“The realisation that there is a lot to paint on your own doorstep and in our own surroundings is exciting,” says artist and printmaker Andrew Carter. His new online watercolour course for Elephant Academy encourages students to be inspired by the plant forms in their neighbourhoods.
Carter believes plant forms can be found in urban and rural environments, and that creating art can teach us more about each piece of greenery we find. “Looking at weeds, wildflowers and plants, and also cultivated and more fancy species, we will look at ways of using watercolour to discover the structure, pattern, colour and form in our subject matter,” he explains.
“I love teaching people how to look and how to use colour and engage with the subject matter of specific plants”
“I love teaching people how to look and how to use colour and engage with the subject matter of specific plants,” says Carter. Creating paintings from direct observation prompts what he calls “constant surprises and delight”, with each new painting and method initiating new possibilities.
The six-week Botanical watercolour painting course will include the technical aspects of watercolour painting (layering, desaturating and blending, for example), as well as work on the use of colour. Carter will also offer practical demonstrations and explain how to use paints, brushes and papers. Students will also learn to turn visual botanical examples into a watercolour painting.
“I like working from things that have almost made themselves and where my job is to edit and re-make what I have seen”
Andrew Carter graduated from Central St Martins School of Art and Camberwell College of Art and has exhibited in London and throughout the world. In 2021, he was an artist in residence at the Chelsea Flower Show, creating four large new watercolours.
“My process is one of walking, finding, selecting, drawing and mapping shapes,” he says. “I could be equally excited by drawing from an old broken fence as plant structure or the shape of sea glass and accidental splashes and patterns in water. I like working from things that have almost made themselves and where my job is to edit and re-make what I have seen.”
The course is friendly and supportive, and suitable for complete beginners as well as experienced artists. The six-week programme costs £135, which includes a package from Elephant containing all the art materials you will need to take part. To find out more about this course and the many others on offer, take a look at Elephant Academy.