I find autumn a beautiful yet slightly sad month. The fruit and seeds ripening, the changing colours of the leaves. The Rowan is a particularly pretty tree, small with delicate leaflets and orange berries. There are lots planted on the streets of London and they cheer up the streets this time of year.

The Rowan has a smooth grey shiny bark, frothy white blossoms from May to June, clusters of red-orange berries in September, and pretty elliptical leafles. In Irish and Scandinavian myth the first woman was born of a Rowan tree and it was the Rowan tree that bent low and saved Thor when he fell into a river.

The Rowan tends to like to grow at high altitudes and is common in the Scottish Highlands. Often it can grow in unlikely places such as in a cleft in a rock or within another tree. When it is found growing in places like this it is referred to as a flying tree and was thought to be especially magical. It was thought to be auspicious to have a Rowan tree growing near the house. 

When drawing a tree don’t start with the leaves, that just leads to frustration, instead work out how much of the tree you wish to draw, trees can be massive things and you might not even be able to see the whole tree. Then draw the overall shape of the tree. Follow this by drawing the basic shapes within the tree, it can help to reduce the shapes to circles, squares and triangles. Make sure to add the sky holes as light outlines. After this you can add the general light and shade, the values. Don’t add the details till last, otherwise you will get confused.

Classes coming up:

Botanical illustration with Colour Pencils

One day workshop

Saturday 9th September

10am till 4pm

South London Botanical Institute 

323 Norwood Road

SE24 9AQ  London

United Kingdom

020 8674 5787

Colour pencils have become increasingly popular among botanical artists over the last decade. 

The quality of them has improved a lot, new vibrant colours make it possible to create accurate greens and browns. 

The great advantage of using colour pencils is they are portable, so it is much easier to draw plants in their natural environment.

Learn techniques for drawing with colour pencils and accurately representing plants in the garden of the SLBI

This workshop is very nearly full so if you’re interested apply now..

Drawing and Painting from Nature

Ten week course on Wednesday evenings 6pm till 8pm

Imperial College London

South Kensington Campus

London SW7 2AZ, UK

020 7589 5111

During this 10-week course you will be trying your hand at drawing and painting from natural objects set up by your tutor, and you will be encouraged to experiment with a range of approaches, from accurate studies through to more individual and expressive forms of art.

Have a pleasant autumn.

The Library of Obscure Wonders