Watercolour Botanical Painting Masterclass – New Zealand – Lupines

Watercolour Botanical Painting Masterclass – New Zealand – Lupines

heidi willis_botanical_watercolour_painting class_NZ_lupine

This week has been sensational. Really, I am sitting here, feet back on Sydney soil struggling to find words to describe the experience of this weeks watercolour botanical painting masterclass with the justice it deserves, and i realise that these painting weeks away are simply events you have to experience in person to truly understand the enrichment, memories and emotions they bring. The beauty, luxury, food, new friendships, inspiration and learning with art at the core coming together in each makes these times especially memorable experiences for all involved. Certainly, it is something that continues to grow with you long after the week is over, this is true for me also.

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New Zealand, a supremely wild, wonderful and pristine place was the setting for 2018’s international watercolour botanical painting masterclass event. How it could be topped as a natural history painting weeks location is hard to imagine, and we had the stunning lupines with all their beauty, variation and intricacies, clearly in our sights! With our feet barely on the ground, nestled between vivid green rolling hills flushed with golden broom spreading throughout the hillsides, the craggy mountain peaks of the Remarkables high above us coated in pure white snow, crystal clear waters, fresh air and light, gardens cascading with the blooms of a million colours, forms and wonder, we set boots to riverbeds sparkling with silver silt and lupines without delay.

Here we began, learning about the field work of a botanical artist and within moments we were lost, immersed in the absolute magic of it all. Bubbles soon follow, water bottles now full of flowers resting at our feet as the fever of photo swapping, smiles, stories and enthusiasm began… and it wasnt to end for days and days to come. In fact we only grew over the days, hearts, minds, friendships, the exhaling of all we carry during our time here. Accommodation to die for, food to match, we lapped it all up drifting between the gardens, walks in heaven, home made banana cakes and time spent in the studio.

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The weeks focus remained on the lupine subject, learning all about the plant, structure, colours, drawing, and the painting process from field to studio to finished works. We explored watercolour painting techniques to render the lupines flowers, leaves, branches, stems and finally, the amazing NZ bumble bee we spent great amounts of time observing the delights of, to wrap the weeks learning up. What a perfect group of beautiful people to spend the week with too, such a positive, dedicated, uplifting dynamic of students it seemed everything was possible, and certainly possible with a smile too…. of course, good rest and wine helped anything between 🙂

heidi willis_botanical illustration_NZ_lupine_watercolour painting

Our little studio was so sweet, a small cottage settled in between the gardens of rhododendrons, peonies, iris, lavender, roses, aquilegia and a general abundance of perfect gardens.  Inside we surrounded ourselves with vases of lupines, art supplies and collected fascinations discovered along the way. Brain clutter and uncertainties soon subsided to learning, painting, overcoming to find ourselves tackling our lupine paintings with growing confidence by the day! I was very proud of my students on every level and the work we produced reflected so many of their strengths. Greater than it all were the lessons learned, moving each of my students closer to smoother, more satisfying and successful, independent botanical and watercolour painting beyond this workshop.

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New memories and friendships formed we finally parted ways to smiles and hugs at the airport as some took the opportunity to fly on to new destinations, venturing further over NZ to enjoy more of its mind blowing locations, whilst others set sail for home again, renewed. I know those who can return for 2019’s masterclass are eagerly waiting for details on this event to be released/confirmed.

heidi willis_NZ_watercolour_peonies_art class_botanical illustration

The good news is we’ve booked the facilities for the last week in November for next years NZ watercolour botanical painting event. The focus will be ‘Peonies’ which we all fell totally in love with over the week… Contact Gillian at Artable to reserve your place for the 2019 NZ event as spots are limited and will book up fast. We’d love to have you on board next time!

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Update Apologies to all who were considering this experience, but 2019’s New Zealand event is now fully booked thank you! Whats on for 2020’s main event? Im not sure yet, however we have pencilled in a return to the gobsmackingly wonderous Cradle Mountain Lodge in Tasmania again which i am so excited about! These events tend to book out well in advance so dont miss out, get in touch with Gillian at Artable Studios (link is in the name above) and pop your name down for 2020’s amazing painting adventure with us.