Slow drawing

I've had a thing for botanical drawings since I was a kid.

My grandmother had botanical prints on the walls of her home, and I loved the old-fashioned look of them. My mom told me the prints were a wedding gift to Grandma from her husband. My grandfather died before I was born, but as a girl, I imagined he would give me botanical prints for my wedding present, too, if he were alive. (My grandmother gave me a crocheted afghan when I married, and the botanical prints now hang in my mom's house.)

Today I passed a bookshop, the kind that is small and cozy inside, with an irresistible collection of books. I found the irresistible Botanical Drawing in Color: A Basic Guide to Mastering Realistic Form and Naturalistic Color by Wendy Hollender and snatched it up, even though I told my son when we entered the store that we were there only to browse and to pass the time while we waited for my daughter to finish a class around the corner. He nodded politely while he fingered the wadded up dollar bills in his pocket, calculating how much he had to spend and while I mentally did the same with the money in my wallet.

What I like about Botanical Drawing in Color is that is contemporary. As much as I love the old-fashioned look of botanical drawings and want to infuse that style into my own drawings, I do appreciate a modern voice talking about the traditional illustrations, and it's exciting to me that an artist today is making this artwork.

I also like that the author lives in Manhattan like I do, and draws in places I recognize. You don't need to be living on a country estate to draw beautiful plants. In fact, the artist includes a beautiful drawing she made of a pear tree growing next to a parking lot. I love the idea that botanical beauty isn't "over there somewhere" or "in that perfect spot that isn't here," but right in front of us if we only bother to notice it.

What hooked me on the book was the the author described botanical drawing as "slow drawing." I try to live a simple life and I like the slow approach of Charlotte Mason that we use in our homeschool. I nodded at that description as I held the book in my hand in the bookstore.

I bought the book, my son bought a book, and we both sat on a bench in the park and read until my daughter was finished with her class. Then we all walked home together.

Photo: New book, old bench.


  1. This sounds like a great book and I'm going to put in an order for it. Drawing is a weakness of mine and my son, once gung-ho and a fanatic drawer, has become discouraged and disinterested because he cannot do it perfectly (as he sees it).

    It's very interesting to me that you pursue nature and nature drawing while living in the city. I lived in NYC for 6 years and then Westchester for 5. I worked in the city for all those years. I found myself often retreating to Central Park or Riverside Park, but never took to really taking it in and drawing. I look forward to getting this book and perhaps recognizing places from my life oh so long ago.

    Thanks for visiting my blog today. It's nice to "meet" you :)

  2. Kay, it's nice to meet you too, former NY'er!

  3. I, too, love botanical drawings! I really like the concept of your blog. Keep up the great work!

    Ring true,

  4. Thank you, Nancy, for the encouragement with the blog. I'm discovering I'm not the only person who feels compelled to blog about CM. Wonder what she would think about the influence she has made on all these homeschooling moms?!

  5. I also have a thing for botanical drawings. We used to have them all over the walls of our house when I was a kid (my parents were horticulturists, so it must be in the genes :)
    This book looks beautiful. Thank you for the reccomendation!

  6. I've really enjoyed reading your posts (came over from Jeanne's "A Peaceful Day"). We are CM'ers and will be staying in Manhattan for a bit over a week starting the 28th of March. If you want to get together, please contact me through the email addy on my blog.

    Looking forward to reading more about your CM connections!

  7. Hi Richele. I see you have a couple of like they to play soccer or other ball games?

  8. CM in the City, they like it all but have never played in an organized way. It looks like we'll be staying right next to Central Park.


  9. I'm waiting to get a couple of schedules for activities my kids are starting this coming week. I'll be in touch when I have info.

  10. My email addy is over at my blog and then I can give you our coordinates. Hope it works out.