NESBA demonstration at the Oakes Ames Mansion

The Oakes Mansion at Borderlands State Park is in North Easton, MA and was the home of Oakes and Blanche Oakes. Oakes Ames is known for his research in Orchids. His wife Blanche Ames was a botanical illustrator.

Arleen and Celeste had way too much fun.

For the past several summers NESBA members have been invited to demonstrate botanical illustration to visitors to the home.

Joan showed a visitor how to paint acorns, and he did quite well.
A visiting botanist and Arlene were busy
 looking up plants and drawings.

Maria worked diligently on a large drawing.
The Orchidaceae were little-known before Ames' study and classification. He made expeditions to Florida, the Caribbean, the Philipines, and Central and South America with his wife Blanche Ames creating scientifically accurate drawings of the plants they cataloged. The Ames' work was published in the seven-volume Orchidicae: Illustrations and Studies of the Family Orchidicae. They also developed the Ames Charts, illustrating the phylogenetic relationships of the major useful plants, which are still used. 

Ames built up an extensive orchid herbarium with library, photographs, and paintings, which he gave to Harvard in 1938. Today the Orchid Herbarium of Oakes Ames contains about 131,000 specimens, plus 3,000 flowers in glycerine, 4,000 pickled specimens, and hundreds of line drawings.

Blanche Ames illustrated Oakes Ames's botanical publications, including his seven volume treatise on orchids which is still considered one of the best researched to this day. Blanche Ames first used watercolors for the orchid illustrations, but later switched to copperplate etching. She also published detailed pen and ink drawings of the orchids. The illustrations were drawn from dried plant specimens observed through a camera lucida. Blanche Ames continued to illustrate orchids throughout their life together, eventually designing the decorations which now appear at both of their graves.

A juried exhibit will be on display at the mansion. Two NESBA members each have two pieces in the show.  Congratulations to Kay Kopper and Sue Neff.

NESBA member Suellen Perold exhibiting in South Africa

Suellen's, Bird of Paradise, Strelitzia nicolai, is accepted into The South African Botanic Garden, Kirstenbosch, show titled  "Contemporary Botanical Art", which highlights indigenous flora of South Africa. 

Bird of Paradise
 Strelitzia nicolai

Work by Carol Govan in the Elm Bank Visitors Center

Recent Paintings on Exhibit from August 22 to Columbus Day
 NESBA member Carol Govan, a popular local naturalist, botanical art historian, and teacher has devoted years to informing the public about the work of many other artists, but this summer Mass Hort is fortunate to be able to present an exhibition of  her own artistic output.  It will be easily accessible to all late summer visitors to The Gardens at Elm Bank. The exhibit is in the visitor center at Elm Bank, the building just beyond the parking lot.  In her statement below, Carol invites the public to understand the process of producing art, but most of all, to enjoy looking at it.

Orange Canna
 Seeing Nature's Secrets- Carol Govan

I like to look at the natural world but have a hard time slowing down to see anything unless I draw and identify it. Drawing allows me to see details I didn't see at first glance. Struggling to find its name tells me new information that encourages me to go back and look again.  My interests tend to combine art and science, both of which require concentrated observation.

I am a naturalist who teaches various science and art courses.  One has students find a natural habitat in order to identify and draw all the plants (or anything else interesting) throughout the year.  Another, focusing on plant relationships in situ and through a microscope to fit them into family groups. "The History of Botanical Art" marvels at old books filled with beautiful details and descriptions. "Drawing Botany" has students examine and sketch plants as they learn about roots, shoots, flowers and fruits.  I encourage lots of drawing and playing with color to take notes rather than create a perfect plant portrait.

I teach or give lectures at The New England Wildflower Society, The Boston Mycological Society, The Massachusetts Horticultural Society, The Coastal Maine Botanic Garden, The Attleboro Museum, and the Wellesley College Botanic Gardens where I also write and illustrate articles about tropical plants and train the docents.  My lectures are about pond life, tulips, orchids, succulents, gymnosperms, cacti, insects, fungi, art history, color, field sketching, old herbals, etc. As you can see I have a hard time focusing but see or learn something new each time I go outside and draw something, teach a class (and relearn what I have forgotten), or give a lecture. These activities help me focus (a little) and encourage me to see and learn about new things. 

Check Mass Hort Web site for days, hours.  The website has a button on the left to click for "Campus Map",

NESBA egg tempera workshop

 Heads up!!

Patricia Giebutowski

Click for more info about egg tempera and the workshop

NESBA is sponsoring a workshop with renowned egg tempera artist, Koo Schadler.

Dates: October, Friday 28- Sunday 30

Where: Koo’s studio in Alstead, NH, near Keene

Time: 9 - 4

Cost: $ 408 per student, all supplies included. Payment due in full at time of registration. As the sponsor of this workshop, NESBA will provide an educational subsidy to members who attend of $60, payable after the workshop thereby reducing the cost to members to $348.

Number: Minimum 10 students, maximum 13

Registration: Handled by NESBA, with checks forwarded to Koo.

Payment: By check made out to Koo Schadler for $408 by Sept 17 and mailed to

Lucy Sur
19 Eliot Hill Road,
Natick, MA, 01760

Note: checks will not be cashed until after 10/1

Deadline for Registration: commitment by Sept. 17. If there are less than ten students at that time, we’d cancel and all money would be refunded.

Cancellation Policy: - If a student cancels before October 1st Koo will refund all money.

- If a student cancels after October 1st and has another person take their place, Koo will refund all money.
- Cancellations after October 1st forfeit the full tuition.

Accommodations: Please let registrants know that there are plenty of hotel, B&B, etc. options in the area but they can fill up in the fall. Our dates are past the peak of the foliage season but nonetheless people shouldn’t wait too long to secure accommodations.

Koo lists a variety of options (and the distance to her studio) on her website:

NESBA Exhibit at the Arnold Arboretum

On Saturday, July 9, 2016 NESBA hosted an opening reception for its exhibit “The Art of the Woody Plant” at the Arnold Arboretum. Members came from all over New England, and the public came in to see the art as well! There are 33 pieces of art hanging in the Arboretum’s Hunnewell Building and it’s there until mid-September. Everyone seemed to enjoy the artwork, seeing old friends and welcoming new members. 

NESBA president, Joan Pierce; Exhibit Chair, Nancy Savage; members, Sarah Roche, Elizabeth Rush, and Joyce Westner
The Arboretum staff was so gracious and very excited to have our exhibit hanging. It should draw many visitors! On August 13, members Jeanne Kunze and Suellen Perold will be demonstrating the “how to’s” of botanical art, using specimens from the Arboretum. Go and enjoy the show if you didn’t have a chance on Saturday!

Check out a review of the Exhibit, 'Art of the Woody Plant' exhibit opens at the Arnold Arboretum  

NESBA member, Carol Govan, presented the history of botanical art and illustration focusing on images of the tulip

The Attleboro Arts Museum Art Lovers Book Club hosted a program on the book;
Tulipomania – The Story of the World’s Most Coveted Flower & The Extraordinary Passions It Aroused by Mike Dash on June 25 at the Museum in Attleboro, MA.

New England Society of Botanical Artists (NESBA) member, Carol Govan,  presented the history of botanical art and illustration focusing on images of the tulip from the earliest preserved examples down to more contemporary work.

Carol Govan, (left) and NESBA member Maria Babylak 

About Tulipomania

In the 1630s, visitors to the prosperous trading cities of the Netherlands couldn’t help but notice that thousands of normally sober, hardworking Dutch citizens from every walk of life were caught up in an extraordinary frenzy of buying and selling. The object of this unprecedented speculation was the tulip, a delicate and exotic Eastern import that had bewitched horticulturists, noblemen, and tavern owners alike. For almost a year rare bulbs changed hands for incredible and ever-increasing sums, until single flowers were being sold for more than the cost of a house.
Tulips in artwork by members of The New England Society of Boatanical Artists
About The New England Society of Botanical Artists (NESBA)

The New England Society of Botanical Artists works to promote public appreciation of the art and science of botanical art and illustration in New England. The Society educates individuals and organizations about botanical art and illustration through exhibits, lectures, workshops, and outreach programs.
Through its art, NESBA emphasizes New England plant diversity and its preservation, provides a community for artists and illustrators engaged in this challenging discipline, designs forums for meetings and discussions, as well as for camaraderie among other botanical artists, illustrators, scientists and historians.

The New England Society of Botanical Artists is proud to be a chapter of the American Society of Botanical Artists.

A Weekend in Norfolk, Ct

NESBA artist Leslie Watkins extends an invitation for any NESBA member to join her to exhibit and/or demonstrate in the wonderful space the National Iron Bank is allowing WaterWorks to use for this three day event.

Music, Art & Nature come together for three exciting days!
August 5, 6, and 7, 2016
Visit WaterWorks Open House at the National Iron Bank, Station Place, 2nd floor

WaterWorks Schedule of Events:

Friday, August 5, 5-6PM: Art Exhibition and Opening Reception - Nature based original watercolor paintings by various artists, art journals and live painting demonstrations.
Friday, August 5, 6-7PM: The History of Watercolor Painting Slideshow and talk on the evolution of traditional watercolor painting presented by Leslie Watkins.
Saturday, August 6, 10AM-5PM: Painting for children and adults, painting demonstrations.
Sunday, August 7, 10AM-5PM: Painting for adults, demonstrations.
Sunday, August 7, 5-6PM: Awards and prizes for notable paintings.

WaterWorks offers instruction in nature based painting, landscape painting, botanical illustration and traditional watercolor techniques. Classes are open to all, beginners through advanced students and are held both indoors and on location in nature preserves, gardens and art centers.

Leslie Watkins’ botanical watercolors and nature studies have appeared internationally on postage stamps, and in books, magazines and fine home products. She has taught enthusiastic students for over 25 years. Both aspiring and experienced painters benefit from the classes and have fun learning. Watkins has exhibited at The Columbus Museum, The Lyman Allyn Art Museum, The National Arts Club and The Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. She is a member of the American Society of Botanical Artists and the New England Guild of Natural Science Illustrators. She is the founding director of the NWCT Berkshire Plein Air Painters.

WaterWorks Open House is generously sponsored by the National Iron Bank. All events are free and art materials are provided.