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Nina Antze, Sambucus nigra

Black Elderberry

Colored pencil, © 2022

'Day of Botanical Art' 2022

The theme this year focuses on the medicinal uses of California native plants.

Each artist has chosen one California native medicinal plant to use in demonstrating their technique. Artists include:

  • Maria “Cissy” Freeman on how to create a study sheet in graphite and watercolor, demonstrating Heteromeles arbutifolia (Toyon, or California Holly)

  • Nina Antze demonstrating colored pencil techniques with Sambucus nigra (Elderberry)

  • Lesley Randall demonstrating pen and ink techniques with Quercus lobata (Valley Oak)

  • Donnett Vanek demonstrating watercolor techniques with Oenothera californica (California Primrose)


We’re busy finalizing all the details; keep checking back on the website for more information.

Presentations and materials lists


Dr. James Adams, "Healing Uses of Native Plants"

9:00 – 9:50 am

The day will begin with a presentation by Dr. James Adams, an expert on medicinal native plants in Southern California. Dr. Adams is a retired Pharmacology professor at USC and an expert in the healing plants of the Chumash. His book, “Healing with Medicinal Plants of the West: Cultural and Scientific Basis for their Use, 4th edition” includes the plants that form the basis for the day’s botanical art program.

If you'd like more information or would like to order Dr. Adams’ book, please see  or order on Amazon by clicking here


More information about healing plants in our local region can be found in this article:

Book cover healing with medicinal plants of the west

Maria Cecilia (Cissy) Freeman, "How to Create a Study Sheet"

10:00 – 10:50 am

Rosa minutifolia_72dpi.jpg

Cissy will share an approach to creating a "study sheet" with graphite and watercolor to illustrate the particular characteristics of a plant, in this case the native Toyon, Heteromeles arbutifolia. She will talk about steps in the process, and consider ways to think about the composition of elements. With this approach you can create interesting and beautiful study sheets of any plants.

Download a materials list by clicking here.

Maria Cecilia Freeman, Rosa minutifolia, graphite and watercolor. © 2022

Nina Antze, "Elderberry (Sambucus Nigra) in Winter:
A Workshop in Colored Pencil"

11:00 – 11:50 am

Black Elderberry Antze 72.jpg

Winter gives us the opportunity to view the structure of this beautiful plant. Using colored pencil techniques, mixing colors to portray the last leaves of winter and the first buds of spring as the interesting texture and detail of the branches. Watch or draw along.

Download a materials list by clicking here.

Nina Antze, Sambucus nigra (Elderberry), colored pencil, © 2022

Lesley Randall, "Quercus Lobata (Valley Oak) in Pen and Ink"

12:30 – 1:20 pm

LRandall Kokia drynarioides.jpg

Lesley will provide an overview of pen and ink techniques for botanical art. Key points and methods will be discussed. While accuracy is the
most important aspect of illustration, pen and ink is, in an of itself, an elegant art form. It is a wonderful way to define a characteristic and describe a form.

Download a materials list by clicking here.

Lesley Randall, Kokia drynarioides, pen and ink on paper, © 2022

Donnett Vanek, "Oenothera californica (California Primrose); Techniques of Drybrush Watercolor"

1:30 – 2:20 pm


Donnett Vanek, Oenothera californica, California Evening Primrose, watercolor on paper,
© 2022

Join Donnett as she discusses drybrush watercolor technique. Using this technique, artists create highly detailed renderings of their subject matter. Donnett will start with a sketch and take you through each step to a finished drybrush watercolor rendering. Along the way you will learn the importance of observation, drawing, perspective, color, layering of paint, and composition. This discussion is suitable for artists of all levels interested in learning new techniques. This workshop will be a discussion about technique, as drybrush is a slow process. Donnett will often work on one piece for several weeks or even months, depending
on the size.

Download a materials list by clicking here.

Closing Remarks

2:20 – 2:30 pm

Recordings will be available to registered participants beginning February 17, 2022.

Information at a Glance



February 12, 2022,

8:45 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. Pacific Time

BAGSC Members: $35.00 US

Non-Members: $45.00 US

Sessions will be recorded. Registered participants will be able to view the recordings after the event beginning February 17, 2022.

Contact BAGSC Education Committee by clicking here.

Contact BAGSC Media Committee by clicking here.

Schedule (all times Pacific Time)

Dr. James Adams, "Healing Uses of Native Plants"

9:00 – 9:50 am

Break, 9:50 – 10:00 am

Maria Cecilia (Cissy) Freeman, "How to Create a Study Sheet"

10:00 – 10:50 am

Break, 10:50 – 11:00 am

Nina Antze, "Elderberry (Sambucus Nigra) in Winter:
A Workshop in Colored Pencil"

11:00 – 11:50 am

Lunch Break, 11:50 am – 12:30 am


Lesley Randall, "Quercus Lobata (Valley Oak), Pen & Ink"

12:30 – 1:20 pm

Break, 1:20 – 1:30 pm

Donnett Vanek, "Oenothera californica (California Primrose); Techniques of Drybrush Watercolor"

1:30 – 2:20 pm

Break, 2:20 – 2:30 pm

Closing Remarks

2:20 – 2:30 pm

About our Presenters


James Adams, PhD, is a retired Professor of Pharmacology from the USC School of Pharmacy. Dr. Adams has taught pharmacy students, medical students, physicians, healthcare professionals and the

general public for more than 25 years while researching the natural pharmaceutical compounds in native plants. He has more than 200 publications to his name.


Dr. Adams trained with the late Chumash Indian Healer, Cecilia Garcia for almost 15 years and with her co-authored the groundbreaking book, “Healing with Medicinal Plants of the West: Cultural and Scientific Basis for Their Use.“ In addition, they wrote 30 journal articles together.


Dr. Adams brings a wealth of scientific knowledge and field experience as well as a singular perspective on herbal medicine.


Maria Cecilia "Cissy" Freeman,
Cissy gardens, paints and teaches in Aptos, CA. She takes a special interest in portraying native plant species—including our native

roses—with a view to their preservation. She particularly enjoys portraying heritage and species roses in detailed graphite and watercolor studies.


Her "Rose Studies" compositions have appeared in solo exhibitions in Spello, Italy, at the Horticultural Society of New York, and at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her work has been included in juried exhibitions in the U.S. and Europe, and numerous publications. To see her artwork, visit

Nina Antze bbg.jpg

Nina Antze, Nina has a Fine Arts degree and a Certificate in Botanical Illustration from NYBG and studied at the Ruskin School of Art in Oxford. She teaches throughout

California and beyond. Her Chinese Maple was selected for the 2020 deYoung Open. View her botanicals at

Lesley Randall, has been drawing plants for several decades. She has prepared scientific illustrations for several floras and numerous journals as well as participated in botanical art exhibits in the US and abroad. She currently works as a manager in the horticulture department at San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance.


Donnett Vanek, is an artist working in the mediums of watercolor, graphite and linoleum block prints. Her area of interest is California Native plants and

pollinators. Donnett thinks of her renderings of California natives as portraits, observing the beauty, intriguing variations of color, shape, texture and size of each plant and their pollinators. Through her artwork Donnett hopes to educate and encourage people to consider the importance of native plants and pollinators to our landscape. Donnett has been a featured artist in the prestigious ASBA’s the Botanical Artist; Journal of the American Society of Botanical Artists. In 2020 Donnett had a solo show: California Wildflowers and Pollinators, at the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers & Native Plants. Donnett comes to botanical art with a background in textile design. 


Donnett Vanek is a member of the American Society of Botanical Artists, and the Botanical Artists Guild of Southern California. Donnett also serves as a board member of the Botanical Artist Guild of Southern California. 


For more information:


Contact information :

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