Botanical art

Painting leaves, mixing greens with Sandrine Maugy

Ref: SLW10781

Suitable for all

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Places available

About this course

Does painting foliage give you trouble? Improve your leaves and green mixes through a series of structured drawing and painting exercises, colour-mixing experiments and some time to explore subjects of your choosing.

Course Description

Whether you are a beginner wishing to build a solid foundation for your plant painting or whether you are more advanced but struggling with bringing your greens and leaves to the same standard as your flowers, this course will help you understand the characteristics and behaviour of foliage as well as mixing the right green for the right leaf.

You will:

- improve your understanding of foliage structure (for example placement, veining, shapes and forms)

- develop your skills in colour-mixing, especially greens

- improve your technique in order to render the right textures, colours and patterns

The course will include some drawing and painting exercises that will help you find the right shapes and positions of the leaves as well as their structures and textures. There will also be some experiments in colour-mixing, including some general rules and some specific mixes, which will help you match the painting to the subject. Time will be set aside for exploring subjects of your choice, allowing you to develop skills you particularly wish to improve.

By the end of the course you will have produced a series of sketches and studies as well as colour swatches. For the main piece of work, you will have the choice between producing a page of a selection of leaves or a painting of a specific plant.

Plants will be provided by the West Dean Gardens. You will be able to pick individual leaves you might encounter walking in the Gardens and you are also welcome to bring some with you if you wish to study a particular subject.


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


  • On this course the College will supply some plants from the Gardens.

What students need to bring

  • A piece of cotton cloth (face towel, cotton tea towel or cotton handkerchief)
  • Any items you may have from the available to buy list.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • Cartridge paper or sketchbook
  • Drawing materials (pencil, rubber, ruler and a compass might be useful)
  • Watercolour paints (anything you have but no Cadmiums please, as they are opaque)
  • Watercolour paper, at least 300 grams. (425 is better and 640 even better), Hot Pressed or Cold Pressed, Fabriano Artistico or Saunders Waterford work best for wet-in-wet
  • Paintbrushes (preferably synthetics) in a range of sizes from 0 to 8
  • Tracing paper
  • Available from tutor:
  • Transfer paper (Tracedown)
  • Some paints, paintbrushes and watercolour paper


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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