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Field Sketching: The Art and Science of Drawing Plants

ONSITE | Wednesday, October 11, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

Instructors: Erin Ellis & Carson Ellis

$175 Non-member Adult**

(**Arboretum Members receive a 10% discount on all classes.)

Course Capacity: 10

BRN Elective | BREG Elective | NCEE Criteria II


Many of us intuitively recognize common plants like oak trees, ferns, and grasses. But could you distinguish a white oak from a chestnut oak? Or tell a grass from a sedge from a rush? Reading the landscape and identifying plants, like art, begins with observation! In this day-long workshop students will hone their field sketching skills and plant knowledge through the creation of observational artworks of native plants and landscapes. Students will spend the morning in the Arboretum’s Native Azalea Collection. This unique and dynamic landscape features winding pathways through diverse natural plant communities including rhododendron thickets, wetlands, and hardwood forest. With a combination of instruction, demonstration, and observational drawing, students will study the structure of these native plant communities. In the afternoon, students will walk to one of the Arboretum’s outdoor classrooms where they will have the opportunity to study plant samples up close and attune themselves to the small and subtle features used in plant classification. While all levels are welcome, this class is intended more for students with some prior drawing experience; however no prior experience in plant studies is necessary to participate — just curiosity!

Arboretum Azalea Collection Curator Carson Ellis will lead a walking tour of the landscape to introduce students to the plant communities and species growing in the Native Azalea Collection’s landscape. We will cover basic tools and skills for plant identification, including the use of dichotomous keys. Scientific illustrator Erin Ellis will lead students in observational drawing, demonstrating field sketching techniques for pencil and watercolor. Students will have time to create two completed field studies with an objective to represent the identifying features of native plants in Western North Carolina’s landscape.

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Item details


October 11, 2023


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