NatureArt Lab

Studio Art Workshop: AUSTRALIAN FERNS ILLUSTRATED: 12 - 13 February 2022 (Intermediate)

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Ferns are a very diverse and unique family of plants not often represented in botanical art. With many shapes and sizes, we’ll explore how to capture not only the delicate lacy type fronds such as the Maidenhair Fern but the larger more leathery fronds such as the Birds Nest Fern with award-winning botanical artist Halina Steele.

About the tutors 

Halina Steele loves Australian native flora and fauna for their uniqueness and diversity and has developed a strong focus on environmental conservation. She has received both Silver and Gold Medals from the Royal Horticultural Society UK, was awarded Best Botanical Art Exhibit, and the RHS purchased one of her works which appears in the publication, RHS Botanical Illustration: The Gold Medal Winners. Halina’s work is represented in the catalogue, Flora of Australia: A Botanical Art Worldwide Exhibition. She was invited to become a member of the Florilegium Society at the RBGSyd Inc (Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney) and her works appear in the publications, The Florilegium: Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney Celebrating 200 Years and Botanic Endeavour: The Florilegium Society celebrates the Banks and Solander collection.

Halina was also represented at the 12th International Exhibition of Botanical Art and Illustration at the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA.

Kylie Stocks and her husband Dwayne have been collecting and growing ferns for nearly 20 years. Kylie and Dwayne identified a lack of fern expertise and diversity of plants available in nurseries and started Verdigris, a nursery specialising in ferns, to help correct this deficit. Their personal fern collection numbers about 800 species/variants. And they keep upwards of 150 different ferns available for sale on their benches at any one time. Kylie has a Masters degree in Botany, and a Certificate 4 in Horticulture (Wholesale Nursery). She and Dwayne are also members of the Australian Native Plants Society Fern Study Group.

About the course:

The course will begin with an introduction to ferns by Kylie Stocks who who has been collecting and growing ferns for almost 20 years. Together with her husband, Dwayne, they own and operate the Verdigris specialist fern nursery located in the foothills of the Clyde Mountain Range.

After Kylie’s introduction, we will explore the many shapes and forms of ferns and how to best render them onto paper. Students will examine various methods to create highlights, depth and texture to capture the interesting and intricate structures of ferns. The class will initially focus on selecting a specimen to illustrate and how to translate that specimen onto paper. Discussion will centre around composition, form and understanding the basic structure of the plants. The following day, students will continue to gradually develop the illustration into a beautiful work of art.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Build an understanding of the science and biology of Australian ferns
  • Develop knowledge in of use of watercolour and colour mixing
  • Acquire skills to accurately represent plants with the use of observation and attention to detail
  • How to translate a specimen into a pencil drawing
  • How to create tone, highlights, shadows and texture to give paintings a three-dimensional quality
  • Demonstrated understanding of how to approach and develop a botanical painting

 Suitable for intermediate students with a serious interest in achieving botanical accuracy. A materials list will be provided prior to the start of the class.

Note: Hand hygiene and social distancing rules apply throughout the workshop. NatureArt Lab is monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely and reserves the right to reschedule if required at the time.

If you would like to be shortlisted for this course please contact us at:

Dates: 12 - 13 February 2022

Days/Times: Saturday and Sunday 9.30am - 4.30pm 

Field trip: Australian National Botanic Gardens, 2.00 - 5.00pm, Friday 11 February 2022 

Venue: NatureArt Lab, M16 Artspace, 21 Blaxland Crescent, Griffith

Image: Telmatobechnum indicum, watercolour by Halina Steele