I travelled to New York City on the eighth of November to attend the opening of ASBA’s 20th Annual International Exhibition. This is planned to be the final exhibition at the 1stdibs showroom at the New York Design Center. I attempted to go last year to discover that the showroom is only open weekdays! Although it’s a nice venue for the exhibition, and a lot better than the previous venue at the Horticultural Society offices, this is a real disadvantage in terms of getting visitor traffic. Next year the exhibition will take place at Wave Hill, in the Bronx, which is a delightful location.
I was impressed by the very high standard of the work. There were several large format works, which really popped on the wall. Botanical paintings often don’t make much of an impression from a distance. These did: Carrie di Costanzo’s “Cockscomb III” (24 x 19); Linda Lufkins’s “Sunflower x 2” (22¼ x 18½); Olga Ryabtsova’s “Bird of Paradise” (22 x 29). Each had as the subject a single flower. I liked the decorative qualities of Monika DeVries Gohlke’s “’Blackcurrant Swirl’ Datura” (24 x 18), which was a more complex composition. It’s always fun to see different media, in this case, an “Aquatint Etching with Chine Collé, hand-colored.”
Lee D’Zmura’s lovely pencil drawing of Boxelder was the only local picture in the show. (Lee was there too!) This exhibition is open until the 21st of December. “Out of the Woods” is showing concurrently (until April 22, 2018) at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx (just a short train ride from Grand Central). If you plan to be in New York before Christmas, put them both on your list. You can even do some last minute shopping!
On November 6-10, Anne-Marie Evans held a class in Falls Church, VA, where 16 eager students drew and painted heritage/heirloom apples. One of our members, Judy Rodgers, worked with the Albemarle Cider Works in Charlottesville, VA, to obtain specimens for the class. Although apples had already been harvested, we were given apples from their storage facilities, and Judy went to the orchard to cut leaves and small branches. We greatly appreciate the generosity of everyone at the Cider Works, especially Charlotte Shelton, owner, and Jennifer Detweiler, Assistant Cider Maker.
Today at the ASBA’s 23rd Annual Meeting and Conference in San Francisco, California, on behalf of BAEE, Karen Ringstrand presented a grant of $15,000 to support publication of the expanded catalog for the ASBA exhibition Botanical Art Worldwide: America’s Flora.
Carol Woodin, ASBA’s Exhibitions Director made the following opening remarks: “Botanical Art Worldwide is a groundbreaking collaboration between botanical artists, organizations, and institutions worldwide, creating and exhibiting botanical artworks of native plants found in each participating country. This project will be launched in May of 2018, and a Worldwide Day of Botanical Art has been proclaimed, to take place on May 18, 2018. As that day travels around the world events will be shared on social media online so artists everywhere can watch the launch of at least 22 national exhibitions highlighting our planet’s precious biodiversity. This is a project that has never been attempted and people far and wide are contributing their time and expertise to the project’s success.
“ASBA will produce an expanded catalog, Botanical Art Worldwide: America’s Flora, to deliver the messages of the exhibition and project to new audiences, and to produce a permanent record of the artworks and plants included. We would like to announce the award of a major grant in support of this catalog. Botanical Artists for Education & the Environment is an organization dedicated to excellence in botanical art and native plant conservation and use. They’ve published a successful book American Botanical Paintings: Native Plants of the mid-Atlantic, and because of this success, have been able to provide grants to several conservation-related organizations and projects.”
Carol then introduced Karen, who spoke briefly: “Over a decade ago, the renowned botanical art teacher, one of the founders of ASBA, and currently an Honorary Director of ASBA, Anne-Marie Evans began teaching annual classes in Falls Church, Virginia. She soon realized the students needed a serious project to motivate them.
“As a result of Anne-Marie’s suggestion, we began our focus on native plants and organized a nonprofit corporation for the purpose of soliciting donations to support our project. Under the leadership of our first president, Bonnie Driggers, BAEE held a major exhibition at the United States Botanic Garden in Washington D.C., and published a book, which many ASBA members have purchased -THANK YOU!
“The proceeds realized through book sales are now being used to award grants to nonprofit organizations dedicated to botanical art excellence and the use and conservation of native plants. In 2016, BAEE awarded over $46,000 and now is delighted to award ASBA a $15,000 grant for publication of the expanded catalog for their exhibition, Botanical Art Worldwide: America’s Flora. According to Eileen Malone-Brown, BAEE’s current President and Chair of the Grants Committee, “This exhibition and supporting catalog is completely compatible with all of BAEE’s charter goals and, most excitingly, provides an opportunity to share our wonderful native plants with an international audience.”
Anyone who has had a class with Anne-Marie Evans knows that she often quotes famous artists to illustrate her points during her art classes. I was reminded of her when reading an article about Leonardo da Vinci in the Wall Street Journal (Walter Isaacson, September 29, 2017). Considering the need for close observation, Isaacson notes
In his notebooks, Leonardo set out his simple method for truly observing a scene: Look separately at each detail. He compared it to looking at the page of a book. It was meaningless when taken in as a whole and had to be examined word by word. “If you wish to have a sound knowledge of the forms of objects,” he advised, “begin with the details of them, and do not go on to the second step until you have the first well fixed in memory.”
In attempting to draw an apple with its branch and leaves, I am first bewildered by the confusion of growth – leaves of all sizes growing every which way – and wonder how can I possibly draw this? After hours of observation, I focus on the branch and how the apple is attached and how each leaf bends away from the stem. With judicious pruning, I finally produce a drawing that conveys the “appleness” of my subject. I will never be a da Vinci, but I can learn from his advice and from Anne-Marie’s.
For our upcoming class in November, I think Anne-Marie wants us to observe so closely that we feel at one with our subjects and that we possibly could even draw the subject without having it in front of us.
A recent post by Katherine Tyrell covers the exhibition “Cannabis – a Visual Perspective” by the Rocky Mountain Society of Botanical Artists. You can see the entire exhibition at this web site :
OnlineJuriedShows advertises current and upcoming juried art exhibitions. Although some are only for members of the sponsoring group, others are open to all.