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Posted in Caton Merchant Family Gallery, Visual Arts, on 10 October 2017, by , 0 Comments

Our upcoming November exhibit features the work of 23 artists from The Botanical Art Society of the National Capital Region. The exhibit titled Nature's Pharmacy: Plants that Heal features a variety of media emphasizing plants that have historic medicinal purposes. 

Nature’s Pharmacy: Plants that Heal
The Botanical Art Society of the National Capital Region
November 1 – December 13
The Botanical Art Society of the National Capital Region is a chapter of the American Society of Botanical Artists with over 100 members in Virginia. BASNCR promotes an appreciation of botanical art and supports educational activities focusing on botanical awareness. Their exhibits showcase the beauty of nature, as well as the science of botanical art while utilizing a variety of media such as watercolor, graphite, and colored pencil. Nature’s Pharmacy fuses this passion for science and the beauty of nature by emphasizing plants with historic medicinal purposes.

Meet the artists at the reception, November 11, 2-4 pm.

Anne Clippinger
Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea)
colored pencil
Used to treat the common cold and other upper respiratory infections
17” x 20”


Margaret Farr
Virginia Woodland Plants II: Wintergreen (Gautheria procumbens)
Used in the treatment of arthritis and other joint & muscle pain
20” x 24”


 History of the Organization:

In 2004, botanical artists in the national capital area came together to form the Botanical Art Society of the National Capital Region (BASNCR).  The organization has grown to about 100 members, primarily from Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.  The mission of the organization includes:

  • Promote an appreciation of botanical art
  • Provide and support educational activities that create botanical awareness
  • Encourage knowledge about the preservation of native plants and plant diversity
  • Provide creative opportunities for social interactions between artists and botanists
  • Offer programming that showcases botanical art and the science of botanical art
  • Provide opportunities to exhibit and publicize member art
  • Participate with other botanical and art organizations in providing a variety of botanical art experiences for the general public

Each year, the artists of BASNCR hold at least one juried exhibit at different venues in the region to promote awareness of botanical art as a living art form.  Each exhibit includes from 30 to 60 artworks, depending on the size of the exhibit location.  BASNCR artists work in a variety of media including the traditional watercolor on paper, as well as ink, graphite, gouache, colored pencil, oil, and silverpoint.  At each exhibit, BASNCR artists provide supplementary programs such as lectures, demonstrations, and children’s workshops. 

BASNCR has designed recent exhibits to stimulate public interest in historic gardens, native plants and the natural environment, and heritage plants.  Venues have included the Strathmore Mansion, the Athenaeum Gallery of the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Association; Brookside Gardens in Wheaton Regional Park; and the American Horticultural Society’s headquarters, River Farm.

Individual BASNCR artists participate in regional, national, and international juried exhibitions.  Some individual artists or groups of artists hold their own shows.

BASNCR is incorporated as a non-profit in Maryland, and is a chapter of the American Society of Botanical Artists.  Further information about BASNCR, and examples of members’ work are available on the organization’s website www.basncr.org.


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Posted in Caton Merchant Family Gallery, Visual Arts, on 24 August 2017, by , 0 Comments

Our next exhibit is arriving just in time for the start of the school year - and appropriately so!
Visual Magic, The Art of Four Picture Book Illustrators (September 13-October 26) features four illustrators who have contributed to children's educational publications. Janet Stoeke, Susan Roth, Jennifer O'Connell and Carol Schwartz have spent their careers creating illustrations for children's books and even writing some of their own stories to go along with their art. They work with various mediums, including gouache, Photoshop, and even collage to express topics that range from science and nature to culture and history!

Meet the illustrators at the reception, September 16, 5:30 pm in the Caton Merchant Family Gallery. 

About the Illustrators:
With a focus on science and nature, Carol Schwartz has worked with many major publishers, including a Scholastic "Hide and Seek Science” series. Most recently you can see the small miracle of a chrysalis becoming a butterfly in Carol’s illustrations for a Tilbury House Nature Book, My Busy Green Garden, written by Terry Pierce. Carol paints predominantly in gouache, but also utilizes Photoshop for her illustrations. Her work has been selected for exhibitions throughout the USA including The Society of Illustrators in New York, Focus on Nature XIV and The Illustrator’s Club of Washington DC. She has also received honors from the The EdPress Association of America.

Susan L. Roth, NYC native, is the author/illustrator of 50 books. Her primary medium is collage. She applies this technique using scissors, tweezers, paste, and double-sided repositional tape. Some of her most popular publications include “Parrots Over Puerto Rico” (emphasizing the inescapable connection between people’s actions and the animals in the wild) and “Hands Around the Library” (a visual recreation of the story about protecting the Bibliotheca Alexandrina).

Janet Morgan Stoeke is best known for her whimsical picture books featuring Minerva Louise, a hen whose blithe optimism and inquiring spirit are never dampened by her many mistakes. Stoeke grew up in Connecticut among four siblings, a horse, a dog, frequent woodland adoptees and a pond full of ducks. But no chickens, although there were plenty of them just down the street. So yes, she is fluent in Farmyard. A painter by education, she came to the book-creating business through a contest, and has happily remained a contributor for the past 30 years. Her work has been singled out for its graceful lines, appealing palette and visual humor.

Jennifer O’Connell grew up in Darien, Connecticut and received her BFA degree in illustration from Philadelphia College of Art (now known as The University of the Arts). She was employed at Unicorn Graphics in Washington, DC before becoming a free-lance illustrator and designer. Jennifer’s picture book, Ten Timid Ghosts, is a New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestseller and has sold more than 780,000 copies. Her new book, The Eye of the Whale has received the Green Earth Book Award, a Moonbeam Gold Award, a Maryland Blue Crab Honor, and has been named an Honor Book by the Society of School Librarians International in the Language Arts - Picture Book category. It was a Maine Literary Awards Finalist and has been selected by RIF (Reading is Fundamental) for their STEAM list.

Artist Technique:
The visuals within a children’s book are pivotal to the overall message. Each artist has their own unique approach to creating illustrations. Susan Roth primarily works with collage using the cut and paste technique. Her supplies include: scissors, tweezers, paste, and double-sided repositional tape. This enhances the visuals by adding depth and texture through the technique of collage.

Janet Stoeke and Carol Schwartz utilize the medium of gouache, which combines the flexibility of watercolor with the flow of acrylics. The gouache method uses opaque pigments ground in water and thickened with a glue-like substance. In addition to creating her illustrations with gouache, Janet Stoeke also uses a black Prismacolor pencil to outline her art. Carol Schwartz also chooses to combine media and incorporates Photoshop into her illustrations as well.

Jennifer O’Connell prefers to paint her illustrations more loosely with the medium of acrylic paint on 4-ply Strathmore Bristol paper. The quick drying paint allows Jennifer to keep refining over and over until everything ‘works’. Occasionally, Jennifer also uses pen and ink with watercolor.

List of Publications:

The Eye of the Whale
Ten Timid Ghosts
It’s Halloween Night

Parrots Over Puerto Rico
Hands Around the Library

The Loopy Coop Hens
Letting Go

What Is There Were No Bees?
How Does A Seed Sprout? & Other Questions About Plants
How Strong Is An Ant?
My Busy Green Garden

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