For us gardeners, winter can make us a little restless. There are all sorts of hobbies that can keep us busy when we’re snowbound. Knitting, crochet, baking and quilting come to mind. But have you ever considered taking an art class?
I started taking botanical drawing classes a few months ago and I’m amazed at how much I’ve learned about shading, using graphite dust, measuring, contouring, and drawing in layers. I’ve taken all sorts of art classes over the years, but these classes above all others have really improved my drawing techniques.
Even if you’re an absolute beginner, you can do this! In my classes there are art professionals along with students who just want to take up drawing as a hobby.
If you decide to go for a certificate in botanical drawing, you’ll need to keep a sketchbook of your work throughout the course. You’ll also have homework assignments that will be critiqued in class. It can be a little unnerving to present your artwork to others, but the feedback you receive is very helpful.
We’ve drawn all sorts of things in class: pumpkins, roses, persimmons, onions, leaves, pinecones and garlic (a lot of garlic!). While I don’t see myself becoming a professional botanical artist, I now have a sketchbook full of drawings that make me proud. And, as soon it’s warm again, I plan on sketching anything and everything that pops up in my garden!
Several botanical gardens in North America offer certificate programs in botanical drawing, so check to see if yours participates.
Vanessa Tsumura lives in Wisconsin with her family. She blogs about crafts and DIY projects at Bluet & Clover.
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