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Explore Botanicals - The Workshop

On the 26th of May, I hosted a botanical workshop in Hoxton. The second of my day courses, ever, and it went so fast! One minute we were all introducing ourselves to one another, the next it was 5pm and ready to go home!

There is nothing better than sitting and creating art for 7 hours. Getting immersed into your artwork, feeling the difference between a quick sketch that you're not super happy about and something you've spent lots of time on. I personally love days when I can just switch off and paint and although I was teaching on this day, I still felt that creative rush and could feel the pride from the group.

We started off with some herbs from a local botanical garden. The community can just go and forrege them and take them home which I absolutely loved. We had lemon mint, lemon basil & rosemary and we started off by doing some fun quick sketches. 1 minute, 2 minutes & 3 minutes. Most people prefered the 1 minute sketch which is always amazing because when I suggest it, I can see people's inner voices saying, 'wtf, I won't be able to do anything in 1 minute!' Actually, 1 minute means you don't overthink it. It means you're actually a lot more accurate (surprisingly) and you're results are unexpectedly good considering the time restraint.

After this pencil session, we moved onto oil pastels to start to explore some colour and play around with a meidum that most haven't use, or at least not since school! We did some collaborative drawings where we rotated seats and drew on each others artwork creating a completely unexpected image at the end. The beauty of this exercise is that you get to see how others are viewing the botanicals, you get to add something different that you've seen and play around with the artwork without being too precious because no-one will know which one is your layer! When we let go, beautifyl things happen and everyone was pleasantly surprised with their results.

Finally, we looked at watercolour which I think everyone was looking forward to the most. First, we looked at a colourwheel to understand a bit of colour theory. Trying to understand warm and cold colours, trying to lean more into one primary than the other and creating so many colours from just yellow, blue, and red is a great exercise to get to grips with.

We then had a look at some observational paintings followed by, 'don't overthink it' painting which changed people's perception on what a watercolour painting can look like. Sure you can try and go hyperrealistic, and that's amazing if you can achieve it but watercolours aren't made for hyper-realism. They are made for fun, playfulness and creativity so when you next pick up your watercolours, explore, have fun and just take some parts of nature with you.

What We Learnt:

  • How to create drawings from pencil, pastel & watercolour

  • Some colour theory

  • How to simplify complicated details

  • How to layer petals

  • How to push the darkness and contrast

  • Explore a new medium (oil pastels).

  • Patience is key

In summary, I'd like to thank the students for giving it their all, for not sweating the small stuff and for taking the day in their strides. Once our walls are down, and we let our hands do what they need to, our work can blossom just like the flowers that were foraged.

To make sure you don't miss the next event, make sure to sign up for the newsletter to get your next spot. Until next time team!

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