Botanical Field Sketching, Tuesday 21st June

Posted on 23rd June 2016

Today’s workshop was hosted by the Cleveland Ironstone Mining Museum in Skinningrove, which if you go and visit you will see where we sketched from looking out over into the valley (pics later) and that would be just like when people go to France to visit the garden of the man who painted those waterlilies and the bridge, only you’ll be back in time for tea.


Anyway the museum, which is well worth a visit, is about mining and we were sketching and as those two words both end in ‘ing’ it seemed an especially fitting venue for the day.

IMG_6948 light

We began as usual by just getting on with a drawing before being allowed a cup of tea and a biscuit (full marks for speed everyone) and it’s interesting how when faced with a really complex flower we have a tendency to look at a little bit to draw and then just repeat the little bit a lot to make up the whole.

IMG_6952 light

Life is rarely that simple; big things can usually be broken down into smaller things but they are all slightly different from each other and all need observing before drawing. However, the before drawings that everyone did were all good enough for me to identify the plant drawn from which makes me wonder now that every time someone says “oh I can’t do that I’m a rubbish drawer” what they really mean is “I don’t want to try in case what I do isn’t perfect”. Seriously if you give it a go you’ll be surprised what you can do, although no…it won’t be perfect first time. Obviously it’s easier after I’ve mentioned all the quick ways to draw a plant accurately and then gone round and pointed out bits you’ve missed so you can improve, but still…

IMG_6949 light



After finishing off another plant drawing (or several plants in some speedy cases) we went outside to do a habitat sketch where it’s always best to get all the right bits in roughly the right places before you attempt any detail.

Lunch and chatter.


Then we headed off to Skinningrove village park and disported ourselves just like that other French painting where they are having a picnic, but without the nudity and the picnic.  One very cunning wheeze, which I thought great, was to get the approximate size of the bit of plant drawn in the sketchbook, take a photo on the phone and then sit down on one of the park benches to finish the detail. No, it’s not cheating – as adults we have more experience and so know when it’s fine to just use our initiative and innovate 🙂 Also note leaf-rubbing technique.


Having said that, one participant who claimed not to have drawn since school did recount a story about how he had once spent hours carefully drawing something only to ruin it at the end by including a couple of intercontinental ballistic missiles at the back. Not that sort of inventiveness thank you…


Once more, as you can see, some great sketches at the end of the day.