Due to Covid-19 we have had to cancel courses from March to 1st August, we hope you will find an event later in the year that you can attend.

Use the medium of drawing and watercolour to celebrate summer by making a study of the flowers found in a Shropshire meadow. Starting with simple exercises aimed at sharpening observation skills and plant knowledge this course will lead you through basic watercolour techniques with short demonstrations in brush handling and guidance on composition. Learn how to mix the delicate hues of our wild flora from a simple range of colours. Each day will be structured to allow plenty time for developing your own response to the subject. Individual help will be offered where required making this a suitable course for both the beginner and accomplished alike.

The course will be based in the study room where a selection of plants gathered from the meadows will available to work from. For those feeling a little more adventurous there will be ample opportunity to explore the meadows around the centre to search out your own subject.
Saturday evening session will include discussion on approaches you might take in developing your own work.

Tutor: Kate Houghton

Kate Houghton is a free-lance artist and mural painter. She has a keen interest in the role drawing can play in learning about our native flora. Kate graduated with an M. A. in Fine art from Reading University going on to be awarded a Boise Traveling Scholarship by the Slade School of Art. Fascinated by the growth forms of plants she has made this central to her discipline as an artist. Her foray into the world of Botanical Illustration won a RHS silver medal in 2007 for her collection of themed works on the structures of plants raised though one season. In 2006 Kate was commissioned by Nottingham University to produce a large scale Diptych for their department of Plant Sciences. Solo exhibitions of her paintings include ‘Force of Nature’ Lancaster Environment Centre 2011 and ‘Observations on Common Plants’ University of Oxford Botanic Garden 2013. In 2018 she completed a residency at Ruskin’s home Brantwood with an exhibition of paintings based on the native ferns growing there.

Example Timetable

Please arrive at the Centre between 15:00pm and 17:00pm on the first day of your course in good time for a welcome introduction and evening meal usually 18.30pm, after which the course commences with a short evening session.

Friday evening:
Colour Mixing– exploring the watercolour palette to mix the delicate hues found in nature.

Saturday morning:
Drawing exercise aimed at sharpening observation and plant knowledge. Different approaches to composition.
After coffee break: Choosing a palette of colours to be used and mixed - demonstration for the beginners in the group in the use of watercolour paint.
After lunch: Creating background depth in watercolour and application of second glazes. Continuation of work with individual help.
After dinner: Discussion on the different approaches you might take in developing a direction for your own work. Further painting session.

Sunday morning:
Demonstration and exercises in brushmanship. Mapping out composition in paint. Development of painting with individual help.
After lunch: Completion of work and review of course and work produced. Close of course.

What's Included

  • Expert Tuition
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Full Board Accommodation
  • Hot and Cold Drinks
  • In Course Transport
  • Personal and Travel Insurance

Before You Attend

What to Bring

  • Pencil, HB or B. Sharpener
  • Couple of medium brushes suggest nos 3 and 6, one small brush no. 0 or 1. Sable are the best investment but the synthetic equivalents are good. Bring any other brushes you have.
  • 140 lb Hot pressed or smooth watercolour paper.
  • A small cartridge drawing pad is useful
  • Watercolour paints. Student or artist quality pans or tubes. Small sets of about 8 colours are perfectly adequate and helpful in developing an understanding of colour mixing.
  • Watercolour mixing palette.
  • Kitchen towel. *
  • Drawing board approx 25 x 30 cms*
  • Masking tape.*
    * these items will be available in the classroom

Useful Books (Not Essential)

  • Botanical Illustration for Beginners – Meriel Thurstan / Rosie Martin
  • How to draw Plants - Keith West
  • The Art of Botanical Illustration - Wilfred Blunt and William Stearn
  • Painting Flowers in Watercolour – Coral G. Guest
  • Trees – Benjamin Perkins
  • An Introduction to Drawing Flowers –Margaret Stevens