Sunday, 2 August 2020

The American Society of Botanical Artists' 26th Annual Meeting and Conference is going virtual!

Join ASBA "Online in October" for a global gathering of botanical artists.


 If you have never been able to attend an ASBA Conference, now is your chance!

·  No plane tickets, no hotel, no travel

·  Enjoy 4+ days of immersion in all things "botanical art" from the comfort of your own home

·  Connect with botanical art enthusiasts from across the country (and around the world)

·  Share your passion, be inspired by the art and artistic journeys of your fellow ASBA members as you engage in the rich content being offered


 If you're a regular conference attendee, you won't want to miss out either. Although we had to cancel our plans to meet up in Mobile, Alabama this fall, we're making "lemonade from lemons" as the saying goes and have put a virtual "twist" on our conference favorites for this first-ever online event. 


 We have an exceptional program in store for you that takes full advantage of the online format!

·  Flexible registration options will be available

·  Attend it all or whatever your schedule and budget allow 
(But we think you'll want to do it ALL!)

·  No registration lottery or appointments necessary

·  All sessions will be open to an unlimited number of attendees

·  No filled sessions, no wait-lists

·  This is your opportunity to see your favorite artist/instructor demonstrate their unique approach to botanical art


 Wednesday, October 14th

·  Welcome Reception - ASBA 2020 Annual Program Review, a Virtual Tour of Splinter Hill Bog famous for its pitcher plants (Mobile, Alabama), and the Premiere of "Dare to be Square" our non-juried 2020 Small Works Exhibition with artwork by you, our virtual conference attendees

Thursday, October 15th

·  Master Demonstrations - Live 1-hour demo sessions by six different master artists 

·  "Portfolios & Passions" - Prolific ASBA-member artists present distinctive bodies of work, from the New York Times Garden Column to the Kalahari Desert, art for scientific publication, postage stamps, and retail products, collections of plant families, geographic regions, life cycle stages and more!

·  "Meet, Mix & Mingle" - See old friends and meet new ones at this member-only virtual social guided by your host, ASBA's Facebook moderator, (un)official social director, and all-around life-of-the-party, Pauline Goldsmith!

Friday, October 16th

·  Master Demonstrations - Live 1-hour demo sessions by six different master artists

·  "Best of Botanicals" - Three special "Best of" programs (Business Practices for Artists, Beyond the Studio, and Beyond Accuracy)

·  "Meet, Mix & Mingle" - virtual social

Saturday, October 17th

·  Master Demonstrations - Live 1-hour demo sessions by six different master artists

·  "Bring Your Own Banquet" - Virtual fireside chat with botanical art celebrities, ASBA annual awards and capstone speaker - art historian Rebecca Albiani of Seattle presents the art and life of Maria Sibylla Merian.

·  "Meet, Mix & Mingle" - virtual social

Sunday, October 18th

·  Master Demonstrations - Live 1-hour demo sessions by three different master artists

·  Juror Training - Curate a mock exhibition as part of an interactive selection panel while learning and using ASBA's criteria and process for jurying its International exhibitions.


·  August 7th: Detailed conference schedule posted on the ASBA website 

·  August 14th: Registration Information posted on the ASBA website

·  August 21st: Registration Opens and "Dare to be Square" small works exhibition entries accepted (Call for Entry HERE)

·  September 21st: "Dare to be Square" exhibition entry deadline

·  October 9th: Registration Closes

·  October 14th: Event Opens

Note: Master Demonstration sessions, "Meet, Mix, & Mingle" virtual socials, and Juror Training are open to ASBA members only. All other sessions are open to non-members. Tell your friends!

Please contact Jody Williams, ASBA Executive Director with any questions or comments. 

Friday, 24 January 2020

Nature Journaling 2020 at the Cavern Berg Resort

This course is being held 05 – 09 February this year. We plan to take advantage of this and include a day trip to the Sentinel car park which is at about 2600m. February is the height of the summer flowering season for Drakensberg and Lesotho alpine flowers. The easy walk from the Sentinel car park towards a view point below the Sentinel Peak gives one an outstanding opportunity to enjoy the incredible scenery and flowers. Elsa will bring along her book on Mountain Flowers, a field guide to the flora of the Drakensberg & Lesotho and guide you on this walk.

The Cavern will provide picnic breakfast and lunch – we will need to leave at 6am for the 2 hour drive via Oliviershoek Pass and Phutathijaba to the Sentinel. 

The view of the amphitheatre from Witsieshoek at about 2400m

The Sentinel, Sani Pass and Naudesnek Pass are three of the top spots in the Drakensberg to see alpine flowers, and January/February are the best times. So we will include this day as part of our Nature Journaling experience. The scenery is spectacular and the flowers outstanding. We will need to ask participants to pay the mountain register entry fee.

The contour path from the Sentinel car park

Nerine bowdenii and other flowers, just off the path

Eucomis bicolor and Galtonia regalis in mass, just off the path

For more information contact Megan Bedingham at

Friday, 10 January 2020

'Know Them By Their Fruits' an illustrated guide to the trees of South Africa

The Botanical Society of South Africa is seeking your support for this new and first-of-its-kind book illustrating the fruiting twigs of 381 trees. The final product is the culmination of ~40 years work.

THE AUTHOR, Trevor Ankiewicz, is a now retired Saasveld Trained forester (1965) with a long and illustrious career in forestry, horticulture and nature conservation.

On retirement he qualified as a Nature Guide. Thus, over his working life and in retirement, he has had the opportunity of visiting most parts of South Africa - where he has been able to collect and illustrate all the species in his book.

The reason he chose to illustrate fruits is that like so many tree-lovers, he found it difficult to identify many tree species from their leaves – since leaves are the most variable of all the plant parts. Fruits, like flowers, have much more stable shapes and sizes – and unlike flowers are mostly more persistent. Thus, if you scratch around under the canopy you may also find remnants of fruits and/or seeds that can be a useful tool for identification.

When asked about how he chose the trees to illustrate Trevor replied:When I first planned this book my concept of a tree was a long-lived woody plant, which developed a sturdy trunk and an impressive crown. Unlike some authors of tree guides I did not regard aloes as trees in the true sense of the word. Our beautiful cycads and tree ferns, to my mind, are also not included here as real trees. In my travels I have yet to come across the colourful Cape honeysuckle (Tecomaria capensis) and that delightful Pride-of-de-Kaap bauhinia (Bauhinia galpinii) as a shady, truly recognizable tree! However, as the book developed this distinction between a tree and what I regarded as a shrub became more and more blurred. Over time I came to realize that habitat and climate greatly influenced the stature and growth of these plants. A classic example is the ubiquitous Sweet thorn (Acacia karroo), which occurs as a stunted bush in the dry river courses of the Great Karroo, yet develops into an impressive tree with a sturdy black bole and rounded crown in the Mpumalanga Bushveld”.

And so, the choices were made – 381 in total…

As examples, four of Trevor’s illustrations are shown above in much reduced format. They are, starting top left and going clockwise, Kigelia africana (African sausage-tree), Pterocarpus angolensis (Kiaat bloodwood), Cussonia spicata (Bushveld cabbage-tree) and Strychnos pungens (Spiny-leaved monkey-orange).
The page size of the book will be 250 x 170mm (with some 450 pages), and where possible all illustrations are life-size. Where they have had to be reduced the percentage reduction is noted.
In addition, the current botanical binomial, recent old names (because of taxonomic changes) and the “best” common name is given. Where there are strongly contested common names, an alternative is given (but the approach is for tree lovers to adopt a national common name so the botanical binomials will not be vitally necessary in future years).

Where appropriate, and to assist with identification, a few diagnostic notes have been added.
Orders no later than 1st June please

Probable publication date late December 2020

Saturday, 28 December 2019

New Botanical Art Exhibition at Kew Gardens, London

Modern Masterpieces of Botanical Art at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art

Recently opened, this new exhibition of stunning botanical art celebrating 30 years of the Shirley Sherwood Collection.

Split into geographical regions, the exhibition brings together a diverse range of work from across the world. The artworks reveal the exquisite details of endangered plants and newly discovered species. From delicate colour palettes to theatrical arrangements, the visitor can explore a variety of artworks that celebrate the diversity of botanical art.

Read the review from the Financial Times