Budding painters taught to blossom

20 January 2011 | Story by Newsroom

Summer School student Liz McKenzieClose-up: Summer School student Liz McKenzie examines her subject.

UCT's Summer School students received a full primer in painting in Vicki Thomas' four-day foundation course, Botanical Painting in Watercolour.

Comprising six lectures and just as many practical exercise sessions, the full class was taken through the history of botanical art in South Africa and the tools of the trade before learning such skills as painting shadows, shining leaves and white flowers.

Students worked directly from plants - proteas were a feature - in their own watercolour compositions, exercising their ability to translate three-dimensional images onto paper.

Thomas covered all aspects of the craft, including theory on composition, colour mixing and the different methods of applying watercolour paints.

Now teaching her sixth Summer School course, Thomas is a self-taught painter who has worked in the field for some 40 years. A lecturer in scientific illustration at the University of Stellenbosch, her work has appeared in books and in exhibitions around the world.

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