Botanical painting – wild flowers in spring with Mariella Baldwin

Ref: SLW31504

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About this course

Explore painting some of the many wild flowers found in the heart of West Sussex. There will be no shortage of wild flowers to study, draw and paint.

Course Description

During this course, you will be introduced to some of the many wild flowers growing on the West Dean estate. As accurate information is required for plant identification, a strong focus will be placed on observational drawing. However, colour and composition are also very important and so you will examine simple colour theory and application in order to create a painting that is a faithful interpretation. You will also look at compositional strategies. Watercolour techniques will be explored, together with making use of a worksheet for record keeping, which will be useful for future reference and development of practice. Individual and group tuition will be given, with demonstrations and useful tips and advice.

By the end of the course, you will have been given some useful tips for making a simple, but nevertheless, accurate drawing. You will also have an array of watercolour tips through demonstrations, as well as practice of colour matching and paint application relative to your chosen plant. You will hopefully leave with increased confidence to continue enjoying the illustration of wild flowers and more, together with an annotated worksheet to accompany your wild flower painting.

In the spring of 2023, your tutor was invited, as Artist in Residence, to the Transylvania School of Botanical Art and Illustration, documenting some of the wild flora in a unique area of Romania. This visit refueled her enthusiasm for painting wild flowers. She brings to the course a wealth of experience of both painting and teaching.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • The College will supply hot pressed watercolour paper, tracing paper, cartridge paper, graph paper and wild flowers from West Dean Gardens.

What students need to bring

  • Examples of previous work if relevant
  • Magnifying glass or x10 lens if you have one (useful, but not essential)
  • 2H and HB pencil, ruler, putty rubber, plastic eraser
  • White china palette (a saucer will do)
  • Three professional quality watercolour paints (half-pan or tube): Lemon Yellow, Permanent Rose, Ultramarine Blue
  • Other useful colours: Burnt Sienna, Winsor/Dioxazine Violet, Phthalo Green Blue Shade, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Umber, Indigo, New Gamboge, Hansa Yellow, Quinacridone Magenta, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Cobalt Blue
  • Watercolour paintbrushes: size 1, 2 or 3 - and 5 (preferably sable and preferably ‘miniature’)

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • The shop stocks a range of artist materials, including watercolour papers and sketchpads, pencils, erasers, rulers, palettes, professional quality watercolour paints (half-pan/tube): Lemon Yellow, Permanent Rose, Ultramarine Blue, Burnt Sienna, Winsor/Dioxazine Violet, Phthalo Green Blue Shade, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Umber, Indigo, New Gamboge, Hansa Yellow, Quinacridone Magenta, Permanent Alizarin Crimson, Cobalt Blue, watercolour paintbrushes: size 1, 2 or 3 - and 5

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


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.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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