This unique and historic course is for those with some previous experience in botanical illustration. During this week you will learn more advanced techniques as demonstrated by Lesley on a group and individual basis.

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This course is suitable for intermediate and advanced learners. However, as most of the tuition is on a one to one basis, beginners are welcome to attend as long as they have a basic knowledge of watercolour painting. All learners attending will benefit from the opportunity to share ideas and gain inspiration from more experienced artists and to practice and refine new skills.

Included in this course will be a visit to Benton End, the former home of The East Anglian School of Art. Students will be able to spend time in the extensive grounds of this beautiful house, with time to study, enjoy and create before returning to Flatford.

About the tutor

Lesley Smith

Lesley Smith has been teaching botanical illustration and watercolour painting in adult education for over 30 years. She runs several very popular courses throughout the year at Flatford and has been teaching for over 20 years at the Redbridge institute of adult education in east London, which has recently gained an Outstanding from OFSTED.

Lesley started painting in an adult education class as a complete beginner and was asked to take the class over when the tutor Freda Titford retired. Freda had been taught by Mary Grierson at Flatford Mill and Mary attended classes with John Nash the founder of the course which was then run by Jenny Jowett SBA who sadly passed away in March 2019.  Lesley attended Jenny’s course for over 30 years and learnt a great deal from Jenny and fellow attendees, giving her a wealth of techniques and knowledge to pass on to students to improve and enhance their botanical painting.

About Flatford Mill

We have four buildings that are used for visitor accommodation. Whilst most rooms are either en-suite or have a dedicated bathroom, there are some rooms in The Mill that share showers and toilets at the end of the hall. If this is un-suitable for you please make the office staff aware upon booking or as soon as possible. Please be aware that you are visiting a Field Centre that caters in the main for school parties; the accommodation is basic and dormitory style, but warm and comfortable.

Explore our range of botanical illustration courses hosted by our engaging tutors and learn from their expertise and skills. Our art courses are a chance to meet like-minded people, a chance to unwind from everyday life, and a great opportunity to experience the UK’s glorious countryside surrounding our field centres.

Example Timetable

Arrival Day

Check-in is between 1400-1800, if you are arriving after 1800 please advise us, so we can ensure you are advised of access codes, room key location, and room location.

You will meet the tutor at Dinner, and you will have your first session after Dinner.

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Full Board Accommodation
  • Hot and Cold Drinks
  • Picnic Lunch

Full board accommodation and picnic lunch is available for resident bookings only.
Refreshments are included for all, but non-resident bookings are advised to bring lunch with you.

Before You Attend

What to Bring

Watercolour paints  
Please avoid Daler Rowney Aquafine paints as they are hard to work with.
The following are essential colours for flower and plant illustration (artist quality is preferred):

  • Permanent rose ,Windsor violet
  • Scarlet Lake, Light red, Indian yellow, Winsor Blue Red, Shade
  • Quinacridone magenta, Cobalt blue, Ultramarine
  • Hansa Yellow medium, Lemon yellow,
  • Burnt sienna, Burnt umber,
  • Raw sienna, Aureolin yellow (essential for mixing good greens)

You will need to bring one good paint brush size 4 and one small brush size 1 or 2 (sable if possible) If you cannot afford sable then buy a brush that points well and has as much sable content as possible. I use a size 4 Da Vinci brush series 10 (or 11) available from Jacksons catalogue. I am also using Billy Showells (size 4 brush) and an eradicator, both available from her website.
Good paper makes a good painting, you can buy large sheets of good quality watercolour paper from most art shops, one sheet can be cut into 4, or bring any paper you are happy working on if you have painted before. I use Saunders Waterford 140lb Not surface paper. Some students prefer hot press paper. Bring whatever you are most happy painting on. However Bockingford is not suitable for this course as it is extremely hard to work on. I will bring some sheets of paper for sale if you are unsure.

Other Equipment  

  • White palettes
  • Water jars as the ones at the Centre are sometimes quite well used
  • Cotton rag or kitchen roll
  • A putty rubber
  • An H, HB or an F pencil and a sharpener
  • Blu-tack
  • Tall, sturdy containers for holding flowers while you paint, ie for lilies, gladioli etc; some oasis wrapped in cling film is useful for hanging plants
  • You may also require a magnifying glass as it is essential that you have good eyesight for this course.

Some flowers will be provided but if you have any flowers in your garden that you would like to paint or you think someone else would like to paint then please bring them along.
Most of the above items can be purchased online from Ken Bromley, or Jacksons.

Please note that the Centre shop does not stock art materials.  

Opportunities to attend this course

  • Mon 05, August 2024 19:00 - Fri 09, August 2024 16:00

    Flatford Mill
    East of England
    £364 - £562
    Lesley Smith
    Pay a deposit of £100.00 per item