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Botanical Dimensions is a non-profit organization dedicated to exploring plants and the cultural knowledge surrounding them.

Next month Botanical Dimensions will host Picturing Plants: Cyanotype and Botanical Drawing as Tools for Depicting Nature. This workshop will be taught by visual artist Klea McKenna and Kathleen Harrison, Director of the Ethnobotany Library in Occidental, CA.

In this weekend workshop, participants will learn how to create botanical illustrations using graphite, pen and ink, and colored pencil. Participants will also learn about cyanotype printing and the history of botanical illustration. Also scheduled is a Saturday evening talk with artist Klea McKenna.

    Picturing Plants: Cyanotype and Botanical Drawing as Tools for Depicting Nature
    Klea McKenna and Kathleen Harrison
    Occidental Center for the Arts
    June 2-3, 2018
    10 am – 4 pm
    Cost: $350
    View Details/Register

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.

See inside

Welcome to New Zealand: A Nature Journal is a bright and colorful introduction to documenting the natural world.

Author and illustrator Sandra Morris filled this 48-page book with many inspiring ideas. It is a great resource to use this week during
National Environmental Education Week (EE Week), not to mention that fast-approaching summer vacation!

Included in the colorful pages of her book are ideas not usually found in journaling books.

These ideas include:

  • How to create a seasonal color wheel.
  • How to create a garden food chain.
  • How to sketch a forest ecosystem.
  • How to create a habitat study.
  • How to create a layered map of shore birds.
  • How to create a moon log.
  • How to track cloud formations during the day.
  • How to create a zoo trail map.

An idea I especially like is Morris’ approach to comparing two species of swamp birds. This smart idea will appeal to someone who is learning about birds and who is just now beginning a practice of sketching birds.

Selected pages of this book are viewable online.

Welcome to New Zealand can be purchased from your local bookseller through IndieBound. Better yet, stop by your local bookstore this weekend and help them celebrate Independent Bookstore Day, an annual event occurring on the fourth Saturday of April (learn more).

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)

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).

Plant Prints & Earth Paintings
Tina Scopa
An Tobar
Isle of Mull, Scotland
March 3-30, 2018

This past summer we learned about edaphic plant art when we spoke with Scottish artist Tina Scopa. Working spontaneously with plants and soil, Tina gets plants to “draw” themselves in prints, photography, and ceramic work. Her current exhibition titled, Plant Prints & Earth Paintings, represents four years of exploring plants and soil. Images from this show are below.

During our conversation with Tina, we also learned she was working on her fine art degree at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design at the University of Dundee. I am happy to share that Tina has almost completed her studies and is working on her degree show.

While we wait for her degree show, we can learn more about Tina’s practice and about what motivates her to create edaphic plant art by reading her paper about environmental art (also called land art or ecological art).

In a living understanding of nature, Tina asks the question:

    Can a contemporary art practice reconnect society to the “rhythms, sights, sounds, and scents of the natural world”?

To answer this question, Tina researched experiential knowledge and experiential understanding through art. If you have an interest in learning how art might be used in environmental education, you will enjoy Tina’s paper.

The exhibition Plant Prints & Earth Paintings is now on view at An Tobar on the Isle of Mull. Click on the first image to begin a tour of the exhibition.

All photos are courtesy of Tina Scopa.



Related

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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