Botanical Arts & Photography
Botanical Arts & Photography

Botanical Arts & Photography

Our current selection of botanical arts and photography classes and workshops for adults at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens.


Photography Club

Every other Thursday
May 17-September 20
7 – 9 a.m.
Resource Room and Gardens

If you love photography and enjoy talking with other enthusiasts, this club is for you! This year, photo club will include mentoring sessions, discussion groups and critiques as well as the peace of having the Gardens to yourself for two hours each morning while the eastern light rises over the Great Lawn. On ten scheduled Thursday mornings throughout the season, gates will open at 7 a.m. for members. Benefits include early-bird class registration for photography classes and eligibility to enter the annual juried exhibition.


Plein Air Days

Thursday-Saturday, May 31- June 2
9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Artists are invited to set up their easels at the Gardens and paint en plein air with no admission charge. No pre-registration is needed—simply arrive with your supplies to receive your complimentary admission. Enjoy!


Capturing the Ephemeral in Nature

with Ronn Orenstein
Saturday, June 2
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Learn to capture nature's more ephemeral aspects in your photographs. Knowing your camera’s settings and anticipating when you will need them helps you compose your subject before it flies away. Let professional photographer Ronn Orenstein show you the tools that will enhance your technique and capture that elusive subject. Creative discussion will include the use of filters, long exposure and post-processing. Bring your favorite equipment, including tripod, and we’ll expand our creativity. This class will use our new butterfly house and garden as well as our central gardens for inspiration.


Curator Tour of Transformation: A Bronze Sculpture Exhibition with June LaCombe

Wednesday, June 13
1:00 p.m.

Walk through this year’s sculpture exhibition, Transformation, with curator June LaCombe. Learn how each artist uses the bronze casting process to transform a sculpture in wood, clay or wax into a unique, durable piece suitable for the outdoors no matter the season.
Free with Admission


Drawing and Painting: The Story of Transformation

with Katie Lee
Monday-Friday, June 25-29
10 a.m. — 4 p.m.

Animals and insects—from butterflies to dragonflies to frogs—go through amazing stages during their transformation from egg to adult. Learn to capture these unique stages using a variety of media such as pencil, pen, ink and watercolor, resulting in a folded accordion-style book. Emphasis will be on reproducing these images in accurate detail. While this class is open to all, it also satisfies a core requirement for the Certificate in Botanical Arts. Lunch is included.

This class counts toward the Certificate in Botanical Arts.


Watercolor Batik

with Erica Qualey
Saturday, July 14
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Watercolor batik is an alternative method of painting using the traditional techniques of batik, a technique dating back hundreds of years. Students will create beautiful paintings by layering color and wax on a special type of rice paper called Ginwashi. When finished, the wax is removed, leaving only beautiful, brilliant color behind. This method is lots of fun and filled with surprises.

This class counts toward the Certificate in Botanical Arts.


Capturing Butterflies in Watercolor

with Hillary Parker
Monday-Wednesday, July 16-18
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Join Hillary Parker for a fabulous three-day watercolor workshop offering a unique opportunity to observe, draw, and paint those winged beauties living and thriving in CMBG’s new butterfly house. This class is open to all artists with basic drawing and watercolor experience. Students will develop, build upon and master effective graphite and watercolor skills, including washes and dry brush detail techniques. Participants will create and compose delicate, informative studies that include stages of transformation, host and feeder plants, and the accurate anatomy of a butterfly.

*As Hillary prefers to provide all of her students with the specific and necessary supplies for use during this workshop, there will be a $20 materials fee for each student.

This class counts toward the Certificate in Botanical Arts.


Introduction to Writing Nature Poetry: The Haiku

with Kristen Lindquist
Wednesday, July 25
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

The centuries-old Japanese haiku has become one of the most universally popular poetic forms, in part because of its simplicity of form—three, unrhymed lines totaling 17 syllables. In this introductory workshop we will look at the long tradition of haiku as nature poem and spend time in the Gardens reading classic haiku and writing our own short poems. Enjoy a supportive class atmosphere focused on encouraging your own writing using the natural surroundings as inspiration.


Sumi-e Landscape Painting

with Frederica Marshall
Monday and Tuesday, July 30 and 31
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Learn how the beauty of brushstrokes can create amazing landscapes using ancient techniques. By using handmade brushes to apply ink, students will learn to create textural effects in many values. On day two of this workshop, students will turn the paper over and apply watercolors to create translucent glowing landscapes. Frederica Marshall is a Master Sumi-e artist, and winner of national and international awards for her work. Participants will learn composition, brush handling and the Zen of Sumi-e.

This class counts toward the Certificate in the Botanical Arts.


Drawing from the Herbarium

with Bobbi Angell
Friday, August 10
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Botanical illustrations can be created and enhanced by using herbarium specimens, a resource that stays consistent—perfect for detailed observation. Learn about the herbarium at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens and use a sample pressed specimen to create a detailed pencil sketch. Techniques for reconstructing, measuring and transferring information onto paper will be discussed and demonstrated. Bring your favorite pencils; all other materials will be provided.
This class counts toward the Certificate in Botanical Arts.


Capturing Iridescence in Watercolor

with Marjorie Glick
Monday and Tuesday, September 17 and 18
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

In this two-day studio workshop, learn to use the flow and spontaneity of watercolor along with the color theory needed to capture the iridescence of nature. Working with tight cropping of a photo (or specimen) of a butterfly, bird, fish, flower or shell, students will explore how composition, scale and placement can be used to express an iridescent subject. Demonstrations, a photo session in the Gardens, and additional instruction on transparent layering will also be included.

This class counts toward the Certificate in Botanical Arts.


Watercolor Journaling in the Fall Garden

with Hannah Ineson
Saturday, October 6
10a.m. – 4p.m.

This class will focus on fall’s colorful foliage, butterflies and the plants they enjoy as well as many other highlights from our autumn gardens. Simple drawing, watercolor techniques, and decorative lettering will be taught. A drawing pen and pencil, small watercolor kit and journal are the only tools needed. Take home a journal overflowing with inspiration from the Gardens, packed with ideas for many projects to come.
This class counts toward the Certificate in Botanical Arts


In the Shadow of Edwin Hale Lincoln

with Mike Kolster
Saturday, October 13
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Using Edwin Hale Lincoln’s photographs as primary inspiration, this photography class will explore the value of close observation of botanical specimens. In addition to questioning the relevance of Lincoln’s work to our current moment in time, we will include careful consideration of the roles framing, focus and lighting play in our own photography. We will generate images and view results as a group.


Field Trip to the New England Botanical Studies Exhibit

with Frank Goodyear, Kat Stefko, and Melissa Cullina
Friday, October 19
2 – 3:30 p.m.

Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick
Join Frank Goodyear, Co-Director of the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Kat Stefko, Director of Bowdoin’s George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, and the Gardens’ own Research Botanist Melissa Cullina to explore the New England Botanical Studies exhibit. The exhibit examines the rich body of work by two exceptional New England botanists and artists, Kate Furbish and Edwin Hale Lincoln. Desiring to record their discoveries, each created a vast pictorial archive of their work. Furbish’s chosen medium was pencil and watercolor, while Lincoln’s was photography. Though they did not intersect during their lifetimes, they pictured many of the same species, and their projects were motivated by similar ambitions. Directions and meeting location will be sent to participants in advance of the trip.


Botanical Subjects of Kate Furbish and Edwin Hale Lincoln

with Melissa Cullina
Wednesday, November 7
Noon – 1 p.m.

Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick
Join Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens’ Research Botanist Melissa Cullina for a special tour of Kate Furbish and Edwin Hale Lincoln: New England Botanical Studies at the Bowdoin College Museum of Art. The exhibit was developed in celebration of the opening of the Roux Center for the Environment, a new building on Bowdoin’s campus supporting interdisciplinary environmental scholarship. During the tour, Cullina will speak about the plants so carefully depicted by Lincoln and Furbish, noting natural history features and habitat preferences of each. She’ll also shed light on the artistic and botanical pursuits of the artists themselves. This tour is free and open to the public.