Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Two Reminders: 30-Day Challenge, GA Show

by Judy Thomas


A few of put our heads together and thought of a way to get us all creating art and out of the post-holiday doldrums:  A 30-DAY CHALLENGE!
WHEN: January 2 to 31, 2015
WHAT:  Create some botanical art every day (caveats below).  It can be a small sketch, or part of a longer-term composition.  A nature journal entry, or a quick impression of a plant.  You can work on one part of a collection of subjects. We know that January is not a great time to find plants in bloom outdoors, so what to draw or paint?  Here are some ideas:
1. Dead stuff.  Finally figure out how to draw those dead leaves and grasses.  Or draw pine cones, magnolia cones, seed heads, acorns, walnuts... Collect them now!
2. House plants you have around: poinsettias, Christmas cactus, regular cactus, begonias, mother-in-law tongue, philodendrons....or amaryllis, paper white narcissus.
3.  Plants purchased at the greenhouse or grocery.  Exotics, like orchids, or simple mums.
4. Speaking of the grocery, what about fruits and vegetables, whole, sliced or otherwise!  Some stores carry exotic produce, Buddha's hand, lychee, bitter melon (check out ethnic stores and Whole Foods, too).
WHAT TO DO:  do your daily artwork. Take a photo or scan and email it to Judy Thomas,jmthomasbotart@gmail.com.  Tell me the subject and media and I will post them all weekly on our blog,www.centralvirginiabotanicalartists.blogspot.com (to find our blog more easily, just search or Google CVABA).
Can't draw the entire 30 days?  Fine, do what you can, when you can. The person who participates the longest will win a prize!
REMINDER 2: The GA Show. 
Remember, we are showing our artwork during the General Assembly session starting in January.  We will be picking up artwork at our next meeting at the Tuckahoe Library: THURSDAY, Jan 8, 9 AM-3 PM.  Please remember to wrap up your artwork to protect it and help those volunteering to transport it.  Two pieces per artist.  Framed prints acceptable.
The exhibit runs Jan. 14 to Feb. 28.  Please email the following information to Judy Thomas jmthomasbotart@gmail.com  by Jan 3 to include on the exhibit labels:
You name
Title of the Piece
Media used
Sale price or NSF (not for sale).

You will be emailed a waiver form that must accompany each piece of artwork, or it will not be displayed.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Spotlight on: Ellen Keane


by Ellen Keane

     One of my first attempts at drawing and water color painting came after seeing Vincent Van Gogh’s Irises at a museum in New York City, but with work and family, I had little time for other interests and did not pursue this interest. 
     In June 2005 after 25 years, I retired from employment with the State of New Jersey. My career was not art focused.  I hold a BSW and a MSW with a minor in gerontology from Rutgers University.
     I became interested in taking botanical art classes after a visit to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden (LGB) in Richmond, Va. My first art class began in August 2009  with Beginning Botanical Illustration in Pen and Ink. I continue to take classes at LGG.
     I have also taken weekend classes with Lara Call Gastinger (Spring 2010 and Fall 2010) and two field journaling classes (July 2010 and August 2010) at Ivy Creek Nature Center in Charlottesville, Va. with her. I completed the academic classes at LGG and I have been certified as a botanical illustrator through their program (2012). I am currently taking a colored pencil class with Gloria Callahan. I am a member of ASBA, BASNCR, CVABA and FAA.
     My love of flowers comes from my mother who maintained her flower gardens well into her 80’s. However, my first real joy in painting came not from a flower, but from a cabbage that my husband brought home from a local farmers organization that we support. I couldn’t wait to paint it. It took me several hours to sketch the cabbage and to study it for accuracy. I quickly discovered it lasted longer if it was refrigerated and it’s smell was also diminished. I took pictures of each of the leaves so that I could work from them if I needed. After drawing the cabbage, I traced the form and then outlined the back of the tracing and copied it onto 300lb paper. As I looked at it from day to day, the cabbage, like a flower, also changed with time. I worked several hours each day and over several weeks it was completed. I submitted my cabbage into a juried competition at LGB and was one of thirteen artist selected to be shown in September of 2010.
     My colored pencil project was selected for the juried competition at LGB in 2014, I used the same steps; study of the subject, drawing it, tracing the drawing and transferring it to Stonehenge paper. The large sunflower was purchased from a local florist. It’s size, color and complex bracts, which hold the disk and ray flowers to the stem, appealed to my sense of challenge and beauty.
     The sunflower proved to be a wonderful specimen. Strong and enduring during the project, it continued to provide much joy long after the class had ended. Even on a dreary day, there it was glowing and beautiful for many days. My sunflower art continues to convey the glow and beauty for all to admire.
     My studio is off of my living room which has been enclosed with lots of windows for light including a sky light and long glass windows. The room, which can be closed off from the main house by French doors, is large enough for my work desk, a small couch, chair, a drop leaf table, my supplies, several lamps and several orchids that I have on the low window sills. The room itself is peaceful and a wonderful place in which to work. It provides a 180 degree view of the trees, and plantings outside. I have classical music playing into my studio while I work. I surround myself with my art, music and the outdoors.
     Many of my friends get to admire my work and most of them had no idea that I painted or had time to paint. I believe art is the true essence of the soul; that gentle part of us that we do not readily express to the world. In turn, art provides a means to capture forever the beauty of nature whether it is a flower or a cabbage. I believe botanical art immortalizes nature and nurtures the soul.
                                                        Brassica oleracea, watercolor

GA Art Drop Off

More details coming soon, but the next CVABA meeting will be Thursday, January 8, from 9 to 3PM at the Tuckahoe Library.  This is the drop-off date for artwork for the General Assembly show. If you cannot drop off work then, either ask a friend to do it or contact Celeste or Judy Thomas to make arrangements.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Destination: ASBA Denver

Photos from top left, all at the Denver Botanical Garden: Chihuly glass tree; perennial garden; in the conservatory and; the desert garden.

The American Society of Botanical Artists Annual Conference was held in October, 2014, in Denver Colorado.  Here are the impressions of three CVABA members who attended.

By Paula Dabbs

Wow . . . my first visit to Denver and my first ASBA Conference.  My impressions of both include the wow factor.  To be with over 200 botanical artists for three days is inspiring, to say the least.  From the opening reception of "Small Works" to the portfolio reviews to the Techniques Showcase, the talent on display was impressive.  I was especially taken with Ann Swan's colored-pencil techniques which she put to good effect in her demonstration of a kiwi (hair and all!)

The biggest surprise was Annie Reiser's Botanical Zentangle class: I think we were all hooked when we left.  Especially fun was seeing some of the other teachers (who are stars in their own right) sitting in as students in the class.  

Also, unexpected for me was the incredible beauty of the Denver Botanic Garden.  It includes a huge conservatory and many garden "rooms."  Especially lovely for me was the Japanese Garden with a Ceremonial Tea House.  Fall was a perfect time to visit as the gold cottonwood trees and scarlet staghorn sumac added extra pops of color.  To top it all off, the Chihuly in the Garden exhibit was taking place while we were there.  I loved turning a corner to see another beautiful vista with a carefully placed piece of Chihuly glass.

I'm already thinking about next year's conference.  I hope to see you in Miami!

By Anne McCahill

The ASBA Convention's  small works exhibit reflected the use of different media and encouraged beginners to attempt new techniques.  For me, the highlight of the Convention was indeed the portfolio sharing by accomplished botanical artists, as well as visiting the DENVER botanical gardens, a haven of color and variety of species. The abundance  of Chihuly glass  added magic to the display.  Having access to the Daniel Smith display and sales  as well as the sale of ASBA books and catalogs on the premises appealed to many of us.
I am sorry that only a modicum of accomplished artists gave one class with a limited number of students, thus denying the opportunity to some of us to be exposed to different techniques.
The half day classes that took place at the Denver botanical gardens were reduced given the
bus ride of 30 minutes to the venue from the hotel. Not a good idea!
However....Miami, we shall be there for more inspiration!

By Judy Thomas

What I like most about the two ASBA conferences I have attended is seeing all the wonderful and inspiring work by the members.  There are several ways you get to see these great works: through the member small works show, portfolio sharing, the techniques showcase, and during classes.  Portfolio sharing is by far my favorite.  You get to see new and exciting works, new media and get to talk to the artists who created it.  Here are some examples:

Works by Connie Scanlon
Lotus McElfish's handmade botanical books

Another huge bonus at the Denver conference was the Denver Botanical Garden.  Anne and I flew out a day early to spend it at the garden and boy, was it worth it.  The garden is a series of densely packed and planted garden "rooms," each with a different theme.  The plant architecture seems carefully planned for shaped dimension, color and texture (we both fell in love with the autumn colors of stag horn sumac).  I made some photo collages of my favorites, at top and below.  As you will see, we were also treated to a Chihuly glass exhibit, which looks very different in a garden setting, versus in a museum.

From top left: Annual color; staghorn sumac in its glory; pink and purple sedum planting; Chihuly glass on the lake and: more glass.

I took two color pencil classes, both taught by great teachers:  Susan Rubin, of the Denver Botanical Garden illustration program, taught a class on color pencil on Mylar.  She was very patient, demoed and explained the process well.  Though I do not want to give up paper, Mylar presents some interesting advantages: it is quick, fully erasable, and the drawing can be worked from both sides of the sheet!  I think I will work with it in the future.

Susan Rubin teaching at the DBG.
The other class was "Tips and Tricks" taught by Ann Swan.  Anne is an excellent and experienced teacher, and also gave several demos and good explanation of her process.  She showed us how to use a surprising blender/solvent: baby oil!  Baby oil is not really an oil, but is liquid paraffin and it dissolves the color pencil and mixes it.

Ann Swan teaching.
The conference was inspiring, so hello to Miami in 2015!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

"Following in the Bartrams' Footsteps" in NC

By Judy Thomas
I went to the North Carolina Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill (http://ncbg.unc.edu/) this past weekend to view the ASBA exhibit "Following in the Bartrams' Footsteps" (http://www.asba-art.org/exhibitions/bartram). This is the closest the exhibit will get to the central Virginia area and I wanted to see how the show looked (and visit my piece).  The garden is a conservation garden featuring many native plants, so the Bartram exhibit (almost all native US plants) is a perfect fit. Many truly wonderful pieces are in this show and I hope you get to see it, before it goes to California.  The show runs through Nov. 2.

 The gallery space was light and airy, showing off the works wonderfully!

 Two different displays:  one on creating botanical art and the other including herbarium samples and botanical manuscripts.

One delightful addition to our visit, a beautiful botanical quilt exhibit!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Field Trip Opportunity

Home Page Slider Link to History
  Wednesday, September 10, 2014
         9:45 AM until 2:30 PM
    Botanical Drawing at Tuckahoe Plantation
Tuckahoe Plantation
12601 River Road [Rt. 650]
      Richmond, VA 23238
Consult your CVABA newsletter for details.

Tuckahoe Plantation Information:  http://www.tuckahoeplantation.com/
Organized by Judy Gilman-Hines!


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Celeste and Judy T at the LoVA Again!

by Judy Thomas

Celeste Johnston and I were invited by educator Donna Kouri to teach her students in her "Junior Master Gardeners' Camp" from the MathScience Innovation Center (MSIC).  The class was making a visit to the Library of Virginia in Richmond to see the "Flora of Virginia" exhibit on July 10.  Donna originally asked us to teach a class in flower drawing, but we also offered a botany lesson and flower dissection.  We brought a wealth of flowers and plant materials to use in our discussion, along with tools used in our art.  The MSIC provides school-year and summer educational opportunities to engage students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Celeste and I had a great deal of fun!