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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, plein air 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 natural species that can be found in and around the Country Park.

Field sketching.
Nature Sketching Workshops in Kent: Flowers, Woodland, Ponds, Gardens.
Nature Sketching Workshops

It is often the repeated quick sketches of wildlife or plants (or anything that interests the sketcher) - the daily habit of capturing a particular subject matter that can be done anywhere: in the local fields or woods, in the garden, in the towns or villages, indoors and outdoors. This type of sketching develops memory banks of form and details of subjects to be used in later work. There will be plenty of subjects to sketch and make notes about at High Elms: flowers, herbs, trees, berries, nuts, cones, woodland animals, birds, butterflies, bugs, bees, fruits, pond life, gardens and dragonflies, to name a few!

Botanical sketching.
Sketching is for anyone who is interested in a subject and wants to record their findings creatively; it is quicker than note-taking alone: botanists may sketch parts of flowers in more detail - sketching often reveals more than a camera! The person sketching can use their understanding of a subject, or interest in a particular aspect, and focus a sketch on it, capture more information to be used as reference later. From wildflower species to garden standards, orchard delights to pond plants - many options to choose from at BEECHE, High Elms!

Wildlife sketching.
Sketching the repeated movements and habits of wild birds or woodland animals, for example, might also be the aim of a wildlife artist - gathering details to study more about the wildlife. High Elms is home to a range of bats, birds, mice and woodland animals including foxes, badgers, hedgehogs and even deer - although they are better at observing humans than vice-versa!

Sketching is not just for artists!

It is not just artists who can benefit from sketching: the aforesaid botanists are joined in their curiosity by other technical and scientific minds, including natural historians and explorers, who make good use of sketching as means to observing their subjects more deeply and discovering more through exploratory diagrams, notes and marks on the page. A few quick, rough sketches can ignite ideas for poetry and stories for writers. The outdoor sketching workshops at High Elms are great for recording sightings, as well as releasing more imaginative ideas - the past owner, John Lubbock, was friends with Darwin as well as the imaginative writer, Charles Kingsley (The Water Babies) and knew the joys of creative sketching and nature observations only too well!

Sketching for the process - not just the end result!
There is no need to be able to draw well to be great at sketching!

Many naturalists use sketchbooks to further their field-studies knowledge and learn about the plants, animals and natural history species they come across when outside in nature.

Sketching is not just about trying to achieve a beautiful sketchbook - the lines, shapes, diagrams, notes and quotes can all build up to create a valuable tool for discovering more about the natural world.

Sketching can be done in a variety of ways and styles!


For more information on Nature Sketching Workshops in Kent for adults (and accompanied children aged 11+) starting in August 2019, please email:


Bromley Environmental Education Centre at High Elms

Outdoor nature workshops will run during August at High Elms Country Park, Kent - just up the road from the home of Charles Darwin - Down House and not too far from Chartwell House and Gardens, former home of Churchill.

Themes include: ponds, flowers, butterflies and bees, woodland patches, hedgerow, local wildlife and birds - and the many local wildlife and natural species inhabitants.There will be a number of natural history specimens for close detail observations, including woodland animals, bird nests and eggs, moths, beetles and birds, depending on the workshop theme. 

Refreshments will be available and the visitor centre with shop and cafe on site will be open. Free parking.

Visit Bromley’s Environmental Education Centre at High Elms (BEECHE) for more information about these workshops and other events.

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