Botanical Illustrations

For today’s blog post, I’m taking a walk on the flower side. I decided to change things up a bit – thought you might like a break from books, reviews, and writing.

Yesterday I speFront bannernt the morning at the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. (click here to get to the Garden’s website.) The flowers and gardens were very impressive (both indoor and out)! I really enjoyed seeing all the orchids as well as exploring the different plants in their own climates. Of particular interest to me as an artist was the exhibit in the Conservatory’s East Gallery on American Botanicals: Mid-Atlantic Native Plants. 

For those of you who know how my mind works, I wondered what it would take to do these kind of sketches. Well, first things first. In Google searching, I learned that the correct name for sketching flowers, leaves, the stages of the plant, etc, is called “botanical illustration.” Pretty fancy-schmancy, huh?!

While I know Wikipedia isn’t the best source out there, I’m going to use them since the Smithsonian’s website on Botany was not cooperating.

Wiki’s definition:

Botanical illustration is the art of depicting the form, colour, and details of plant species, frequently in watercolour paintings. These are often printed with a botanical description in book, magazines, and other media. The creation of these requires an understanding of plant morphology and access to specimens and references. They are often composed in consultation with a scientific author.

They did, however, point me to the American Society of Botanical Artists. Be sure to check out their site. They have everything from Membership to Exhibits to Education. And don’t you think I won’t be checking out the Education section, in particular the “how-to” books.


Now, to exhibits… Following in the Bartrams’ Footsteps is the current exhibit. It is a traveling exhibit that is presently in Atlanta and then will be moving to North Carolina. Unfortunately, I missed the Philly show.

Jumping around (must be the ADHD kicking in!!), I found a blog for the Denver Botanic Gardens’ School of Botanical Art and Illustration. You can check it out here. They also have a list of classes and seminars.

Now that I’ve provided all these wonderful (well, hopefully wonderful) resources, I’m going to check them out. I may just have to try painting some of my own botanical illustrations. Enjoy!!


To all the dads out there: Happy Father’s Day! I hope you enjoy your day!


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