Summer colours at West Dean – botanical painting with Sandrine Maugy

Botanical art

Ref: S3D11858

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About this course

Inspired by West Dean Gardens, learn essential watercolour painting techniques and gain the confidence to produce colourful plant portraits. Study colour mixing, the depiction of details such as serrated edges and veins, and the use of wet-in-wet.

Course Description

The beautiful gardens of West Dean and the array of summer colours provide the inspiration for this course. Flowers, leaves and fruit will be freshly picked from the walled garden and the rest of the grounds and will be displayed in the studio for you to choose.

The sessions include morning lectures as well as demonstrations and personal tuition throughout the day. These will help you improve your understanding of colour-mixing theory and practice, learning how to identify colours and reproduce them. A day is dedicated to mixing green and drawing and painting leaves: how to draw twisting leaves and veins, how to mix the right colour, to give the effect of shine, to reproduce textures, to paint serrated edges and deal with venation. This is an essential yet particularly tricky part of botanical painting.

The issue of shadows is also addressed: how to mix the right colour without using black and how and where to put the shadows down for a 3D effect without intruding on the subject’s colour, especially on light or luminous colours such as yellow.

There is an extensive use of wet-in-wet technique and by the end of the course you will be more familiar with the watercolour painting process. You should be able to use watercolours with more confidence and paint better, bolder plant portraits.


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


  • The course fee includes the cost of providing additional flowers and fruit.

What students need to bring

  • Please bring any items from the available to buy list, if you have them
  • Cotton cloths

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Watercolour paper blocks 9”x12”, 300g/m2
  • Fabriano Artistico Extra White: cold pressed and hot pressed
  • Fabriano Artistico Extra white sheets
  • Tracing paper
  • Sketchbooks (A4 andA3)
  • Winsor & Newton Artists Watercolour Paints:
  • Winsor Lemon 722
  • Winsor Blue (GS) 707
  • New Gamboge 267
  • Raw Umber 554
  • Scarlet Lake 603
  • Winsor Orange 724
  • Winsor Red 726
  • Cerulean Blue 137
  • Permanent Alizarin Crimson 466
  • Permanent Rose 502
  • French Ultramarine 263
  • Gummed tape and board (if you stretch your paper, boards are available to use at the College)
  • Drawing and painting equipment: paints, brushes, pencil, rubber etc
Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear i.e. no open-toes or sandals.


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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