Botanical painting – sensational summer colours with Mariella Baldwin

Botanical art

Ref: S4D10866

Suitable for all

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About this course

Paint the rich colours of flowers from the cutting garden. Learn techniques in observation, composition, colour mixing and application to increase your confidence and skills.

Course Description

Enjoy painting the colours and forms of flowers from the cutting garden from deep magentas, shocking pinks, dazzling tangerines and more. Learn techniques in observation, composition, colour mixing and application to increase confidence and advance your watercolour painting skills.

Botanical painting is an exacting subject, but it can also be used as a great vehicle to study all forms of art, as John Ruskin proposed in the 19th century, and is as relevant now as it was then. The course focuses on colour, providing you with an excellent opportunity to spend time exploring watercolour with application to a flamboyant flower from the walled garden. Techniques and tips will be demonstrated to help you understand and simplify the complexity of plant structure, as well as accurately match and mix watercolour paint. During the course, exercises will be undertaken in both observational drawing, colour mixing and colour theory, and applications will be discussed. You will learn how to develop a good sense of structure and form to your painting, using pure and modified colour, so that the resulting flower will look as if it could be plucked from the page.

This course is suitable for any level as individual attention will be given to all, including group discussions. Therefore beginners as well as those with experience are welcome to join this course.

As an introduction to the course, we will look at plant structures and see how some of the complex flowers can be broken down into simple forms to develop accurate observational skills, in preparation for embarking on a sustained painting of a flower.

By the end of the course, you will leave with a worksheet or sketchbook containing your colour exercises. These will be a useful reference tool for all future work, demonstrating techniques you have learned, in addition to the course notes as an aide-memoire. You will take with you a painting of your chosen flower, and have gained increased confidence and pleasure in painting flowers.


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

What students need to bring

  • Any watercolours you already have
  • It would be most useful to make a chart (ideally correctly labelled) of your watercolour box, whether you use tubes or half-pans so that colours can be easily identified.
  • Magnifying glass
  • Plain white saucer/dish or china watercolour palette
  • Dividers

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Smooth cartridge paper, tracing paper
  • Hot-pressed watercolour paper 300 gms/140 lbs
  • Watercolour paints – minimum primary colours; Permanent Rose, Winsor Lemon, French Ultramarine (or equivalent) Artists' quality
  • Pencils, pencil Sharpener, ruler
  • Erasers – Plastic and Putty
  • Watercolour paintbrushes – ideally sable, size 3 and 5
  • Sketchbook


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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