Arboretum hosts workshop on botanical illustration

"Columbine," by Sarah Saltus Siddig

The Connecticut College Arboretum will help artists hone their plant-depicting skills in “Botanical Illustration,” a workshop that will take place over four Thursday nights in April, beginning April 2 and ending on April 23.

During the sessions, instructor Sarah Saltus Siddig will teach participants the techniques of observation and guide them through the concepts of light source, value and shading in drawing, watercolor and colored pencil.

“Botanical illustration, which combines fine art and scientific observation, is a forgotten art experiencing a resurgence,” said Maggie Redfern, the Arboretum’s assistance director. “While it is rooted in creating the scientific detail necessary for a botanist to distinguish different plant species, the current movement attracts people interested in growing their own gardens, who care about local food production or decorating the interior of their homes. The process of creating illustrations is both educational and artistic, it has the added benefit of being a creative outlet that is soothing to the spirit both in making — and looking at — the end result.”

Saltus Siddig is a member of the American Society of Botanical Artists, the Colored Pencil Society of America and the Guild of Natural Science Illustrators. She received certificates in both Botanical Art and Natural Science Illustration at the New York Botanical Garden and has taught illustration courses there and at other venues. Her classes attract students from a wide variety of backgrounds and professions making the classes spirited and lively, an experience that benefits everyone.

Said Redfern, “This class is a wonderful way for everyone — from botany students to home gardeners — to learn the traditional art of rendering plants for scientific purposes and, in the process, to create portraits of the flora of the world around us.”

“Botanical Illustration” sessions will run from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday nights in Room 113 of Olin Science Center. The workshop fee is $100 for Arboretum members and $125 for the general public. Current Connecticut College students can take the workshop at no charge. A list of basic supplies will be sent to students before the first session.

To register, call 860-439-5020 or email For more information, call Redfern at 860-439-5060.

March 27, 2015