Botanical Illustration with Watercolours

I have been inspired by Elizabeth Blackadder!

I’m completely new to watercolour; my only experience is painting a single still-life (an apple) at TAFE about 15 years ago.

September, 2003

Frankly, I’m also scared of it! I was really discouraged by my first trial a few weeks ago when I went to the beach for the first time in ages, since we haven’t been able to travel with the lockdown. My sketchbook trials:

Kinka Beach

Kinka Towards Creek

Social Distancing

Bare Basics

After these attempts, I decided ‘less is more’ with this technique, and was most pleased with the last effort (despite the wonky horizon), which is minimised down to the very basics.

And there you see the sum of my watercolour experience. I knew I was in trouble if I wanted to paint with watercolour for university!
So, last week, I signed up for an on-line course with Domestika: Botanical Illustration with Watercolours by Paulina Maciel, to help me gain a little competence before I embark on my project.

My results were pretty average for the first exercise. Lots of marks that weren’t planned. Watercolour really does have a mind of its own.

(Click for a larger image)

Then we moved onto a ‘volume’ exercise, which was pretty challenging for me.

I repeated the exercise, trying to have a more relaxed approach, just free-hand drawing the shapes, and allowing the watercolour to have visible edges, rather than frustrating myself with blending. I picked up this approach from Alfonso Dunn. Highly recommend his YouTube channel!

This took a fraction of the time, and I think the cone is actually better.

On to the botany!

Nightshade real Nightshade
Flat/opaque textures

Flat/opaque textures

Glossy texture
(big area for improvment)


Furry/fuzzy texture

Dry texture

Oh, I truly love it.   Bring on more drawing!

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