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Archive for the ‘Special Announcements’ Category

Each year The Linnean Society of London issues the Jill Smythies Award to a botanical artist for outstanding illustrations.

The Jill Smythies Award is awarded to “a botanical artist in recognition of excellence in published illustrations, such as drawings or paintings, in aid of plant identification, with the emphasis on botanical accuracy and the accurate portrayal of diagnostic characteristics.” The work submitted for consideration must be “excellent botanical art (drawing or painting) that is ‘an aid to identification and a portrayal of diagnostic characteristics.’”

I am thrilled to announce that
Niki Simpson is one of two recipients of the 2018 Jill Smythies Award and that she received this award for her digital botanical illustrations.

If you are a longtime reader of this blog, you may remember Niki’s story. Already an award-winning botanical artist, Niki began developing a technique combining digital photography and traditional botanical art back in 2003. Aware of the argument that traditional illustrations are thought to be more informative than photographs, she investigated ways to increase the amount of information presented in digital illustrations. Her dedication and outside-the-box thinking resulted in digital illustrations that have introduced new audiences to botanical art and have changed the way people view and think about plants.

Niki and botanist Peter G. Barnes first wrote about this new approach to botanical illustration in Photography and contemporary botanical illustration, an article published in Curtis’s Botanical Magazine in 2008. In this article, they discuss photography’s “evolving role in botanical illustration” and present digital composite illustrations as “a natural development of the composite watercolour or line illustrations that are familiar to all botanists” (Simpson & Barnes, 2008).

It has been fascinating to watch photography’s role in botanical art evolve, and it is exciting to see Niki Simpson’s contributions recognized by the world’s oldest active biological society.

Over the past 15 years, Niki’s digital botanical illustrations have been on view in numerous exhibitions and have appeared in four books, including the magnificent Nuphar lutea: Botanical images for the digital documentation of a taxon published in May 2016.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) has also recognized Niki’s work. Between 1989 and 2008, the RHS awarded Niki medals for both her traditional watercolor paintings and digital botanical illustrations.

Learn more about Niki Simpson’s award-winning digital composite illustrations on her website Visual Botany.

View all 2018 medal winners on The Linnean Society’s blog, including
Juliet Williamson, illustrator of The Kew Plant Glossary: An Illustrated Dictionary of Plant Identification Terms who also received the 2018 Jill Smythies Award for her contributions to botany and botanical art.

Congratulations to Niki and Juliet and thank you for teaching us all so much.


Literature Cited

Simpson, Niki and Peter G. Barnes. (2008). Photography and contemporary botanical illustration. Curtis’s Botanical Magazine, 25(3): 258-280



Also See

Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord is an award-winning artist, author, and speaker. Her stunning handmade books and calligraphy work have been shown in exhibitions throughout the United States. Susan has authored seven books and has served as a contributing artist to several publications. Her current exhibition,
The Spirit Books is now on view at the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University.

Susan’s Spirit Books series began in 1992. It represents an ongoing exploration of her love of books and her response to the natural world. Using branches, stems, roots, more than 22 types of media, and handmade paper from nine countries, Susan creates wordless books that speak volumes. Each book is placed in a cradle of natural material to produce a sculpture leading to “a contemplative experience that takes the reader out of the everyday world and into a state of gratitude and reverence.”

Spirit Book #82: Soaring Serenity (cradle from a butterfly bush), © Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord, all rights reserved

Spirit Book #43: Renewed Wisdom (cradle from lilac and blackberry vines), © Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord, all rights reserved

Spirit Book #99: Chambered Congruity (with a cradle made from sweetgum pods), © Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord, all rights reserved

Additional Spirit Books can be viewed in Susan’s online gallery. I am confident you will find these sculptures beautiful, emotional, and peaceful and that they will pique your curiosity about the countries and cultures behind the materials Susan uses.

To learn more about the Spirit Books on view at the Arnold Arboretum, follow Susan on her blog where she writes about the fourteen books in the exhibition.

If you live in the Boston area, you have the opportunity to learn from Susan personally during her artist’s talk scheduled for Saturday, June 2, 2018 (3-4 pm).


Visit The Arnold Arboretum



BONUS: Make Your Own Books!

Susan is not only a busy artist, but she is also the generous force behind MakingBooks.com, a resource for teachers and parents interested in sharing the book arts with students of all ages.

Visit MakingBooks.com and you’ll find:

  • Free projects
  • Tips & Tools for Teachers
  • Tips & Tools for Families
  • Videos
  • Downloadable projects and other resources in the eBookstore.

Of particular interest to botanical and scientific illustrators are Susan’s videos about how to make and use a Plant Tag Fan Book, a Step Book, and a Stick & Elastic Book.

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By Taina Litwak, Program Co-coordinator, GNSI Conference

The Guild of Natural Science Illustrators would like to invite you to join us at the 50th Anniversary GNSI Conference in Washington, D.C., July 15-21, 2018. Illustrators, artists, scientists and educators will gather to showcase award-winning work and new techniques that shape diverse fields of inquiry where science and art converge. We hope you will join fellow artists and science communicators this summer at this historic gathering in Washington D.C., where the GNSI began back in 1968.

Conference registration is now open.

View the conference website at http://2018.conf.gnsi.org.

For more information, please contact Shannon Russell, Local Expert, GNSI Conference 2018.

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Courtesy Nomade Aventure, © Agathe and Thomas Haevermans

If you’ve ever wanted to go somewhere less traveled to draw and paint plants like the botanists and artists of past centuries, here is your opportunity.

Scientific illustrator Agathe Haevermans and botanist Thomas Haevermans have announced they will lead a botany and illustration tour of Madagascar in the fall.

This tour is a 14-day adventure that includes travel by foot, bus, boat and dug-out canoe. Travelers will visit national parks and marine reserves, seaside villages, local markets, pristine forests, and meet with Malagasy botanical artists. Travelers will fill their sketchbooks with images daily while learning about Madagascar’s flora and fauna. Madagascar is home to thousands of species believed not to exist anywhere else on earth.

Here is a brief look at the itinerary:

    Day 1
    Arrival in the Malagasy capital, visit a botanical and zoological park, meet Malagasy botanical artists.

    Day 3
    Hike to the top of Montagne des Français, visit the Orangea forest, sketch the Baobabs, pachypodiums, and other succulent plants.

    Day 4
    Visit a dense rainforest.

    Day 5
    Visit geological features, go on a hike and add images to your sketchbook.

    Day 6
    Visit Ankarana National Park, sketch the botanical curiosities you encounter.

    Day 7
    Visit an uninhabited island and explore the lagoon.

    Day 8
    Visit one of the last primary forests where you can find almost all the endemic flora and fauna in northern Madagascar. Travel by cut-out canoe.

    Day 9
    Morning drawing workshop with Agathe at the hotel. Afternoon on your own.

    Day 10
    Visit local markets in a seaside village.

    Day 11
    Visit Ankarafantsika National Park.

    Day 12
    Explore Ankarafantsika National Park.

    Day 13
    Walking tour of the City of Flowers.

    Day 14
    Botanical drawing workshop and other options available on this day.

The full itinerary of this adventure can be viewed on the website of Nomade Aventure, the travel company organizing this trip.


More About Your Experienced Guides

Agathe and Thomas Haevermans are both members of the Société des Explorateurs Français (Society of French Explorers).

Agathe Haevermans is the scientific illustrator at the Muséum National Histoire Naturelle (Museum of Natural History) in Paris. She is also the president of the Société Française d’Illustration Botanique (French Society of Botanical Illustration), and the author of several books, including The Art of Botanical Drawing: An Introductory Guide (2009).

Thomas Haevermans is a botanist who has conducted research throughout Asia and Madagascar. He now manages the botanical team at the Institute of Systemics, Evolution, and Biodiversity at the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris.

Accompanying the Haevermans will be a team of local French-speaking guides and local park guides.

This adventure begins on October 20, 2018, in the capital city of Antananarivo.

Cost: 2929 €


(Note: The duration and price shown in the itinerary does not include an international return flight so to allow travelers to book a return trip most appropriate for their situation)


View map and itinerary



More Images

(Click on image to enlarge)

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Lady Finger Bananas, watercolor. © 2018 Sally Jacobs, all rights reserved

Sunday’s at the
Farmers Market

tag Gallery
Los Angeles, CA
April 17 – May 12, 2018

Contemporary botanical artist, Sally Jacobs, continues her exploration of Los Angeles’ farmers market in Sundays at the Farmers Market.

A watercolor artist and foodie, Sally visits the farmers market weekly to select specimens that inspire creativity in both her studio and her kitchen.

Sally’s paintings have been on exhibit in juried shows in New York and San Francisco, and at museums in New York, Minneapolis, and Phoenix. She was an award-winner at the Brand 37 Works on Paper exhibition at the Brand Library and Art Gallery and is one of the artists featured in Today’s Botanical Artists, a book about botanical artists in North America.

Meet Sally at the opening reception on Saturday, April 21, 2018 (5-8 pm). Learn from Sally during her Artists’ Talk scheduled for Saturday, April 28 from 3-4 pm.

Interested in trying botanical art yourself? Sally will teach you How to Draw a Leaf on Saturday, May 5 from 1-3 pm. Contact Sally to reserve your place in class. Class size is limited.

Visit the tag Gallery at 5458 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 11 am – 5 pm. (View Map)



Related

Read a review of Today’s Botanical Artists and learn from the artists featured in this book (begin here).

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For the past fifteen years, I have encouraged an interest in plants through art, science, and interpretation as the full-time educator, bookseller, and editor at ArtPlantae. While art, science, and interpretation continue to be part of my practice, I am shifting my attention to issues related to the nature of work in informal environmental education.

My current project, The Freelance Condition & Lifelong Learning in Communities, is an investigation into the contributions informal educators make to lifelong learning. This research focuses specifically on the contributions of freelance informal educators who address plants, nature, and related topics in their work. I am focusing on freelance informal educators in particular because they are not bound to one location and have the opportunity to create change in many different settings.

Who are these freelance educators?

What do they do?

Where do they work?

How do they lead?

What do they need to be better leaders?

These are some of the questions I seek to answer.


WHY THIS MATTERS

Did you know the average American spends less than 5% of their life in the classroom (Falk & Dierking, 2010)?

Most learning throughout one’s life occurs outside of the classroom. This means that most people learn about plants, nature, and related topics outside of school. I suspect many people learn from independent professionals working in informal education. Where do they learn from these independent professionals? What do they learn? I hope to find answers to these questions.

If you are an independent professional whose work connects people with nature, please consider sharing your story. If you lead a program as an author, illustrator, poet, artist, photographer, basket weaver, book artist, scientist, designer, or interpreter in informal learning environments, please consider sharing your story.

Not sure if you are a “freelance informal educator”?

For this study, a “freelance informal educator” is defined as someone who does not receive income as an employee (W-2 income) for the programs, products, or learning experiences they create. Freelance educators, like other freelancers, work one project, one event, or one gig at a time. If this describes you, please consider sharing your story.

Over the years I have met many passionate, independent professionals who strive to connect people with nature through their work. I have often wondered how many other professionals like them (and me) are out there in the world. I have also wondered about how each educator contributes to the public’s understanding of nature. This survey represents the first step towards finding this out.

Are you a freelance informal educator whose work connects people with plants, nature, and related topics?

Share Your Story



Literature Cited

Falk, J.H., & Dierking, L.D. (2010). The 95 percent solution: School is not where most Americans learn most of their science. American Scientist, 98(6): 486-493

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By Wohlfarth Galleries

Opuntia polyacantha (Prickly Pear) © 2001 Donald Davidson, all rights reserved

Botanical Field Illustrations in Watercolor II
Donald Davidson
Wohlfarth Galleries
Washington, DC
March 10 – April 6, 2018

Botanical illustrator Donald Davidson will launch a second solo show of dramatic watercolors of native botanicals at Wohlfarth Galleries in Washington, DC. This exhibition opens March 10 and continues through April 6, 2018. Last year’s show nearly sold out and focused on works from deserts and Vieques, Puerto Rico, as will this year’s show.

Viewers will find a return to the spare, unvarnished approach that seemingly belies Davidson’s devotion to neo-expressionism back in the 1980’s. In his depiction of the Puerto Rican native plant, Talinum fruticosum, an edible succulent related to portulaca found in many DC-area gardens, the artist captures this plant’s rooted, yet lively dance of nature with direct brush and pen strokes that reveal the anatomical elements key to its botanical identification.

Davidson received his first solo museum show as a painter of native flora from the Centennial Museum of El Paso in 2004. This exhibition became a traveling show displayed at visitor centers within the National Parks system. His work was on view in 2016 in the exhibition, Flora of the National Parks, at the US Botanical Garden on the Smithsonian Mall.

Awarded the Presidential Gold Medal for Volunteer Service, Davidson has created over 600 watercolors spanning 20 years, as an artist-in-the-park, under the auspices of the US Department of Interior in support of its mandate to monitor and preserve native species on public lands nationwide. Ten percent of sales will be donated to Friends Group of the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge to help with Hurricane Maria recovery.

Meet Donald and ask questions about his work during the opening reception scheduled for Saturday, March 10, 2018, from 3-5pm. Wohlfarth Galleries is located in the Brookland Arts’ District, one block from Red Line Metro (map). Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 11 AM – 4 PM and by appointment.


Visit Wohlfarth Galleries

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