Botanical painting for beginners with Mariella Baldwin

Ref: S1D32055

Location: West Dean
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About this course

Discover botanical painting techniques for drawing and painting plants from West Dean Gardens.

Course Description

This practical course introduces you to the art of botanical painting in watercolour. You will learn about approaches to accurate observational drawing, together with some of the basic watercolour mixing and application techniques that are employed in botanical painting.

The tutor will demonstrate a few techniques and give simple tips and advice to help you develop your understanding and skills in this art form. Exercises studying a small botanical specimen taken from the gardens at West Dean will help you apply and practise your skills.

At the end of the day, you will leave with a worksheet of notes and exercises, together with a simple botanical painting, which can be used for future reference. The course aims to give you a good idea of what goes into making a botanical painting, with a little insight into the content of a longer course at West Dean.


Timetable for one day courses

Students should arrive by 9am for registration.

Classes are from 9.15 - 5pm

Lunch is included.

Course Materials


  • All the materials and tools will be supplied for the course, including:
  • Fabriano hot pressed or Arches watercolour paper 300 gms, 1 x A3 sheet
  • Watercolour paint: French Ultramarine, Permanent Rose, Winsor Yellow (one tube of each shared by the group)
  • 1 size 3 miniature paintbrush (this can be taken home with you at the end of the course)
  • 1 x A4 sheet tracing paper
  • 2 x A4 sheets cartridge paper
  • 1 putty rubber

What students need to bring

  • White china saucer
  • A notebook, HB pencil and pencil sharpener
  • A camera/phone to record information (if you wish)
  • Please wear suitable clothing for this practical day.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good variety of art materials including notebooks, HB pencils, pencil sharpeners, white china palettes, watercolour paints, brushes and a selection of papers, etc.

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio. This includes stout covered footwear, i.e. no open-toes or sandals.


Mariella Baldwin

Mariella Baldwin studied botanical illustration at the English Gardening School, London and received an MA in Visual Arts from Sussex University. Her paintings are held in collections both in the UK and USA. She is a painting member of Chelsea Physic Garden Florilegium Society. Her book 'Botanical Painting' was published in 2011.

Courses of interest

Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.