Friends of Wellesley Botanic Gardens and NESBA co-sponsor talks.

Friends of Wellesley Botanic Gardens have graciously invited NESBA to co-sponsor talks by esteemed NESBA members, Pam Harrington and Kay Kopper. These two excellent artists are presenting their research on 2 fascinating topics. Because NESBA is a co-sponsor, NESBA members attend for free. Members of the Friends also attend at no cost. As noted, Guests pay $10.  The talks will take place in the Wellesley College Botanic Gardens' Visitor Center, adjacent to the Science Center on the Wellesley College Campus.

Pam Harrington
Tuesday, September 19 1:30 p.m 

Botanical Artists of the USDA
During the years 1886-1942, a small staff of professional botanical artists was employed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Division of Pomology to support the agricultural initiatives of the Division. The artists’ impressive body of work, known today as the USDA Pomological Watercolor Collection, consists of more than 7,700 watercolor paintings, pen and ink drawings, and wax models of fruit specimens. Most of this work was produced by ten botanical artists during the years 1886-1920, although as many as fifty artists are known to have worked there. Botanical artist and CBA candidate Pam Harrington talks about the origins, nature and scope of the work, why, where, and how it was done, and the artists themselves.
Tuesday, September 19 1:30 p.m
Members Free / Non-Members $10

Kay Kopper
Wednesday, October 25 1:30 p.m.

Documenting the Pine Barrens
Botanical artist Kay Kopper recived a grant from the American Society of Botanical Artists to paint plants and wildlife native to Southeastern Massachusetts, which has the second largest region of pine barrens remaining in the world. It is a habitat for pitch pine (Pinus rigida), scrub oak (Quercus ilicifolia), cecropia moth (Hyalophora cecropia), New England cottontail (Sylvilagus transitionalis) and American woodcock (Scolopax minor), among other species. Kay will describe what an adventure and learning experience this project has been for her.
Wednesday, October 25 1:30 p.m.
Members Free / Non-Members $10

NESBA members’ juried exhibit at the 2017 Newport Flower Show

A NESBA members’ juried exhibit at the 2017 Newport Flower Show took place at Rosecliff Mansion in Newport RI on Friday, June 23 – Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Newport Flower Show theme was “Fête des Fleurs: Paintings and Parterres”.

Imaginations were transported to the place that has inspired generations of artists and gardeners - France. At Rosecliff, modeled after the Grand Trianon of Versailles, visitors traveled on a very French adventure, from grand gardens to urban Paris chic.

Thank you to the members set up the exhibit

View of the Rosecliff grounds

Latest Pop-Up News!

Elena Balmaseda-Scherer (left) and Ellen Duarte (right) enjoyed a peer
critique of each other’s work on Monday, May 22nd at Ellen’s house on the Cape.

Our POP UPS are designed to address members concerns for both social and community service events. These are informal gatherings of members to get together for camaraderie, to work, and/or visit a botanical place or event.

Arnold Arboretum Director Ned Friedman presented "Four Tales of Plant Obsession in the Arnold Arboretum" to NESBA members.

Members were treated to the beautiful photos he takes of his favorite themes among the trees:
Looking closely at all aspects of trees opens one to the beauty easily missed by the casual observer.

1) Careful observation of winter buds,(frozen leaves) opens one to the unique ways nature has of protecting the new years growth.

2). Observing the architectural structure of trees allows one to see the big picture.

3) The red jewels of the new growth in conifer cones is beautiful and easily missed.

4) Rhododendrons and their viscin threads--pollen being released in pearly threads from a pore at the top of the anther is nature's way of insuring pollination.

Many of Ned Friedman's photos can be seen on the Arnold Arboretum's website in a searchable database:

NESBA members accepted into the MassAudubon Trailside Museum Exhibit

Three NESBA members will
have their work exhibited at the Blue Hills Trailside Museum, Milton, MA

"Water World"

May 20- July 23


Nancy Savage - her piece Swamp Milkweed will be exhibited at Blue Hills Trailside Museum, in Milton, MA

Nancy Bentivegna will have her work, Plymouth Gentian, displayed.

Emmi Kurosawa
will have two works exhibited.  Utricularia resupinata of Plymouth and

Utricularia gibba of Blue Hills

A feature article on NESBA member Linda Funk

NESBA members may be interested in a feature
article about my work that is in the May/June issue of Victoria Magazine.

Call for Entries-NESBA Members Juried Exhibit: RAW

NOTE:  The deadline has changed from May 15th to the 31st!

View PDF for clearer copy

To enter: and click "Calls for Entry" at the top, scroll down to RAW

Pop-up day With Elena Scherer

NESBA has initiated a series of Pop-Ups throughout the area.  These are informal gatherings of members to get together for comraderie, to work, and/or visit a botanical place or event. 

We had our first Pop Up today at the home of Elena Balmaseda-Scherer.
We painted, enjoyed lunch together, and painted some more, and ended with a group critique where we each shared our working techniques.

‘What a wonderful way to be introduced to NESBA. Elena was a wonderful hostess and facilitator of this Pop UP and I had a great time.” June Purpura, new member.

See Calendar of Pop-ups for more info

NESBA Sketchbook Technique Talk and Demo by Emily Passman

Emily believes sketchbooks are an important reference.  Each mark should inform the drawing and record information. Keep your eyes on the subject and draw what you see. Draw those things you want to draw attention to.


It was great fun to watch and lots of wonderful inspiration to just draw and a new way of looking at things. Emily was very generous with her time and stayed a little bit longer than an hour but it was a good time. I’m anxious to try out her ideas, it would be a wonderful exercise in not looking at your paper and focusing on what you see. -Rose Powers

Emily's talk was excellent and her demo was equally good. She is very personable and was able to explain what she was doing in her terms, but also how it might relate to botanical illustration. I really loved it and would love to take a class from her! -Nancy Savage

Emily's demonstration and talk about sketch booking was very illuminating
and interesting. She is an extremely enthusiastic and very talented teacher. She left the
group excited and interested in going out into the "great outdoors" whether
actually outside or in with a sketchbook and writing / drawing implements
and putting to paper what you see around you. -Robin Rosenthal

NESBA: Community Service Pop-Up: "Flower Power"

The NESBA Children's Hospital program was welcomed by both the hospital staff and participants well beyond our expectations. The kids and parents who came into our room started off shy or scared, but left smiling and happy. Well, more than happy, thrilled !!! The kids were excited and joyous when they left, as were adults. To bring some light into their lives made us all joyous too. We were told to prepare for 5 people, but all our art tables were filled.

Thank you to the following artists who sent in drawings: Jenny Hyde-Johnson, Bobbi Angell, Nancy Bentivegna, Deborah Cassady, Ellen Duarte, Doris Sheils, Beverly Duncan, and Kelly Radding. Your generosity was warmly welcomed and loved by all the participants. Not just one per artist, many. Thank you !!!

And to the teachers: Rose Powers, Jeanne Kunze, Beth Sanders, Nancy Bentivegna. You were strikingly supportive of each parent and child. To insure privacy, as we were asked by the hospital, we can't go into details, but please know that we were all greatly appreciated. And, all our teachers had a ball there.

Rose Powers will be taking over this committee, so please let her know if you want to join us next time; she will be adding to the kinds of events we do for our "POP UP Community Service". If you want to help her, please let her know.

Suellen Perold, Program Chair

NESBA exhibits at the Boston Flower and Garden Show 2017

Set up and ready for visitors.  NESBA display at the Boston Flower and Garden Show.

March 22 through March 26
Seaport World Trade Center
200 Seaport Blvd, Boston, MA

Wednesday, March 22:
Thursday, March 23: 10:00AM-8:00PM
Friday, March 24: 10:00AM-9:00PM
Saturday, March 25: 10:00AM-9:00PM
Sunday, March 26: 10:00AM-6:00PM

Call for Entries- Newport Flower Show

Updated: Feb. 24, 2017

New England Society of Botanical Artists

A Members’ Juried Exhibit

Call for Entries

Newport Flower Show
Friday, June 23 – Sunday, June 25, 2017
Rosecliff Mansion, Newport, RI

A NESBA members’ juried exhibit at the 2017 Newport Flower Show is open to any NESBA member in good standing (dues paid).

NESBA Exhibit Theme: Flowers. The Newport Flower Show theme is “Fête des Fleurs: Paintings and Parterres”. See Newport Flower Show website for information on the flower show.

NESBA Exhibit Requirements:
Artists may enter more than one work and each work submitted into one of the 4 categories. The artist decides the category for which each work is submitted. No more than 6 works will be selected for each category, for a maximum of 24 works in the exhibit. Leaves, stems, fruit, pollinators, etc., may be included in the composition, but the main subject must be flowers.

Submission Categories: Artwork must be submitted into one of the following 4 categories, any medium:
· Any flower(s) on vellum;
· Any flower(s) in black and white;
· “Small works” : Any flower(s) in a frame no larger than 12 inches in the longest dimension;
· Rosaceae family flower(s).

NOTE: the “small works” category frame size limit is no larger than 12” in the longest dimension.

The other three categories frame size limit is no larger than 30” in the longest dimension. 
Submitted work does NOT have to be new work. Previously displayed work may be submitted.

Deadlines: (Remaining dates and information to be provided)
March 15 – digital images must be submitted to: 
End of April – artists will be notified of jurors’ decisions.
First week of June – artwork must be received by the Preservation Society of Newport County. Artists may send selected work directly to the Preservation Society. NESBA may use “Drop off Persons” and the collected work delivered to the Preservation Society. Details to follow.

Digital Image Submission Requirements: Images must be ready for print.

* must be a reasonably accurate representation of the actual artwork
* must have artist’s name and name of artwork; ex. JaneDoe_Tulipa.jpeg
* JPEG files only; 300 dpi; image 10” high or wide, whichever is larger.

Exhibitor Guidelines:
Artwork does not need to be for sale. Process for selling original artwork, prints and cards to be provided. A commission on sales will be taken by the Preservation Society. A $10 hanging fee must be paid to NESBA. All work will be handled with care. Neither NESBA nor the Preservation Society accept liability for damage to artwork. Artists are solely responsible for insuring their artwork.

Framing Guidelines: Please follow NESBA guidelines as follows: White or off-white mats. Simple wood frames with natural light, medium or dark finish. Gold finish acceptable. No painted frames. No metal frames. No sawtooth hangers. Artwork in frames of insufficient quality will not be hung. Plexiglass required.

This is a photo of the dining room in the Rosecliff Mansion where the NESBA exhibit will reside for the 3 days of the Newport Flower Show.
Photo of the self-standing Pro-panels on which the exhibit will be hung. One section of a Pro-Panel is 8 ft tall and 36 inches wide. Each panel is made of 2 sections, joined in the center. One panel (i.e., 2 joined sections) per category.

SIGN-UP to volunteer at the Boston Flower Show

Do your part and volunteer for a shift at NESBA's booth at the Boston Flower Show. This is so easy!!

You do NOT need to Create a Sign up. No need to LOGin. DO NOT DOWNLOAD anything.

🌻Find the calendar to see where we still need help.

🌼Then scroll down until you find the day and time slot that you covet. See the burgundy button with the little box to be checked? Check the little box.

🌺Then click on the Burgundy Submit and Sign up at the bottom of the screen.

🌷This will bring you to the page where you fill in your name, e-mail address, etc. YOU do NOT need an account with Signup Genius to do this. You might want to click the little button that asks for a confirmation e-mail. I don't think you have to do this, but I did.

🌹Then Click the SIGN UP NOW! button.
Congratulations! You did it.

Note - SignUP Genius lets you edit your choice, see who else is signed up, etc. And when you do something - sign up or change something, an e-mail is generated that goes to Sue Neff and lets her know that the Calendar has had some activity.



The first principle for our talks is that we have fun. The talks are meant to inspire, create wonder, and provoke conversation. Every new idea and thought that is created is a win-win for us. For starters we can refer to the list of nine elements that people writing TedX talks adhere to, but for us, there’s a slight tilt in our expectations. Herein are our concerns and our timeline.

As adapted from Carnime Gallo’s article in Forbes magazine, here is our focus:

1. UNLEASH THE MASTER WITHIN. Talk about a botanical item you’re passionate about and that relate in some fashion to an event you’ve just been through or thought you’ve been through. Connect the dots to your “own” experience. See a list of possible events as inspiration, but use any ones you create. This can be real or imaginary.

2. TELL THREE STORIES. In your story telling, reach into people’s hearts and minds. Connect to the audience’s experiences and have them relate to your story.

3. PRACTISE RELENTLESSLY. There are speakers who rehearse over 200 times to get it right. Rehearse to your spouse, friend, dog, mirror, over and over again.

4. TEACH YOUR AUDIENCE SOMETHING NEW. We all love learning something new and here’s the opportunity to teach us. Inform, educate, inspire are the three missions of this talk. Give us all a new way of looking at the world. Or even just our little piece of it.

5. DELIVER JAW DROPPING MOMENTS. Elicit strong emotions in us, either joy, fear, shock, or surprise. Any of them, or all. Up to you. ( Check out Bill Gate’s and Sheryl Sandberg’s Ted talks. )

6. USE HUMOR BUT DON’T TELL A JOKE. Audiences are more receptive to your message if you have made them happy. You’re more likeable, and people are more willing to support you. (Check out Sir Ken Robinson’s Ted Talk. about how schools kill creativity.)

7. STICK TO THE 10 MINTUTE RULE. Our talks will be 10 minutes long.

8. FAVOR PICTURES OVER TEXT. Use power point for pictures, animations, and limited text, but no slides and no bullet points. Creative use of power point only. “Picture Superiority”.

9. STAY IN YOUR LANE. Be open, authentic, and at times, vulnerable. Maybe as Brene Brown found out, your personal search into this will bring you to a new level of understanding about yourself.

Brainstorming ideas: The idea is that you add to your “botanical theme” something interesting that you make a connection to, maybe these are ideas or inspiration: summer vacation, walks along the beach, walks with grandchildren or other family members, babysitting, eating at a diner, political campaigns, weather, seasons, a visit you had with a relative or friend, a party you had, a surprise event that happened, a reunion: (high school, college, etc), a book you read, a hike, a horse ride, your dog or cat, a peek into the refrigerator, food shopping, cleaning out the basement or attic, a sunset or sunrise, trips, a class you took, a gift you got, a gift you gave, what life means to you, what gives you joy, what makes you sad, who influenced you in life and why, a walk you had and what you found on it, a friend, a group of friends, nature of some kind, an animal (squirrel), some pottery, the heat, the cold. Well, that’s a few. Please email if you have other ideas to share and we’ll add them. Use your everyday life as inspiration.

January and February: work on your talk and have rough draft ready for March talk with Ikumi Kayama, a former TEDX speaker who will coach us. Email Suellen with your general idea. Remember that the element of surprise is ideal for this , so don’t tell people you want to surprise, maybe us all? I will keep everything secret. My lips are sealed. Ikumi will contact you to talk about your talk. Details will be on our blog. Continue on your talk and check in with Ikumi during the next few months. October will be a more formal talk and video with her and final preps will be done for a November “due date”. Our talks will be “videod” and put on our blog. Details for that will be on our blog as well.

Fun, huh? This will be HUGE !!! Have fun noodling on this.
Best regards,

Here's some NESBA-talk inspiration for you to consider when preparing your schpiels.  

"Nature Connection Through Deliberate Attention and Curiosity" you tube TedX talk of John Muir Law's

NESBA field trip to see The Glass Flowers, Botany Library, and Straus Center at the Harvard Museums

A fun day was had by our members at the three Harvard collections: The Glass Flowers, Botany Library, and Straus Center for Conservation and Technical Studies at the Harvard Art Museums. The curators gave us great insights into the Blaschkas' products, we even saw Blanch Ames paintings, and it was fascinating to see the actual paints that Sargent used.... Winsor Newton of course. Here are some insights from our members as well as some photos:-Suellen Perold
With the recent reinstallation the Blaschka Glass Flowers, the display is handsomely arranged and appears brighter. There is now space for some limited rotation of models. such as a few representations of pollinators, such as a bee, moth, and butterfly currently exhibited.-Deborah Cassady

Being an avid botanical artist it was wonderful to experience the museum and all that it has to offer, especially the glass flowers. I loved hearing of the Blaschkas history and their passion for creating their art with glass, (isn't that what art is all about; sharing your passion with those that are interested). I just finished reading "The Invention of Nature", about Alexander von Humboldt and of course this book has a chapter on Haeckel as well as the others. What a coincidence I've had after reading the above book and discovering that Blaschkas created sea creatures just like Haeckel. So much to discover and connect with. Just seeing the glass flowers is wonderful in itself, but then to connect all of the dots with all of the creative, inspiring, adventurous people of that time is facinating. -Kate MacGillivary

It is much easier to see the intricate detail and deft coloring of the glass flower specimens in the newly refurbished exhibit. Each "specimen" is thoughtfully displayed reflecting plant habits, realistic coloring, and supporting botanical information. Rotational exhibit cases currently display insects pollinating plants. -Susan Fulton

I was fascinated by the story of the glass Mountain Laurels created by Leopold and Rudolf Balaschka. One was the typical variety Kalmia latifolia, with cup shaped leaves, the other more unusual Kalmia polifolia (pictured here) had multiple narrow petals. The living examples of these plants can still be seen at the Arnold Arboretum -Beth Sanders

It was worth the journey to see the glass flowers again. The skill in making full scale or enlarged small details is astounding; root masses, stamens, finely cut leaves on whole plants is phenomenal. The new pollination section is a timely inclusion. Seeing an original and a printed, possibly etched, reproduction emphasizes the differences and nuances that change with printing methods. Although we would have liked to see more of the paint collection the conservator was able to give some insights into their work. The conservation rooms have amazing equipment peeked at through the glass walls. On the 5th floor of the Art museum is a novel interactive collections inventory. -Frances Topping

I found the work of Blanche Ames particularly interesting especially since NESBA has been involved with botanical demonstrations at Borderland, the home created in the early 1900s by artist and suffragist Blanche Ames and her botanist husband Oakes. -Nancy Horrall


The thing that Jennifer said that sparked my attention most was her comment after someone asked for more details on how the Blaschkas used colored glass versus painting the models with pigments in mineral spirits. She said that she thought that they used whatever they needed to use to get the job done at the time.
I guess it sounds simple enough in one respect but it's something I have been thinking about a lot. An artist should use whatever she needs to use to realize her vision. It's really been that way all along, whether you use oil, egg tempera, graphite, ink, camera obscura, photos, either separately or together. Whatever you need to get the job done is what you should use.
I like that.-  Kathy Folino
Sargent's paints

To find out more about the glass flowers click on:

Herbarium page
Harvard art museum pigment collection

To find out more about the pigment collection click on: