Classes listed on ArtPlantae Today are for the benefit of members of our creative community. Their inclusion is not an endorsement by ArtPlantae LLC. As with anything, please investigate your choices thoroughly. Then get outside and be inspired!
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Drawing Nature in Colored Pencil
Nina received a degree in Fine Art from San Francisco State University and a Certificate in Botanical Illustration from the botanical art program at the New York Botanical Garden. Nina’s current teaching schedule can be viewed on her website.
California State University, Monterey Bay
The scientific illustration program at CSU Monterey Bay is a graduate-level program and is highly respected across the country. This program was formerly taught at UC Santa Cruz. Admission is by application and only 15 students are accepted each year. This program offers summer classes that are open to the public. Visit their website to learn more about this program, to view the current schedule, and to view examples of student work.
Filoli House and Garden, Woodside
Located in Woodside, CA, the only certificate program in botanical art and illustration in California offers classes taught by exceptional award-winning instructors. View the course schedule for details.
In addition to courses about drawing, watercolor, pen and ink and colored pencil, the botanical art program offers a long list of classes addressing specific techniques and business-related skills of special interest to botanical artists. These classes include:
- Techniques Class: Understanding Foreshortening
- Techniques Class: Textures in Depth
- Designing for Success: Composition for Artists
- Beginning Photoshop for Botanical Art
- Portfolio: Presenting Your Artwork
- Labeling, Matting and Framing
View the entire course schedule and learn more about Filoli’s botanical art program online.
Gardens at Heather Farm, Walnut Creek
The Gardens at Heather Farm are comprised of twenty demonstration gardens. This six-acre garden is also an outdoor classroom. The garden offers many classes about plants, botany, botanical art and the environment. It also has its own florilegium. The florilegium project is managed by botanical artist, Catherine Watters. Visit the website to view the complete schedule of classes.
Koch Studios – Maryjo Koch Illustration, Santa Cruz
Maryjo Koch is the author and illustrator of many books. She teaches workshops in nature illustration at her studio near Santa Cruz and leads workshops throughout northern California and abroad. Her specialty is capturing nature using gouache and watercolor techniques. Visit Koch Studios to read about the workshops she will teach this year.
John Muir Laws
Naturalist, Illustrator, Author, & Educator
John Muir Laws is the author of The Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada. A graduate of the UC Santa Cruz scientific illustration program, Laws teaches workshops in field sketching and teaches students how to draw wildlife in addition to plants. See his current class schedule for details. Be sure to visit Laws’ website to learn more about how he brings environmental education and journaling to classrooms across California.
You might also be interested in a video in the Tutorials section. This video was created by a school teacher who documented what she learned while taking a class from John Muir Laws during Summer 2008. See the video titled, A Naturalist’s Journal.
Lyceum of Monterey County
The oldest non-profit on the Monterey Peninsula, the Lyceum of Monterey County is expanding its botanical art program by adult and family classes to the extensive list of hands-on learning opportunities they provide for Monterey students. The Lyceum “inspires a life-long love of learning” through its enrichment programs and academic events.
Andie is a painter and book artist devoted to creative work in wild places. She teaches in California, Oregon, Alaska and Hawaii. Her work is widely exhibited and honored, and is held in many private and public collections. Get the latest news about Andie’s popular classes on her website.
University of California Botanical Garden at Berkeley
This 34-acre garden was established in 1890 and is now a non-profit research garden and museum. The botanical art classes at UCBG are taught by Lee McCaffree and Catherine Watters. View a detailed schedule and register on the Garden’s website.
University of California, Davis
UC Davis Arboretum
Comprised of 100 acres of gardens, this arboretum is open 24 hours per day, 365 days per year. Check their calendar for botanical illustration classes.
Vorobik Botanical Art
Linda Ann Vorobik, Ph.D. is a botanical illustrator and botanist who teaches at the Jepson Herbarium at UC Berkeley, conducts field research in the Siskiyou Mountains in Oregon and teaches botanical illustration in California, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii. Visit Linda’s website to view her current teaching schedule, online gallery, blog, and to sign-up for her newsletter.
Drawing Nature in Colored Pencil
Nina received a degree in Fine Art from San Francisco State University and a Certificate in Botanical Illustration from the botanical art program at the New York Botanical Garden. Nina’s teaching schedule can be viewed on her website.
Nature Drawing Classes
- – Learn to capture the forms and colors of nature at El Dorado Nature Center in Long Beach, CA (2nd Saturday of the month). Contact: (562) 570-1745
ArtPlantae is an educational blog written for artists, naturalists, and educators pursuing interests in botany, botanical art, and environmental education. Celebrate Earth Day and National Environmental Education Week with ArtPlantae at the following locations:
Be a Botanist-Explorer
Sunnylands Center and Gardens
Rancho Mirage, CA
Follow in the footsteps of botanist-explorers and learn how to observe and document plants while sketching in the gardens at Sunnylands. Participants will be introduced to the history of botanical illustration and the fascinating world of plants. Participants are invited to bring their own sketchbooks. Sketchbooks should not be larger than 9” x 12”. Alternatively, a clipboard with printer paper works wonderfully too. A folding stool or camping stool to use in the garden is suggested, but not necessary. Pencils will be provided.
Fee: $10 per participant. Space is limited.
Saturday, April 8, 2017
9:30 – 11:30 am
Loma Linda University
Loma Linda, CA
Learn about endangered animals in a special program hosted by Loma Linda University. This two-hour event includes fun educational vignettes, a chance to get close to featured animals, and an opportunity to learn about local environmental education organizations. This program will be held at Loma Linda University Church (map).
Saturday, April 8, 2017
5:00 – 7:00 pm
Joshua Tree National Park Association
Old School House Lectures
Twentynine Palms, CA
Learn about Henry R. Mockel, an East Coast artist and former resident of Twentynine Palms who recorded desert life in his sketchbook and who is known for his illustrations of desert wildflowers. The Old School House Museum is located at 6760 National Park Drive, Twentynine Palms, CA 92277. (Map & Directions)
Friday, April 14, 2017
Lectures begin at 7:00 pm
Fee: $5 at the door
Earth Night in the Garden
Western Municipal Water District Demonstration Garden
Landscapes Southern California Style
Celebrate Earth Day 2017 at this wildly successful family event hosted by the Western Municipal Water District (WMWD). Environmental education organizations and environment-friendly businesses will each host an activity. There will also be photo opportunities with Drippy the Water Drop, Pam the Lady Bug, Ribbit the Frog, Mother Nature, and Mr. Bumble Bee. The WMWD garden is located at 450 E.Alessandro Blvd, Riverside, CA.
Thursday, April 20, 2017
3:00 – 7:00 pm
Family Day at Sunnylands
Sunnylands Center and Gardens
Rancho Mirage, CA
Kick-off National Environmental Education Week with ArtPlantae at Sunnylands. This annual Family Day event is dedicated to the wonders of nature and science. There will be exploration stations about birds, insects, monarch butterflies and other animals. ArtPlantae will host two botanical art stations — one for children and one for adults. See you there!
Sunday, April 23, 2017
9:30 am – 2:00 pm
Henry Mockel’s Desert Wildflowers
Finish National Environmental Education Week by learning about Henry R. Mockel, an East coast artist known for his paintings of California desert plants. In 1917 he published “Mockel’s Desert Wildflower Notebook,” a book featuring descriptions and illustrations of 133 desert plants. Learn more about Henry and begin your own wildflower notebook while sketching in the Arboretum’s Desert Collection. Participants should bring a mixed media sketchbook no larger than 9” x 12”. Class fee includes selected art supplies. Fee: $60 non-members, $50 members
Botanical Artists Guilds of Southern California
A chapter of the American Society of Botanical Artists, the Botanical Artists Guild of Southern California (BAGSC) is dedicated to encouraging the development of botanical art and the promotion of public awareness of this artistic tradition. Check their website for classes and to see the Guild’s current projects.
Joshua Tree National Park Association
Joshua Tree National Park Association is a not-for-profit organization formed to assist with preservation, education, historical, and scientific programs for the benefit of Joshua Tree National Park and its visitors.
Jane is a mixed media artist who teaches at conferences across the U.S. and leads classes in Italy and Greece too. In addition to sketching classes, Jane teaches workshops in collage, mixed media, and quilting. There are always many, many opportunities to learn from Jane. To view all of Jane’s upcoming classes, see
her teaching schedule online.
Living Desert Botanical Gardens & Zoo, Palm Desert
Located in the Palm Desert/Indian Wells area of the Coachella Valley, this garden offers several courses in arts and crafts, scientific illustration, gardening, landscape design, and natural history through Living Desert University.
Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Gardens, Arcadia
Courses in introductory botanical drawing, beginning and intermediate watercolor, colored pencil, sketching and Chinese brush painting are taught throughout the year. Go to Events & Classes for more information.
Botanical Art with Cristina Baltayian
These classes will be exploring color pencil, graphite, pen and ink, and watercolor on various papers, vellum and other surfaces. The emphasis will be on plant observation, drawing, composition, color theory and matching, and medium techniques.
In addition, this year an exciting project is beginning, in which, in conjunction with the Botanical Artists Guild of Southern California, students will be studying and portraying many of the Arboretum plant introductions from the last 50 years. The goal is to build a collection of paintings that will celebrate and document the invaluable contribution of the Los Angeles Arboretum to the state of California.
Cristina Baltayian has a background in drawing (graphite, charcoal, pen and ink), two-dimensional design, watercolor, and colored pencils. Her work has been shown at Filoli, the Los Angeles County Arboretum, and Chapman University.She is a member of the American Society of Botanical Artists, and The Botanical Artists Guild of Southern California.
Please call the Class Registration line at 626.821.4623.
Paula Panich – The Literary Gardener
Paula Panich is a writer whose work has appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, Gastronomica, and Better Homes and Gardens. She is the author of four books, including Cultivating Words: The Guide to Writing About the Plants & Gardens You Love. Her next book, The Cook, the Landlord, the Countess, and Her Lover, will be a book of essays on food, place, memory, and history. Paula teaches at museums and botanical gardens across the US and currently teaches in the UCLA Extension Landscape Architecture Program. View Seeing Plants with Words, an interview with Paula Panich.
A Southern California artist who studies the techniques of Renaissance painters and uses these techniques in her work. Her work is currently on view in the solo exhibition, Envisioning the Natural World, at the Madrona Marsh Nature Center. Lala’s classes appeal to a general audience and can accommodate participants working on independent projects. Botanical artists are welcome. Visit her website to view her current schedule.
Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden, Claremont
An 86-acre natural setting located near the Claremont Colleges, this botanical garden focuses on California native plants. They offer periodic classes on botanical art. Please check their schedule online.
Santa Barbara Botanic Garden, Santa Barbara
This lovely botanic garden periodically offers classes in botanical art. Subscribe to their e-newsletter to receive information about upcoming events.
Gilly Shaeffer is an award-winning artist and a graduate of Anne-Marie Evans’ certificate program in botanical art. A member of the American Society of Botanical Artists (ASBA), Gilly served as president of the Botanical Artists Guild of Southern California, a chapter of the ASBA, from 1999-2005. Her work has been in juried exhibitions across the United States and is in the permanent collection at the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation at Carnegie Mellon University.
10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Learn the fundamentals of botanical illustration with Gilly at her Los Angeles studio. Students will practice exercises and techniques that will improve observational skills. This is a great opportunity for beginning and intermediate artists to perfect their drawing skills. Students will also learn how to prepare watercolor paintings of botanical subjects. Cost: $160
For more information, please contact Gilly.
Helen Shafer Garcia, Vista
A garden illustrator for San Diego Home and Garden Magazine for 7 years, Helen is an avid gardener who manages a ½-acre garden filled with succulents and perennials. Helen teaches at the San Diego Botanic Garden, at artist retreats, and at conferences. Visit Helen’s website to view the many ways you can combine plants and art using watercolor, pastels, and mixed media.
A book artist and paper engineer whose work incorporates ecological principles observed in nature. Sheehy’s art reflects his interests in ecosystems, natural resources, population biology and evolution. Shawn was the featured guest for September 2012. Here is what we learned when he stopped by to visit.
Visit my Shawn’s redesigned website at www.shawnsheehy.com to see images of the vegetable pop-ups for his workshop and to view his workshop schedule.
Brenda Swenson, Los Angeles
Brenda Swenson, WW, NWWS is the author of Keeping a Watercolor Sketchbook and Steps to Success in Watercolor. She is a very popular, award-winning artist who teaches across the U.S. and abroad. See Brenda’s new section about tips, techniques, and tools for artists on her blog.
The Desert Institute at Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree National Park is in Twentynine Palms, CA. This 800,000 acre park is home to 750 species of plants, five fan palm oases and geological features. Visit the park’s website to learn more about the park and its botany class and field classes for families.
University of California, Riverside
Botanical Illustration of Desert Flora
*Check back for date of next class*
Learn how to draw artistic and realistic flowering plants in a manner designed to understand the form, function, and identification of native plants. Exciting hands-on experiences both in the lab and in the field amid native flora habitats.
- Learn botanical illustration techniques in pencil, pen, and watercolor.
- Focus on comprehensive line drawing stressing contour, volume and perspective.
- Make drawings of minute structures to full-scale renditions of plants.
- Understand how artistic and scientific skills work together.
This class qualifies for credit toward certification in Nature Field Studies at UCRX. This field class is based at the Desert Studies Center in the Mojave National Preserve and is operated by CSU Fullerton. The Center is located within the Preserve at Soda Springs (Zzyzx), about an hour outside Las Vegas and a three-hour drive from Riverside, CA. The course fee includes two nights’ lodging at the Center. Cost: $325
The instructor for this course is Donald Davidson of the Traveling Artist Wildflowers Project.
Contact Donald Davidson if you have questions for the instructor.
Virginia Robinson Gardens, Beverly Hills
Botanical art classes with visiting instructors such as Anne-Marie Evans, Elaine Searle and Jenny Phillips are taught at the garden. Check back for information about upcoming workshops. Read about the Friends of Robinson Garden Botanical Art Group and the Robinson Garden Florilegium here.
Questions? Contact Robinson Gardens at 310-550-2068.