If you’re new to botanical art, you have many resources at your disposal to help you find your way. There are websites, tutorials, professional organizations, certificate programs, classes and of course, books! Many more than what existed 15 years ago. I have had the good fortune to share many books on this site and today I have the pleasure of sharing one more.
Botanical Painting by Mariella Baldwin is a rich resource for those who have a growing interest in learning how to paint plants.
In her introduction, Mariella explains she wrote her book to show people how to paint plants without fear. While she does not stress a technical, scientific approach to drawing and painting plants, Botanical Painting is definitely not a book about expressive flower painting. Far from it. It is a book about drawing with accuracy and painting for pleasure.
The thoughtful and patient conversation Mariella has with readers who lack prior painting experience made a big impression on me. Mariella clearly cares about connecting with her readers and provides confidence-building advice at just the right moments during the drawing and painting process. Always supportive, Mariella is respectful of the path each individual takes to a finished painting.
Novice botanical illustrators will appreciate Mariella’s thoughtful instruction about how to begin adrawing. Through her guided instruction, beginners learn how to use graph paper to take measurements, how to create a mask around their work, how to approach investigative sketching and how to draw the form of their subject.
When it comes to painting, beginners are shown how to turn the painting process into manageable tasks. The instructions Mariella provides for her practice techniques are as clear as her instructions for the “official” painting steps she outlines. Throughout, photographs of her own sketches and painting studies support the written text.
Some of the topics Mariella addresses in her book are:
- How to work with specific colors (white, yellow, orange, brown, red, pink, green, blue, purple, black and silver).
- How to paint bi-colored flowers.
- How to paint roots, bulbs, stems.
- How to draw and paint leaves.
- How to draw and paint leaf surfaces and textures.
- How to draw and paint buds and flowers.
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