Make drawing a habit

Wendy Hollender will show you how.

She will also spend the next year supporting you on your journey.

Wendy Hollender is a botanical artist, illustrator, author and instructor. She is the author of Botanical Drawing in Color: A Basic Guide to Mastering Realistic Form and Naturalistic Color and Botanical Drawing: A Beginner’s Guide. She is the co-owner of Botanical Arts Press, LLC and the co-creator of a wildly successful crowdfunding campaign. Wendy has years of experience introducing botanical illustration to new audiences. Now she is ready to help you make nature drawing a habit.

The meditative and relaxing effects of observing and drawing nature have long been known. Making it a part of your life practice, however, has always been a challenge and it seems to get worse with every technological advancement and with every holiday release of a new gadget.

So how can you slow things down a bit?

Consider Wendy’s new subscription program A Year of Botanical Drawing. Announced only two days ago, Wendy’s one-year program provides students with the structure and support to learn botanical illustration, to develop their new skills and to make drawing a life-fulfilling habit. Enrollment is now open. The program begins in January 2016.

When registering for this program, students can choose between two options. For Option One, students receive a printed hard copy lesson with an easel-style binder in the mail each month. This easel-style binder keeps the current lesson propped up while working. For Option Two, students receive their monthly lesson as a PDF document. The only difference between the two options has to do with the format in which students receive their lessons. Other than this, both options include the following:

  • Online monthly instructional video
  • Mid-month online group meeting with interactive features allowing for group participation and the review of student drawings.
  • A private page for students enrolled in the program. This page features the current lesson, instructional video and a place for students to communicate with each other and with Wendy.
  • Private image and comment sharing with Wendy.
  • Regional student drawing groups (when possible)
  • Option to take part in a summer drawing retreat (not included in subscription price)
  • Year-end online exhibition of student work.
  • Private critique available (not included in subscription price)

Give the gift of inner peace and stress relief this holiday season.
Learn more about this exciting new program at Drawing in Color.


This new program has been added to the resource page Classes Near You > Online. Visit this page to view distance learning options in natural science illustration and botanical art.

Gretchen Kai Halpert
Gretchen Kai Halpert is the founder and instructor of a new online program in scientific illustration. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, Gretchen has many years of experience working as a scientific illustrator and teaching programs about natural science illustration.

Learn more about the distance learning program in scientific illustration at http://www.gretchenhalpert-distanceprogram.com.

    Scientific Illustration, Session I, Graphite

    January 26-March 29, 2016
    7:00-9:00 EST or email
    Session I includes basic drawing skills that are the background to any and all illustration. We cover lighting, scientific conventions, proportion, perspective and value, working from life and from a variety of natural history objects. Students work in graphite, and are introduced to crow quill with ink. This class is appropriate for both beginners and intermediate students. Advanced students should talk with Gretchen before enrolling.
    Go to www.gretchenhalpert-distanceprogram.com to view application on home page.

    Scientific Illustration, Session II, Pen and Ink

    January 18-March 28, 2015 (no class Feb 16)
    Session II focuses on composition, technical accuracy, how to conduct research, and producing portfolio pieces. In this class, we become adept with crow quill and ink on paper and scratchboard.

    Go to www.gretchenhalpert-distanceprogram.com to view application on home page.

This information has been added to Classes Near You > Online Classes.

Wild in the City Wild in the City: Fauna and Flora of Colorado Urban Spaces
Heidi Snyder & Dorothy DePaulo
Big Earth Publishing
November 2015

Wild in the City is a new book by
Heidi Snyder and Dorothy DePaulo. It is an urban field guide to the sights and sounds of Colorado’s Front Range. For those of us who do not live in Colorado, it is a fine example of what an urban field guide can be.

What makes this book special are the everyday discoveries and surprises the authors share with readers. Without their personal comments, the 91 species descriptions would be similar to the kind of information we’re accustomed to seeing in field guides. Because Heidi and Dorothy share their experiences as city-dwelling naturalists, Wild in the City is more than a regional resource, it is an invitation to explore the suburbs.

Complementing the inviting text are the authors’ true-to-life colored pencil paintings. Both authors are signature members of the Colored Pencil Society of America and have exhibited their work in many international exhibitions. Their colored pencil paintings are so engaging, you feel as if you could fall into them. Wild in the City is not packaged with sound, but if it were, we would hear waves lapping at the edge of a stream, hear the splashing sound water makes when ducks swim, and hear the rustling of wind through cattails. On page 103, we would definitely hear the song of the Black-capped Chickadee. It would sound something like this (click “Typical voice”).

Here is a small sample of the flora and fauna featured in Wild in the City, plus a small tantalizing fact about each plant and animal:

Cottonwood Tree
The “cotton” seed production of this species may become a new source of biofuel.

Ring-billed Gull
The plumage of this species was once used to make ladies’ hats.

Northern Leopard Frog & Water Lilies
This species of frog was once collected by the food industry (frog legs).

Northern Leopard Frog and Water Lilies, ©2015 Dorothy DePaulo, all rights reserved

Northern Leopard Frog and Water Lilies, ©2015 Dorothy DePaulo, all rights reserved

Quaking Aspen

The wood from this tree has been used to make chopsticks.

American Avocet
Day-old avocets can walk, swim and dive.

White Ash
A favorite wood to use for baseball bats.


Want to learn more?

Get Wild in the City!

You might also like:

The origin of botanical field guides


In 2014 Dorothy DePaulo and Heidi Snyder were awarded the Julius I. Brown Grant by the American Society of Botanical Artists. Wild in the City: Fauna & Flora of Colorado Urban Spaces was made possible in part by a grant from the American Society of Botanical Artists. (More about ASBA grants)

ArtPlantae is an affiliate of IndieBound and a supporter of independent bookstores. A small portion of each online purchase at IndieBound supports ArtPlantae’s InterpretPlants program.

International Orders & PayPal too!

International Orders & PayPal too!

Dear All,

This past week I created a new website for the store. If you helped test the website, allow me to once again thank you for your help. This week has been a “soft” opening. Some of you have already seen and used the new store. This tells me links outside of this website are working.

This change means the store has some new capabilities. Here is a summary:

  • International orders can now be placed online. All you need to do is select your country during checkout.
  • The store speaks 45 languages! That is to say, the store and the receipts it produces can be presented in up to 45 different languages.
  • Payment through PayPal is now an option at checkout.
  • Do you prefer to pay with a credit card? Credit card transactions will continue to be processed through Square.
  • Shipping rates are real-time from the US Postal Service.
  • Domestic orders will continue to ship by USPS Media Mail.
  • International orders will be shipped using USPS First-Class Mail International or USPS Priority Mail International.

The store’s new Web address is https://artplantae.ecwid.com.

Please update your bookmarks and websites.

Thank you!

Get your copy today!

Get your copy today!

18th Annual International

New York Design Center
New York, NY
November 4 – December 30, 2015

The international exhibition of botanical art hosted by the American Society of Botanical Artists and The Horticultural Society of New York is in mid-town Manhattan this year. This is New York’s premier showcase of contemporary botanical art.

Artists from all over the world submitted work for consideration. Of the 234 submissions received, 44 works by artists from the United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, The Netherlands, Russia, and the UK were accepted.

Participating artists are: milly acharya, Rosalind Allchin, Margaret Best, Melanie Campbell-Carter, Estelle DeRidder, Carrie Di Costanzo, Jean Emmons, Akiko Enokido, Margaret Farr, Beverly Fink, Ingrid Finnan, Kathleen Folino, Lara Gastinger, Asuka Hishiki, Leah Kaizer, Joan Keesey, Ku-mie Kim, Karen Kluglein, Mindy Lighthipe, Katy Lyness, Robert McNeill, Carrie Megan, Mali Moir, Monika deVries Gohlke, Sharron O’Neil, Tomoko Ogawa, John Pastoriza-Pinol, Kelly Radding, Lesley Randall, Betsy Rogers-Knox, Susan Sapanara, Connie Scanlon, Liz Shippam, Fiona Strickland, Keiko Nibu Tarver, Melissa Toberer, Jeannetta vanRaalte, Alexander Viazmensky, Denise Walser-Kolar, Esmee Winkel, and Carol Woodin.

The New York Design Center is located at 200 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY and is open Monday – Friday from 9:30 AM to 5:30 PM.

The exhibition catalog of the 18th Annual International Exhibition can be purchased online at ArtPlantae ($20, plus $2.99 shipping).

Nevin's Barberry with Bluebird Oct 2015_© Estelle DeRidder, all rights reserved

Nevin’s Barberry with Bluebird Oct 2015_© Estelle DeRidder, all rights reserved

In 2012 botanical artist Estelle DeRidder received a grant from the American Society of Botanical Artists to create plant identification cards about plants at the Madrona Marsh Preserve in southern California. A traveling exhibition about the plants of Madrona Marsh launched in November 2014. The second installment of this ongoing project,
The Flora of Madrona Marsh II, is now complete and on view at Madrona Marsh through December 3, 2015.

You’re Invited!

An opening reception will be held on Sunday, November 15 from 1:00 – 3:00 pm. Meet Estelle and view the illustrations of 12 plant species she created for this phase of her project. Dessert and coffee will be served.

The Madrona Marsh is located at 3201 Plaza Del Amo, Torrance, CA 90503.
Hours: Tuesday through Thursday 10:00am – 5:00pm
View map

“We are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction, with plant species disappearing at alarming rates. We need botanists! We need young people to embrace the wonders of plant life and to be ambassadors for the ancient beings that make life possible on this planet we call home.”

— Susan Leopold

IsabellasPeppermintFlowers (1) Inspired by the Flora of Virginia Project, author and ethnobotanist Susan Leopold wrote Isabella’s Peppermint Flowers, a book introducing children to the plants of Virginia and the botanical history of this state.

The book is written as a conversation between a mother and her daughters, Isabella and Flora. Their engaging conversation occurs during their walk through the woods to see spring beauties, the plant whose flowers look like peppermints.

During their walk in the woods, Isabella and Flora learn the scientific name of their favorite plant (Claytonia virginica) and learn about the botanical history of their area. The girls’ mother tells them the story of botanist John Clayton (1694-1773) who wrote Flora Virginica in the 1700s. She also tells her daughters how Clayton’s relationship with English naturalist Mark Catesby (1682-1749), Dutch botanist John Frederick Gronovius (1686-1762) and Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus (1707-1710) contributed to his landmark flora.

Isabella’s Peppermint Flowers distinguishes itself from other children’s books because Leopold’s story goes beyond bringing attention to a single plant. Leopold explores the insects pollinating Claytonia virginica and includes information about the plant’s corms and the eliasomes attached to the plant’s seeds. She then patiently describes the many ways this small plant contributes to the ecosystem in which it grows. Isabella’s Peppermint Flowers is a delightful story presenting ecological lessons easy for young naturalists to understand.

Today we have the opportunity to learn from Susan Leopold. You are invited to join the conversation. To do so, please enter your questions or comments in the Comment Box below.

A Conversation with Susan Leopold

: Susan, I really enjoyed your book. It think it’s a wonderful story and I especially like the big picture it presents. Your story encompasses many aspects of botany (i.e., plant morphology, pollination ecology, field botany and the history of botany). Why did you choose this approach for a children’s book?

Susan Leopold: I wanted to write a children’s book to celebrate the fact that Virginia was releasing its flora. When I was in school, there was no “Flora of Virginia”. I also wanted to tell the story of John Clayton and I thought it would be a great way to do this instead of talking only about spring beauties. My background is in ethnobotany and I wanted to include a historical perspective instead of telling the story of one plant. The more interdisciplinary we can make ecology and botany, the better. I wanted the book to be more than a fun story; I wanted it to be challenging and educational. We need to take the time to explain the interconnected relationship between plants and their environment. I did a lot of writing to make the story clear. I am happy with it. I had a lot of support from the Virginia Native Plant Society. They helped place the book in classrooms and libraries. 

: Was this book written as a stand-alone fundraising tool for the Flora project or as a complement to the traveling exhibition “Flora of Virginia”?

SL: My intention was to offer a children’s component to the release of the Flora. I am concerned about connecting with younger audiences. The book is my contribution to a larger vision. The book took 6-7 years to produce, with various degrees of momentum. The book does raise some money for the Flora project. Proceeds from the sale of the book are donated to the project. The book is sold at FloraForKids.org and in the bookstore of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas.

I wrote several versions of this story. The first version was written strictly from Isabella’s perspective. I might release this as an interactive story on the website “Flora for Kids”. I have considered writing an e-book, but I want people to understand the power of holding a book in their hand.

With regard to the traveling exhibition “Flora of Virginia”, illustrations by Nicky Staunton, the book’s illustrator, are included in the exhibition.  

: Tell us about the “Flora for Kids” website.

SL: Right now I am using the site to sell the book. It will become a site for resources in botany education and will be developed as a regional site. I hope it inspires people to create a resource about plants in their own region.

: You are the Executive Director of United Plant Savers. What does United Plant Savers do?

SLUnited Plant Savers (UpS) was founded 21 years ago by herbalist Rosemary Gladstar because she and others were concerned about the harvesting of native plants for medicinal purposes. The focus of UpS is “Conservation through Cultivation”. We encourage the cultivation of medicinal herbals instead of the harvesting of native plants. We teach people how to use forests and land in a sustainable way. Many of our members are not herbalists themselves, but have an interest in plant conservation.  Some also have medicinal plants on their property they want to protect.

: Readers of this website are distributed throughout the US. How can readers connect with United Plant Savers in their state? My impression is that visiting a UpS botanical sanctuary would be the best way to do this. What do you recommend?

SL: Readers can learn more about what we do by searching for a sanctuary in their state. We have 100 sanctuary members, however not all of them want to be listed on the website. Each sanctuary is managed by private land owners.

Readers in Ohio can visit the Goldenseal Sanctuary, the first botanical sanctuary established by United Plant Savers. It is located in Rutland, OH. We have cabins there and lead programs.

UpS manages a small grants program designed to help individuals and groups create an educational garden. Funds can be used to establish a school garden or a community garden. There is no limit on size or plant palette. Sanctuary members can also apply for a small grant if they want to create an educational garden within their sanctuary. The application process is ongoing and small grants are awarded once per year. Interested parties can visit the Awards and Grants page for more information.

: Susan, thank you for taking the time to introduce us to your children’s book and to United Plant Savers.

Readers, to learn more about UpS, I recommend watching the video on the homepage for Goldenseal Sanctuary. 

Do you have a question for Susan? Please enter it in the Comment Box below.

About Susan Leopold

Susan is an ethnobotanist who has worked with indigenous peoples in Peru and Costa Rica for over 20 years. In addition to serving as the Executive Director of United Pant Savers, she serves on the boards of Botanical Dimensions and the Center for Sustainable Economy.


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