Monday, November 9, 2015

Paper Making Class in the News!

Please click on this link to learn about the class recently taught by our very own Celeste Johnston, "Making Paper from Plant Fibers" at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, published 11/8/2015 in the Richmond Times Dispatch:

Well done, Celeste!

Monday, November 2, 2015

My Plant is "Leaving on a Jet Plane..."
by Judy Thomas

One of the first things I did on a recent trip to South Florida was go to a tropical plant nursery to buy a cool plant to draw, one that was not easily available in Virginia, nor as lush. I found a stunning Indonesian pitcher plant, Nepenthes alata.  I drew it, and, as I did, I fell in love, as we botanical art people often do with a plant.  I had purchased it thinking I would leave it behind, but.....

I had a thought "Can I take it back on the plane?" I knew Hawaii banned any plants or plant material from going in or out of the state, except certified ones (out of the state), to prevent invasions by exotics.  I knew Florida and California also restricted plants brought in. I also knew that some states banned plants that were pests in that state.  But could I bring a commercially propagated plant home with me?

I first checked the airlines.  Their main concern is that the plant not make a mess, so sealing it in a 5 gallon, zipper-closing bag or other waterproof container was necessary. Second, the plant had to be small enough to be carried on as your "personal item" and, hence, fit under the seat in front of you. Check and check.  I also knew that N. alata could not survive in Virginia and was not on the noxious plant list for the state.  So, good there.

Then I checked the TSA website and found that houseplants are allowed, as long as they are small enough to go through regular screening...and could possibly trigger a delay for special screening.  So, we got to the airport early.  And voila!  The plant went through the x-ray with nary a second look by the TSA and onto the plane!

I have finished drawing the plant, but to keep it alive?  I really, really love it.  Anyone have a used aquarium they want to get rid of?  I have a heat mat!

Mr. N. alata in his bag:

Friday, October 30, 2015

Color Pencil Session

Color Pencil Group Meeting 
by Judy Thomas

Nine color pencil artists got together today at the Atlee Library in Mechanicsville, VA. Most are members of CVABA, but not all.  We did a fun activity: we discussed and  made a variety of compositions using interesting fall, botanical subjects, from Osage Orange fruit, to winter squash and acorns!  Everyone picked a subject for the day to draw.
Some of the compositions we played around with:

ASBA 2015: Miami

Reflections Contributed by Gail Goodrich Harwood and Paula Blair

When asked to describe their favorite parts of the ASBA Conference, Gail wrote:

“- The Small Works exhibition featuring works from artists new to botanical art alongside world-renowned artists.

- All beautiful works, even more so because of the use of neutral, standard frames.  The most instructive aspect for me was the range of imaginative composition treatments.

- The Portfolio Sharing session - loved the opportunity to look at both finished and in-progress works.

- Classes - the chance to learn new techniques and tips for correcting mistakes.

-Hanging out with 200 people who are completely into botanical art!

And Paula wrote:

“Ditto to what Gail said!

-I loved meeting so many interesting people who also love art, botanical art, flowers, gardens, etc.  My workshops/classes were great! 

-I got to meet some of the people whose names I see in the Journal - all were welcoming, encouraging, friendly . . .

-I sat by Lea Rohrbaugh and Catherine Watters on the bus going to Vizcaya and took a class with Derek Norman . . .

-Now I am fired up to go to Pittsburgh 2016 and Filoli 2017!!"

Monday, October 26, 2015

Plants and Pollinators

Plants and Pollinators
By Judy Thomas

Today at the CVABA meeting we had a presentation on plants and their pollinators by educator and member Susan Estes.  This is the theme for our next show, in June 2016, at the Tuckahoe Public Library.  Susan gave many examples of the relationships between plant structure and the pollinators they evolved to attract.

We also discussed the exhibit, so stay tuned for more details!

An excellent talk, thank you Susan!

Atlee Library Exhibit

2015 Exhibits, Part II
Atlee Library Exhibit
By Judy Thomas

In the fall of 2015, we had an exhibit at the Atlee Library in Hanover, Co, VA.  The library was hosting a panel about the "Flora of Virginia."  (Photos courtesy Gail Goodrich Harwood)

As a few members had been giving free art classes at the library, we were approached by the library manager about staging a small exhibit of plants that are in the "Flora..."  So...we did!

We received many compliments about the exhibit!

2015 Exhibits

2015 Exhibits, Part 1
by Judy Thomas

Since last I posted, the CVABA has had two exhibits, our annual exhibit at the Tuckahoe Public Library in June and a new exhibit, at the Atlee Public Library. The Tuckahoe Library was our annual exhibit, entitled "Weeds are Flowers, Too, Once You Get to Know Them" from a quote by A.A. Milne.  Both exhibits were well-received by visitors to both libraries.

We wanted an educational component for the Tuckahoe "Weeds..." exhibit, so artists wrote up an explanation about the weed, including what interested them about it.  For example, Susan Estes wrote about her dandelion:

"This little plant is one of nature’s “tough guys”. Dandelions are found worldwide and seem to thrive in some of the most inhospitable habitats — driveways, walkways, and roadsides. The characteristic yellow flower provides food for bees. Leaves are lance-shaped and deeply toothed.  The name “dandelion” comes from “Dente de lion”, the Old French phrase for “lion’s tooth."

Lizzie McCowan wrote about pokeweed: 

"This glorious plant hardly looks like a weed, but I find it to be one. It grows at the edge of the woodland in our new garden and spreads easily through the flowerbeds...and takes much digging out as it spreads from the root. It can grow to eight feet and I particularly like the manner in which the flowers ripen through green to purple imitated by the stems and the racemes eventually droop with the weight of the berries. It is toxic, the root and berries being exceptionally so, but the boiled leaves have been used occasionally in pies.  I do not expect to try this!"

Here is an excerpt from Angel Zhao's write up on Woods' Forget-Me-Not:

"I first encountered forget-me-nots in my parents’ front yard in Toronto, Canada. A few of them sprouted in a small area originally designated for other plants. We left them alone because we liked the lovely blue blossoms. Little did we know more would spring up by the next year, slowly over-taking the other plants. The seed pods propagate by attaching to clothing or fur and getting transported to other areas. Some birds would also pick up the seeds. Since we left the plants unchecked, they were able to self-seed and expand the coverage. After a few years, the forget-me-nots have become the main feature of that small section of land. In the meantime, we tried to prevent them from spreading to the rest of the yard by digging up the largest patch. They continued to pop up here and there to this date."

Here are some images from the "Weeds" exhibit (photos courtesy Judith Towers):

We also had our usual display cases, depicting aspects of botanical art, nature journaling, as well as other arts and crafts related to botanical art:

Thanks to Judith Towers for all her hard work in organizing the show!