Photo Album of NCALSBA 2016 Events

Pen and Ink with Kristin Jakob, hosted by Bernard Halliwell, November 12, 2016

Muir Beach, CA

On Saturday, Nov 12, 2016, Bernard Halliwell graciously offered his home for Kristin Jakob’s botanical pen & ink drawing workshops. Although there was only one paying participant, the talented Laurence Hills, the company was augmented by Kristin’s friend Dick O’Donnell, Dick’s delightful dog Daisy, and another congenial canine guest, Cream Puff (see photo). Laurence brought a delicious quiche Lorraine, and Bernard kept busy in the kitchen all morning preparing a quiche maraîchère,so a gourmet lunch was enjoyed by all.



The weather was fair, so we were also treated to a great panorama of the ocean and coastline from the cliff top home. Laurence drew a lotus seed pod, and Kristin continued work on a medley of California oak species vignettes.


Photos and text by Kristin Jakob
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Mini-Lecture and Tour of the Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt, November 5, 2016

Oakland, CA

At the north end of Lake Merritt, just off Grand Avenue in Oakland, there is a remarkable collection of bonsai that is open to the public. The Bonsai Garden at Lake Merritt is not to be missed. It is of world renown, and people come from great distances to see the magnificent specimens.



On a sunny day in November five members of the Northern California Society of Botanical Artists gathered there to have a tour with Bob Gould. There is a great deal to learn about bonsai, and we spent more than an hour walking around and talking about specimens. Some were very old.



One tree is estimated to be 1600 years old. Another had been exhibited at the Panama-Pacific Exhibition in 1915. Some of the plants were collected in the wild, others were dug out of private gardens, and others have been grown from cuttings. The plants are generally grown in a mixture of gravel, which includes a particular clay that does not become water-logged. That is important because too much water can cause root rot. An automatic watering system is used and nutrients are applied to the shallow pots.



There was a grouping of small bonsai, which are known as shohin, but most of the trees were larger. We noted the color of the foliage of the Sierra Junipers. When brought to Lake Merritt the foliage of these trees turns a beautiful celadon blue for a while before reverting to the green that is characteristic in the mountains. There was a striking display of 40 Japanese maples, a veritable forest, on a wide, shallow, oval flat tray, complete with grotto and tiny ferns growing at the base of the trees. That day, those trees were at the height of their stunning autumn foliage.



After the tour, three of us lingered to gaze and then begin sketches. Each tree presented the eternal issue of what to include and what to leave out of the drawing. We left reluctantly at the end of the afternoon and vowed to return.


Photos by Liz Stroh-Coughlin, Walter Denn and Svetlana Tkachenko, text by Bernard Halliwell
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Using Calligraphy in Botanical Art: A Workshop with Kay Woolfolk, hosted by Margi Connelly, November 1, 2016

Monte Sereno, CA

The Calligraphy workshop taught by Kay Woolfolk early November was in all aspects a real treat!



On Tuesday, November 1st, twelve people attended Kay’s workshop at Margi Connelly’s beautiful residence in Monte Sereno. Margi’s home was the perfect setting for a very successful day. We all appreciated Margi hosting and providing a well organized workspace. We started our morning around 10 am socializing while enjoying some fresh coffee and tea along with pastry and fruits. Then, we all moved to the working area! Days ahead, Kay diligently prepared and put together for each participant a complete set of supplies including a pen holder, a set of nibs, calligraphy paper, containers with different colored inks, a pencil, and handouts. One of the highlights was a beautiful folder that Kay personalized with love, writing our full name with very delicate Copperplate calligraphy letters. What a gift!



Kay displayed many reference books and samples of her work for us to look at during the day. She introduced us to the world and history of calligraphy then went through all our supplies and handouts before starting to demonstrate basic Copperplate lettering strokes to finally form letters and words. We started to practice with a pencil and then bravely dipped our pen in ink applying and releasing pressure to create lines, curves, circle, dots….and finally letters. Our group was extremely focused and absorbed a huge amount of information within a short period of time. The entire day was infused with a sense of great camaraderie as participants were sharing their experience, ideas and various skills. It was a delight to spend the day with Kay. She is such a sweet person, an extremely patient and knowledgeable teacher who truly loves sharing her passion for Calligraphy with others.



Photos by Liz Stroh-Coughlin and text by Beatrice Bergemont
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Marin Art and Garden Center Alcatraz Florilegium Exhibit Reception, October 23, 2016

Ross, CA







Friends and family gathered to see the complete collection of the Alcatraz Florilegium.



Speeches from the Alcatraz Florilegium committee: Shelagh Fritz, Catherine Watters, Sally Petru, and Lyn Dahl



Group photos of artists and attendees



Catherine, Sally, and Lyn busy selling The Alcatraz Florilegium catalog.

Photos by Anthony Petru
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NCalSBA 10th Annual Meeting, October 22, 2016

Filoli, Woodside, CA

After lunch we had a Techniques Showcase with Sean, Ellie and Cissy.



Sean Vidal Edgerton – Botanical Forensics: The Role of Scientific Illustration in Reconstructing Museum Specimens

Sean discussed and showed examples of how he reconstructs a flat museum specimen and brings it to life for educational purposes. Sean is one of the Scientific Illustrators at the California Academy of Sciences.



Ellie Yun Hui Tu – Between Black and White: Bamboo and Sponge

Making dynamic illustration with daily items found around the home. Ellie was recently featured by the ASBA for her botanical illustration for the Chicago based brewery “Forbidden Root” and did a series of native plant illustrations for the Channel Islands National Park guide books.



Maria Cecilia Freeman – Border Crossings: Graphite and Watercolor

Cissy teaches and gardens in Santa Cruz; her work bridges scientific illustration and botanical fine art.

Photos by Catherine Dellor and Liz Stroh-Coughlin
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Sketching Day in the Conifer Garden at Circle Oak Ranch, October 8, 2016

Petaluma, CA

On Saturday, October 8th, a very warm and sunny day in Sonoma County, six plant-loving painters gathered in Sara Malone’s extraordinary and beautiful conifer garden to revel in the delights of her plants. On arriving, we were first greeted outside the gate by one of the ranch’s horse rehabilitation patients, a handsome dark Friesian, then inside the garden by Sara and by Buster, a handsome black Portuguese Water dog, with white paws and chest blaze, and we immediately began walking around the garden to look at all there was to see.





A few flowers have found their way into the garden, of course, but the garden is actually designed on the idea of the colors, shapes, and textures that foliage can bring. There are many unusual plants – conifers unfamiliar to us, artfully combined with other interesting trees & shrubs, and handsome succulents, labeled as in a botanical garden. We found ourselves wandering around in admiration for two hours before we sat down to our lunches and then set to work. Giverny has nothing on this garden, thought one painter.



Kristin Jakob did a beautiful and memorable sketch of a cluster of plants in colored pencil. Mary Ellen King and Kitty Ritz worked in colored pencil as well, tackling aloes and agaves. Walter produced a watercolor study of a yucca, and Svetlana first made pencil studies of horses, then a pineapple guava. This was indeed an inspirational day.





Photos by Walter Denn and Kristin Jakob and text by Bernard Halliwell
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Sketching Day at Green Gulch Farm, September 10, 2016

Muir Beach, CA

Christine Lemor-Drake, Svetlana Tkachenko and Bernard Halliwell gathered at the bridge of the Muir Beach parking lot and walked the footpath to Green Gulch Farm on the Saturday morning.



The fog had rolled in, but the vegetable fields were lush with growth, the flower gardens were chock full of blossom and the day seemed gentle.



It was hard to know where to turn to begin sketching. Finally the dahlias became the focus of Christine and Svetlana: A pen-and-ink study by Christine and a color study by Svetlana.



We were reminded that this is a special event once one has made the effort to be there.



Photos and text by Bernard Halliwell
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Heirloom Expo – Fruit, Veggies & Artworks, September 6-8, 2016

Sonoma County Fairgrounds, Santa Rosa, CA









Photos by Pria Graves, Sally Petru and Christine Lemor-Drake
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Beach Walk and Seaweed Painting, June 11, 2016

Crissy Field Area, San Francisco, CA

On Saturday, June 11th, four NCalSBA members met for a seaweed sketching session on the beach at Crissy Field. We met by the Warming Hut near the parking lot at 10AM. There were ample spaces despite the Escape from Alcatraz race and a beautiful Saturday morning.



We walked around the beach on a beautiful day and collected seaweed from the rocks. The tide is lowest around 10AM in early-mid June, so the water was low and we had the pick of the crop. Once we had collected our samples, we used a picnic table to set up our on-site drawing studio. We had a few visitors stop by and admire our work. One of the visitors asked if we were on Instagram! Often, the visitors spoke a foreign language and it felt like we were a performing exhibit.

We found that it is best to keep a container of water handy as well as a misting bottle to clean the sand off the leaves and make sure the plants remain juicy. At the end, we let our seaweed samples go.



Photos and text by Svetlana Tkachenko
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Mariposa Lily Hike on Ring Mountain, June 4, 2016

Tiburon, CA



Photos by Judy Paris
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Alcatraz Florilegium Specimen Collection, June 1, 2016

Pier 33, San Francisco, CA


June 1st was the final specimen collection for our Gardens of Alcatraz Florilegium Project. It was the foggiest, coldest visit we have experienced in our 13 trips. Perhaps it was the island’s way of saying farewell to all the artists so intent on lovingly capturing its historic “survivor plants” for posterity.





Photos and text by Lyn Dahl
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Villa Montalvo Garden Tour, May 10, 2016

Saratoga, CA



On a lovely May morning ten of us gathered at the gate to the Italianate Garden, Montalvo to meet our guide, Susan Finocchio, who was a member of the Board of Trustees of Montalvo Arts Center for 8 years, and is a continuing member of the Building and Grounds Committee and a volunteer in the garden. The Italianate Garden had not been maintained for many years, but in ca. 2007 staff and volunteers began to rehabilitate the garden in the spirit of the original. Roses, citrus, camellias and cypress are among the many different plants that populate the garden. We continued on our walk through the Phelan Cactus Garden as well as on other paths that traverse the main grounds.



One of the goals of the tour was for our guide, Susan, to identify the notable trees, particularly for those artists who wished to submit work for the Third Annual New York Botanical Garden Triennial Exhibit, Out of The Woods: Celebrating Trees in Public Gardens. As one of the noteworthy public gardens in the country, the Montalvo gardens are home to many tree specimens both native and exotic.



A few of the notable trees are:

Wolemi pine, Wollemia
Camperdown elm, Ulmus glabra ‘Camperdownii’
Ginko, Ginko biloba (Lawn area near villa)
Bunya bunya pine, Araucaria bidwillii (Lawn area near villa)
Walking stick tree, Corylus avellana Contorta (also known as Harry Lauder’s walking stick)
Spanish fir, Abies pinsapo
Monterrey oak, Quercus polymorpha (also known as Mexican white oak)



The grounds are also a wonderful setting for outdoor art installations. Several classic works reside in the Italianate Garden while contemporary sculptures may be found in others areas, including Broken Wing by David Middlebrook in the Phelan Cactus Garden, “Control Tower by Cameron Hockenson situated high on a tree trunk and Winged Figure Ascending by Stephan de Staebler located near the steps to the main entrance of the villa.



We were fortunate also to be provided a brief tour of the villa with Montalvo staff member Christina Wilcox. The morning was a wonderful introduction to the treasures of the Montalvo Arts Center and a reminder that a unique public garden is a short distance away.



Photos by Celia Bakke, Liz Stroh-Coughlin & Camille Kearns and text by Celia Bakke
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Alcatraz Florilegium Specimen Collection, April 18, 2016

Pier 33, San Francisco, CA


Another glorious day on The Rock in 80 degree weather with Lynn Makowsky and Caity Chandler cutting specimens for us in the lush gardens. Sublime!









One of our most wonderful days for weather, gardens and nesting birds. We were graced with the knowledgeable and delightful assistance of Lynn Makowsky and Caity Chandler.





Photos by Lyn Dahl, Delma Shanahan and Liz Stroh-Coughlin and text by Lyn Dahl
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Studio Tour of East Bay Botanical Artists, April 8, 2016

East Bay, CA


Sally Petru’s Studio



Lunch was served at Catherine Watters’ home.


Catherine Watters’ Studio






Laura Sawczuk’s Studio




Photos by Catherine Dellor, Elaine Wismer and Sally Petru
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Filoli 18th Annual Botanical Art Exhibit, April 5, 2016 – June 12, 2016

Woodside, CA


Lee McCaffree, Catherine Watters, and Cathy Rampley

Lee and Catherine developed the curriculum and are the primary instructors of the Filoli Botanical Art Certificate Program and Cathy Rampley is the Head of Education at Filoli.


Congratulations to Lee McCaffree for receiving the Bourn Award for her Narcissus Delibes from Alcatraz for distinction with an emphasis on horticulture”, awarded by Jim Salyards, Head of Horticulture at Filoli.



Filoli’s Annual Botanical Art Exhibit reception held on April 7, 2016 from 5-7pm.



Judy Paris and Catherine Dellor

Photos by Sally Petru and text by Deni Manning and Sally Petru
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UC Botanical Gardens Berkeley Tree Walk and Painting Day, February 26, 2016

Berkeley, CA


Seven members of NCalSBA enjoyed a docent-led tour focusing on the tree collection of the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden. The event was organized to help facilitate interest in the upcoming ASBA and NY Botanical garden show featuring illustrations of trees that grow in public gardens and arboretums.



Photos and text by Pat Rudebusch
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Alcatraz Florilegium Specimen Collection, February 12, 2016

Pier 33, San Francisco, CA







A beautiful photo of San Francisco and Amber Turner giving Dick Miner a print of her Pig’s Ear painting with Lyn Dahl.



Resting and waiting for the ferry ride back to Pier 33.



Photos by Lyn Dahl & Sally Petru and text by Deni Manning
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Colored Pencil Workshop with Nina Antze, February 11, 2016

Hosted by Danny Swanson, Saratoga, CA

We had 11 enthusiastic participants in Danny’s lovely guest house/studio for the workshop. Nina demonstrated colored pencil basics and application along with some new tricks. With her amazing array of colored pencils Nina also provided insight into the mixing of colors. Everyone had the opportunity to practice the techniques by creating some of the basic forms or focusing on a specimen found in Danny’s extensive garden.





The workshop participants benefited from Nina’s expertise, and the opportunity to tour Danny’s garden and view her collection of botanical works. At the conclusion everyone was eager to continue working in colored pencil.


Photos and text by Celia Bakke
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California Academy of Science – Behind the Scenes Private Tour, January 21, 2016

San Francisco, CA

No one was late, our group was pumped up, the weather was friendly, and our journey began. 14 NCalSBA members (including our President) and 2 spouses shared a customized tour of the rooftop garden, a look at the herbarium collection, viewing of the Academy’s collection of linocuts by Henry Evans (minus his California Poppy print amongst others, out on loan), and the chance to meet and observe a scientific illustrator in action. I must acknowledge that we are all very fortunate indeed, to have access to an award winning scientific institute in the midst of our proud city.

We were greeted by Brendan Papciak, Specialty Tours and Sleepover Manager, who then turned us over to our outstanding tour guide, Kadee! We were in capable and knowledgeable hands. She not only knew her stuff but she presented it succinctly, with humor and kept us on time. I mention this because we definitely would have enjoyed another hour or two to peek through the collections but I am ahead of myself! Kadee and her assistant led us up to the 2.8 acre Osher Living Roof garden where we were able to quickly move through the locked gate and into the garden, where we were told the fascinating 160 year history of the Academy and its current LEED Platinum sustainable architecture. We appreciated the native plant garden, its construction process and its complex contributions to the biofeedback of the area. Just awesome!



Next stop – the Botany Collection and Herbarium storage area. The Director of Science Collections, Debra Trock, PhD, took us through the process of pressing, documenting and storage of plant specimens. The Academy houses approximately 2 million specimens containing more than 11,000 types the oldest from Sir Francis Drake’s expedition. The herbarium is the largest collection of vascular plants in the western US. Dr Trock pulled out some storage drawers and showed us a few specimens in one of several storage areas. She reminded us that we are welcome to access particular specimens to help with our art work (that includes you). She recommends contacting her 48 hours in advance and her staff will pull the requested materials for you to study and document. This could be an invaluable resource. Contact info provided at the bottom of this write-up. Also, volunteers are welcomed – training provided.



The Collections Librarian had laid out several of the Academy’s collection of Henry Evans beautiful, delicate, botanical linocut prints. We were able to view these up close and personal!
Last stop, I promise – the Scientific Illustration area where we were shown the Academy’s newest acquisition, 2 Photo Box Plus which enhance photos and provide more dimensionality and extreme detail. Here we spoke with a Scientific Illustrator for the Academy and observed his illustration work in progress.

Our Behind the Scenes tickets also gave us express entry into the rainforest exhibit, the Planetarium and Shake House. Several stayed to explore.

Contact Info:
Brendan Papciak,

Debra Trock. PhD, Director of Science Collection, For access to herbarium specimens for research, Volunteer Coordinator, in case you would like to volunteer with pressing plant specimens etc.


Photos and text by Liz Stroh-Coughlin
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UCBGB Alcatraz Florilegium Exhibit, January 16-29, 2016

UC Botanical Gardens at Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

UC Botanical Gardens at Berkeley is exhibiting the Alcatraz Florilegium A Botanical Art Exhibit from January 16 – 29, 2016 in the Julia Morgan Hall. The reception was on January 16, 2016. Following are photos from the event.



Our Alcatraz Florilegium Co-Chairs Catherine Watters, Lyn Dahl, and Sally Petru



Many thanks to Paul and the gardens for hosting the exhibit and to Jenny dePont President of the Garden Conservancy.









Many attended the reception.



Artists, families, and friends



Photos by Anthony Petru and text by Deni Manning
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