Cyanotype Workshop Impressions

Impressions from our first Guest Artist Workshop which took place on September 10-11. We had a wonderful group of students! We are looking forward to repeating this workshop in the Spring when the sun comes out again. 
"Cyanotype: Drawing in Four Dimensions"with Hiroshi McDonald Mori 
Dive into the process of Cyanotype in this intensive weekend workshop! Cyanotype is a photographic technique that exposes images in sunlight. Creating an image requires no negatives but rather invites a direct approach that combines elements of drawing, painting and sculpture with the final element of time. Mix the alchemical concoction discovered by Sir John Herschel in 1842 to create your own solutions, prepare, expose, and develop photosensitive paper. By learning the chemical process involved, you will also unlock infinite possibilities for deconstructing the medium to create unique effects.





























Summer Art Program with the children of NUK Wrangelstrasse

We have just concluded our Summer Art Program for the children living at the Notunterkunft Wrangelstrasse. This is a place where refugees live temporarily in Berlin, and we were happy to share a bit of fun and creativity with out neighbors.

I am proud to report that we were able offer 6 art classes with the help of 7 volunteers from the Berlin Drawing Room (Tali, Sina, Signe, Wiesje, Elly, Ines, Mira). We received donations or art and craft supplies from several generous individuals, as well as substantial donations from Kita Nestwarme and Peters Art. We worked with a group of about ten children who were full of energy and enthusiasm!

Some projects included potato stamps, bubble paintings, a mural, masks and leaf rubbings.

We have been invited back to continue our art program during the school year and we are searching for new volunteers! If you are interesting in participating, please get in touch at contact@berlindrawingroom.com. Thanks!









Cyanotype Botanical Illustrations by Anna Atkins

In the Botanical Drawing Workshop, we mainly focused on drawing and watercolor painting as methods for capturing the likeness of a plant. We did also experiment with pressing and drying plants to create Herbarium plates. While researching Cyanotype for another upcoming workshop at the Berlin Drawing Room, I was excited to learn that one of the earliest uses for this photographic technique was actually for botanical illustrations of seaweed by artist and scientist Anna Atkins.

This from the Public Domain Review, where you can also see more of her work:
"Anna Atkins (1799-1871) was an English botanist and the very first female photographer, most noted for using photography in her books on various plants. Having grown up with her father John George Children — a chemist, mineralogist, and not too successful zoologist — she was surrounded by science and also contributed to her father’s work. Her engravings of shells can be found in her father’s translated edition of Jean-Baptiste de Monet Lamarck’s Genera of Shells, published in 1823, but it is her work with cyanotypes that she is best known for. Through her father and her husband, Atkins came to know both William Henry Fox Talbot, a pioneer of early photography who invented a process of creating photographs on paper treated with salt and a solution of silver nitrate, and Sir John Herschel, the inventor of the cyanotype printing method. She became interested in the cyanotype process which produced images through so-called sun-printing. The object is placed on paper which has been treated with ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide, after which it is exposed to sunlight and then washed in water, leading to the uncovered areas of the paper turning a dark blue. The process, known as blueprinting, was later used to reproduce architectural and engineering drawings, but Atkins chose to use it for what is considered to be the first work with photographic illustrations, namely her Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions (1843). Only 13 copies of the handwritten book are known to exist, some of which are in various stages of completion. Later, she would collaborate with another female botanist, Anne Dixon (1799–1864), in making two more books featuring cyanotypes: Cyanotypes of British and Foreign Ferns(1853) and Cyanotypes of British and Foreign Flowering Plants and Ferns (1854). Atkins became a member of the Botanical Society in London in 1839, one of the few scientific societies which was open to women."



Introducing Guest Artist Workshops: Cyanotype


In this series of intensive workshops we invite Guest Artists to teach a technique specific to their own practice. Guest Artists are highly accomplished in their respective mediums and have exhibited internationally.
Learn directly from the artists that are defining current trends and bringing fresh relevance to both traditional and experimental techniques!



Cyanotype: Drawing in Four Dimensions

September 10-11
Dive into the process of Cyanotype in this intensive weekend workshop! Cyanotype is a photographic technique that exposes images in sunlight. Creating an image requires no negatives but rather invites a direct approach that combines elements of drawing, painting and sculpture with the final element of time. Mix the alchemical concoction discovered by Sir John Herschel in 1842 to create your own solutions, prepare, expose, and develop photosensitive paper. By learning the chemical process involved, you will also unlock infinite possibilities for deconstructing the medium to create unique effects. 
During this 2 day workshop, you can expect to learn:
- Chemistry involved in Cyanotype technique
- Results of using different types of paper and other surfaces for printing
- How to make test prints to set exposure time in varying weather conditions
- Tips for creating a sharper image, or a blurred "in-motion" image
- Experimental techniques for drawing and painting with Cyanotype
- Using tea to create varied tones
- Introduction to the history of Cyanotype and examples of artists, both historical and contemporary
Schedule: 11:00 - 15:00, September 10-11 (Saturday & Sunday)
Location: Hiroshi's studio near Moritzplatz, exact address given upon registration
Cost: 80 Euro (2 days, includes all chemistry, paper for test prints)
Sign Up: contact@berlindrawingroom.com

Botanical Drawing Exhibition: September 3-4

Please join us for a special exhibition of botanical illustrations created during the Botanical Drawing Workshop. The drawings and paintings on display were created through a process of close observation, both at the Prinzessinensgarten and the Berlin Drawing Room. 
The workshop is inspired by the Naturalists of the 19th century, who were simultaneously artists, explorers and scientists. Through the process of drawing from life, we are seeking to discover what kind of understanding and knowledge can be gained through direct observation. Does it have a different content or quality than knowledge acquired through more passive or indirect channels? Does the process of close observation, even when directed at mundane subject matter such as the weeds of Kreuzberg, yield something unexpected? 

Botanical Drawing Exhibition: September 3-4
Opening Reception with the artists: September 3, 2-5 pm
Open for viewing Sunday: 12-5 pm
Location: Prinzessinnengarten (Tiny Haus near the woodworking area)
Prinzenstr. 35 – 38 /  Prinzessinnenstr. 15 (U8 Moritzplatz), 10969 Berlin



Contemporary Botanical Artists


Linda Stillman uses actual plants as pigment to create her colorful drawings and paintings, often plants from a specific garden or location. The identification of the plants becomes a part of the title and the artwork itself.

'August' Garden scroll by Linda Stillman

Taryn Simon:
In Paperwork and the Will of Capital, Simon examines accords, treaties, and decrees drafted to influence systems of governance and economics, from nuclear armament to oil deals and diamond trading. All involve the countries present at the 1944 United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, which addressed the globalization of economics after World War II, leading to the establishment of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. In images of the signings of these documents, powerful men flank floral centerpieces designed to underscore the importance of the parties present. Simon’s photographs of the recreated centerpieces from these signings, together with their stories, underscore how the stagecraft of political and economic power is created, performed, marketed, and maintained.
Each of Simon’s recreations of these floral arrangements represents an “impossible bouquet”—a concept that emerged in Dutch still-life painting parallel to the country’s seventeenth-century economic boom, which ushered in the development of modern capitalism. Then, the impossible bouquet was an artificial fantasy of flowers that could never bloom naturally in the same season and geographic location. Now the fantasy is made possible—both in the original signings and in Simon’s photographs—by the global consumer market.
For the recreations, Simon worked with a botanist and from archival records to identify all the flowers. She imported more than 4000 specimens from the world’s largest flower auction in Aalsmeer, Netherlands, where 20 million flowers arrive and depart daily, bound for international retail destinations. She remade the floral arrangements from each signing, then photographed them against striking bicolored fields relating to the foregrounds and backgrounds in the historical images, pairing each arrangement with a description of the pertinent accord. For the sculptures, selected specimens from the 36 arrangements were dried, pressed, and sewn to archival herbarium paper; a complete set of the 36 botanical collages was then placed in each of the 12 concrete presses, along with the same number of photographs and narrative texts—sealed together in a race against time.
- from the press release for Paperwork and the Will of Capital, at Gagosian in NY


Jenny Yurshansky:
Title: 
Blacklisted: A Planted Allegory (Herbarium)
Description: 
This herbarium was made by studying the California Invasive Species Advisory Council’s living list of invasive plant species.  The Claremont Colleges and their affiliated institutions were the site of this collection. Pitzer College Art Galleries invited me to be an Artist-in-Residence during Summer 2014. During that period I hunted for, located, identified, and collected the invasive plants that I found growing on the site. Out of CISAC’s 600 listed alien-invasive plants, I found 133 which are now indexed in this collection; a group that is simultaneously highly local and totally foreign. The original pressings of the plants have been recreated as hand-cut silhouette portraits. These cutouts function as caricatures of each plant’s identifying characteristics. Along with each silhouette, is a description of the plant's Latin and vernacular names, their arrival date in California and their place of origin. It is no accident that the dates of arrival reflect the eras of manifest destiny, periods of increasingly multi-ethnic immigration and global shipping trade; humans are the primary introduction vectors. Many of these plants are now thought to be culturally Californian because of their common place in cuisine, flower beds, kitchen gardens, and the overwhelmingly human shaped landscape.





Watercolor Technique: drawing vs painting approach


Edward Lear, "Abu Simbel", 1867
Watercolor is a versatile medium which is extremely responsive to a personal touch. Each brushstroke is visible through transparent layers and it is also possible to incorporate drawing into the finished painting. Over the course of the Watercolor Workshop, the goal is for each student to develop their own individual approach. We looked at a broad range of watercolor artists, with a focus on landscape painting, to get ideas for different approaches. In order to focus the discussion, we attempted to put each artists into one of two categories: artists with a Drawing Approach and artists with a Painterly Approach.

How would one go about defining these two approaches? That is of course up for discussion, but here are some of the characteristics we looked out for.

Drawing Approach:
- The painting started with a drawing, parts of which may still be visible.
- The foundation of the painting is tonal, meaning if you were to see it in black and white the image would be clearly defined.

Painterly Approach:
- The painting started with brushstrokes, no drawing is visible.
- The foundation of the painting is color and definition comes through color relationships, such as complimentary colors.

Edward Lear 
Edward Lear
Edward Lear
Paul Cezanne
Paul Cezanne
John Singer Sargent
John Singer Sargent
Emil Nolde
Emil Nolde
Arthur Dove
Arthur Dove
 Georgia O'Keeffe 
David Hockney
David Hockney 
David Hockney 
David Hockney