Posts Tagged ‘postaweek2011’

Imagine drawing and painting the same tree fifty times.

Artist Stephen Taylor did just this, painting the same tree from
June 2003 to August 2006.

He did not wake up one morning and simply decide to paint one tree. Taylor was moved to expand upon a collection of paintings he created after the deaths of his parents and a close friend. The collection took four years to create and it reconnected Taylor to the English countryside which he describes as “a constant from my youth.” After the deaths of his parents and friend, Taylor was looking for a sense of place. He found it in the fields of a farm belonging to friends. He had the opportunity to share his newly found sense of place with others when his collection was exhibited at an arts center in Cambridge. When the exhibition closed, he felt something was missing. He wanted to share more of what he experienced during his time spent painting on the farm. He says he wanted to do paintings that create “a sense of how thousands of smaller worlds exist within a panorama.”

So Taylor returned to the familiar field to describe what he found there. He had become so familiar with the color changes in the field and its natural colors, that he wanted to capture these changes and moods in his work. He took photos, painted sketches in oil and found he kept returning to a big 250-year old oak tree. It wasn’t just the oak tree that kept begging for his attention. It was the relationship the tree had with the sky above, the hedge growing in the foreground, and the commercial crop growing below it. Each changed in structure, appearance and color over time. Taylor began to study the biology of oak trees and document the changes in structure, color and light he observed. Taylor says his paintings were not created according to preconceived notions of what an oak tree looks like. Instead, his paintings were created as he discovered the tree through “looking and painting.”

In his book Oak: One Tree, Three Years, Fifty Paintings, Taylor describes his three-year experience through written reflections and stories about each painting. Taylor’s words make you stop and linger over each painting and make you study the relationship the oak tree has with neighboring elements. It doesn’t take long before you are able to feel the light Taylor painted, hear the crunch of his leaves, and hear the sound of wheat brushing up against his legs as he paints yet another view of the same tree.

You will find yourself noticing the light and dark sides of oak leaves, the siliques of the rapeseed plants and making guesses about the time of year based upon the commercial crop growing underneath the tree.

Painting a tree 50 times means you have to paint the tree’s complex series of branches 50 times. While this may sound like a cumbersome task, Taylor makes it interesting to think about, thanks to the study of branches he shares with readers.

Taylor openly shares his painting process with readers in a chapter dedicated to just this topic. In this chapter, he explains how he worked in the field, painted in the studio, and used Adobe Photoshop to analyze his photographs. Sensitive to nature’s colors and acutely aware of how light falls on nature’s forms, Taylor reveals how he uses painting to help him “discover what is there.”

About Stephen Taylor

Stephen Taylor is a painter living and working in Essex, England. He studied art at Leeds University, Essex University, and Yale and has taught at Felsted School and the Open College of the Arts. Taylor’s work has been exhibited at numerous galleries including the Bernarducci Meisel Gallery in New York, OK Harris Works of Art in New York, Kings College in Cambridge, and the Vertigo Gallery in England.

Oak: One Tree, Three Years, Fifty Paintings

Now available at ArtPlantae Books

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Do nature journaling activities work better with some age groups more than others?

This question was posed to feature guest, John Muir Laws. In his reply, John refers to the matrix he created for the curriculum, Opening the World Through Nature Journaling. In this matrix, he lists each activity, the grade and age each activity was designed for, the length of time required to conduct each activity and special instructions. This matrix can be found on page 5 of the program John created with Emily Breunig and the California Native Plant Society.

Only four days remain to take advantage of the wonderful learning opportunity provided to us by John. Hopefully you have followed the conversation and have requested your free copy of Opening the World Through Nature Journaling.

Teachers, please share this opportunity with your colleagues!

So to get back to the question….

Do nature journaling activities work better with some age groups more than others?

Read John’s reply

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Lenton Rose VIII © 2010 by Linda C. Miller

See what’s new in the Classes Near You section for North Carolina and Virginia:

Linda C. Miller

Linda is a Virginia botanical artist who has been appointed the Artist in Residence at The Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo, NC. Learn more about this special honor here.

Visit Linda’s blog, Botanical Art Today, and her new online store where you can buy prints of Linda’s traditional and whimsical botanical paintings. Looking for note cards? Note cards will be available soon, just in time for Valentine’s Day!

  • Camellia Watercolor Workshop – February 14-16, 2012;
    9:30 AM – 3:30 PM. The Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo, NC has over 300 Japanese camellias in their collection, represented by over 125 cultivars. Learn basic drawing skills, observation, and watercolor techniques to create a botanical painting. Each student will work at their own pace while the instructor consults with each student individually. Beginner to advanced welcome. Materials list provided. Cost: $145. Contact The Elizabethan Gardens to register, (252) 473-3234.
  • Drawing Nature in Pen and Ink – Saturday, March 31, 2012;
    9:30 AM – 12:30 PM. Explore nature’s world of color, textures, and complexity and create a black and white illustration. Working with a technical pen, learn techniques to make strokes that mimic the fuzz on a fern, the fur on an otter or feathers on your favorite bird. Learn how to create lines and stipple to develop a full range of values and texture. Beginner to Intermediate. This class will be taught at Freedom Park in Williamsburg, VA. Limit: 6 adults. Cost: $35. Registration: (757) 259-3200 or http://www.jccegov.com/recreation
  • Botanical Watercolor Workshop – Open Studio – April 17-19, 2012; 9:30 AM – 3:30 PM. Use your artistic skills to illustrate and create a botanical portrait of plants from The Elizabethan Garden’s greenhouses and grounds. Learn basic drawing skills, observation, and watercolor techniques to create a botanical painting. Each student will work at their own pace while the instructor holds demonstrations and consults with each student individually. Beginner to advanced welcome. Materials list provided. This class will be taught at The Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo, NC. Limit: 12 students. Cost: $145. Contact The Elizabethan Gardens to register, (252) 473-3234.
  • Botanical and Nature Watercolor Workshop – April 24-26, 2012; 9:30 AM – 3:30 PM. Learn the fundamentals of botanical art by watching Linda C. Miller demonstrate techniques in botanical drawing and watercolor. Students will select plant specimens from the garden and work at their own drawing as Linda consults with each student. Limit: 6 students. Cost: $140. Registration: (757) 259-3200 or http://www.jccegov.com/recreation

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Sunday, January 1, 2012

This is the deadline for the botanical art and photography exhibition to be held during the conference about plant biodiversity at the University of Washington. Time is running out!

Here again is information and links for participating artists:

The University of Washington Botanic Gardens will host a botanical art exhibition and contest celebrating the native plants and plant communities of northwestern North America. The exhibition and contest will be held in conjunction with the conference Conserving Plant Biodiversity in a Changing World: A View from NW North America, March 13-14, 2012. The exhibition will be on view in the Miller Library at the UW Botanic Gardens from March 1-31, 2012. Conference attendees will vote for the winner in the botanical illustration category and the photography category.

Review of Requirements:

  • Artists must send digital image of their work for consideration.
    Deadline: January 1, 2012
  • Digital image must be 300-800 dpi and must be sent to 2012plantconf.art@gmail.com. Include artist’s name, contact information, name of species, the plant’s native ecosystem and location.
  • Artists will be notified by January 15, 2012 if their work has been selected. Further instructions will be provided at this time.
  • Work must be framed and wired for hanging. No glass. Plexiglass only. Size limit: 20″ x 24″
  • Send all questions to 2012plantconf.art@gmail.com.

Additional instruction (.pdf files) about submitting botanical illustration artwork and photography is available on the exhibition website.

Conserving Plant Biodiversity in a Changing World:
A View from NW North America

University of Washington Botanic Gardens
Seattle, WA
March 13-14, 2012

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New courses for plant enthusiasts, botanists and botanical artists at
Classes Near You > England.

Field Studies Council

Founded in 1943, the Field Studies Council provides learning opportunities about the environment for all ages and abilities. Visit their website to learn more about interdisciplinary fieldwork opportunities, classes for individuals and families, publications and profession development courses.

  • Botany Courses at FSC – Courses include studies of flowers, trees, grasses and grasslike plants, ferns, freshwater and wetland plants, lichens, fungi, general plants, mosses and liverworts.
    View Details/Register
  • Botanical Illustration with Kay Rees-Davies – February 24-26, 2012. Beginners and more experienced illustrators will receive individualized instruction about pencil drawing and color mixing (especially how to mix greens). Students will use watercolor and pencil as they learn techniques to paint studies of plants, fruit, flowers and foilage. View Details/Register
  • Drawing and Painting the Flora at Malham Tarn with Kate Houghton – May 18-21, 2012. This class is for anyone with an interest in documenting and painting native plants. Students will participate in exercises designed to increase speed and accuracy while working in the field. View course details and a description of the landscape at Malham Tarn here.
  • Botanical Illustration Using Colored Pencils with Janie Pirie
    June 22-24, 2012. Create rich, colorful botanical paintings without water! Students will learn how to use wax and oil-based colored pencils to created botanical drawings from one of the UKs leading colored pencil artists. View Details/Register
  • Introduction to Botanical Illustration with Lesley Smith
    July 6-8, 2012. Designed for experienced watercolor painters, this class is for painters who would like to learn about the techniques used by botanical illustrators. Drawing, composition, color mixing and color matching will be discussed. View Details/Register
  • Botanical Illustration and Painting with Kay Rees-Davies
    August 3-5, 2012. Beginners and more experienced artists will learn the botanical illustration and painting techniques necessary to create detailed studies of the plants of Snowdonia. View Details/Register
  • An Approach to Botanical Illustration: Drawing and Basic Watercolor Techniques with Rosie Martin – August 5-10, 2012. In this introductory course, students will study the stages of drawing and painting that result in a three-dimensional detailed plant portrait.
    View Details/Register
  • Botanical Illustration for More Experienced Painters with Jenny Jowett – August 13-20, 2012. The focus of this week-long class is to provide an environment for the exchange of ideas and techniques. Emphasis is on individual studies instead of formal group instruction.
    View Details/Register

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The schedule of classes at The Wagon House B&B in Cornwall, England has been updated at Classes Near You > England.

The Wagon House

Lost Gardens of Heligan, Cornwall
A bed-and-breakfast in the English countryside where you can eat breakfast at a time that is convenient for you, visit the gardens in Cornwall, and take botanical art classes too! Classes are taught by botanical artist and teacher, Mally Francis. The 2012 schedule includes four- and five-day classes.

  • March 22-25, 2012 (4 days)
  • April 20-23, 2012 (4 days)
  • May 18-21, 2012 (4 days)
  • July 10-14, 2012 (4 days)
  • September 6-9, 2012 (5 days)
  • September 26-30, 2012 (4 days)
  • October 26-29, 2012 (4 days)

View Details/Register

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Holiday Wishes

Dear Readers,

Before we take time off to spend the weekend with family and friends, I would like to take a moment to thank you for your continued interest and support of ArtPlantae, its educational objectives and the learning opportunities it provides each month. I appreciate the feedback you have provided through surveys and through personal email. Your contributions help to make ArtPlantae a better resource for everyone.

I would also like to thank the feature artists, authors and educators who shared their work with us and who taught us so much this past year: Jane LaFazio, Mally Francis, Kandis Elliot, Margaret Best, Elaine Searle, Mindy Lighthipe, Niki Simpson, Anna Knights, Helen Allen, the Birmingham Society of Botanical Artists, Hazel-West Sherring and this month’s featured guest, John Muir Laws, who is discussing the use of nature journals in the classroom. Guests work with me well in advance of their feature month and I am extremely grateful for their time, enthusiasm and generosity.

There were big changes this year with a new store and the exciting addition of exhibition catalogs by the American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA), the ASBA’s new coloring book Colorful Edibles, Google eBooks and mobile apps for Android and iOS. Store proceeds keep this website and ArtPlantae’s outreach activities going and I thank you for visiting and using the new store. I hope you find it to be a useful and informative resource.

Wishing you all good health, good company and forward movement beyond your wildest dreams in 2012,


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