Botanical art

Botanical painting – harvest from the orchard gardens with Sandrine Maugy

Ref: S3D09057

Suitable for all

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Places available

About this course

Paint ornamental gourds, edible vegetables and beautiful fruit. Learn how to render these subjects in a botanical style, using wet-in-wet washes and dry brush techniques.

Course Description

The West Dean extensive walled gardens and orchards provide a large harvest at this time of year, from ornamental gourds to edible vegetables and beautiful fruit.

The aims of the course are to:

- Improve your skills in watercolour techniques

- Increase your confidence in botanical painting

- Develop your knowledge and understanding of colours and colour-mixing theory

- Enable you to use light and dark to paint 3D looking subjects

- Show you how to use blemishes and other features to make the fruits and vegetables look realistic and to give them personality

On the first evening Sandrine will introduce the subject, helping you to select what you will paint. Together you will look at materials and start sketching your first subject.

Sandrine will teach you techniques in sketching, wet-in-wet watercolour painting, dry brush painting, colour-mixing, composition, tone and shadows, planning a painting and keeping a sketchbook, and creating volume. Sandrine will support you with demonstrations and lectures on the techniques as well as one to one support.

During the course you will become more familiar with the watercolour painting process; gain theoretical knowledge as well as practice; be able to paint better looking fruit and vegetables; improve your identification of colours and be able to reproduce them, and produce one or several finished paintings. There will also be a session on Harmonic Shadows, a method by which local colours are used to create shadow colours in harmony with the subject.

At the end of the course you will take home some sketches and at least one finished painting.


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, 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


  • Fruits and vegetables from the West Dean orchards and walled gardens as well as additional pieces from the tutor's garden and greengrocer's.

What students need to bring

  • Water pot
  • Cotton cloths
  • Drawing board (also provided by College)
  • Transfer paper
  • Any equipment you usually use
  • If you like working on stretched paper, you might like to stretch a couple of sheets on board before you come ready to start painting

Available to buy

  • Brushes
  • Watercolour paper (at least 300 gms, Hot Pressed or NOT)
  • Tracing paper
  • Cartridge paper or sketchbook
  • Watercolour paints - artists quality
  • Drawing equipment (pencil, putty rubber, plastic rubber etc)
  • Optional: Gummed tape (if you stretch your paper)
  • Other materials available from the tutor:
  • Some paints, heavyweight paper, paintbrushes


Sandrine Maugy

Sandrine Maugy is a member of the Society of Floral Painters and the Society of Botanical Artists. She writes articles for Artists & Illustrators and her book Colours of Nature was published in 2013.


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

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