Sketching at the Botanic Garden of Smith College in Northampton

This "Sketchup" gives us the greatest drawing challenge—plants. Expressing the beauty and personality of plant requires us to imagine ourselves as the plant. What do I mean by imagining ourselves as the plant? Think of it as drawing the human figure. The measure of success in drawing plants is much like drawing the human figure, you need to feel and show its inclination, the direction of its torso and limbs, contour of mass, and the characteristics of its foliage. This will be an excellent opportunity to study form and composition. To use the principles of repetition, contrast, radiation, continuity and variety of line. Rather than produce snippets of detail, the greater goal should be to carefully create a composed rendering. Every drawing should be an exercise in composition—the arrangement of the forms on the page. But, that is my take on the subject. We can discuss this further at our Sketchup. ARE YOU READY FOR THE CHALLENGE?

The Botanic Gardens of Smith College will offer us a great variety of plants and landscape. The outdoor gardens offer an abundance of New England flora and of plants native to ecosystems around the globe. Lyman Plant House and Conservatory offers a variety of plants from temperate zones to the desert. The only restriction for us is that there are no chairs allowed in the Plant House. I suggest not using large drawing pads if you plan to draw in the plant house. Space is tight and you will need to stand or squat. PLEASE BE AWARE: if you have sensitivity to plants or to a heavily humid, warm atmosphere, the plant house may not be for you. Also, floors are generally wet and slippery in the plant house, wear shoes that are appropriate for the environment.

Your welcome to stay longer than the two hours of our meetup although it may get very busy there in the afternoon or come early to draw. We could picnic afterwards in the garden or move on to a cafe afterwards for those who would like to talk about their drawings and participate in a critique. If you have any question feel free to email me. On the morning of the meetup you can reach me at[masked]-4821.

Parking: Available on Elm Street and campus parking lots. No parking restrictions on weekends. The Smith parking lot on West Street also has spaces for visitors.

Directions: From I-91 south, take the first Northampton exit (#18). At the light at the end of the exit ramp turn left onto Route 5 and follow it into Northampton to Route 9 (Main St.). Turn left and follow to College Lane (Sign: Main Entrance Smith College), left onto College Lane and the Botanic Garden will be ahead on your left. From the north, take exit #20 on I-91 and go straight on King Street to Route 9/Main St. Take a right onto Main and follow directions from above. From the east, follow Route 9 in Northampton and Main St.

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  • Rebecca S.

    It was a beautiful day to sketch outdoors and the garden had lovely plants and buildings.

    October 7, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hi Peter. I have a previous commitment at 9 a.m. in Auburn that day. Sorry to miss a marvelous opportunity to practice and hone drawing skills.

    September 27, 2012

    • Peter G.

      Hope you can make the next one.

      September 27, 2012

3 went

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