Two Days, Two Botanical Art Classes with Lee McCaffree

by Lee McCaffree and Lesley Randall, posted by Deb Shaw


Aristolochia californica, California Pipevine, watercolor by Lee McCaffree, © 2016, all rights reserved. This painting by Lee was part of the "Weird, Wild & Wonderful" exhibition.

Aristolochia californica, California Pipevine, watercolor by Lee McCaffree, © 2016, all rights reserved. This painting by Lee was part of the “Weird, Wild & Wonderful” exhibition.


BAGSC member Lee McCaffree will be teaching two botanical art classes in March: one about how to finish a painting; the other about how to critique a work of art (and self-critique your own).

Both classes will be held at the Los Angeles Arboretum, from 9:30 am – 3:30 pm. Each of these important subjects will be conducted in a friendly, supportive, congenial atmosphere. Participants can take one class or both!

Cost: One class: BAGSC members, $100.00/non-members, $120.00Both classes: BAGSC members, $200.00/non-members, $240.00

Maximum number of participants (in each class): 15

Saturday, March 19, 2016 A Painting! What Do You See?

We will investigate ways to critique a work of art. Personal experience shapes what we see. By using different techniques to view paintings the observer will have more ways to analyze with objective eyes. We will use many published works as well as class members’ works to practice these methods. Topics will include subject matter, botanical accuracy, painting skills, light source, color, form and compositional structure, balance and space. We will work cooperatively by sharing ideas to make this a positive experience for each artist to learn about their own work. Class time will include individual opportunities for making improvements on work in progress.

Materials list:

  1. Copies of 2 paintings (not yours) that you like

  2. 2 paintings (of yours), unfinished or finished, to share in critiques

  3. Tracing paper

  4. Your usual art supplies for your paintings, any media

Sunday, March 20, 2016 Completing a Painting

How do you know your art work is finished?  Sometimes it is just a feeling that the painting is finished or something isn’t quite right. Good observation helps one see if a painting needs improvement, whether it is nearly finished or in progress. It is important to keep a freshness and avoid overworking. The artist needs to be objective in looking at their images. We will work with each other to see our work through another’s eye. Questions to consider will include: Where is my focal point? Do I have enough value change? Do the plant parts have volume and perspective? Are they botanically correct? Where has the paint or pencil gone astray either on my plant edges or in the negative space?

Class members will apply these observations to their paintings along with techniques in completing details such as dry brush, washes or corrections. This will include ways to change or clean up places to make your painting details more realistic. After identifying ways to finish your painting(s), there will be time in class to work on these details.

We will complete the process by discussing labeling. We will look at ways to present your piece with mats and frames depending on your intended goal for display.

Please bring the following materials:

  1. 1 or 2 paintings that you want to finish

  2. Usual art supplies in your media choice, including a magnifier

  3. Tracing paper

To Register:

Send checks, made out to BAGSC, in full, to BAGSC Treasurer Janice Sharp. Cancellations up to two weeks before the class date will be charged a $30.00 cancellation fee.

Bring your lunch, or purchase lunch at the Peacock Café, on the Arboretum grounds.

The Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden is located at: 301 North Baldwin Ave, Arcadia, CA 91007.

About the instructor:


Lee McCaffree

Lee McCaffree


Lee McCaffree is a botanical illustrator in watercolor. She shares the coordination and implementation of the Filoli Botanical Art Certificate Program and is a primary instructor. She served on the Board of Directors of The American Society of Botanical Artists. She gives regular private classes in the Bay area and instructed at the ASBA Annual meetings and the UC Berkeley Botanical Garden. She supports botanical artists by participating in coordinating teams for art exhibits and jurying.

She began her career in London, England studying under Christabel King of Kew Gardens. Sh