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This year I had the opportunity to learn more about Henry R. Mockel, an East Coast artist known for his serigraphs of California desert plants. With this opportunity came the opportunity to speak with people who knew Henry, as well as opportunities to tell Henry’s story in a presentation for the Desert Institute at Joshua Tree National Park and to write a journal article for the Twentynine Palms Historical Society. This week I have the opportunity to share Henry’s story again, this time over afternoon tea.

This week’s presentation is one of several events celebrating the 65th anniversary of the 29 Palms Art Gallery. Henry was an early member of the Gallery and I look forward to sharing his story with a new audience, as well as with those who may have known him.

You are invited to join us for an afternoon of tea and botanical art on Saturday, December 9, 2017 from 3:00 – 5:00 pm. This event is free. Donations to the non-profit gallery are suggested.

The 29 Palms Art Gallery is located in Twentynine Palms, CA. Learn more about the Gallery at www.29palmsartgallery.com.


Gretchen Kai Halpert

www.gretchenhalpert.com
Gretchen Kai Halpert is the founder and instructor of an online program in scientific illustration. A graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design/CE, 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 www.gretchenhalpert-distanceprogram.com.

    Gretchen Kai Halpert
    Scientific Illustration, Session I, Graphite

    January 9-March 13, 2018
    1:00-3:00 or 7:00-9:00 EST or email
    On-Line

    How do you take a three-dimensional object and translate it on to a two-dimensional plane? This course offers: basic scientific illustration drawing skills in graphite; perspective, proportion; value; textures; introduction to pen and ink; scientific conventions; lighting; transferring and scanning. It includes handouts; tutorials; live video conferencing; and email. Beginning and intermediate students.


    Gretchen Kai Halpert
    Scientific Illustration, Session II, Pen and Ink

    January 8-March 12, 2018
    1:00-3:00 or 7:00-9:00 EST or email

    Pen and Ink is a staple for scientific illustrators. This class gives you an opportunity to immerse yourself to proficiency. Pen and ink, crowquill, line and wash techniques, composition, scratchboard, anatomy, professional practices, final projects. It includes handouts; tutorials; live video conferencing; and email. Beginning and intermediate students.

View all classes at www.gretchenhalpert-distanceprogram.com

To register, download the registration form or contact ghalpert@stny.rr.com.

To receive the newsletter of the Scientific Illustration Distance Program, sign up at the website or email Gretchen.


This information can also be found at Classes Near You > New York.

Illustrator Christine Berrie has created a clever way to learn about plant families.

Flower Families: A Go Fish Game is a card game featuring 52 garden flowers that players must group into their respective plants families.

This game introduces players to the following taxonomic groups:

    Amaryllidaceae (Amaryllis Family)
    Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)
    Asteraceae (Daisy Family)
    Onagraceae (Evening Primrose Family)
    Iridaceae (Iris Family)
    Liliaceae (Lily Family)
    Malvaceae (Mallow Family)
    Lamiaceae (Mint Family)
    Brassicaceae (Mustard Family)
    Fabaceae (Pea Family)
    Caryophyllaceae (Pink Family)
    Plantaginaceae (Plantain Family)
    Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Included with the game is the booklet, Flower Families: A Guide to the Flower Families by Timothy Utteridge.

Published in the UK by Laurence King Publishing, this game is distributed in the US by Chronicle Books.


View Contents & Directions

By Vanessa Cantu, Hi-Desert Nature Museum

Nature’s Beloved Son
Rediscovering John Muir’s Botanical Legacy

Hi-Desert Nature Museum
Yucca Valley, CA
September 21 – December 16, 2017

In the spirit which John Muir embraced the botanical world, Nature’s Beloved Son traces his travels through North America and presents vivid images of the actual plants that Muir held in his hands, carried in his pockets, and preserved for all time.

Produced and toured by Exhibit Envoy in partnership with Bonnie J. Gisel, Stephen J. Joseph, Heyday Books, and the Bedford Gallery. This exhibition was supported by the Skirball Foundation and private donors. Students and faculty from the University of California, Davis Design School and Design Museum designed the exhibition.

The Hi-Desert Nature Museum is in the desert community of Yucca Valley, approximately 45 minutes northeast of Palm Springs and 15 minutes west of the Joshua Tree National Park Visitor Center in Joshua Tree.

We often assume that everyone can distinguish between a tree, bush, and herbaceous flowering plant but this is not always the case, especially when it comes to young learners.

Do you know how your youngest students think about plants?

If you’re not sure, consider using the “Is it a plant?” formative assessment probe presented in Uncovering Young Children’s Concept of a Plant, an article written by science education consultant and author, Page Keeley.

In her article, Keeley discusses how this probe was created “to elicit primary students’ initial ideas about plants and the characteristics they use to decide if something is a plant.”

The “Is it a plant?” assessment involves a single sheet of paper featuring simple illustrations of nine plant types — cactus, tree, grass, weed, bush, dandelion, water lily, vine, and fern. Students are asked to view the sheet and to select which of the illustrations represent a plant. They are then asked to share the reasons why they made the choices that they did. This probe leads to conversations between teachers and students about what a plant is and isn’t and provides educators with an opportunity to customize learning experiences that will expand their students’ understanding of plants.

View this assessment and find out how you can administer it yourself by purchasing Keeley’s article online from the journal Science and Children (99¢).


Literature Cited

Keeley, Page. (2017). Uncovering young children’s concept of a plant. Science and Children. 55(2): 20-22.



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From The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens

Antonio García Cubas (1832–1912), agricultural map in Atlas pintoresco é historico de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos, (Picturesque and historical atlas of the United States of Mexico), Mexico City: Debray Sucesores, 1885, chromolithograph, 24 13/16 × 30 11/16 in. The Newberry Library, Chicago, Ayer 655.59.G2. Copyright © The Huntington


Visual Voyages:
Images of Latin American Nature from Columbus to Darwin

Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens
MaryLou and George Boone Gallery
San Marino, CA
September 16, 2017 – January 8, 2018


Visual Voyages
looks at how indigenous peoples, Europeans, Spanish Americans, and individuals of mixed-race descent depicted natural phenomena for a range of purposes and from a variety of perspectives: artistic, cultural, religious, commercial, medical, and scientific. The exhibition examines the period that falls roughly between Christopher Columbus’s first voyage in 1492 and Charles Darwin’s publication of On the Origin of Species in 1859, a work based largely on Darwin’s own voyage to the region in the 1830s.

“Information and materials circulated at an unprecedented rate as people transformed their relationship to the natural world and to each other,” said Daniela Bleichmar, associate professor of art history and history at the University of Southern California (USC) and co-curator of the exhibition. “Images served not only as artistic objects of great beauty but also as a means of experiencing, understanding and possessing the natural world. These depictions circulated widely and allowed viewers—then and now—to embark on their own ‘visual voyages’.”

Bleichmar, who was born in Argentina and raised in Mexico, is an expert on the history of science, art, and cultural contact in the early modern period. Her publications include the prize-winning book Visible Empire: Botanical Expeditions and Visual Culture in the Hispanic Enlightenment (University of Chicago Press, 2012).

An exhibition catalog will be available beginning September 2017. Published by Yale University Press in association with The Huntington, the 240-page book contains 153 color illustrations ($50.00).

Visual Voyages is an international loan exhibition that is part of the Getty’s Pacific Standard Time: LA/LA initiative, an exploration of Latin American and Latino art involving more than 70 arts institutions across southern California. Gallery text will be in Spanish and English.


About The Huntington

The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens is a collections-based research and educational institution serving scholars and the general public. More information about The Huntington can be found online at huntington.org.


Several programs and exhibitions will be occur in conjunction with this exhibition. Artists, naturalists, and educators may be especially interest in:

    Visual Voyages in the Gardens
    Sept 16, 2017–Jan 8, 2018
    Throughout the Botanical Gardens
    Visitors can enrich their experience of “Visual Voyages” by strolling the botanical gardens in search of the real-life specimens of plants they have seen depicted in the gallery. Keep your eyes peeled for two dozen “Visual Voyages” signs, pointing to cacao, pineapple, tobacco, and other plants indigenous to Latin America.


    In Pursuit of Flora: 18th-Century: Botanical Drawings from The Huntington’s Art Collections

    Oct. 28, 2017 – Feb. 19, 2018
    Huntington Art Gallery, Works on Paper Room
    European exploration of other lands during the so-called Age of Discovery revealed a vast new world of plant life that required description, cataloging, and recording. By the 18th century, the practice of botanical illustration had become an essential tool in the study of natural history. From lusciously detailed drawings of fruit and flowers by Georg Dionysius Ehret (1708–1770), a collaborator of Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus, to depictions of more exotic examples by Matilda Conyers (1753–1803), “In Pursuit of Flora” reveals 18th-century European appreciation for the beauty of the natural world.


    Free Talk and Book Signing

    The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World
    Oct. 15 (Sunday) 2:30 p.m.
    Rothenberg Hall
    Join best-selling author Andrea Wulf for a talk about the life of explorer, scientist, and early environmentalist Alexander von Humboldt (1769–1859), the subject of her most recent book, The Invention of Nature. Her talk will focus on Humboldt’s explorations of Latin America. No reservations required.


    Wark Lecture (Free)

    Seeing and Knowing: Visions of Latin American Nature, ca.1492–1859
    Oct. 16 (Monday) 7:30 p.m.
    Rothenberg Hall
    Historian Daniela Bleichmar, co-curator of the exhibition, discusses the surprising and little-known story of the pivotal role that Latin America played in the pursuit of science and art during the first global era. A book signing and coffee reception will follow the talk. No reservations required.


    Free Lecture

    Cochineal in the History of Art and Global Trade
    Dec. 10 (Sunday) 2:30 p.m.
    Rothenberg Hall
    Alejandro de Ávila Blomberg of the Oaxaca Ethnobotanical Garden and Oaxaca Textile Museum will explore the historical and cultural significance of this natural crimson dye. Used from antiquity, cochineal became Mexico’s second-most valued export after silver during the Spanish colonial period. No reservations required.


View all programs and additional images here

Does your busy life cause you to neglect your houseplants?
There are 14 plants in this book just for you!


House Jungle: A Guide to Becoming a Successful Indoor Gardener!
is a cheerful new book containing the type of information a person needs to green up their living space. It is perfect both in content and in size for homeowners, apartment residents, dorm dwellers, and RV enthusiasts whose home is on four wheels.

Written and playfully illustrated by designer Annie Dornan-Smith, House Jungle is a helpful guide for indoor gardeners. Houseplant enthusiasts will learn:

  • The benefits of houseplants
  • How to start an indoor garden
  • How to decorate with houseplants
  • How to care for houseplants
  • Where to buy houseplants
  • How to make more houseplants

Indoor gardeners will also learn about fourteen plants that can tolerate low light and a little bit of neglect. This is a good starter list for anyone who doubts their ability to maintain a thriving indoor garden.

While Dornan-Smith surely had homeowners in mind when writing House Jungle, I think this book is also a good resource for teachers interested in bringing houseplants into the classroom. Written and illustrated like a sketchbook, House Jungle features easy-to-follow text and instruction that promises to keep students engaged with the care of their classroom jungle. Plus its format can spark ideas and conversation about how students can track the growth of their indoor garden and keep a nature/science journal of their own.

Published just last week, House Jungle is available directly from the author (for UK readers) and from your local independent bookstore (for US readers).



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