Archive for the ‘natural science illustration’ Category

Clockwise from above left: Assemblage, watercolor and pencil on Kelmscott vellum by Kate Nessler, 2014, 30.5 × 22", © 2014 Kate Nessler, All rights reserved; Bird Nest Series No.1, colored pencil on paper by David Morrison, 2014, 13 × 19", © 2014 David Morrison, All rights reserved; Woven Trees, archival ink-jet print from 2.25 film negative by Sue Abramson, 2014, 24 × 24", © 2014 Sue Abramson, All rights reserved; Epilogue, watercolor on Cowley’s veiny calfskin vellum by Wendy Brockman, 2014, 27 × 23", © 2014 Wendy Brockman, All rights reserved.

Clockwise from above left: Assemblage, watercolor and pencil on Kelmscott vellum by Kate Nessler, 2014, 30.5 × 22″, © 2014 Kate Nessler, All rights reserved; Bird Nest Series No.1, colored pencil on paper by David Morrison, 2014, 13 × 19″, © 2014 David Morrison, All rights reserved; Woven Trees, archival ink-jet print from 2.25 film negative by Sue Abramson, 2014, 24 × 24″, © 2014 Sue Abramson, All rights reserved; Epilogue, watercolor on Cowley’s veiny calfskin vellum by Wendy Brockman, 2014, 27 × 23″, © 2014 Wendy Brockman, All rights reserved.

Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation
Pittsburgh, PA
March 19 – June 30, 2015

The Hunt Instutute invites you to view Elements!

The exhibition Elements features drawings and watercolors of bird nests with a focus on the natural and man-made materials incorporated into these architectural structures. Photographs of forest understory will transport the viewer between the landscape and the ephemeral artifacts that signify the remains of a cycle of building, incubating, nesting and fledging. The featured artists are Sue Abramson, Wendy Brockman, David Morrison and Kate Nessler. The creators of these drawings and watercolors of bird nests and photographs of transitional landscapes are inspired by the relationship of the nest to time, place, music and architecture. Each artist has imbued the structures and the materials used and the locations and environments where built with their individual insight and perspective. Also included in the exhibition is a selection of birds, nests and eggs on loan from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

Pittsburgh artist Sue Abramson’s photographs of the Frick Park woodlands are a response to the raw materials in nests and the extraordinary visual chaos of these habitats. Minnesota artist Wendy Brockman’s watercolors of nests, eggs, feathers and plant materials are rich with nuance and complexity and speak of time and place. Indiana artist David Morrison’s colored pencil drawings are an exploration of the issues of existence, regeneration and obsessiveness through his examination of the layers of natural and found objects that compose the architectural structures of nests. Arkansas artist Kate Nessler’s watercolors are expressive of symphonic movements, and they reflect the intrinsically creative and practical use of disparate materials that are woven to create a space of strength and balance that are essential for survival.

Opening reception

The opening reception on 19 March (5–7 pm) is open to the public. Beginning at 5:30 pm each of the four artists will introduce their work in the Elements exhibition. This is an opportunity to meet all the artists.

Talk one-on-one with the artists

On Friday, 20 March, 10 am–noon and 1–4 pm, visit the gallery at any time during the designated hours and talk one-on-one with three of the artists. Abramson, Brockman and Nessler will be available to discuss their concepts and process and will display their materials, and Brockman also will demonstrate her painting technique. This event is free and open to the public.

Open House 2015

Our annual Open House on Sunday, 28 June (1:00–4:30 pm) will include the talk “Nest structures of North American birds and the materials used in their creation” (1:30–2:30 pm) by Patrick McShea, program officer and educator, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and tours of the Elements exhibition and the reading room (2:30–4:00 pm). This event is free and open to the public.

Cabinet of curiosities

The Cabinet of curiosities in the Hunt Institute lobby will display bird illustrations from the Library’s rich collection of natural history and art books, including Mark Catesby’s (1683–1749) exquisite folio, The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands (London, the author, 1731), and works by microscopist Marcello Malpighi (1628–1694), natural historian the Comte de Buffon (1707–1788) and the artist George Brookshaw (1751–1823).


The exhibition will be on display on the 5th floor of the Hunt Library building at Carnegie Mellon University and will be open to the public free of charge. Hours: Monday–Friday, 9 am–noon and 1–5 pm; Sunday, 1–4 pm (except 3–5 April, 3 May and 24–25 May). Because our hours of operation are occasionally subject to change, please call or email before your visit to confirm. For further information, contact the Hunt Institute at 412-268-2434.

About the Institute

The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, a research division of Carnegie Mellon University, specializes in the history of botany and all aspects of plant science and serves the international scientific community through research and documentation. To this end, the Institute acquires and maintains authoritative collections of books, plant images, manuscripts, portraits and data files, and provides publications and other modes of information service. The Institute meets the reference needs of botanists, biologists, historians, conservationists, librarians, bibliographers and the public at large, especially those concerned with any aspect of the North American flora.

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Gretchen Kai Halpert

Gretchen Kai Halpert is the owner and the 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.

    Scientific Illustration Distance Learning Program
    Distance Learning / Online
    January 20, 2015
    7:00 pm (New York time)

    This new Scientific Illustration Distance Program allows students to study botanical and scientific illustration from wherever they live. The program runs year-round. Students may enroll in the full program or take individual classes. A new 10-week session begins January 20, 2015. Contact Gretchen Halpert for information.

This information has also been posted to Classes Near You > New York.

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Order the new calendar!

Order the new calendar!

Never lose sight of nature in 2015 with The Illustrated Garden’s new calendar!

This new calendar features hand-drawn illustrations, hand-lettered text and pages of garden lore, birds and bugs. It also includes all full moon dates for 2015, Solstice and Equinox dates, major holidays (plus some not-so-major, but very interesting holidays).

This new calendar was created by illustrator and teacher Val Webb, founder of The Illustrated Garden. Published in a convenient 8.5” x 11” format, this new calendar will be sent as a printable PDF beginning January 1, 2015. Happy New Year!

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Artist and naturalist Linda C. Miller has a collection of small nature paintings now on view at A Touch of Earth Gallery. This artisan gallery features all forms of collectible art, including pottery, jewelry, prints, lamps, metal works and more.

Stop by the gallery on Sunday, December 14, 2014 from 12-4 PM to meet Linda and to view her new collection titled, Small Works. Linda has painted over 100 portraits and is known for her contemporary compositions, bold rich colors and detailed work.

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University of Bristol Botanic Garden

A four-acre garden founded in 1882 by Adolf Leipner, professor of botany at Bristol University College. Plant collections address the following subject areas: plant evolution, Mediterranean plants, local plants, rare native plants, and useful plants. This garden was founded on an initial budget of £104!

    Drawing in the Glasshouses
    Wednesdays, September 3 – November 26, 2014
    11 AM – 1 PM
    This group drawing class is led by Sheena Vallely in the glasshouses at the garden. The Pick Up a Pencil group (or Pupgroup) is open to artists of all abilities and is designed to enhance drawing awareness and overcome old habits. All materials provided. Limit: 8 students. Cost: £95.00
    Register online
    View Details/Register

    Traditional Botanical Drawing & Painting

    Mondays, October 6, 2014 – June 8, 2015
    1-4 PM
    A 21-week course for beginners and those wanting to improve their skills. Taught by Jenny Brooks, this foundation course in botanical illustration will focus on line, texture, tone, watercolor techniques and color mixing. Cost: £360.00 (payable in installments).
    Register online
    View Details/Register

    Beetles, Butterflies and Bees

    Saturday, October 22, 2014
    10 AM – 4 PM
    Wildlife and natural history artist, Cath Hodsman, leads this one-day workshop about drawing and painting insects. Participants will use microscopes and other magnifying tools to observe their subjects. Cost: £50.00
    Register online
    View Details/Register


    Saturday, November 22, 2014
    10 AM – 4 PM
    Learn about lettering and alphabets in this one-day workshop with Roma Widger. Participants will practice round hand and italic scripts and learn how to apply their new skills to greeting cards and bookmarks. Cost: £35.00
    Register online
    View Details/Register

This information can also be viewed at Classes Near You > England.

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Graduate students Michael Pin and Elizabeth Luscher lead a conversation about genetically modified plants. Photo credit: Plant Discovery Day Staff

Graduate students Michael Pin and Elizabeth Luscher lead a conversation about genetically modified plants. Photo credit: Plant Discovery Day Staff

There are many places to see plants in an urban setting, but where can you go to learn about plants and current plant research?

Elementary school students in Riverside don’t have to look too far to learn about plants. They only need to turn to UC Riverside. Some local students have the opportunity to learn about plant research first-hand every school year and it is this exciting opportunity that is the focus of this issue of Plants, Life, Riverside.

Each Spring one hundred fifth-grade students from Highland Elementary School in Riverside get to immerse themselves in the plant sciences thanks to the dedication of graduate students in the Department of Botany & Plant Sciences at UC Riverside.

Launched in June 2012, Plant Discovery Day was created by graduate students Jessica Diaz and Erin Brinton, National Science Foundation (NSF) research fellows who wanted to do more than mentor undergraduates and make classroom visits to satisfy the outreach requirement for NSF grants funding their research. They wanted to do something more meaningful and fun that involved more of the department. After doing some brainstorming, they decided to invite students from a local school to campus and Plant Discovery Day was born.

Originally called “Where Does Food Come From”, the first Plant Discovery Day took eight months to plan. Jessica and Erin selected Highland Elementary School as a partner because it was close to campus and served minorities underrepresented in the sciences. 

At the first Plant Discovery Day, students visited several interactive stations, each about a separate plant science topic. This format has proven to be successful and Plant Discover Day is well on its way to becoming a model example of how to engage students in activities related to plants, science and higher education.

This year graduate students provided each student with a white lab coat and a folder for their work. With lab coats on and with folders in hand, students engaged in interactive activities about:

  • Scanning Electron Microscopy
  • Citrus research at UCR
  • Carbon Dioxide Exchange
  • Plant Physiology
  • Alternative Energy/Biofuels
  • Strawberry DNA Extraction
  • Plant Biotechnology
  • Going to College

Students also learned about botanical illustration. I had the opportunity to participate in Plant Discovery Day and led an activity called “Discover Seeing” that was about how to see plants while using drawing as a learning tool. I also introduced students to scientific illustration as a career and brought attention to the many ways scientific illustrators teach us about science. 

What’s Next for Plant Discovery Day

Event founders Jessica Diaz and Erin Brinton will soon complete their graduate studies and they have started working with the graduate students who will coordinate Plant Discovery Day after they leave.

I asked Jessica and Erin what they envision Plant Discovery Day becoming. Both said they would like it to become a public event benefiting the entire Riverside community. Erin added, “If we could invite more children, have more events, and involve entire families in the event, I feel we would have really succeeded in creating a special outreach event that fills a niche not yet explored by UCR.”

Both founders are very aware, however, that to grow Plant Discovery Day, they will need more funding. While the Department of Botany and Plant Sciences contributes some money towards the event, graduate students are left on their own to raise money to pay for expenses associated with materials, equipment and lunch for the children. 

Would you like to help this group of bright, passionate and dedicated graduate students with Plant Discovery Day 2015?

Go to UCR Online Giving and select the fund titled, “Excellence in Botany and Plant Sciences”. This is a general fund benefiting activities sponsored by the department. Please enter Plant Discovery Day in the box labeled “Special Instructions” and use Appeal Code 14CNAS05. This will make sure your contribution will be used to support this wonderful outreach event. 

When asked what message they wanted to get across about Plant Discovery Day, Jessica replied, “The overall goal is to get kids thinking about the amount of research that has been done on plants and the types of research that has been conducted about plants and plant ecology. Don’t take plants for granted. Science is not only working with mice.”

Questions about contributing to Plant Discovery Day should be directed to
Dr. Edie Allen, Department of Botany & Plant Sciences, UC Riverside.
(951) 827-4714

About Erin Brinton

Erin is a 5th-year Ph.D.candidate in the lab of Dr. Julia Bailey-Serres at
UC Riverside. She received a Bachelor’s degree in Biology at Occidental College in Los Angeles. Her interest in plants is rooted in years of gardening with her father while growing up in Colorado. It was at Occidental College that Erin cultivated her love of plants and her desire to feed the world. While at Occidental, she studied the root system of desert agaves and aloes in the lab of Dr. Gretchen North. She received a Beckman Fellowship for her undergraduate work. As a graduate student, Erin was awarded a NSF graduate research fellowship to fund three years of her schooling and research. She was recently awarded the UCR Dissertation of the Year Program Fellowship to fund her remaining time at UCR. Erin will return to Occidental College in January to begin a two-year post-doctoral research position in Dr. North’s lab. Dedicated to making science accessible to all people, Erin’s previous outreach experience includes presentations at colleges and high schools and working as a math and science tutor with elementary school and high school students.

Erin is currently investigating flood tolerance in corn at the molecular level. She explains that, “Crop loss to flooding in the US costs on average $1 billion dollars with over half of that coming from corn. Improving corn’s tolerance to flooding could not only save money, but also have the potential to alleviate crop loss in areas of the world where farmers cannot afford to replant their corn fields after a flood as we do here in the US.”

About Jessica Diaz

Jessica is a 5th-year Ph.D. candidate in Dr. Patricia Springer’s lab at UCR where her current research is focused on creating rice plants that have more upright leaves so they can be planted at a higher density. Her research also focuses on creating these plants without altering any other parts of the plant’s architecture. Jessica was awarded an NIH MARC U-STAR (National Institutes of Health Minority Access to Research Careers – Undergraduate Student Training for Academic Research) fellowship in 2007 as an undergraduate at California State University, Northridge. The NIH MARC U-STAR program focuses on encouraging and preparing underrepresented minorities to pursue careers in research. Jessica credits this program with providing her with a sense of direction in her life. Jessica is a past-participant in the Plant Genomics Research Program at the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research at Cornell University. Since beginning her research at UCR in 2009, she has been awarded a two-year IGERT fellowship sponsored by NSF, followed by a three-year NSF graduate research fellowship to fund her research.

Originally from Arleta, CA, a predominantly Latino city, Jessica found it difficult to learn about education beyond high school because she did not know anyone with a higher education. While working as a Playground Supervisor at an inner city school, she created an academic and recreational program promoting a positive social atmosphere that went beyond standard school hours. Dedicated to increasing science literacy in underprivileged areas, Jessica wants students to know that science can be enjoyable and stimulating and not intimidating. Jessica explains, “I feel if I can convey to them what I have learned through my journey, I can bring diversity to the science community and integrate it to inspire other students.”

Inspire young botanists.
Contribute to Plant Discovery Day.

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Get ready for Costa Rica 2015!

Here is the latest news at Classes Near You > Florida:

Mindy Lighthipe

Custom classes, art tours, books, ebooks, videos and artwork can be viewed on Mindy’s website. To register for classes, please contact Mindy.

Artistic Adventure Tour – Costa Rica

February 6-16, 2015

In this 10-day workshop, you will tour Costa Rica with botanical and nature artist, Mindy Lighthipe, and nature photographer
Nancy Richmond. Travel to different locations where the rainforest will by your classroom. Learn field sketching, field research, color notation, composition and how to use digital photography for reference details. This workshop is for all levels and welcomes photographers as well.

Some of the places you will visit include:

Go to Costa Rica Art Tours to view the detailed itinerary for this trip.

Cost: $3,549 per person
Save $250 discount if registered before August 1, 2014.

Any questions? Contact Mindy Lighthipe or call 352-226-0949.

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