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Wildlife Garden Bees and Flowers.
This garden sketching workshop will focus on the Wildlife Garden at High Elms Country Park this summer: bees, flowers, plants and fruit, birds, butterflies, bugs, pond-life and even a natural history specimen of a rabbit, in case the regular rabbit visitor doesn't make an appearance on sketchingday!

Workshop: Friday 16th August 2019 : 9am - 1pm

Join us to create botanical sketches and detailed observations of bees and flowers, fruit and trees, birds and pond life from the Wildlife Garden; sketches can be used as preparation for later artwork and nature compositions or as a record of your memories from the garden visit. Add notes to sketches from garden species to use as reference material for further inquiry into the wildlife and plants that grab your attention.

We will be based in and around BEECHE Visitor Centre, spending time outdoors for as much of the workshop as possible.

You will have the opportunity to observe, sketch and make garden journa…
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Botanical Art Journal

Botanical Art Journal

Sketching nature can take many forms. This watercolour and ink study of a bee and some blackberries from the garden started out as a rough sketch of the berries and the bramble leaf.

The process of sketching can be relaxing as well as a means of developing observational skill and discovering more about flowers, fruits or wildlife. Most importantly, sketching is an enjoyable activity. Regular botanical and nature sketching will soon fill a botanical art journal.

Once this nature sketch of the berries was done, the bee was added, then the ladybird. The pencil lines were enhanced with watercolour and ink, then text and lettering were added freehand to fill out the spaces on the paper and explore layout options.

Slowly, a botanical journey was underway on a warm afternoon, a perfect moment for sketching, as the bees buzzed around some nearby flowers in the background and filled the day with summer - resulting in a composition that would make a delightful entry in a …

Pond Life : Duck in Watercolour and Ink

Pond Life : Duck in Watercolour and Ink

A pond is habitat to a variety of wildlife and birds in addition to the pond-life that lives in the water.

The first alert to action around the pond is often a commotion and some splashing around in the water, usually caused by ducks, geese or swans.

Observing and sketching birds can be an enjoyable way to become familiar with their anatomy, patterns and colours. Sometimes a sketch can seem to carry little information; it might be lacking detail or it doesn’t appeal in some other way.

This watercolour and ink painting started as a quick sketch. A 6b blunt pencil was used, resulting in a heavy sketch without much detail.

Later, it was sketched again from the original sketch and references, with watercolour and ink added for a more creative painting.

Sketching at the pond or park is a great way to build resource material for more detailed or adventurous paintings and drawings. It's also helps with understanding an animal or bird in more det…

Sketch Woodland Wildlife and Habitats

Sketch Woodland Wildlife and Habitats
Come along to an outdoor art workshop to sketch nature and enjoy a little time outside this summer under the canopy of native woodland in a historic country park.

Workshop: Friday 30th August 2019 : 9am - 1pm

This workshop is suitable for anyone who enjoys nature and would like to creatively record their findings in a sketchbook or nature journal.

Bring your own sketchbook, nature journal or paper, a pencil and anything else, including colours, that you would like to use to seize the spirit of the outdoors.

Nature Journaling, or Nature Sketching
Nature sketching, or journaling – it doesn’t matter how you describe it –  helps make a note of your personal thoughts and memories of the moment. It can help discover more about the local wildlife and habitats encountered outside. It can become a reference for creative or more detailed art activities later.

Get Started
Upon arriving at BEECHE (Bromley Environmental Education Centre at High Elms) for your…

Nature Garden Sketches

Nature Garden Sketches.

Nature Art Workshop: filling the sketchbook with flowers, fruits and flyers from the country park garden.

Workshop: Saturday 10th August 2019 : 11am - 3pm

Visit High Elms Country Park this summer for a relaxing day out, sketching its formal gardens and wild patches: nature garden sketches of flowers, fruits and flyers (butterflies, bees, birds, dragonflies) are in abundance in the gardens and wildlife patches of this beautiful country park managed by id verde for Bromley Council and historically linked to Kent countryside, just along the road from the home of Charles Darwin.

You will be offered refreshments upon arrival and meet the BEECHE Educational Team Member, whilst you view, sketch and make brief notes on the natural history items displayed at the BEECHE Visitor Centre.

We will then walk a short distance to take in the view across the formal gardens and pause briefly to sketch the garden landscape.

Capture the different flower and plant structur…

Pond Sketching Workshop

Pond Sketching Workshop at High Elms Country Park
Art event in and around London and Kent.

An outdoor art workshop for artists, non-artists, nature-lovers and nature experts - anyone who enjoys spending relaxing time outdoors.

Workshop: Friday 9th August 2019 : 9am - 1pm
Jump-start a nature journal or simply fill up your sketchbook with views and discoveries from in and around the pond:
Sketch the pond plants, wildlife and birds that frame the pond above water to make a record of the pond landscape in your sketchbook. Fill your journal with sketches of the textures of the bulrushes, the patterned feathers of a waterbird, the structures and flying motions of dragons and damsels.Try out pond-dipping and wonder at the strange anatomies of the underwater pond-life that appearsmagical beneath magnifiers - have a go at drawing them. Possibly see water boatmen, stickleback, newts, frogs, water skaters and water snails. Record the aspects of nature that interest you personally. Make a mark, add a …

Sketch Nature Workshops

Sketch Nature Workshops at High Elms Country Park.


High Elms Country Park
Introduction to Summer Nature Sketching Outdoor Workshops

SKETCH NATURE : ART WORKSHOPS: Introduction to outdoor Summer Sketching at High Elms, on the borders of Kent and London.

Bright and happy thoughts, contentment and peace of mind’ - Lubbock, past owner of High Elms.
Follow the footsteps of Sir John Lubbock who enjoyed spending time outdoors observing the natural world around his home, which is now a local nature reserve and Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) situated on the borders of London and Kent,but also within reach from areas of Surrey and Sussex.

Unwind as you observe and sketch some of the local nature and habitats within the grounds of this beautiful countryside. It is located just along the road from the home of Charles Darwin in Kent, and offers 250 acres of woodland, meadows, formal gardens, wildlife garden and ponds to explore.

The four workshops throughout August off…

Art Events : Art Exhibition Surrey

Art Events : Art Exhibition Surrey

The Croydon Art Society is once again holding an exhibition of members' works at the prestigious and beautiful landscape of Denbies Wine Estate in Dorking Surrey.

Artwork will include a variety of professional grade paintings using watercolour, pastels, oils, acrylics and mixed media. A host of subjects will be on display, including: portraits, landscapes, still life and wildlife, plus pet portraits, boats, cars and a whole deal more for a super art display.

Art exhibition not far from London, Surrey, Sussex and Kent borders.

Cinnabar Caterpillar

Cinnabar Caterpillar.
Nature is glorious in the sunny months of May, June and July - blooming and blossoming in the wildlife garden, large green spaces, parks and nature reserves.

It should not have been a surprise to see such a striking caterpillar at the High Elms Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), which is just along the road from the home of Charles Darwin and historically shares some its wildlife and botanical species with his own local meadows to make this a particularly beautiful an interesting corner of Kent - but it was!

The caterpillar was instantly spotted at the top of these dazzling yellow buds of a ragwort that were growing along the side of a trodden path, not too far from a conservation wildflower meadow - 'Chalk Grasslands'.

It would have come from a large batch of eggs, laid by a cinnabar moth, on the underside leaves at the base of the ragwort. As it matured, it would have moved away from the crowd to find more food for itself; the caterpillars clim…

Wild Raspberries

Wild Fruits: Raspberries.
Many kinds of wild fruits grow along the hedgerow and wild patches of land that increasingly border gardens and public parks and spaces.

In the local woods, wild raspberries peep out from beneath their bright green leaves to delight the passers-by. Blackberries, elderberries, sloes, cobnuts and sweet chestnuts add to the choices for a keen forager. These are some of the fruits that can be discovered in the woods, without even having to search for them. There are probably enough to keep a forager in constant supply of nutritious woodland and wayside fruit, nuts and berries.

With, what can seem like, an ongoing battle between growing a kitchen garden and developing a wildlife nature patch, a decision might have to be made by many gardeners - dig your heels in and carry on regardless, fighting a losing battle with the local wildlife over who gets which fruits and vegetables, or apply the old proverb 'if you can't beat them, join them'. It can be qui…

Nature Sketching Workshops

Nature Sketching Workshops

Sketching outdoors takes many forms!
Come along this Summer to High Elms Country Park, for some outdoor sketching workshops!

There are many ways to enjoy and benefit from sketching! The outdoor sketching at High Elms is a combination of several forms of sketching. Here are some different approaches to filling a sketchbook that will be woven into the four nature sketching workshops created by Claire Murthy, local wildlife and nature artist.

Landscape sketching.
It can be the long, drawn out days of Summer, out in the wildflower fields, pleinair sketching - a traditional way to capture beautiful scenery, surrounding wildlife and buildings and serve as aide-memoire to the experience or to be used later as reference work for landscape paintings and drawings. At High Elms we will be doing some quick landscape sketches of pond areas, woodland patches, wildlife gardens and formal gardens to record the habitats and environments of different plant, animal and other nat…

Kingfisher in Watercolour and Ink. Bird Painting.


In-between the detailed and the traditional...a different perspective.

Bee and Honeysuckle Watercolour

Another bee painting in preparation of forthcoming workshops and bee-related events.

This  watercolour and ink painting of honeysuckle and bee is the second painting of four bee and flowers in vase paintings that will be available later in the year.

More bee painting workshops and nature drawing sessions will also be available soon - see sidebar for more details.

Using a watercolour wash,wet paint was gently added to water to let the colours merge naturally. Walnut ink was added at the end of the painting to create a whimsical line to frame and add a little structure to the the painting.

The original painting has more detail which isn't showing in this image due the exposure settings.

Summer Flower and Bee

Summer Flower and Bee.

Following on from June's simple watercolour painting of a bee, some ink was added to create this energetic bee and flower painting!

Wet-in-Wet Watercolour Painting of a Honey Bee

Wet-in-Wet Watercolour painting of a honey bee.

No matter how detailed and realistic you want your art to be, sometimes it's fun to let the paintbrush loose on the paints!

The result, here, was an abstract kind of painting - still fairly detailed but not too precise.

This will be used as a base for some ink work, which will give it a little context.

There are plenty of bees in the garden this month to keep the paintbrush busy!

Art Blog Kent Surrey London Sussex.

Wild Strawberries in the Kitchen Garden

Wild Strawberries in the Kitchen Garden

Each year, around the end of June, wild strawberries appear in the garden. They are small, oddly shaped, brightly coloured jewels, peeping out from behind their green leaves. As they grow by themselves, they are another ideal fruit for a kitchen garden which really relies on very little supervision. 

There is something a little challenging about eating a wild strawberry - as though it's a forbidden fruit...

Surely, these tiny treats of the forest are the perfect feast for the small wildlife visitors!

Kitchen Garden Blog - June.

Pet Portraits

Online Auction

Bids are now closed for a beautiful painting of a cherished pet (or special wildlife character.

For more samples visit pet portraits.

Thanks to everyone who placed a bid in the auction! Congratulations to the winning bidder who will receive a custom portrait of their pet over the Summer!

Kitchen Garden : Medlar Blossom

Medlar Blossom.

An unusual sweet delight was spotted in the picturesque High Elms Country Park orchard (in Kent) within the BEECHE Wildlife Garden, next to an apiary - this pretty white blossom of the medlar tree stood out against its glossy green leaves.

It was a treat to see it, looking so perfect - such promises!

The tree won't be looking so unblemished later in the year, when the medlar fruits grow and ripen, and ripen some more, until - eventually - they become bletted - only then are they considered to be a perfect delicacy; ripened, rotted -and ready to eat!

This poor old-fashioned type of fruit tree has endured much negativity associated with its ugly, decayed fruits  - it boasts several base nicknames and has held its place in literature as imagery for something vile. In many respects, this fruit is hardly appetizing!

The rotten fruit - when it should actually be eaten - resembles the soft, pulpy, rotten puree of aged, windswept apples - and it looks like it might smell a…

Sketching and Drawing Bees

Realistic sketch of a honey bee, graphite pencil.

It's time to sharpen those pencils for some brilliant bee drawings and paintings over the Spring and Summer preparation of nature drawing workshops planned this year.

This bee sketch was done using a Mars Technico hb on standard watercolour paper.

The garden is filling up with flowers and the bees have been busy collecting pollen. They bask in the sun on the green alkanet, which is a native wild flower, commonly known as a weed...but it isn't treated as a weed in this garden, as it is so highly regarded by the bees!

Plans are in place to start recording the variety of bees that visit this garden in Kent, in the South East of England and neighbouring London, Surrey and Sussex - already there seem to be more varieties than first expected, so some research will be necessary to give correct bee identification. The anatomical structure of the bee is important and quite complex but observing the bees and learning about th…

Bird Drawing Workshops

Bird drawing workshops can be a good source of information for anyone who loves birds and wants to draw them, especially beginner artists and improvers.

Drawing workshops and classes are a great place to pick up advice and resources that can be used to discover more about birds in the local area.

Workshops can help introduce the beginner to outdoor bird sketching and keeping a bird diary or nature journal that can be used to identify birds and develop the drawings to produce more detailed, realistic bird paintings.

Regular sketching can significantly improve bird drawings and paintings whilst developing knowledge of bird anatomy and habitats. There are many strange and wonderful aspects to a bird’s body (skeleton, muscles, feet, feathers and beaks) that serve a function and it is often through sketching and detailed drawing that these anatomical wonders are closely observed and begin to be understood.

Sketching and drawing birds helps increase appreciation of the British wildlife that …