NOTE: All member and nonmember tickets must be reserved in advance, and masks are now optional but recommended. Learn more about how you can join us!

Students enrolled in the Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate program will learn how to draw botanical subjects with scientific accuracy, artistry and mastery of technical methods. Using a basic knowledge of plant morphology, participants will develop the skills needed to document plants in intricate detail, including the root system, upper and lower leaf surfaces, flowers, fruits and seed heads. This program is designed for students who are interested in pursuing art for pleasure and self-satisfaction, and they can choose between two concentrations: watercolor or colored pencil. Beginners, as well as those with art experience, are welcome. Students ay repeat most courses in the program at a 10-percent discount; however, a repeat course cannot apply toward certificate credit.

Receiving Class Credit: For both core and elective classes, students must attend all class sessions and complete and submit all the work required to earn class credit. Class credit is important if a student is pursuing the Basic or Advanced Botanical Art and Illustration certificate. Even if a student is not sure about pursuing the certificate, it is recommended that they earn credit for each class because this is difficult to do retroactively. If a student has to miss class (e.g. health reasons or a death in the family), they must contact the instructor at their earliest convenience to see if it’s possible to still earn class credit.

A note on recordings: The class recordings posted on Google Classroom are meant to aid students in completing their work between classes but are not a substitute for attending class.  Students are required to attend all classes and are not allowed to miss class and watch the recordings for credit.

Botanical Art and Illustration
Illustration by Betty Yee Yates

About the Program

Learn more about our certificate requirements, browse work from our students, meet our instructors and more.

For more details about our programs, or to receive personalized class recommendations from our helpful staff, please feel free to contact us at edu@phipps.conservatory.org.

Confirmations will be emailed the day before each class, including a Zoom link. Please check your spam/junk mail folder, and if you have not received the link, email edu@phipps.conservatory.org.

Relevant demos from virtual classes are recorded and made available to all registered participants for one month after the program.

All times are Eastern Time Zone.

Current Classes

Click titles for full details 

Classes in Progress

  • 2022 Phipps’ Allegheny Highlands Flora Project: Pittsburgh Botanic Gardens’ Native Plants | Choosing of Native Plants: Tuesday, Feb. 22, 6 – 7 p.m. | Robin Menard and Stephanie Lind | Student orientation: Thursday, Feb. 24, 6 – 7 p.m. | Robin Menard | Hunt Institute will be closed and emailing images to participants in June 2022 | Open Studios | Sundays: July 10; Aug. 14; Sept. 25; Oct. 23; and Nov. 6 | 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. | In-person
  • Greens in Watercolor | Amy Lewandowski | Thursdays: Aug. 25, Sept. 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29 | 6 – 9 p.m. | After class meeting: Monday, Oct. 17 | 6- 7:30 p.m. (please note new date)

  • Watercolor I: Techniques and Color Theory | Brenda Gail Jordan | Saturdays: Sept. 10, 17 and 24 | 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. (with lunch break) | After-class meeting: Wed., Oct. 12 | 7 – 8:30 p.m.

  • Illumination Techniques with Watercolors, Gouache and Gold Paint | Christine Hutson |  Wednesdays: Sept. 14, 21 and 28, Oct. 5, 12 and 19 | 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. (with lunch break) | After class meeting: Wednesday Nov. 9, 10 – 11:30 a.m.

  • Botanical Drawing I: Foundations | Robin Menard | Saturdays: Sept. 17 and 24, Oct. 1 | 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. (with lunch break) |  After class meeting: Tuesday Oct. 11 | 7 – 8:30 p.m.

  • History of Botanical Art | Weldon Doran | Wednesdays: Sept. 28, Oct. 5, 19 and 26, Nov. 2 and 9 | 6 - 9 p.m. | Lecture: Sept. 28, Oct. 5 and 19 | Hunt Institute Presentation Oct. 26 | Student Presentations Nov. 2 and 9

Detailed Listings

Botanical Art and Illustration
Pen and Ink drawing by Melissa Fabian

Pen and Ink II | Melissa Fabian

Tuesdays: Oct. 4, 11, 18 and 25, Nov. 1 and 8 | 6 – 9 p.m.
After class meeting: Tuesday Dec. 6, 7- 8:30 p.m.

$235 members | $265 nonmembers
Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Objective: Pen and Ink II student will have improved stroke making and wash skills with the introduction of color through various tools and inks.
Level: Intermediate
Prerequisite: Pen and Ink I

Supply list (PDF)

*Relevant demos are recorded and made available to pre-registered students within 1 week of each class session.  Videos will be viewable for one month from receipt.

Add another dimension to your pen and ink work through color.  Various tools and inks will be provided to develop additional reference sheets to add to your black and white references.  Create various plant studies and a completed botanical art piece.  Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate core course

Botanical Art and Illustration
Watercolor Painting by Amy Lewendowski

Autumn Gourds in Watercolor Using Masking Fluid | Amy Lewandowski

Thursdays: Oct. 6, 13 and 20 | 6 – 9 p.m.
After class meeting: Thursday Nov. 10 | 7 – 8:30 p.m.

$130 members | $150 nonmembers
Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Objective: To learn watercolor technique using masking fluid for painting gourds
Level: Intermediate
Prerequisite: Botanical Drawing I and II, Watercolor I (or equivalent experience)

Supply list (PDF)

*Relevant demos are recorded and made available to pre-registered students within 1 week of each class session.  Videos will be viewable for one month from receipt.

In this 3-session class learn how to use masking fluid while painting colorful fall gourds in watercolor. The class will consist of demonstrations, practice exercises, individual and group discussion culminating in a final finished single or multiple gourd piece. Students will need to provide their own colorful gourds for the class. Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate elective

Botanical Art and Illustration
Linoleum Print of Iris by Lisa Rasmussen

Introduction to Printmaking with Botanical Imagery | Lisa Rasmussen

Saturdays: Oct. 8, 15 and 22 | 2 – 5 p.m.
After class meeting: Monday Oct. 31, 7 – 8:30 p.m.

$160 members | $180 nonmembers
Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Objective: Students will learn a new process for expressing and interpreting botanical images.
Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Prerequisite: Botanical Drawing I and II 

Supply list (PDF)

*Relevant demos are recorded and made available to pre-registered students within 1 week of each class session. Videos will be viewable for one month from receipt.

In this introductory course, we will create a one-color botanical that can be printed multiple times. This course will take you through the multi-step process of creating a design, carving a plate and printing your design using the linoleum block method of printmaking. This process will be a different way of thinking about botanical illustration in that you will need to be very aware of the positive and negative spaces you create. Kits containing materials for printmaking will be mailed out to students prior to class. Kit prices are part of the tuition. Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate elective.

Botanical Art and Illustration
Graphite Drawing by Jessi Evans

Botanical Drawing II | Robin Menard

Saturdays: Oct. 15, 22 and 29 | 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. (with lunch break)
After class meeting: Monday Nov. 7 | 6 - 7:30 p.m.

$235 members | $265 nonmembers
Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Objective: To be able to apply skills gained in Botanical Drawing I to accurately capture various plant forms, details and textures that are unique to the subject.
Level: Intermediate
Prerequisite: Botanical Drawing I

Supply list (PDF)

*Relevant demos are recorded and made available to pre-registered students within 1 week of each class session.  Videos will be viewable for one month from receipt.

Continue to develop your observation and drawing skills to accurately render leaves, stems, roots and flowers in varying positions, capturing details and textures unique to the botanical subject.  Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate core course

Botanical Art and Illustration
Watercolor and Gouache painting by Julia Trickey

Celebrating Fall Colors in Watercolor | visiting artist Julia Trickey

Saturdays Oct. 29 | 9 a.m. – noon EST and Nov. 5 | 10 a.m. – noon EST

$195 members | $225 nonmembers
Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Objective: To learn wet on wet watercolor technique for painting fall leaves
Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Prerequisite: Drawing I and II and Watercolor I (or equivalent experience)

Supply list (PDF)

In this class we will look at how to depict the wonderful colors and pattern of fall leaves. Using wet-in-wet techniques for the early painting stages, we will explore how to bring leaves to life and how to recreate the merging colors often seen in leaves at this time of year. We will then consider how to depict the veins and add detail using drier painting techniques. There will also be the option of adding a black background, which can really make the fall colors zing. Join Julia to celebrate all that the Fall brings.  Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate elective

Botanical Art and Illustration
Watercolor Painting by Robin Menard

Nature’s Treasures: A Collection Painting | Robin Menard

Sundays: Oct. 30 and Nov. 20 | 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. (with lunch break)
After class meeting: Sunday Dec. 4 | 9:30 – 11 a.m.

$165 members | $185 nonmembers
Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Objective: To create a painting from your collection of nature’s treasures.
Level: Beginner - Intermediate
Prerequisite: Botanical Drawing I and II

Supply list (PDF)

*Relevant demos are recorded and made available to pre-registered students within 1 week of each class session.  Videos will be viewable for one month from receipt.

All of us have jars and drawers filled with little treasures collected on our walks, or while tending our gardens. In this class, create a collection painting with your favorite items! Feathers, shells, leaves, twigs, or acorns – what treasures do you have hidden away? Pull them out and highlight them in graphite, colored pencil, watercolor or mixed media! Past participants welcome! Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate elective.

Botanical Art and Illustration
Rosalie Haizlett Painting Nature with Watercolor

Introduction to Painting Nature with Watercolor | Rosalie Haizlett

Thursday November 3 | 6 – 7:30 p.m.

$40 members | $50 nonmembers

Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

This class will be recorded and made available to all registered participants for one month after the program.

Prerequisite: None

In this 90 minute class, Rosalie will share her story about how she's fused her passions for art and the natural world together as a nature illustrator. Then, she will guide students through a full painting demonstration from her book, Watercolor in Nature, to show how you can combine pen & ink and wet-on-dry watercolor techniques to quickly render what you see outdoors in your sketchbook. Students will receive a PDF handout that includes 5 prompts for getting started with nature sketching, a recommended supplies list, and a list of resources for further learning on this topic. Students are invited to actively follow along with the demonstration or simply sit back and enjoy the demonstration. Botanical Art and Illustration elective.

To follow along, students will need:

A set of watercolors
2-3 watercolor brushes of varying sizes including one very thin one (size 1-4 round)
Cold-pressed watercolor paper or mixed-media paper
Sketching pencil 
Eraser 
Cup of water
Paper towel 
A permanent ink pen (Sakura Micron pen or fine-tipped Sharpie). 

Botanical Art and Illustration
Sunflower by Brenda Jordan

Colored Pencil I: Techniques | Amy Lindenberger

Saturdays Nov. 5, 19 and Dec. 3, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (with lunch breaks)
After-class meeting: Wednesday Dec. 14, 7 – 8:30 p.m.

$235 members | $265 non members
Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Objective: To be able to create a gradual transition of tone and color with colored pencils.
Level: Intermediate
Prerequisites:  Botanical Drawing I and II

Registration for this class will close on Oct. 21.

Supply list (PDF)

Using different techniques, you can make colored pencil tones look like a drawing or painting, providing you work with the versatility to create a wide variety of surface textures.  Develop your color perception and become familiar with colored pencil tools, color applications and color theory fundamentals. Learn to layer colors to achieve different hues and densities and master a variety of techniques, including burnishing, impressed line and sgraffito. Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate core class.

Botanical Art and Illustration
Nature Journal posting by Melissa Fabian

Nature Journaling in Place | Melissa Fabian

Tuesdays Nov. 15, 22 and 29 | 1 – 4 p.m.
After class meeting: Tuesday Dec. 13 | 7 - 8:30 p.m.

$130 members | $150 nonmembers
Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Objective: To observe and sketch often forgotten places in your outdoor space
Level: Beginner to advanced
Prerequisite: None

Supply list (PDF)

*Relevant demos are recorded and made available to pre-registered students within 1 week of each class session.  Videos will be viewable for one month from receipt.

Clare Walker Leslie, an internationally recognized artist, naturalist, educator and author of numerous journaling books will be the resource for this class.  During class several techniques will be introduced to use in our green “place”.   The November class works perfectly to observe and learn about the process plants, insects and birds must follow to survive and continue propagating, ushering in the next Monarch butterfly or keeping the pair of cardinals coming back to your “place”. Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate elective

Botanical Art and Illustration
Watercolor Painting of Holly by Amy Lewandowski

Winter Gems in Watercolor | Amy Lewandowski

Thursdays Dec. 1, 8 and 15 | 6 – 9 p.m.
After class meeting: Thursday Jan. 12 | 6 - 7:30 p.m.

$130 members | $150 nonmembers
Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Objective: Intermediate to Advanced
Level: Intermediate to Advanced
Prerequisite: Botanical Drawing I and II, Watercolor I (or equivalent experience)

Supply list (PDF)

*Relevant demos are recorded and made available to pre-registered students within 1 week of each class session.  Videos will be viewable for one month from receipt.

Illustrate seasonal plants in an assortment of colors using different methods of mixing watercolor paints along with a variety of wash techniques.  Apply these techniques to a composition of multiple small specimens or a single sample of winter flora through a series of demonstrations, individual help and group discussion Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate elective.

2022 Phipps’ Allegheny Highlands Flora Project: Pittsburgh Botanic Gardens’ Native Plants

Choosing of Native Plants: Tuesday, Feb. 22, 6 – 7 p.m. | Robin Menard and Stephanie Lind
Student orientation: Thursday, Feb. 24, 6 – 7 p.m. | Robin Menard
Hunt Institute will be closed and emailing images to participants in June 2022
Open Studios | Sundays: July 10; Aug. 14; Sept. 25; Oct. 23; and Nov. 6 | 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. | Phipps Garden Center

$180 members | $200 nonmembers
Objective: To be able to create a botanical illustration from the beginning to end

Level: Intermediate to advanced
Prerequisites: Botanical Drawing I and II, Watercolor I or Colored Pencil I 

Learn how to research and produce a beautiful and accurate painting of a native plant. In this long-term collaborative project, create a watercolor, colored pencil or mixed media painting, a copy of which will be catalogued into the Phipps’ Allegheny Highlands Flora Project for future educational or marketing uses. Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate elective.  

Registration is limited to 26 participants due to gallery constraints. There will not be an online gallery option this year.

Botanical Art and Illustration

Greens in Watercolor | Amy Lewandowski

Thursdays: Aug. 25, Sept. 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29 | 6 – 9 p.m.
After class meeting: Monday, Oct. 17 | 6- 7:30 p.m. (please note new date)

$220 members | $250 nonmembers 

Presented as a live webinar on Zoom

Objective: To be able to create a variety of greens in watercolor and apply them to plant specimens

Level: Advanced

Prerequisites: Botanical Drawing I and II, Watercolor I

Supply list (PDF)

Plants often have a wide variety of beautiful greens and it can be challenging to represent these different colors accurately. Learn how to assess the differences in the greens of plants by observing their subtle variations in hue, value and intensity. Practice painting different greens through a series of watercolor mixing exercises and then apply this information to an illustration of a single leaf or of multiple specimens. Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate elective

Botanical Art and Illustration
Watercolor by Holly Johnson

Watercolor I: Techniques and Color Theory | Brenda Gail Jordan

Saturdays: Sept. 10, 17 and 24 | 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. (with lunch break)
After-class meeting: Wed., Oct. 12 | 7 – 8:30 p.m.

$220 members | $250 nonmembers

Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Objective: To have control of the brush, pigment and paper while learning to combine watercolor paints to create a rich and varied palette

Level: Beginner to intermediate

Prerequisites: Botanical Drawing I and II

*Relevant demos are recorded and made available to pre-registered students within 1 week of each class session. Videos will be viewable for one month from receipt.

Supply list (PDF)

Students will learn the basics of transparent watercolor as a medium, and gain a foundational understanding of the brushes, paper, and paints suitable for botanical watercolor. Using a limited palette, students will explore techniques such as washes and glazes, and practice creating a full range of hues, shades and tones using the limited palette. Through demonstrations and exercises, students will produce a series of studies that demonstrate the foundational techniques of transparent watercolor and application of those techniques to rendering plant forms.

Assignments for the day will be due by Friday at 5 p.m. of the following week, so that the instructor can put together a power point of all assignments for an in-class critique the next morning. All assignments for the class will be due one month from the date of the last class. Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate core course

Botanical Art and Illustration
Illuminated "A" by Christine Hutson

Illumination Techniques with Watercolors, Gouache and Gold Paint | Christine Hutson

Wednesdays: Sept. 14, 21 and 28, Oct. 5, 12 and 19 | 10 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. (with lunch break)
After class meeting: Wednesday Nov. 9, 10 – 11:30 a.m.

$235 members | $265 nonmembers
Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Objective: To be able to use a variety of illumination techniques
Level: Intermediate
Prerequisite: Watercolor I (or equivalent watercolor experience)

Supply list (PDF)

*Relevant demos are recorded and made available to pre-registered students within 1 week of each class session.  Videos will be viewable for one month from receipt.

Discover several different styles of medieval book illumination and explore them using modern materials, including watercolors and gold paint.  Plus, explore watercolor illumination on black paper. Create illuminated initial letters, as well as other decorative styles and motifs.  Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate elective

Botanical Art and Illustration
Graphite drawing by Betsey Doherty

Botanical Drawing I: Foundations | Robin Menard

Saturdays: Sept. 17 and 24, Oct. 1 | 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. (with lunch break)
After class meeting: Tuesday Oct. 11 | 7 – 8:30 p.m.

$240 members | $270 nonmembers
Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Objective: To be able to accurately draw three-dimensional shapes using line and tone and to employ geometric and aerial perspective in drawing botanical subjects.
Level: Beginner
Prerequisite: None

Supply list (PDF)

*Relevant demos are recorded and made available to pre-registered students within 1 week of each class session.  Videos will be viewable for one month from receipt.

Botanical illustration differs from traditional drawing because it captures a subject with scientific accuracy through observation, form and detail.  Learn to identify basic shapes in nature and use a step-by-step process to create the illusion of depth through light, shadow and perspective.  Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate core course.

Botanical Art and Illustration
Watercolor painted by Rory McEwan

History of Botanical Art | Weldon Doran

Wednesdays: Sept. 28, Oct. 5, 19 and 26, Nov. 2 and 9 | 6 - 9 p.m.
Lecture: Sept. 28, Oct. 5 and 19
Hunt Institute Presentation Oct. 26
Student Presentations Nov. 2 and 9

$220 members | $250 nonmembers
Presented as a live webinar through Zoom

Objective: To understand how botanical art has developed and changed to serve the needs of different generations and cultures
Level: Beginner
Prerequisite: None

There is no supply list for this class.

Explore the history of botanical art from its earliest beginnings in herbals through present-day contemporary works.  The class includes a presentation from the Hunt Institute of Botanical Documentation which houses one of the world’s largest collections of botanical art and illustration.  You will have the opportunity to study some of the rare books and original paintings and drawings by artists such as Pierre-Joseph Redout, George Ehret and Anne Ophelia Todd Dowden.  You will be responsible for writing a research report on a selected botanical artist.  Botanical Art and Illustration Certificate core course

Botanical Art and Illustration
Illustration by Betty Yee Yates

About the Program

Learn more about our certificate requirements, browse work from our students, meet our instructors and more.