RBGE - Unit 6

ACTIVITIES 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 2.2, 3.1 & 3.2

Activity 1.1 - Quick Sketches

January 24 - I was so excited to draw up another Cyclamen flower and paint it, that I was able to get it done fairly quickly with good measurement - but then, Unit 6 was made available to us a bit early and I had to check it out...


And I found that we have only 12 days for this unit, but we have a lot to do - so I put away my third flower drawing for another time, and got started straight away!

The first thing we have to do is make some quick thumbnail sketches in order to begin preparing for our final composition! I'm so excited as we near the end of the course - not to be done, but to begin applying all that we have learned since October when we began!

Here are my ideas for possible compositions - this just gets the juices flowing :) These are put together using small sketches, cut out and arranged in different ways...

Unit 6, Activity 1.1 First Page 1.jpeg

Page 2 is sketched by looking at my actual Cyclamen plant and coming up with possibilities for compositions...

Unit 6, Activity 1.1 Second Page.jpeg

I took some time to clean up my plant, cutting out any dying materials, as well as some flowers , buds and leaves that will make good specimens for drawing and dissecting. These I placed in jars and put them in the fridge...


And fortunately, these Cyclamen really like the refrigerator. The original ones have stayed alive since January 13, when I first cut them!

I'll be back to continue on with Activity 1.2 tomorrow - so be sure to check in and see which two thumbnails I choose above to do a line drawing...



Activity 1.2 - Refinement

January 24 & 25 - I have to choose two possible compositions that I really like from my thumbnails above and this has been harder than I thought - But I think I have it figured out now. Here's the first idea - just quickly drawn out while looking at my plant near the bottom. Trying to keep it simple, while meeting all the guidelines we have been given...  There are still lots of things to fix about it, but I feel that it captures the true botany of my plant and shows the working of the stems below.

Unit 6, Activity 1.2 Final Comp Idea 1.jpeg

This next one is a bit simpler in that it does not show the stems show much, but focuses more on the top of the plant and has dissections displayed at the bottom as in a traditional botanical illustration.  

Unit 6, Activity 1.2 Final Comp Idea 2.jpeg

Okay, back to work on Unit 6, Activity 1.2. Do you know which one you would pick of these two? Do you think you might know which one I might pick? Stay tuned and I will hopefully have the final measured composition done by the end of the day on Saturday :)



January 27 - It took me a little bit of reorganizing and asking fellow artist friends which of the two compositions they liked, then I combined what I liked about both and came up with this one...

Unit 6, Activity 1.2 TheCyclamenCompositionFinal 1.jpeg

Well, I have made more changes to my Cyclamen Composition and this will go on for the rest of Unit 7 as I begin to finally put it together and even begin to paint it :) Here's another idea I had for it...

Unit 6, Cyclamen Composition Beginning for Unit 7.jpeg

Now I'm off to begin study of my Cyclamen leaves so I can draw them out and paint them! So fun!!

Are you interested in the RBGE Online Certificate Course? If so, you can find their website at:  Royal Botanical Garden, Edinburgh



February 2 - It's been a hard week after the Home-going of my Dear Sister In Christ. My feelings are all over the place with the thought that I won't see her here in this lifetime again, but knowing that she is dancing with our Sweet Lord Jesus this very moment! WOW! I pray for her precious family and friends as I know she will be missed desperately!

 Until I see you again Barb... Rest in Jesus with your white robe and beautiful crown. Love you!

Until I see you again Barb... Rest in Jesus with your white robe and beautiful crown. Love you!

This life is hard, come Lord Jesus, come.

Here is what I have completed in my Unit 6 so far - just a tad bit behind...

Unit 6, Cyclamen Composition Beginning for Unit 7.jpeg

Activities 2.1 & 2.2 - Drawing & Tonal Study of Leaf

I made a few more changes to my Cyclamen composition, however, I still have measuring to do and need to make a few more changes to stems.

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, so that you will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus. For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.

Off to begin watercolor of my leaf.

Blessings for a wonderful day,


Activities 3.1 & 3.2 - Color Matching & Painting of Leaf

February  2 & 3 - I have begun Activities 3.1 - Color matching and 3.2 - Painting Cyclamen persicum leaf, front and back and it will be slow going, but I think I'm off to a decent start. Remembering to keep my washes light and to not lose my highlights - it is becoming a bit more automatic to think of these things after all the practice I have had through these first six units of the RBGE.

Here's what I have so far...  Unit 6 is due on Feb 7, so only 4 days to go and I still need to do my measuring on my composition with a few changes and finish the front and back of my Cyclamen leaf in graphite!! I know I can do this :)


 And one more thing, which is a must! Keep a clean small brush at your side,I decided to go back and give my Saunders Waterford Block by St. Cuthberts Mill a try again, as I hate to waste all the paper I have been trying out lately.  I think the key is to choose the paper you like the most and then practice, practice, practice until you know that paper so well, that you can work with anything it happens to do during the watercolor process. I think my paper choice will be Moulin du Roy by Canson - 140 lb, hot pressed in block, 9 x 12.

Leaving the Saunders Waterford attached to the block and trying to not work so wet, it actually seems to be going quite well this time. I will do my best to work the edges in a way that hopefully will not bleed, and I will let you know how that goes.

For paints, I am working with my favored Winsor & Newton Professional watercolors. Some are half pans and some are tubes, and at this point in my journey, I honestly cannot tell a difference as they both work well.

I am also using my new Billy Showell paintbrushes which I love. I have Billy's #6, #4, #2 and her Eradicator brush. I have used each of them and love them all.  I probably use the #2 brush and the Eradicator the most.  And one more very important thing I have learned during the RBGE, keep a clean small brush at your side to smooth your edges with. So, in the area your choose to work, you will lay down your color and then wet your small clean brush with clear water, dab it on your cloth so it's not so wet, then use it to smooth your edges of paint to keep them from making a harsh line. Once you get the hang of doing this, it will make a world of difference in your painting. I use my #2 Rosemary & Co. Kolinsky Sable Series 323 for smoothing.


Thank you for visiting my website and joining me on my journey!

Many blessings!


February 4, 5, 6 & 7 - I've been having a hard time concentrating on my RBGE, although still plugging along. My painting skills have gotten so much better and I am truly thankful for that! Here's what I have for the last four days... With today being my deadline.


I'll be checking in through the day to give some updates on what I have completed. My deadline is 3:00 today so, I have a few hours left to continue working.

Thank you for checking in!



February 7 - I just submitted Unit 6 and Unit 7 will be made available at 4:00 (in a half hour) - So I'll be off and running again, but with composition work only from here on out! Here's my final work for Unit 6.

Unit 6, Activity 3.1 & 3.2 Color Matching & Watercolor Work 1.jpeg

I hope you will continue to stop by to see what I'm up to. It's been a hard week, but God is good and I will continue to rely on Him for the strength I need to get through this course.

Are you considering a professional course in botanical illustration? I would definitely suggest the RBGE Online Certificate Course. It is only 6 months long, and in that time you will learn a lot about botanical illustration and about yourself as an artist. You will definitely know if you should pursue a diploma in botanical illustration which is much longer and costs more.  You can find out more about this course at Royal Botanical Garden, Edinburgh.