Archive for the ‘ArtPlantae Books’ Category

Dear Readers,

The new year begins with changes at ArtPlantae — each positive and each a welcome sign of forward movement.

The first, and most noticeable change, is the launch of Plants, Life, Riverside, a project that brings to life ArtPlantae’s mission of encouraging an interest in plants and exploring drawing as a learning tool. This project isn’t a one-off project, but a way of life and what I learn on this journey will be shared here. While this project may begin in Riverside, CA its reach extends well beyond the busy urban landscape of this southern California town.

The second change has to do with ArtPlantae Books. The store has a new home and a refined focus. The store has moved permanently to the Square Market. This move streamlines e-commerce operations and keeps the shopping experience consistent for customers who shop with ArtPlantae at events and online. Customers who make in-person purchases have the added benefit of receiving exclusive discounts when they shop with ArtPlantae at an event. Each purchase is recorded as a stamp on the ArtPlantae Loyalty Card built into the Square Wallet platform. Customers with five stamps on their card receive a discount that can be applied to a future purchase.

Do you shop at Starbucks or other neighborhood businesses using Square Wallet? Use this app to shop at ArtPlantae and save on learning opportunities and resources.

The store’s move to the Square Market means it also has a new address. Please note that the ArtPlantaeBooks.com address will be phased out now that the store has a refined look, function and focus. When you visit the new store, you’ll notice there are fewer categories and the emphasis has shifted to better support ArtPlantae’s educational outreach efforts. Valuable resources for artists, naturalists and educators will continue to be featured, as will the exquisite exhibition catalogs of contemporary botanical art.

As exciting as the new store is, there is one tiny hiccup. The Square platform does not accommodate international orders. Please know, however, I will continue to ship internationally. Because the exhibition catalogs are shipped overseas more often than other items, shipping instructions for international customers are included on the product pages for the catalogs (see example).

The new year promises to be an exciting time. Thank you for being loyal readers and for your continued enthusiasm.

Wishing you a creative and fulfilling new year,


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ASBA_HSNY_16thAnnual_2013The exhibition catalogs for the 15th and 16th annual botanical art exhibition by the American Society of Botanical Artists are back in stock.

Also available are exhibition catalogs whose covers have endured bumps and scrapes during shipping or whose covers are not colored correctly. These hurt catalogs have been priced at a discount and are in the “Sale” category. While these catalogs have scrapes to their outside covers, their interior pages are clean. Images have been posted so you can see examples of hurt covers and bumped corners.

Go to ArtPlantae Books

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TheGoldenAgeOfBotanicalArt Drawing

These are some of the techniques botanists and artists use to document plants. Each executed with a keen eye for observation and a steady hand. What we know about plants today would not be possible if it weren’t for the botanists, explorers, doctors, artists and observers who came before us. Many centuries before us.

A new book about the contributions made by these passionate educators was finally released in the United States. The stories of these brave, creative and hard-working souls are shared in The Golden Age of Botanical Art, a wonderful history book by Martyn Rix that is sure to be enjoyed by anyone with an interest in natural history art.

This book is filled with fascinating history and stories about famous and not-so-famous people, many of whom I learned about for the first time. Rix cross-references people, places and events throughout his book and while this helps readers form a big picture of history, it makes summarizing a challenge.
Allow me to give you a quick tour of each section.

    The Origins of Botanical Art
    Learn why botanical illustrations were created. Also learn about ancient herbals, flower painting during the Renaissance, Leonardo di Vinci, Albrecht Durer, woodcuts, the Turkish Empire, English herbals and why the paintings of Jacopo Ligozzi (1547-1626) were better than anyone who came before him.

    Seventeenth-Century Florilegia

    Learn about the plants brought to Europe by travelers and naturalists and how the work of botanical illustrators contributed to the development of botany.

    North American Plants

    Learn about the introduction of North American plants into English gardens and learn about the work of artists and botanists such as John Tradescant the Younger, Mark Catesby, John and William Bartram, Andre & Francois Michaux, Georg Dionysius Ehret and Carl Linnaeus.

    Travelers to the Levant

    European interest in Asia and the Ottoman Empire is the focus of this section. Botanists and painters receiving special attention are Joseph Pitton de Tournefort, Claude Aubriet, John Sibthorp, and Maria Sibylla Merian.

    The Exploration of Russia & Japan

    Learn about botanical expeditions into Russia and Japan. View images from Flora Rossica, Flora Japonica and learn about a collection of paintings on vellum started by botanist and naturalist, Gaston d’Orleans.

    Botany Bay & Beyond

    Learn about expeditions into Australia, the work of artists Sydney Parkinson and Ferdinand Bauer and the scientific contributions of Sir Joseph Banks.

    The Golden Age in England

    Learn how the Royal Gardens at Kew began and view beautiful plant studies such as the study of Pinus larix by Ferdinand Bauer and the graceful Galeandra devoniana, an orchid by Miss Sarah Anne Drake who was John Lindley’s chief artist.

    South American Adventures

    Expeditions into Spain and the amazing collections of work produced from these expeditions are the focus of this section.

    The Golden Age in France

    Learn about Gerard van Spaendonck (Pierre-Joseph Redouté’s teacher), Redouté and Empress Josephine in this section.

    Botanical and Horticultural Illustrated Journals

    Learn about the history surrounding illustrated journals such as Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, The Botanical Register and others.

    Early Chinese Plant Drawings

    Learn about the type of botanical art created in China before the Europeans arrived.

    The Company School in India

    Learn about the work of Indian artists, English artists and the publications produced during the time when the East India Company controlled trade in the East Indies.

    A New Era at Kew

    More history about Kew and how this world-famous garden was established.

    Victorian Travelers

    An introduction to the botanical contributions made by artists Janet Hutton, Lt. General John Eyre, Charlotte Lugard, Charlotte Williams, Marianne North and Henry John Elwes.

    Bringing China to Europe

    This section is about the introduction of Chinese plants into European gardens.

    The Flowers of War and Beyond

    Rix discusses the history of botanical illustration during World War II. Learn what botanist Geoffrey Herklots did while in a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp and what Marianne North’s great nephew did after retiring as an Admiral from the Navy in 1960. Artists Margaret Mee, Barbara Everhard, Graham Stuart Thomas, Rory McEwen and Raymond Booth are also mentioned.

Rix closes his book discussing the work of contemporary botanical artists and by bringing attention to those making key contributions to the current renaissance of botanical art, namely instructor Anne Marie Evans and, of course, botanist and art collector Shirley Sherwood.

In the introduction to his book, Rix thinks aloud and wonders if what we are observing now in the world of botanical art is a new golden age. He explains that the period between 1750-1850 was considered a golden age because the demand for scientific information collided with the enthusiasm of wealthy patrons and with the availability of skilled artists capable of documenting new discoveries.

Today he wonders if the need to preserve disappearing habitat, combined with an abundance of botanical artists and the technological means to create botanical works faster and at a lower cost will create a new golden age even though there is a growing shortage of botanists.

What do you think?


Darwin’s “The Origin of Species” to Become Illuminated Manuscript

ArtPlantae is an IndieBound affiliate

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The featured topic for November is Botany for All.

I know I spend a lot of time on botany resources for children. This month I am going to even it out some and bring attention to resources for teenagers, adults and families. We’ll begin the month with three wonderful resources that help children ages 3-8 learn about the life cycle of plants.

Also this month, you’ll notice a slight change to the publishing schedule. It will be lighter than normal and stay this way through December. I will continue to publish the teaching and learning column on Friday and will publish special features and other announcements when they are ready.

Thank you for being such dedicated readers, contributors and supporters of ArtPlantae.

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SexInYourGarden Plant reproduction can be as sensitive a topic as human reproduction.

This was made clear to me years ago at the, then, L.A. Garden Show when a gentleman disapproved of me displaying the book, Sex in Your Garden. He shook his head, made the “tisk, tisk, tisk” sounds and told me I shouldn’t have this book out on display. It was the word “sex” in the title that prompted his reaction. If you are unfamiliar with this book, it is a light-hearted and very anthropomorphic look at how plants attract pollinators. It contains text and images drawing similarities between how plants and humans call attention to themselves.

Even though it has been years, I always think of this gentleman when talking about flowers, fruit and reproduction. It is easy to talk about sperm, eggs, ovules and seeds when speaking with adults (although I usually have to give them a few moments to digest the fact that there are ovaries in their fruit bowl).

It is talking about plant reproduction with young audiences that always gets me thinking. What is saying too much?

If you’ve ever felt compelled to launch into an explanation of double fertilization while dissecting flowers with kids (even though you know you shouldn’t), here are some resources that may stop you from going over the cliff.

In How Do Apples Grow?, author Betsy Maestro and illustrator Guilio Maestro provide a comprehensive look at how buds on an apple tree develop, how the buds bloom and how flowers attract bees. They discuss flower anatomy, fruit development and explain what we’re eating when we eat an apple. They explain how apple trees make their own food and close their story where they began it — with flower buds on a bare apple tree. This life cycle book for botanists ages 5-9 addresses some big topics. Here is a list of vocabulary terms and concepts explained in this book:

  • leaf buds
  • flower buds
  • sepals
  • petals
  • stamen
  • pollen grains with male cells
  • pistil
  • ovary with female cells
  • pollination
  • fertilization
  • pollen tube germination
  • fruit development
  • seeds as fertilized female cells
  • photosynthesis
  • apple varieties

Maestro also touches upon seed dispersal and decomposition. The supporting watercolor illustrations by Guilio Maestro are colorful, labeled clearly and are easy to understand. Together Maestro and Maestro do a nice job of making flower development, pollination and fruit development very observable processes.

Just as Maestro makes fruit development observable, Helene J. Jordan brings seed germination and development out into the open in How a Seed Grows. The seed growing activity in her book enables students to see how seeds change beneath the soil and how seedlings grow above ground without investing in those growing chambers with the glass sides. Jordan’s clear instructions are supported by the informative gouache and colored pencil paintings by illustrator Loretta Krupinski. While Jordan’s book was written for children ages 4-8, the seed-growing exercise is appropriate for older children. It helps explain how seeds become plants and brings the life cycle of plants full circle. Plus it really lends itself to exercises related to botanical illustration.

Here is a list of vocabulary terms and concepts introduced in
How a Seed Grows:

  • seed
  • plant
  • tree
  • soil
  • watering for growth
  • writing numbers for identification
  • seed germination
  • roots
  • counting
  • leaves
  • soil
  • water
  • sun
  • photosynthesis

Jordan also includes directions to an experiment children can do to investigate the resources plants need to grow.

We can’t talk about seeds, flowers, pollinators and fruit development without showing how all these things are related. A great book that ties up all the loose ends is The Reason for a Flower by Ruth Heller. She introduces young readers to pollinators they might not normally consider and introduces them to wind pollination too. In her colorful 48-page book, she also introduces readers to seed pods, seed dispersal, herbivores, carnivorous plants, parasitic plants, angiosperms and familiar products derived from plants.

If you ever find yourself wondering “how much is too much?” when preparing an activity for young audiences, browse through children’s books about plants to get ideas about how to teach less, better.

Resources Cited

Also See

Botanical Illustration & Plant Morphology for Preschoolers

ArtPlantae is an IndieBound affiliate

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aureaVista_Closes The Aurea Vista marketplace in downtown Riverside has announced it will close by the end of the year. The retail areas of the historic Aurea Vista hotel will become a nightclub.

ArtPlantae’s retail section dedicated to plant-based education and botanical art will merge with its retail space on Aurea Vista’s ground floor. The teacher trunk show will continue through October 31 as planned. Pick up an in-store coupon at each section to save $5 on purchases of $20 or more. Coupon valid only for ArtPlantae merchandise and must be presented at the register during checkout. Use the coupon on a wide selection of books under $10 or on the holiday gift ideas now available at the store.

Thank you to all who visited this unique boutique marketplace and to all who supported ArtPlantae during its one-year tenure at Aurea Vista.

You can continue to buy resources from ArtPlantae by shopping online at ArtPlantae Books or by visiting ArtPlantae at educational events. Proceeds support this site and help to cover the cost of materials for outreach activities.

Aurea Vista is located at 3498 University Avenue, on the corner of Lemon Street and University Avenue. Free parking is in the parking lot with the ballet mural. Street parking is free after 5 PM on weekdays and is free all day on weekends.

Store Hours

    Monday (closed)
    Tuesday – Saturday (11-7)
    Sunday (11-5)

Get directions

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If you have taken drawing classes or browsed through books about drawing, you have no doubt seen or experienced the drawing exercise requiring you to copy an inverted line drawing. This technique is practiced because it is thought that inverting a subject while drawing it enhances drawing accuracy (Edwards, 1999).

Researchers Dale J. Cohen and Holly Earls (2010) designed an experiment to investigate if drawing inverted images leads to improved accuracy or if it leads to drawing errors. They hypothesized that interfering with an artist’s spatial perception would not result in more accurate drawings. They based their hypothesis on the research of Cohen and Bennett (1997) who determined that the foundation of drawing errors is rooted in an artists’ perception of a stimulus. Cohen and Earls (2010) hypothesized that, if an artist’s perception of a stimulus is distorted, then this would be evident in their drawing of this stimulus.

In their study, Cohen and Earls (2010) used human faces as the drawing stimulus because of the extensive drawing research involving human faces. The investigators assigned a drawing task to 121 students. Their sample population was composed of non-artists and artists. Half were assigned the task of drawing inverted faces and half were assigned the task of drawing faces in their normal upright orientation. Participants’ drawings were evaluated for the accurate representation of spatial relationships between facial features, the accurate representation of selected facial features, and the accuracy of whole-face drawings. Four critics rated the drawings. Two of the critics were art history professors and two were studio art professors.

The independent ratings of each critic were analyzed statistically. Data revealed that drawing inverted subjects had a significant negative effect on the drawing of spatial relationships. Rating data also indicated that orientation had no significant effect on the drawings of specific facial features or on the accuracy of whole-face drawings (Cohen and Earls, 2010). Because orientation had a negative effect on the drawing of spatial details, Cohen and Earls (2010) concluded that drawing an inverted stimulus does not improve drawing accuracy.

That is to say, drawing accuracy when one is drawing faces.

Can the same be said about the drawings of inverted images of plants?

For more information about Cohen and Earls’ investigation of this popular art technique, see Inverting an Image Does Not Improve Drawing Accuracy.

Literature Cited

    Cohen, Dale J. and Susan Bennett. 1997. why can’t most people draw what they see? Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. 23(3): 609-621. Read Review

    Cohen, Dale J. and Holly Earls. 2010. Inverting an image does not improve drawing accuracy. Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and the Arts. 4(3): 168-172. Web. http://people.uncw.edu/cohend/research/papers/cohen%20and%20earls%202010.pdf [accessed 11 October 2013]

    Edwards, Betty. 1999. Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. See eBook

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