This weekend course is for those who have had some previous experience in using watercolours but may be new to botanical illustration.

This mixed ability course will focus on accurate drawing, colour mixing and composition as well as more advanced techniques, depending on where you are in your botanical journey. Beginners, intermediate and advanced learners are all welcome. Every stage from basic use of equipment to making the finishing touches will be demonstrated and explained to give you the confidence to paint to an even higher standard.

Please note: Good eyesight is essential for this course as the work is detailed and precise.

Tutor: Lesley Smith

Lesley Smith has been teaching botanical illustration and watercolour painting in adult education for over 30 years, and is also a qualified Pergamano tutor. 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 just gained an Outstanding from OFSTED. Lesley started painting in an adult education class as a complete beginner and after 6 years 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 run up until last year 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.

What's Included

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

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, Quinacridone magenta, Cobalt blue, Ultramarine, Cadmium yellow, Lemon yellow, Yellow ochre, Burnt sienna, Burnt umber, Cadmium red, Raw sienna, Aureolin yellow (essential for mixing good greens), Cobalt violet, Raw umber

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 catalogues or Art Van Go in Stevenage, both have websites you can buy from. I am also using Billy Showells (size 2 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.

About FSC 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 unsuitable 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.

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.

Sorry this course has ended