Virge Kask, Helcomeria osheai, holotype

The Guild of Natural Science Illustrators, New England & Highfield Hall present

"Natural Science Illustration: Darwin to Digital"

September 21- October 31, 2009

Highfield Hall, 56 Highfield Drive, Falmouth, MA
Opening Reception: Friday, September 25, 5-7:30pm

Curator, Tamara Clark

ABOUT Highfield Hall

Highfield Hall is a center for arts and culture in Falmouth, Massachusetts on Cape Cod. Located in a magnificently restored 1878 mansion, the Hall is an inspirational venue for learning, meeting and celebrating.

Amy Bartlett Wright, Crow Study
Lori Messenger, Glomerular Structure
Tricia Cassady, Painted Turtle
Tom Colantonio, Paper Wasp
David Delay, Pumpkin
Barbara Harmon, Tetrapod Evolution
Susan Stranz, Carrot
Nick Mayer, Tautog
Jeanne Kunze, Peoney and Swallow Tail
Nancy Minnigerode, Barn Swallow
Joan Pelletier, Shell Study

Antonia Ross, FuchsiaA diverse view of Science Illustration in recognition of Darwin’s bicentennial, this exhibit will highlight the range of styles, techniques and subjects that exist in the field today from members of the New England Chapter of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators (GNSI-NE). It will also showcase prints from the Marine Biological Laboratory/ Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Library’s renowned collection of historical illustrations, including Haeckel and Leuckart . In addition, works from respected local illustrator Julia Child's Biological Illustration students will be on view in the Ter Heun room. The show promises to be a unique juxtaposition of contemporary artists with several significant predecessors in the field. The reception on September 25th will include a technique demonstration by several GNSI-NE members who will share their individual skills and styles (Details below).

Programs will also be offered during the span of the exhibit, including a slideshow and lecture on the history of scientific illustration; perspectives from a working illustrator; and a discussion on the MBL/WHOI library's collection.

Portfolios of GNSI-NE members will be on display throughout the exhibit, as well as a selection of members' sketchbooks- works of art in themselves.

Abbey Adams, Laurie Bebick, Steve Buchanan, Patricia Cassady, Tamara Clark, Tom Colantonio, David Delay, Gretchen Halpert, Barbara Harmon, Virge Kask, Kathleen Kelly, Jeanne Kunze, Nick Mayer, Lori Messenger, Nancy Minnigerode, Joan Pelletier, Antonia Ross, Louise Russell, Susan Stranz, Frances Topping, Amy Bartlett Wright



Talks will be held on the following Thursdays at 7:00 at Highfield Hall
~ $5 suggested Donation

October 8: Cathy Norton, Director of the Marine Biological Laboratory/ Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Library
Rare Scientific Illustrations inside the MBL/WHOI Library
Cathy Norton, the dynamic director of the MBLWHOI Library, will present an overview of the vast treasure trove of historic science illustrations housed in the Rare Books collection of the Library. Ms. Norton will also explain the importance of the role of the Library in preserving pioneering works of art and science for future generations. Her talk will expand your vision of what preservation means in the new digital world we live in today, describing the work being done in the Biodiversity Heritage Libraries of the World.

October 15: Steve Buchanan, GNSI-NE member & computer artist
Painting Science: Purposes and Audiences
Steve Buchanan, creator of the well known biological series of postage stamps (insects, pollinators, spiders) will share tales from the world of a working science illustrator. In theory it is the business of communicating scientific subjects in graphics to a broad public. In practice it also includes educating scientists about the public, understanding the aims and working with the politics of organizations of every size, advising clients about production processes, the possibilities and limits of computers, legal questions and a host of other interesting subjects.  In many cases the artist is the advocate for the interests of the ultimate audience. It helps to have a large wardrobe of hats.

October 22: Julia Child, Illustrator and Instructor of Biological Illustration
The Art of Nature: An Illustrated History of Natural Science Illustration, from Cave Art to the 21st Century
Ms. Child, early member of the GNSI and founder of MBL Science School's Scientific Illustration course will give an Illustrated History of the Field of Biological Illustration, from Cave Art through the present, including images from the MBL's rare book room. Works by Julia and her biological illustration students will also be on display in the Highfield's Ter Heun room during the span of the exhibit.


Nature Journaling Workshop with Tricia Cassady
Sunday, September 27, noon- 4:00, Grounds of Highfield Hall.
Come an hour early (11am) to tour the Hall and view the exhibit. Click here to register and view supplies (coming soon).

Workshop description: Tricia Cassady will be leading the Nature Journaling/Sketching workshop. This workshop will allow people to take a closer look at the nature around Highfield Hall and be able to sketch in the moment. We will discuss different types of journaling, different materials that can be used and then everyone will be able to sketch where they want on the property. At the end everyone will meet up at the main building and we will share our journals. No need for prior drawing experience. Come and join us for a relaxing afternoon of art on your own terms! A materials list will be supplied once people have registered.

Tricia Cassady is currently employed as the Conservation Agent for the Town of Middleborough, holds a degree in Biology and has received a certificate from the Rhode Island School of Design in Natural Science Illustration. She is also the Treasurer of the New England Chapter of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators.

Technique Demonstrations
Friday, September 25, during opening reception

~ Illustrating on mylar film, Laurie Bebick
~ Drybrush watercolor and backgrounds, M.J. Brush
~ White-line woodcut printmaking, David Delay
~ Digital techniques, Barbara Harmon
~ Watercolor, Joan Pelletier


Steve Buchanan
Steve Buchanan was trained as a classical musician at the Oberlin College Conservatory of Music and earned his doctorate at the University of Texas. After eleven years as a college professor and concert pianist, he studied art at the Hartford Art School and began a new career as an illustrator. Although trained in traditional art media and methods, he began to explore the art possibilities of desktop computers in the early 1990’s and now works exclusively in digital media. Most of his work involves subjects from botany, horticulture, natural history and wildlife. His work has appeared on book and magazine covers, posters, T-shirt designs, advertising, product packaging, and US postage stamps. His clients have included Scientific American, The New York Times,  Houghton Mifflin Co., Country Living Gardener Magazine, The Bayer Corp., the U.S. Forest Service and the US Postal Service. Buchanan's art has been honored in the Illustration annuals of Communication Arts, The Society of Illustrators, the American Institute of Graphic Design, Print Magazine, and HOW; and his work has been exhibited at the Norman Rockwell Museum, the Hunt Institute, and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Julia Child
Ms. Child was an early member of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators and continues to illustrate as a freelance artist. She received her BA from Mills College in Oakland, CA and went through the Graduate Program in Medical Illustration at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. Her local freelance clients include the MBL, the Town of Falmouth, Woods Hole Historical Museum among others. She has taught biological illustration at Sarah Lawrence College and the Children's School of Science (Woods Hole) and continues to teach classes for adults in Woods Hole. As one of her students says "We have a wonderful time drawing together - two hours of total concentration"

Cathy Norton
Cath Norton
Cathy Norton is the current director of the MBLWHOI Library where, since the late eighties, she has been involved in building the network infrastructure for the laboratory and the electronic library that serves affiliates worldwide- via high- speed networks.  She leads collaborative projects on building virtual libraries and taxonomic information services and is working with Sea Grant on digitizing the Woods Hole herbarium collection. In education, she has developed a paperless course in Medical Informatics that delivers the resources and lectures on-line for the students.  Currently she is serving as the chair of the digitization committee for the Boston Library Consortium as well as serving on the executive committee.  In 2001 she helped form a new consortium of Research Libraries and Museums (BISC) with Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, New York Botanical Gardens, American Museum of Natural History, Cold Spring Harbors Laboratory, Rockefeller University and the MBL/WHOI Library.  She is a member of the Biodiversity Heritage Library Consortium that has a large-scale effort in motion for the digitization of all taxonomic literature and serve as its Deputy Director and Vice Chair of the BHL Council. She also is serving on the executive committee of BIOONE and the Member’s Council of OCLC. She has  hosted, lectured and organized meetings for the NERCOMP Computer Groups and the International Association for Marine Science Libraries and Information Centers. The digital library initiatives have focused her interests into modernizing the literature using taxonomic name servers and building communities of stakeholders

Special thanks to Janet Totten, Barbara Milligan, Julia Child, Cathy Norton, Steve Buchanan and Tricia Cassady for their time and skills.

** For more information contact Tamara Clark at

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Visit the GNSI-NE website >>

New England Chapter

The New England Chapter of the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators (GNSI) was founded in 1999 to encourage and support Scientific Illustrators through networking, technique workshops and public education. More information about the GNSI- New England >> 

The New England Chapter holds three General / Planning Meetings a year as well as monthly sketching field trips, demos, workshops, portfolio sharing or lectures. Meetings are held at the Rhode Island School of Design in Providence, RI. Field sketching events are held throughout New England.
Laurie Bebick, Pygmy Rabbit

ABOUT the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators

The GNSI is a worldwide professional organization of natural science illustrators. Members include prominent contemporary illustrators working in museums, universities, or freelance, representing a broad array of natural science fields.

Founded at the Smithsonian Institution in 1968, the Guild is a non-profit organization that sets high professional standards, provides opportunities for professional and scholarly development, encourages and assists member networking, and promotes itself to potential clients and the general public.
For more information, visit

Steve Buchanan, Reptiles
Tamara Clark, Imperial Blue Butterfly
Gretchen Halpert, Passion Flower
Louise Russell, Horseshoe Crabs
Kathy Kellly, Skull
Frances Topping, Black Oak Seedling and Acorns
Virge Kask, Things with Wings
Abbey Adams, Kingfisher


Erica Beade:

Tamara Clark:

David Delay:

Lucia deLeiris:

Catherine Hamilton:

Barbara Harmon:

Clare Walker Leslie:

Nick Mayer:

Lori Messenger:

Judith Sundell:

Amy Bartlett Wright:


Guild of Natural Science Illustrators (

Science-Art: Art for publication, resale and art services (

Americian Society of Botanical Artists (

New England Society of Botanical Artists (

The Association of Medical Illustrators (

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