Fall Botanical Watercolor Workshop

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Offered entirely online: livestreaming classes and personalized feedback on completed work.

with Mira O’Brien (Artist and Berlin Drawing Room Founding Director)

Learn botanical watercolor techniques from your home and tune into the transition from summer to fall. We will pay special attention to seasonal specimens that can be found in our everyday landscape, yes even in an urban setting.

Leaves changing from green to yellow to red provide the perfect opportunity for practicing wet into wet techniques. Fruits ripening on the branches lead to volume and texture studies. If we are lucky, late summer rains will coax fungi to send forth their fruiting bodies – mushrooms – in all their various shapes and colors. More than just a lesson in watercolor technique, this course seeks to call attention to oft overlooked subject and strengthen your connection to even modest instances of nature in your immediate surroundings.

While instruction will take place through an interactive livestreaming format (Zoom), care will be taken to emphasize the individual sensual experience of drawing from living specimens and working with watercolors.

Specimen Collection:

Each class will include instructions for specimen collection, so that we can all work from direct observation. Simple instructions provided days in advance will direct you to pick up a rust colored leaf from the sidewalk, grab a weed sprouting out from a crevice, purchase a piece of seasonal produce and other actions intended to call attention to oft overlooked instances of nature in our everyday environment. For anyone who is not able to go outside at all, photographic references will be available.

Watercolor Painting:

The livestreaming classes will introduce watercolor techniques through live demos and interactive instruction. Techniques will include line drawing with watercolor tea wash, building up layers with washes, adding detail with special watercolor effects, mixing colors and more. All levels are welcome.

The painting made in this workshop are inspired by the figure of the Naturalist, who was both artist and scientist. These paintings are just as much about the subjective process of observation as they are about the recording of scientific data. Slide shows throughout the workshop will provide historical examples of botanical illustration as well as botanical details.

Supply List

Our Online Workshop Format:

  • Livestreaming classes take place via online video conference (using Zoom). The instructor conducts live demos with step-by-step instruction so that you can work together in real time. You also have the opportunity to ask questions and get feedback during class time.
  • We keep class sizes small and the atmosphere is interactive and supportive.
  • Finish exercises or practice at your own pace, at home, outside of class time.
  • Receive individual feedback on your completed work and exchange comments and questions with the instructor and your fellow workshop participants in an encouraging environment.
  • Find supplemental material and watch the progress of other participants by visiting the workshop Dropbox folder in between classes.
  • Recordings from each week’s livestreaming session are available in case you miss a class or want to review a demo.