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1 September 2020

An introduction to botanical art for families

Pick, Pop, Peek, Pin & Paint Plants with CAST-OFF – An introduction to botanical art for families with CAST,

August was a joy. On several occasions families joined me in the walled garden at Loe Bar, Helston. We observed the wild garden, used phones to photograph specimens, and sketched and painted wild plants using pencils, microscopes and paints. Importantly, we had to think about which non-humans were using the plants and how colour and structure played a part. We did this by carrying out several exercises that helped us look at the ultra violet property of plants as well as their morphology. For instance, above is an image of the Chicory plant under UV light; you can get a feel for which part of the plant the insect is attracted to by looking at its own ‘runway’ lights. This is an area I am going to develop.

The children choose to observe, draw and paint the following plants:

Willow Herb

Below Emma Griffiths assisted with the facilitation and helped record some of the plant drawings and paintings from week 1. Here Nasturtium is beautifully captured. The painting records the character and colour of the plant really well, and the drawing, its trailing habit. Week 2 is recorded on this webpage, which offers a fuller outline of the workshop.

Nasturtium artwork getting pinned up on a washing line by a young child who created the work
Nasturtium drawings and paintings by a young child
An introduction to botanical art for families

Below are a few other plants that were present in the garden. There are many more to add to the list.

WATER FIGWORT Scrophularia auriculata

HOGWEED Heracleum sphondylium



COMMON SORREL Rumex acetosa

The walled garden lies on a slope, hence the presence of Water figwort and other dryer loving plants. This is an area the children could learn about too, perhaps comparing which insects are in which soil, as well as which plants.