Botanical Holiday Cards

Kathleen McKeehen is a science illustrator and botanical artist whose training includes the post-grad natural science illustration program at UC Santa Cruz, followed by an internship at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, UK. She has freelanced for a variety of clients and projects, including magazines, guide books, museum displays, text books, and children’s educational products and books. Her work has appeared in botanical art shows in the U.S. and Canada. She currently teaches botanical drawing and painting at Gage Academy of Art, at the University of Washington’s Center for Urban Horticulture, and at workshops around the state.
9:30 A.M.-4:30 P.M.
Gage Capitol Hill
Painting supplies:

  • I recommend Arches hot press 140 lb paper & professional quality watercolors—Winsor Newton, Daniel Smith, and others are good brands—but don’t go out and buy tubes, or a large sheet or pad of the paper. Those new to watercolor can purchase small amounts of paper & paints from me. If you do that, you’ll also get little palettes for washes and “skins.”
  • Bring whatever paints & brushes you do have; I’ll have some loaners for those without good brushes (the best ones, kolinsky sable, are becoming very hard to find in-country right now; though there are some available, they are not necessarily of the best quality, so if in doubt, wait and let me know you’d like a “loaner.”)
  • HB pencil and sharpener
  • Kneaded rubber eraser
  • Water containers
  • Drafting or masking tape
  • Board to mount watercolor paper on. Usually I recommend ‘Gator board, a very hard and strong board available at local art stores, but since these will be small pieces, you can get by with any stiff board that will take tape.
  • Tracing paper
  • If you have watercolor, bring palettes that allow you to mix washes (little tubs of some sort) and that have flat spaces to spread paint out to dry for “skins.” Some purchased palettes have both; you can also use a white china plate for the flat space, and those very cheap little palettes with the round “tubs” in them.
  • Measuring device such as a ruler or “dividers”

Other supplies to consider:

  • Greens such as holly leaves, other simple green leaves and red berries; consider other plants besides the usual holly, such as wintergreens, available at the nurseries right now. Also pine or fir branches—or any other botanical material that seems likely! Or perhaps birds? Other natural objects?
  • Colored papers: you will be able to scan & print copies of your creation* which could be mounted on colored paper to make cards. 8.5 x 11 pieces can make one big card or 2 smaller ones, and often there are envelopes available to match.
  • You could paint directly onto blank watercolor paper cards that are available.
  • Pens in various colors
  • Ribbons to add to the cards
  • Other interesting papers to use on card stock, “collaged” along with your image.
  • What else can your imagination supply?
Botanical themes are essential for Season’s Greetings cards–the traditional holly and berries; evergreens and cones; the season is rife with themes! Create your own cards in a one-day watercolor workshop, working with renowned botanical illustrator and artist Kathleen McKeehen. Beginners will learn basic skills, while more experienced students will be able refine their artistic arsenal.