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Botanical illustration for mixed abilities at Flatford Mill

Botanical illustration for mixed abilities at Flatford Mill

About the Course

This course is for those who have had some previous experience in using watercolours but may be new to botanical illustration. This mixed ability course will focus on accurate drawing, colour mixing and composition as well as more advanced techniques, depending on where you are in your botanical journey. Beginners, intermediate and advanced learners are all welcome.

Every stage from basic use of equipment to making the finishing touches will be demonstrated and explained to give you the confidence to paint to an even higher standard. Please note: Good eyesight is essential for this course as the work is detailed and precise.

Course tutor: Lesley Smith
Lesley Smith has been teaching in adult education for over 25 years, and is a qualified Pergamano tutor. She runs several very popular courses throughout the year at Flatford and elsewhere.

What to Bring
Watercolour paints:
Please avoid Daler Rowney Aquafine paints as they are hard to work with.

The following are essential colours for flower and plant illustration (artist quality is preferred):

Permanent rose ,Windsor violet

Scarlet Lake, Indigo, Light red

Quinacridone magenta, Cobalt blue, Ultramarine

Cadmium yellow, Lemon yellow, Yellow ochre

Burnt sienna, Burnt umber, Cadmium red,

Raw sienna, Aureolin yellow (essential for mixing good greens)

Cobalt violet, Raw umber

Brushes: You will need to bring one good paint brush size 4 and one small brush size 1 or 2 (sable if possible) If you cannot afford sable then buy a brush that points well and has as much sable content as possible. I use a size 4 Da Vinci brush series 10 (or 11) available from Jacksons catalogues or Art Van Go in Stevenage, both have websites you can buy from. I am also using Billy Showells (size 2 brush) and an eradicator, both available from her website.
Paper: Good paper makes a good painting, you can buy large sheets of good quality watercolour paper from most art shops, one sheet can be cut into 4, or bring any paper you are happy working on if you have painted before. I use Saunders Waterford 140lb Not surface paper. Some students prefer hot press paper. Bring whatever you are most happy painting on. However Bockingford is not suitable for this course as it is extremely hard to work on. I will bring some sheets of paper for sale if you are unsure.
White palettes
Water jars as the ones at the Centre are sometimes quite well used
Cotton rag or kitchen roll
A putty rubber
An H, HB or an F pencil and a sharpener
Tall, sturdy containers for holding flowers while you paint, ie for lilies, gladioli etc; some oasis wrapped in cling film is useful for hanging plants
You may also require a magnifying glass as it is essential that you have good eyesight for this course.
Some flowers will be provided but if you have any flowers in your garden that you would like to paint or you think someone else would like to paint then please bring them along.
Most of the above items can be purchased online from Ken Bromley, or Jacksons.

Please note that the Centre shop does not stock art materials.

If you will be redeeming a CraftCourses gift voucher on this course, the voucher code must be provided at the point of booking.

What's included in the price?

Expert tuition
Free Wi-Fi
Full board accommodation
Hot and cold drinks
In course transport
Personal and travel insurance


Field Studies Council, Flatford Mill
Flatford Mill Field Centre
East Bergholt
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Suitable for

  • Public transport
  • Residential
  • UK Holiday
  • Wheelchair users

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5 days

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