Botanical Drawing Class

June 29, 2015 at 6:28 am



On Saturday, 20th of June, the Sydney SCB welcomed Peter Wale back to the Learning Center at Centennial Park for another productive, inspiring, and successful Creative Conservation workshop!

This time around, Peter guided 15 hard-working workshop participants through the intricacies of drawing plants. Most of us were beginners, and all of us picked up some new skills by the end of the workshop. Despite recovering from a bout with laryngitis, Peter kept his students smiling and laughing as he led us through a boggling amount of information on drawing.

We started by getting to know some basic equipment for pencil drawing, and then learned about the process that artists go through to produce something they are happy with. After an introduction to the process, Peter turned us loose on some Camellia specimens he brought with him. With charm and encouragement, Peter helped us overcome the obstacles of drawing.

We tackled drawing not only what is there, but also what isn’t (whoa). We were introduced to three-dimensional space, and a few tricks to make sure a leaf looks leafy. After we wrestled our Camellia outlines onto paper, we began the task of making them pop off the page using shading techniques. By the end, most of us had a pretty amazing set of leaves growing on our sketchpads!

This workshop was great for those of us who appreciate the beauty of botanical drawing but who get a little discouraged when too many botanical terms get tossed around. As a bit of a botanist myself, I (Flo Meredith) was amazed at how well Peter captured the essence of plants on paper without worrying about what things are called, or even what they do. Whilst I could tell you what a mucronate apex is, I wouldn’t have even gotten close to convincingly drawing one prior to this workshop. By thinking about shapes, space, light, and relationships the way that Peter taught me, I have gotten to know plants even better. The marriage of art and science truly is an amazing thing, and working with Peter emphasized to me that great things become possible when artists and scientists work together.