Drawing Flowers with the art class
It’s funny trying to find the words to explain something that you do so often and so instinctively to someone, (or to many people) that haven’t done that thing before.
I recently had the privilege of joining a local art group for their weekly session to demonstrate how I do my botanical studies. I used to attend this art class almost twenty years ago - my Grandmother used to go and when I was working part time I arranged my week so that I took her to art and stayed and did the classes too.
The group had asked me to come and show them how I draw flowers.
My modern botanical illustrations are, arguably the backbone of my artistic career. When I started out, doing my daily, directly observed drawing, many of them were of woodland species. This was because at the time I was working full time as a Forest School leader and trainer, so many of my days were spent outdoors - for an element of it if not all of it. I like nature. I like being outside. I like noticing. This time of year (spring) is my favourite … I think! I used to love returning to the same wood or Forest School site on a school grounds each week and looking for changes. First on my own while risk assessing the site and then with the children or adults I was working with - actively encouraging them to be detectives that looked for seasonal changes since the previous week.
My drawings just helped me document this. I’d draw something that I’d noticed that day - some honeysuckle flowering, a larch cone, a sycamore bud… etc.
What I hadn’t really realised, until yesterday was actually what I do and why I do it. While drawing in front of others I was asked questions and wanted to explain what I was doing - which forced me (nicely) to think about this properly and try and articulate it. It was great - such a useful exercise for me to do!
Everyone bought some blooms with them to the art class and we each chose one or two to study. I drew a Magnolia bloom and the group watched as I did it and I explained what I was looking at and thinking about as I drew while they asked any questions - before having a go themselves.