs the universe throws our way, and that resilience comes from the dignity and humility of that withstanding.

Antarctic moss | 5,500 years | Elephant Island, South Georgia

See more, including Sussman's TED talk, here, then see my conversation with the artist about the deeper conceptual and philosophical ideas behind her project.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Perfect Present...

...not the verb tense, but the object of desire, makes a great Holiday gift for all artists, struggling and otherwise. What to get? Here are a few ideas that define essential needs and wants for all artists. We used Jerry's Artarama as a starting place. You can research on your own, but this is a decent starting place! Or, you can forward the URL for this entry to someone who would simply love to know what you want or need for your studio!
Click on the colored titles to go to a full description with image.
Storage: EVERY artist can use more storage. Here are couple of units that are versatile, well-sized and well priced. 
Creative Marks Work Station: Rolls around, big drawers, lots of space that you can configure as you need, light weight.
Matisse French Painter's Taboret: Beautiful, good drawers, folding work surface.
Belgian Art Horse: This clever multipurpose tool is a bench, storage space and easel in one. Check it out. Tight spaces? This is a wonderful innovation that folds down entirely into a strong bench.

Drawing Supports: Working at the right height, right angle and in good light is essential to being able to work well and for years in the future. Here are some ideas:
SoHo Urban Artist Adjustable Drawing Board: this inexpensive table model has a good number of positions, from a little lift, to a large one. Will keep your drawing surface lifted enough to allow good line-of-sight to your specimen, and help keep shoulders, neck and arms comfortable.
Jullian JT3 Table Easel: This little easel can be used for display or work. It provides a more upright surface than a drawing board, if you prefer that.
Jullian Rexy Watercolor Easel: This is a full-on easel that can be used in the field or in the studio, but it is lightweight, comes with a travel bag, and really can suit your every need.
Gadgets: Every artist is a sucker for the perfect gadget! Here are a few that would make great gifts or stocking stuffers for the artist in your life.
Rockwell Brush Easel Storage Cases: This brush storage carrier cleverly folds up into it's own easel stand, presenting your brushes in an easy to see format.
The Brush Crate - Artist Brush Holder: Storage for on the taboret or desk, keeps points up on pens, pencils and brushes. Will hold up to 100 items!!!
Conte Crayon Sets: Want to spice up your sketch days? Try one of these kits of Conte crayons to challenge and inspire you. Earth tones provide dimension and interest to even the simplest sketch.
Books: Inspiration, support, relief and humor are all available for artists in some good books. Here are a few we found on Amazon.com:
Steal Like An Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being an Artist: by Austin Kleon      You don’t need to be a genius, you just need to be yourself. That’s the message from Austin Kleon, a young writer and artist who knows that creativity is everywhere, creativity is for everyone. A manifesto for the digital age, Steal Like an Artist is a guide whose positive message, graphic look and illustrations, exercises, and examples will put readers directly in touch with their artistic side.
The Daily Book of Art: 365 readings that teach, inspire & entertain: by Colin Gilbert (Author), Dylan Gilbert (Author), Elizabeth T. Gilbert (Author), Gabriel Guzman (Author), & 4 more : In today's fast-paced world, creative people are as eager as ever to pursue their artistic passions, but many of them simply don't have enough time. Catering to this modern dilemma, we've concocted the perfect remedy for over-burdened artists. The Daily Book of Art includes a year's worth of brief daily readings and lessons about the visual arts that entertain as they inform. Ten exciting categories of discussion rotate throughout the course of a year, giving readers a well-rounded experience in the art world. 

The Artist's Way: by Julia Cameron, the seminal book on the subject of creativity. An international bestseller, millions of readers have found it to be an invaluable guide to living the artist’s life. Still as vital todayor perhaps even more sothan it was when it was first published one decade ago, it is a powerfully provocative and inspiring work.

Want to share your holiday gift ideas? Just click HERE and let us know your secret desires!



Friday, December 5, 2014


Click on the image to get a larger version of this year's invitation to our annual Holiday Party. Then get your party hat on, and plan to join the celebration!