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Archive for the ‘Teaching & Learning’ Category

Next week The New York Academy of Medicine Library will host the 2nd Annual #ColorOurCollections Week.

Cultural institutions around the world will share coloring sheets featuring material from their rare book libraries, archival repositories, special collections and general collections. Follow the hashtag #ColorOurCollections on your favorite social media channel February 6-10, 2017 and join in the fun. Explore the collections of museums and libraries online, download pages to color and post your colorful creations to Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook.

This event is organized by The New York Academy of Medicine Library. View a list of participating institutions and their respective social media channels online.


Learn More



Related – Botanical Art Coloring Books

(Links updated 2/4/17)

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In November 2015 illustrator and educator Wendy Hollender launched
A Year of Botanical Drawing, a 12-month subscription program created to provide aspiring botanical illustrators with structured instruction through 2016.

Now one year later, this successful subscription program has evolved into two new online courses. These courses are now available at DrawBotanical.com, the learning platform created specifically for them. Time-strapped nature artists juggling the demands of daily life can choose between relaxing 30-minute instructional meditations in Botanical Basics or step-by-step instruction in colored pencil and watercolor in The Practice of Botanical Drawing. To learn more about each program, click on the links above. If you would like to go on a tour of the new learning platform and would like to “meet” with Wendy herself, be sure to watch the video on the DrawBotanical.com homepage.

Purchase a one-year subscription to The Practice of Botanical Drawing between now and Christmas Eve (December 24, 2016) and receive 5% off the course fee of $400 when you use the promotional code HOLIDAYSALE12 during checkout. A one-year subscription to The Practice of Botanical Drawing includes complimentary access to Botanical Basics.

Begin your study of botanical illustration or give the gift of botanical art to your favorite nature artist, classroom teacher or informal science educator.


Find out more at DrawBotanical.com



About Wendy Hollender

Wendy Hollender is a botanical 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 illustrator of Foraging and Feasting: A Basic Field Guide & Wild Food Cookbook written by Dina Falconi. Wendy has years of experience introducing botanical illustration to new audiences.

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When browsing the stacks for primary literature about drawing and learning, we usually read articles written by faculty who study these topics. The voices of students participating in these studies are seldom heard. There might be a quote here or there and examples of student work, but that’s it.

Today I am happy to bring attention to an article that changes this. In the current issue of The STEAM Journal sixth-grade student Rudaba R. Hasan writes about the importance of visualizing science in Visualizing a Plant Cell. In this article about using art to learn about science, we learn how Hasan and fellow sixth-grade students turned an assignment to draw plant and animal cells into an engaging infographic using color, lively characters and informative text.

Learn more about this project by reading Visualizing a Plant Cell, now available online on the journal’s website.


Literature Cited

Hasan, Rudaba R. (2016). Visualizing a Plant Cell. The STEAM Journal. Vol.2: Iss. 2, Article 33. DOI: 10.5642/steam.20160202.33. Retrieved from http://scholarship.claremont.edu/steam/vol2/iss2/33



About The STEAM Journal

The STEAM Journal is an international transdisciplinary peer-reviewed open access online journal focused on the relationship between art and science. Learn More

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Friends of Wellesley College Botanic Gardens Certificate Program in Botanical Art and Illustration
http://www.wellesley.edu/wcbgfriends
Our program offers several weekly and one- to three-day classes on botanical art with lead instructor and Education Director Sarah Roche as well as Carrie Megan, Carol Ann Morley, Esther Klahne, and many other visiting instructors from near and far. The courses offered through this program cover all aspects of botanical art. Along with Sarah’s twice-yearly offerings, Foundations of Botanical Drawing and Painting and the more advanced Techniques of Botanical Drawing and Painting, here is a brief overview of the 2016-2017 course offerings:

  • Carrie Megan’s Drawing Pine Cones; Assorted Vegetables & Herbs: Library Page; and Spring Flowers Decomposed
  • Liz Haywood-Sullivan’s smART Business: Creative Management Techniques for Artists
  • Carol Ann Morley’s Drawing in the Greenhouses: From Root to Tip and Colored Pencil Review
  • Jeanne Kunze’s Introduction to Watercolor: Three Colors and Mark Making Techniques: Your Inner Doodle
  • Hillary Parker’s Expressing Your Artistic Voice Through Composition and Mastering Washes
  • Esther Klahne’s Floral Collage: In the Style of Mrs. Delany
  • Ellen Duarte’s Introduction to Scientific Pen Techniques
  • Susan Fisher’s Color Mixing for Artists and Study the Masters
  • Ann Swan’s Pushing the Boundaries: Composition with Colored Pencil and Vibrant Colors and Tactile Textures with Colored Pencil
  • Sarah Roche’s beginner class, Drawing and Painting for the Petrified


Learn more about Wellesley’s certificate program


View current Programs, Courses, & Travel schedule


This information has also been posted to Classes Near You > Massachusetts

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The University of Newcastle Australia is offering a six-week course about natural history illustration on edX, an online platform founded by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Drawing Nature, Science and Culture: Natural History Illustration is for aspiring scientific illustrators or anyone who enjoys drawing nature. Participants will learn observation skills and drawing techniques. They will also learn about composition and will study the morphology of mammals, birds and plants.

Participants should plan for up to six hours of homework per week. While this online course is free, a verified certificate of completion is available for a fee.

The instructors for this course are Dr. Andrew Howells and Dr. Bernadette Drabsch, both of the Natural History Illustration program at the University of Newcastle.

Learn more about this free learning opportunity by watching this short video and by reviewing the syllabus online. This course begins on October 26, 2016.


More about “Drawing Nature, Science and Culture”

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Need to discuss flower painting with teenagers?

You will find helpful suggestions in the article, How to Read Art: Analyze these artists’ techniques to interpret their paintings. This article is in the September 2016 issue of Scholastic Art, a magazine dedicated to bringing art history to middle school and high school students.

In How to Read Art, three flower painters and their approach to flower painting are discussed. The painters featured in this article are Dutch flower painter Rachel Ruysch (1664-1750), Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890) and Georgia O’Keefe (1887-1986). The editors of Scholastic Art compare the realistic style of Ruysch, to the expressive style of Van Gogh, to the creative flower close-ups of O’Keefe. The paintings under analysis in the article are “Flower Piece” by Ruysch, “Irises” by Van Gogh and “Purple Petunias” by O’Keefe.

The September issue of Scholastic Art can be viewed online for free.
(NOTE: Adobe Flash is required to view this magazine online.)



Literature Cited

Scholastic Art. (2016). How to read art: Analyze these artists’ techniques to interpret their paintings. Scholastic Art. September 2016, 4-5. Retrieved from http://art.scholastic.com/issues/09_01_16.

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Botany and botanical art enter the digital workspace

Botany and botanical art enter the digital workspace


Niki Simpson
is an award-winning artist who has earned medals in photography and watercolor from the Royal Horticultural Society. In 2003 she began developing a technique combining digital photography and traditional botanical art. She has spent the past 12 years perfecting the art of digital botanical illustration and the creation of information-rich botanical plates she calls composite botanical illustrations.

Since 2007, Niki’s digital botanical illustrations have appeared in four books. The most recent publication, Nuphar lutea: Botanical images for the digital documentation of a taxon was published this past May.

In her beautiful new book, Niki explores different ways of observing plants and demonstrates how composite botanical illustrations can be used to describe a specific plant species–in this case Nuphar lutea (Yellow Water Lily). Twelve botanical plates are featured in her new book, each highlighting some aspect of the morphology or life cycle of the yellow water lily. Botanists, gardeners, educators and artists will find Niki’s presentations exciting and informative. Because the illustrations were inspired by the engravings found in herbals, readers will find the format of these contemporary botanical illustrations very familiar, with the exception of two modern elements. In her signature style, Niki adds a 21st-century twist to her botanical plate by adding Nuphar lutea‘s DNA sequence and barcode to what would otherwise be a very traditional format.

While my images are inspired by, and draw heavily from, the accuracy and detail found in traditional botanical art, for me, the future of botanical illustration lies in exploring the potential of the dynamic digital workspace, so that botanical illustration can fully support botanists in the future.

— Niki Simpson

Keeping with her goal to blend botany, botanical art and digital technology, Niki also discusses design, smartphones, tablets, virtual books and other digital techniques. Here is look at the topics addressed in her new book:

  • Foreward
  • Artist’s statement
  • Introduction
  • Composite illustration or image voucher of Nuphar lutea
  • Nuphar–rearranging, resizing and recombining parts
  • Nuphar–from flower to seed
  • Nuphar–taking a closer look at the flower
  • Nuphar–evolution of my floral diagram
  • Nuphar–from fruit to seed dispersal
  • Nuphar–from seed to adult
  • Nuphar–foliage
  • Nuphar–for design
  • Nuphar–poster style
  • Nuphar–herbarium specimens
  • Composite illustration of Nuphar lutea including DNA sequence data
  • Composite illustration of Nuphar lutea including DNA barcode visualization
  • Nuphar–developing interactivity by starting with a virtual book
  • Nuphar–on smartphones and tablets
  • Nuphar–digital black and white line drawing
  • Nuphar–digital hybrid images
  • Nuphar–my virtual sketchpad
  • Final Thoughts
  • Acknowledgements
  • Bibliography

If you have an interest in botanical illustration or botany education, you will appreciate this book and the path Niki is forging in botany and botanical art education.

Learn more about Niki in this interview and learn how she is expanding the future of botanical illustration through her website Visual Botany.

Nuphar - from fruit to seed dispersal, ©2016 Niki Simpson, all rights reserved

Nuphar – from fruit to seed dispersal, ©2016 Niki Simpson, all rights reserved

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