Review of Lesley Randall’s Aristolochiaceae Workshop, May 10 – 12, 2018

by Jude Wiesenfeld, posted by Deb Shaw


Lesley Randall with one Aristolochia gigantea flower. Photo by Jude Wiesenfeld, © 2018.

Lesley Randall with one Aristolochia gigantea flower. Photo by Jude Wiesenfeld, © 2018.


Lesley Randall’s workshop, held at the LA County Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Acadia, was very informative, focusing on Aristolochiaceae, commonly known as the Dutchman’s Pipe Family of plants. Lesley began the workshop with a lecture on the origin of the Aristolochiaceae. They first appeared about 30 million years ago, when most of us were barely starting our careers!

We examined, both in hand and through our microscopes, the distinguishing characteristics to look for while drawing. Lesley encouraged us to write down measurements and notes on the specimens for future clarification in our drawings and to include for illustration work.


Aristolochea gigantea seed pod. Photo by Jude Wiesenfeld, © 2018.

Aristolochea gigantea seed pod. Photo by Jude Wiesenfeld, © 2018.


It was fascinating to see how the different techniques (stippling vs. lines) gave a variety of results. Sometimes a broken line worked better than an unbroken one! Lesley supplied great examples of this in handouts.

The final drawings are started with an outline and then the details are added with stippling. It is important to stipple with a purpose: i.e., namely to clarify a characteristic, show shape, create depth and/or show color pattern. Also, Lesley stressed how important it is to keep your paper, hands and workspace CLEAN.

Lesley encouraged us to research other artists’ work to learn about technique and mentioned Bobbi Angell as someone to study.


Two books recommended by Lesley Randall: "Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification" by Thomas J. Elpel, ISBN-13: 978-1892784353, ISBN-10: 1892784351; and, "Guide to Flowering Plant Families" by Wendy B. Zomlefer, ISBN13: 9780807844700, ISBN-10: 0807844705. Photo by Jude Wiesenfeld, © 2018.

Two books recommended by Lesley Randall: “Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification” by Thomas J. Elpel, ISBN-13: 978-1892784353, ISBN-10: 1892784351; and, “Guide to Flowering Plant Families” by Wendy B. Zomlefer, ISBN13: 9780807844700, ISBN-10: 0807844705. Photo by Jude Wiesenfeld, © 2018.


Lesley was a fantastic teacher and very generous with us all. I hope she will consider other workshops in the future.

[NOTE: click on any of the thumbnails above to view the images larger, in a slide show format.]

#LesleyRandall #botanicalartclass #losangelescountyarboretum #BAGSC #LosAngelesArboretum #penandink #botanicalillustration #Aristolochea #LAArboretum #Aristolocheagigantea #BotanicalArtistsGuildofSouthernCalifornia

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