63. New Classes in 2020 - Heeyoung Kim Botanical Art Academy


Preparing for New Year is always exciting! This time, it is especially meaningful with a few milestone achievements in my botanical art program at Brushwood Center.

The 5th: Enriching Life has become a popular community event since its first opening in 2015. Our  artworks give warmth to the winter world with undeniable beauty of flowers and plants. To celebrate its succeessful 5th exhibit, we produced accompanying catalogs featuring two of each participating artists. The catalog was a meaningful gift to the artists and their supporting family and friends.

The botanical art program, founded by me in 2012, has been growing steadily and now it is in full swing with three days of classes per week handling watercolor, graphite pencil, and ink (occasionally colored pencil, too) for students at all levels. With encouragement and recommendation by the Executive Director of Brushwood Center, I decided to formalize it as "Heeyoung Kim Botanical Art Academy".


From my early career as a botanical artist, I tried to be confident in using main media of botanical art, such as watercolor, graphite pencil, and pen-and-ink. To prove it, I tried to get in major juried botanical exhibitions with all the media I use. With the results, I got to feel comfortable to teach all the aspects of the traditional art genre.

In my program, students learn "Drawing Fundamentals" first, then study plant structures and other essentials to draw plants scientifically accurately. Of course, the art needs to be aesthetically pleasing with the artist's personal representation and good sense of composition. After series of drawing classes, students will be introduced to watercolor. 

Watercolor is a bit daunting in the beginning, but students will learn the essential techniques step by step to get comfortable with the medium. Understanding the pigments and how to use them efficiently will be the key to successful painting. Fortunately, what happens in watercolor painting is "very scientific" in my opinion, which means it becomes logical and easy to learn. 

Calla Lily, watercolor, background color added digitally. @Heeyoung Kim

Mostly, attentions go to the flowers in botanical paintings, but leaves actually takes up lots of space and need to be depicted botanically accurately, and beautifully. Most botanical artists agree to say painting 'Green' leaves are very challenging. In my classes, I always emphasize leaf painting. I myself strive for a better way, and introduce various methods to the students, so that they can adopt the best way for themselves. 

Pen-and-Ink always has a soft spot in my heart, as I grew up in the environment where ink, brush and calligraphy were part of the everyday life. I especially feel nostalgic when I think of the time when I prepared ink for my father with inkstick on inkstone. I love creating ink work, and also teaching it to the students. 

Adding touch of color is such a whimsical way to express the characteristic beauty found in seasonal botanical subjects. My favorite color to add in ink drawing is walnut ink, but any watercolor washes add the charm. With proper techniques handling traditinal style dip pen nibs,  we can express more subtlty and intricacy than with pigment liners or mechanic pens. In February I offer Ink class on Tuesday. Check out my website, www.heeyoungkim.net for details and registration. 
I am very excited with the launch of Heeyoung Kim Botanical Art Academy, and I will do my very best to make it a place where students feel supportive and happy in creating art. 

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