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Upcoming class in Santa Barbara and…the invaluable benefit of exhibitions and workshops

by Margaret Best

Even the most experienced botanical artist needs inspiration from time to time. One of the best ways to find this renewed connection is to seek a change from your setting of solitary painting and to mingle with other artists. So besides BAGSC meetings, where do you find this opportunity? The answer is participation in exhibitions and workshops.

In the last quarter of 2007, I had a dizzy schedule of exhibitions (two in the USA and one in Canada) and came out of these intense few months very uplifted from meeting so many wonderful artists, appreciating amazing work and eager to try new things. I cannot believe that any artist that attended the 12th International exhibition at the Hunt Institute of Botanical Documentation at the ASBA conference last year did not leave with the same rush of enthusiasm that I felt to paint with every possible second available.

But… Thanksgiving and Christmas followed with all the usual family gatherings, crazy shopping trips (next year will be internet buying all the way) and long hours in the kitchen putting on the spread. Fortunately, being on a creative “high” between traveling to exhibitions and conferences, helped me put my new GET GOING class together that I will be teaching at the Santa Barbara Gardens on 26 and 27 January.

Laurie Hannah, a BAGSC member approached me at a class I was teaching at the Huntington Botanical Gardens two years ago to consider coming to the area again to offer a workshop. Who needs a second invitation to travel to such a magnificent setting and to be amongst botanical art enthusiasts?

I have designed the GET GOING workshop to cover the essentials that beginners need to know about the genre in order to find a positive path to follow for progress. At the same time I am offering new inspiration to more experienced artists that need to GET GOING… AGAIN with a renewed vigour. As I am both a professionally trained teacher and a practicing botanical artist, my goal is to help other artists identify areas in their skill sets that require a practical focus in order to advance.

In the class I will be referring to two excellent books that address specific technical skill development and serve to inspire. These include: How to Draw Plants, by Keith West The Art of Botanical Painting, by Margaret Stevens

If you do not have your own copies of these excellent reference books for botanical artists, you can purchase them from

If you would like to register for this workshop, you can do so online on the Santa Barbara Botanic Gardens’ web site, or by calling (805) 682-4726, ext. 102. You can also contact Leslie Walker, our BAGSC President.

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