A day in paradise at Maison du Lac

When the Northern California Society of Botanical Artists asked if I’d do a day-long workshop for them, I wondered why: Here are the group of artists who study and paint plants and know the tree I call “purplish tree” by it’s phylum, class, order… that sort of thing. And they spend weeks on each piece studying, measuring, matching colors, and creating gorgeous studies. What could I add?

Turns out they’re interested in everything, including quick, on-the-go journaling. Which is how I ended up at this gorgeous place in the Santa Cruz mountains called Maison du Lac. An amazing estate maintained almost single-handedly by Patti, who gave us a tour of the place to start our day.


It was fun adapting concepts I use in my sketching to painting plants and trees. We did a first exercise in using gesture-drawing to capture the spirit of stuff in the garden.

I felt these poppies looked spunky and flamboyant, so I tried bringing that feeling to the strokes I made to capture them.

Next, we chose to work on a more complex vista and build a sense of abundance and texture into a vista across the pond. All without spending too long on the piece (in the spirit of sketch journaling).

Here’s a look at the work of some of the participants. Beautiful, isn’t it?



About Suhita Shirodkar

obsessive-sketcher. graphic designer.
This entry was posted in california, Close to home, Paintings, san jose, Silicon Valley, teaching, watercolor, Workshop and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A day in paradise at Maison du Lac

  1. Beautiful flowers and tree’s, I really like how you got the gesture of the pine trees.


  2. fakeflamenco says:

    looks like a great class! love your work and the participants’. Rebecca


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