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Botanical Art & Illustration

Botanical art and illustration have played a crucial role in human and natural history and cultural development, whether as exploration record, scientific artifact, or commercial and artistic endeavor.

Join in a fascinating field of discovery, and learn to sharpen your artistic skill, attention to fine detail, and technical botanical knowledge.

Mastering Color

Dates: Saturday, Jan. 31; Feb. 28; March 28; April 25
Time: 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Instructor: Amy Lindenberger
Objective: To develop a working knowledge of color perception, hue, value, intensity and temperature for application to personal colored pencil renderings
Level: N/A
Prerequisites: Botanical Drawing I and Colored Pencil I
Fee: $ 240 members; $275 non-members
Location: Phipps Garden Center in Mellon Park

Designed to demystify the complex subject of color through an in-depth study of its four major aspects — hue, value, intensity and temperature — this course aims to show students how to develop their own working strategies for color perception, analyzing, matching and mixing as they relate to colored pencil. Each student will work on color-related exercises at his or her own pace within a group setting and should bring any color exercises completed in the Colored Pencil class to aid the instructor in determining appropriate individual starting points.

This class is no longer accepting registrations. Please call 412/441-4442 ext. 3925 or e-mail with questions.

Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate elective

Botanical Drawing III: Volume and Texture

Dates: Saturday, Feb. 7, 24, 21 and 28
Time: Feb. 7 and 28 | 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.; Feb. 14 and 21 | 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Instructor: Robin Menard
Objective: To continue to develop drawing skills, particularly volume and texture, when rendering a botanical subject
Level: N/A
Prerequisites: Botanical Drawing I and II
Fee: $ 215 members; $250 non-members
Location: Phipps Garden Center in Mellon Park

Building on skills acquired in Drawing I and II, students in Botanical Drawing III will engage in exercises and plant studies in pencil to further refine their botanical illustration skills. As part of the course, participants will learn how to begin with vigorous and accurate drawings, create stronger overall tonal 2 forms, and, while maintaining overall form, confidently render complex surfaces, textures and superficial shapes. Homework will be assigned and students are encouraged to bring lunch to both all-day sessions.

Sign up online or call 412/441-4442 ext. 3925 to register. Call or e-mail with questions.

Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate core course

Artist Tile Exchange: Just for Fun

Dates: Saturday, Feb. 14 (Snow date: Feb. 21)
Time: 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Instructor: Jeanne Perrier
Objective: To be able to complete one or more tiles (6” square artworks
Level: N/A
Prerequisites: Botanical Drawing I and II, plus either Colored Pencil I or Watercolor I
Fee: $ 60 members; $72 non-members
Location: Phipps Garden Center in Mellon Park

Students in this class will create one or more tiles (6”-square artworks) using paper, wood, scratchboard, sanded paper, tiles or other materials. The subject matter is flora or fauna and projects can be made by employing any medium, mixed or otherwise. At the end of the experience, all artists will give brief descriptions of the techniques they used, followed by a lottery through which finished works will be exchanged among participants. Every individual will leave the class with a piece of original art completed by another artist for every piece that she/he completes. Outside-of-the-box thinking is encouraged!

Sign up online or call 412/441-4442 ext. 3925 to register. Call or e-mail with questions.

This class does not count toward certificate core course or elective credits.

Two-Day Painting on Silk Workshop

Dates: Saturday and Sunday, March 7 and 8
Time: 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Instructor: Jamie Kirkell
Level: N/A
Prerequisites: None
Fee: $ 195 members; $220 non-members; $65 material fee
Location: Phipps Garden Center in Mellon Park

In this fun, exciting introductory workshop, students will explore how to paint on silk, with a focus on botanical themes, learning easy design and color techniques within an open, relaxed and collaborative environment. Each participant will complete three scarves and the class will end with a fashion show.

Sign up online or call 412/441-4442 ext. 3925 to register. Call or e-mail with questions.

This class does not count toward certificate core course or elective credits.

Hunt Institute Presents: Elements

Dates: March 19 - June 30, 2015
Instructor: N/ A
Level: N/A
Fee: $ 0 members; $0 non-members
Location: Hunt Institute of Botanical Documentation, 5th Floor, Hunt Library, Carnegie Mellon University

This exhibition features drawings and watercolors of bird nests with a focus on the natural and man-made materials incorporated into these architectural structures. Photographs of forest understory will transport the viewer between the landscape and the ephemeral artifacts that signify the remains of a cycle of building, incubating, nesting and fledging. The featured artists are Sue Abramson, Wendy Brockman, David Morrison and Kate Nessler. The creators of these drawings and watercolors of bird nests and photographs of transitional landscapes are inspired by the relationship of the nest to time, place, music and architecture. Each artist has imbued the structures and the materials used and the locations and environments where built with their individual insight and perspective. Also included in the exhibition is a selection of birds, nests and eggs on loan from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History.

Pittsburgh artist Sue Abramson’s photographs of the Frick Park woodlands are a response to the raw materials in nests and the extraordinary visual chaos of these habitats. Minnesota artist Wendy Brockman’s watercolors of nests, eggs, feathers and plant materials are rich with nuance and complexity and speak of time and place. Indiana artist David Morrison’s colored pencil drawings are an exploration of the issues of existence, regeneration and obsessiveness through his examination of the layers of natural and found objects that compose the architectural structures of nests. Arkansas artist Kate Nessler’s watercolors are expressive of symphonic movements, and they reflect the intrinsically creative and practical use of disparate materials that are woven to create a space of strength and balance that are essential for survival.

As always, Curator of Art Lugene B. Bruno and Assistant Curator of Art Carrie Roy will be available to answer questions about the exhibition. To arrange an interview, please contact us (412/268-2434; Exhibition publicity images for publication are available upon request.

Opening reception
The opening reception on March 19 (5–7 p.m.) is open to the public. Beginning at 5:30 p.m. each of the four artists will introduce their work in the Elements exhibition. This is an opportunity to meet all of the artists.

Talk one-on-one with the artists
On Friday, March 20, 10 a.m.–noon and 1–4 p.m., visit the gallery at any time during the designated hours and talk one-on-one with three of the artists. Abramson, Brockman and Nessler will be available to discuss their concepts and process and will display their materials, and Brockman also will demonstrate her painting technique. This event is free and open to the public.

Open House 2015
Our annual Open House on Sunday, June 28 (1–4:30 p.m.) will include the talk “Nest structures of North American birds and the materials used in their creation” (1:30–2:30 p.m.) by Patrick McShea, program officer and educator, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, and tours of the Elements exhibition and the reading room (2:30–4 p.m.). This event is free and open to the public.

Cabinet of curiosities
The Cabinet of curiosities in the Hunt Institute lobby will display bird illustrations from the Library’s rich collection of natural history and art books, including Mark Catesby’s (1683–1749) exquisite folio, The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands (London, the author, 1731), and works by microscopist Marcello Malpighi (1628–1694), natural historian the Comte de Buffon (1707–1788) and the artist George Brookshaw (1751–1823).

The exhibition will be on display on the 5th floor of the Hunt Library building at Carnegie Mellon University and will be open to the public free of charge. Hours: Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–noon and 1–5 p.m.; Sunday, 1–4 p.m. (except April 3-5, May 3 and May 24–25). Because our hours of operation are occasionally subject to change, please call or email before your visit to confirm. For further information, contact the Hunt Institute at 412/268-2434.

About the Institute
The Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, a research division of Carnegie Mellon University, specializes in the history of botany and all aspects of plant science and serves the international scientific community through research and documentation. To this end, the Institute acquires and maintains authoritative collections of books, plant images, manuscripts, portraits and data files, and provides publications and other modes of information service. The Institute meets the reference needs of botanists, biologists, historians, conservationists, librarians, bibliographers and the public at large, especially those concerned with any aspect of the North American flora.

Hunt Institute was dedicated in 1961 as the Rachel McMasters Miller Hunt Botanical Library, an international center for bibliographical research and service in the interests of botany and horticulture, as well as a center for the study of all aspects of the history of the plant sciences. By 1971 the Library’s activities had so diversified that the name was changed to Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation. Growth in collections and research projects led to the establishment of four programmatic departments: Archives, Art, Bibliography and the Library. The current collections include approximately 24,000+ portraits; 200+ archival collections; 29,504 watercolors, drawings and prints; 243,000+ data files; and 30,429 book and serial titles. The Archives specializes in biographical information about, and portraits of, scientists, illustrators and all others in the plant sciences and houses over 200 collections of correspondence, field notes, manuscripts and other writings. Including artworks dating from the Renaissance, the Art Department’s collection now focuses on contemporary botanical art and illustration, where the coverage is unmatched. The Art Department organizes and stages exhibitions, including the triennial International Exhibition of Botanical Art & Illustration. The Bibliography Department maintains comprehensive data files on the history and bibliography of botanical literature. Known for its collection of historical works on botany dating from the late 1400s to the present, the Library’s collection focuses on the development of botany as a science and also includes herbals (eight are incunabula), gardening manuals and florilegia, many of them pre-Linnaean. Modern taxonomic monographs, floristic works and serials as well as selected works in medical botany, economic botany, landscape architecture and a number of other plant-related topics are also represented.

This event is not a core or elective credit offering for any certificate program.

Watercolor I: Underpainting Method for Botanical Watercolor Painting

Dates: Friday, Saturday and Sunday, April 10, 11 and 12
Time: 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Instructor: Deborah Kopka
Objective: To learn how to create botanical portraits using various watercolor painting techniques
Level: N/A
Prerequisites: Botanical Drawing I and II
Fee: $ 230 members; $265 non-members
Location: Phipps Garden Center in Mellon Park

Students will learn how to create a photo-realistic botanical portrait in watercolor by underpainting an initial value study that will be overlaid with surface washes of color. The techniques of wet-into-wet and gradated washes will be emphasized. Class assignments are designed to improve students’ abilities to see tonal values and work successfully in watercolor. The botanical subject for the first assignment will be provided.

Sign up online or call 412/441-4442 ext. 3925 to register. Call or e-mail with questions.

Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate core course

Phipps Allegheny Highlands Flora Project 2015: Native Trees: Natural Beauty and Ecological Function

Dates: See below for details. Sun., Mar. 15; Sun., Apr. 19; Sun., May 31; Sun., June 21; Sat., Aug. 15; Sat., Sept. 19; Sat., Oct. 10
Time: 1 - 3 p.m.; 1-4 p.m. on June 21
Instructor: Phipps Staff
Objective: To take a painting from start to finish, and document trees native to our region
Level: N/A
Prerequisites: Botanical Drawing I and II, Watercolor I or Colored Pencil I
Fee: $ 100 members; $140 non-members
Location: Various; see details

Students who engage in this year-long project will learn how to research and produce a watercolor or colored pencil rendition of a native plant from start to finish. The year’s project focuses on trees native to our region. Our native trees boast incredible natural beauty, and while this alone may be enough reason to plant them in our landscapes, they also play an important role in our regional ecosystem. Many species of insects have evolved to rely on very specific native trees for food and breeding habitat. These insects, in turn, are a critical part of the diet of our local fauna – most importantly our birds. Native trees also tell us stories about our natural and cultural history, providing a sense of place for our region. In this course, students will select a native tree to illustrate, and explore the story of that tree and its role in our ecosystem. Original work will be hung at Phipps Garden Center, and a copy will be catalogued for future educational or marketing uses.

Sunday Mar. 15, 1- 3 p.m. - Flora Kick Off at Botany Hall classroom. Phipps representatives will outline goals of the project, the deadlines, and help facilitate tree selections among the group.
Sunday Apr. 19, 1- 3 p.m. - Visit to the Hunt Institute. Students will visit the Hunt to view selections from their collection that show different ways Botanical artists have portrayed trees.
Sunday May 31, 1-3 p.m. - Field Trip and Sketching Walk with Bill Paxton
Sunday June 21, 1-4 p.m. - Tips on Texturing with Melissa Fabian at Phipps Garden Center
Saturdays, Aug. 15, Sept. 19, and Oct. 10, 1-3 p.m. Open Drawing Studios at Phipps Garden Center
Friday, Jan. 30, 2016 – Finished Artwork Due at Phipps Garden Center
Saturday Mar. 28, 2016 4:00 – 5:30 p.m. - Exhibit Opening

Sign up online or call 412/441-4442 ext. 3925 to register. Call or e-mail with questions.

Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate Elective