Botanical painting – exotic orchids with Mariella Baldwin

Botanical art

Ref: S2D12294

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About this course

In the depths of winter, an opportunity to paint exotic orchids in watercolour, with attention to accurate observation and detailed study.

Course Description

Exotic orchids make beautiful subjects to study, especially as winter approaches and most other flowers have faded. This course will be a fabulous opportunity to study these plants and how to successfully convey the individual character of your plant. The focus will be on the flowers, but if time permits, leaves will be given some attention too.

With your chosen plant to study you will be encouraged to work at your own pace following a step-by-step approach. Useful tips will be demonstrated to simplify the drawing process. Accurate observation and drawing is essential to get a good result which identifies the plant under scrutiny. Initially this can appear to be a daunting prospect, however, under guidance you will understand how to tackle complicated detail so that everything fits together – working from simplicity to complexity.

The course is suitable for all as individual guidance will be given by your tutor, an experienced botanical artist, who is constantly intrigued by these fascinating flowers. Watercolour techniques will be covered including simple colour theory, colour mixing, colour matching and application. Attention will also be given to painting a white flower on white paper and how this can be successfully achieved. You will be encouraged to develop a work study page which will be useful for future reference.

During the time available, a painting might not be completed, but by the end of the course you will have a worksheet, comprehensive notes, a beautiful orchid, together with the information gleaned through demonstrations, to help you complete your painting in your own time.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • An exotic orchid to paint and take home.

What students need to bring

  • Magnifying glass
  • A white china palette – a saucer or plate will do
  • Bring any watercolour paints and paintbrushes you may have already
  • Any materials you may have from the available to buy list

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Hot Pressed Watercolour paper – Bockingford or Arches 300 gsm – A3 pad or A1 sheet cut into 4
  • Artist quality watercolour paint – half pan or tube. 3 minimum – French Ultramarine, Lemon Yellow
  • (not Nickel Titanium Lemon), Permanent Rose (Winsor & Newton or Schminke)
  • Paintbrushes: For example Winsor and Newton Series 7 Miniature: Size 0, 3 and 5 – or similar Da Vinci or Rosemary
  • Tracing paper
  • Smooth cartridge paper
  • HB/2H pencil or mechanical pencil with 0.3mm leads
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Ruler
  • Erasers – plastic and putty
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


Mariella Baldwin

Mariella Baldwin studied botanical illustration at the English Gardening School, London and received an MA in Visual Arts from Sussex University. Her paintings are held in collections both in the UK and USA. She is a painting member of Chelsea Physic Garden Florilegium Society. Her book 'Botanical Painting' was published in 2011.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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