Botanical drawing or painting courses?

PaulNS(NS zone 6a)February 22, 2005

I've been wandering through this forum for the first time, dazzled by the quality of the artwork. A lot of talent here - thanks to everyone for sharing their work. It is inspiring.

I'm wondering whether anybody knows of botanical drawing or painting courses or workshops coming up - preferably in Canada but also in the States. It's something I'd like to study more intensively.

Here's one of a series of 'winter wood' drawings I work on when I get the time and am in the right frame of mind. They're done in pencil on 3x5" index cards. I scanned them, then changed greys to sepiatone using Photoshop. I hate winter, lol - looking at the beauty of twigs helps keep me sane for the duration.

Corkscrew hazel

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sandyhills1(z8Fl)

Paul,Don't know how long you've been doing this type of work but it is really,really good!Sometimes it's not a good idea to take art classes when you do this kind of work.It seems you have developed your own style and you must be careful not to have it changed by others.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2005 at 7:34PM
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pengoff(z5 MI)

I agree with Sandy. It's very fine drawing and deserves better than a 3x5 card. Keep on refining and show us what else you have.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2005 at 11:50PM
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PaulNS(NS zone 6a)

You are both very kind. The twigs seem to like being on index cards - the smoothness allows for lots of detail and the small size makes them feel secure :)

Reasons for wanting to take a course: I went to art school years ago and miss being in a group, drawing. I'd like to branch out (so to speak) to drawing and painting flowers. And I need the kick in the butt a class would offer. Last week on a walk my wife and I collected branches of half a dozen species I've never drawn before, but I haven't been able to get back into the spirit of things. Partly it's because of the nattering internal critic I know is waiting for me - a real pest. Does anybody else have this problem? If so how do you deal with it? Do you know of any pesticide that works? (has to be organic; I don't use chemicals)

By the way is it okay to insert pictures into the body of a post here, or is it better to provide a link?

    Bookmark   February 23, 2005 at 10:41AM
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julie_mn(z4 MN Henn)

You are on the right track to join with others to pursue an artistic endevor to rid yourself of the inner critics degrading comments. I would however sign up for a class about color- or photograghy- or anything else that gets your juices flowing that is similar but different from your most usual type of art production. You see the world in a new light, and use a new voice and vocabulary and teach that critic a thing or two about how great you are! Then use those "new eyes" to go gangbusters on your chosen art.
Works for me, and many professional artists that I know.
My best to you-
Julie

    Bookmark   February 23, 2005 at 4:58PM
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Clare(z6 MO)

I just searched on "drawing" in the Calendar of Garden Events here at GardenWeb and came up with a few classes.

Here is a link that might be useful: botanical drawing classes

    Bookmark   February 24, 2005 at 12:14AM
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bultman(8 NL Europe)

Seems to me like you don't need to follow any art course - that drawing is just superb.

Bernadette

    Bookmark   February 25, 2005 at 5:04AM
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PaulNS(NS zone 6a)

That's an interesting idea Julie, taking a course in something other than pencil drawing...The artist as fugitive from his or her own mind. Stephen King says he listens to heavy metal at top volume while he writes  which partly explains his writing, I think, and is not my style, but I can understand why he would. Obliterate the critic with a barrage of sound.

It was fun taking a virtual tour to some of the links in the calendar, Clare - I didn't know Gardenweb had such a thing. There was a link to another link to an online drawing course from a university in Canada - free for anybody to follow and do exercises from. (Terrible font though.) Should have bookmarked it - will post it if I can find it again.

Bernadette thanks. Your website blew me away. The variety of styles, the vibrant colour. You have an adventurous spirit, always ready to try something new.

Here are some more drawings--

Sprouting maple key

Horse Chestnut

Saucer magnolia

    Bookmark   February 26, 2005 at 9:40AM
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bultman(8 NL Europe)

Aw, thanks for that - my ego's doing cartwheels! :-)
Once again, your drawings are excellent - particularly like the sprouting maple key. You've really captured the delicacy of a young plant - those veins and tiny tears - really true to life.

Bernadette

    Bookmark   February 27, 2005 at 3:45AM
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Roland_ON(5a)

These are fantastic! I like the maple key best too. I don't think you can silence the internal critic. He is the one that pushed your work to evolve and made you a better artist. Without him I think you and your work would suffer. Even is he is a severe pain on the brain.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2005 at 7:12PM
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sandyhills1(z8Fl)

Paul,Don't know of anyway to get rid of the demon inside!I've worked with drawing,which I love and do all the time.Painted in all mediums and modeled figures in clay.When I started painting It was oils,then acrylics and watercolor.Learned all on my own by studying works of famous Artist I admire.Have belonged to Art Groups,even started one.Showed my work in local shows over the years (Didn't like it)Then sent work off to a Gallery for a while.did ok there but had to quit painting for a few years.Wandering back now in my older years.Try never to put your own work down(The Demon)Do set out to learn what interests you the most,just don't lose Your own style.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2005 at 7:42PM
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trianglejohn

Somehow my demon vanished all on its own. Bothered me for years. I wouldn't say it held me back but it made me uncomfortable showing or displaying my work. As I've gotten older and entered bigger shows or events that old nagging voice is gone. I still can't get friends and family to believe me when I state that I just don't care if I win a contest or prize - I participate just to showcase my concepts and talents. Winning is nice but the opinion of one judge is NOT better than the opinions of all the people viewing the exhibits.

I once worked as an artist/illustrator for a large zoo (the perfect job for me). And at one time I offered to teach a field sketching class for adults in the evening after work. No one thought it would fly but it was very successful. I learned that not everyone with an artistic sense wanted a formal structured class (I sure couldn't offer that), what most people wanted was the social exercise along with a critique of their work. The comments at the end of each session pointing out strengths and weak spots were what the students were most hungry for - an honest opinion with guidelines for improvement. I have no training in any of this, but evidentally did ok at it.

Your work is wonderful. Thanks for sharing it.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2005 at 9:37AM
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PaulNS(NS zone 6a)

Hello all,
I've been away and then busy. Still following this thread, and finding your thoughts very interesting. Thanks Joy and John for sharing your experience and support. (An illustrator in a zoo - now there's a choice job.) 'An honest opinion with guidelines for improvement' are worth their weight in gold.

You're right of course Roland, the critical thinker is the one that makes us improve our work. I will try to think about that consciously next time I draw. Maybe even write it down and stick the paper on the wall above my desk.

Thought some of you might be interested to read this sample of assignments from the Society of Botanical Artists distance learning diploma program. The file is big, but I could cut and paste it here or you can email for it:

pam@soc-botanical-artists.org

ASSIGNMENT 1 DRAWING 10 marks
To be undertaken during June and July 2005
Due date: July 30th 2005
Line drawing in pencil or ink. Single flower study with one leaf in pencil or ink, hatched or
stippled. Both subjects of your choice. Complete study in pencil showing tone and texture.
Subject of your choice. Suggested exercises.

ASSIGNMENT 2 COLOURED PENCIL (or second monochrome drawing) 10 marks
To be undertaken during August and September 2005
Due date: September 30th 2005
Three exercises covering shading, layering and blending.
Using the knowledge gained produce a small study of flowers and foliage, not smaller than A4.
Also one flower, one leaf and a small piece of fruit such as a plum, apricot, cherry or a few grapes.
Students not wishing to use coloured pencils should produce a second monochrome drawing plus
black and white exercises as above.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2005 at 4:24PM
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PaulNS(NS zone 6a)

Peter, if you're still there - it's two years since I posted, almost a year since you did - I'm glad I checked back. Thanks for the link to your website. I've been away from drawing but wanting to get back to it - there are some wonderful mountain ash twigs outside the window, begging to be drawn. So this is an added encouragement.

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 10:08AM
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juliaw(7b/Sunset 5 -- PNW)

I know this thread is really out of date, but for any other artist with motivation problems (like I usually have) who might wander in here, you might want to consider -- instead of classes -- either joining an artist group, or starting one if you can't find any in your area. There are a lot of artists out there who need the company of other artists to be creative, and if you can find (or create) a group that meets regularly to take drawing field trips, it's like magic for your creativity and inspiration. I highly recommend it because it's a much more long-term solution than classes, and also costs less (and you might make some friends to boot!).

    Bookmark   February 23, 2008 at 1:19PM
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Aaron_Grabiak(6)

Not sure if anyone is still around on this thread, but I just wanted to say that these drawings are fantastic! I would love to see more. Keep up the good work!

    Bookmark   December 27, 2012 at 2:22PM
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