Birds on Botanicals weekend workshop

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Pardalotes in eucalyptus 1452


Workshop outline. 

The workshop provides an opportunity for students to continue to practice their skills in placing Birds in Botanical Art in the company of other like-minded artists.  Watching other student’s styles and the different range of botanical subjects examined can be very stimulating and informative. The workshop is usually limited to 12 students.

The following aspects of Botanical Illustration will be considered:

  • Tonal values
  • The geometry of plants - how to draw them accurately
  • Sketchbook work - the value of working sketches
  • Colour mixing and paint quality
  • Watercolour techniques such as; wet in wet, dry, flat and graded washes
  • Lighting conventions
  • Composition

Attention is given to the practicalities of placing Birds in Botanical Art . For example, how to keep specimens, how to handle flowers that don’t last more than an hour and combining different parts of the life cycle of a plant.  

In regards to painting itself; 

  • how to remove marks from the paper
  • how to cover up some mistakes
  • how not to make some mistakes
  • working on coloured paper and backgrounds

Bring a specimen from your garden if available 

Beginners and more experienced artists are catered for in the small workshop format and everyone works at their own pace.


Daily program.

Classes start at 9.30am sharp and finish around 4.30pm.

Tea, Coffee and biscuits are provided during the workshop.

Lunch (usually 12:30 to 1:30pm) may be purchased at the nearby shops  or brought to class by students.

Please note:

  • That certain aspects of the planned program may be modified to suite the workshop.
  • The course fee is for tuition only and doesn't include materials, transport  or accommodation (if required).


Materials list.

  • 2 Imperial size sheets (cut into 4 pieces) of Arches 300 gsm hot pressed watercolour paper.
  • Windsor and Newton artist quality watercolour paints (5 ml tubes).  
  • Daler Rowney paints would be a satisfactory substitute while Cotmans are unsatisfactory and inferior. Maimeri and Daniel Smith are usually               s good brands;
  • Cadmium Yellow
  • Cadmium Lemon or Cad. Yellow pale (NOT Lemon Yellow)
  • Cadmium Red or Scarlet Lake (W+N)
  • Permanent Rose
  • French Ultramarine Blue
  • Cerulean Blue
  • Optional, Burnt Umber or Burnt Sienna
  • Brushes - Sable is always the best but it is expensive, try a Roymac or Rowney brand Kolinsky sable size 2 or 3, make sure it has a good point, plus a synthetic brush (round) size 6 or 8. Roymac Achiever Taklon (made in India) is a good substitute and is very good value. Art Spectrum round Sable Plus and Sceptre Gold 202 are also good value brushes to start with. One larger wash brush - synthetic if possible.
  • Also needed are; a rag, small spray, HB and 2B pencils.
  • Kneadable rubber (Faber Castell is a good brand) and a palette.
  • A palette could be a plain white china plate, I use one all the time, or you might prefer to buy a folding palette which is easier to transport, the choice is yours.
  • A sheet of white card, about A3 in size, folded in half to put behind your specimen when painting.
  • A sketchbook.
  • If possible bring your own painting light.
  • Bring a MUG for cups of tea.


 Copyright © Helen Fitzgerald 2018