One day workshop on Drawing plants as a way of knowing – University of Bristol Botanic Garden

Sun 23 Jun 2024 10:00 AM - 5:00 PM BST
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Drawing plants as a way of knowing

A workshop for medicine practitioners at the Bristol Chinese Herb Garden

Sunday 23rd June 2024 10am

Botanical art has a long history of being used alongside recording the medicinal properties of plants. This workshop will develop your understanding and knowledge of the plants in the Bristol Chinese Medicine Garden by connecting with them through drawing. You will experience how the artistic process itself can bring you into contact with the medicinal characteristics and nature of each plant.

Getting to know the herbal medicine you work with is of course integral to administering herbs. You can greatly enhance this skill by connecting to each plant as a living entity with character and temperament, with information imbibed through gestures, colours and form - and the relational impression it leaves on you.

Eleanor Darley is an artist and botanical art therapist. She will teach a drawing process we can easily work with as a tool to deepen our perception and understanding of plants.

It is not necessary to be an artist, it is in the experience of drawing that we will learn to respond intuitively to the plants, sensitively observing and listening. We will discover both meditative, imaginative, and joyful ways to reveal function and the resonance a plant might have to yourself, or a patient.

Taking the time to draw a plant is an unforgettable experience. You will no longer struggle to identify or remember its name but instead will carry its medicine deep in your memory.
On the day we will cover:

  • Examples of art and artists bringing to life the medicine of the plant as a botanical study .

  • How art can expand perception and how to use Goethean observation.

  • Clear easy go-to drawing techniques to facilitate a process of discovery, healing connection and build confidence.

  • Reflecting on the interrelationships of form, function, feeling and resonance.

  • Trusting your impressions, inner pictures and take-aways for treating others.

The day will be a relaxed, fun day of herbal. You will come away with a stage-by-stage artistic process for you to use instinctively when getting to know a plant. Expect to be surprised! The door will open to just how immediate and informative botanical drawing can be. You will also have a lovely collection of botanically inspired drawings to treasure!

Eleanor Darley makes the relationship with plants the centre of her work as an artist and art therapist. She trained in traditional medicine in Mexico, Anthroposophical therapeutic art, and is founder of The School of Botanical Arts which is based on acknowledging the medicinal properties of plants, and their effect on our physical and emotional wellbeing. For more information, go to:
A couple of reflections from past workshops:

After that, I would love to do any training that you offer, or more classes. It was so profound to me to connect with the plants this way.” Melissa McConnell, Botanical Mindfulness Class 2021

We were aware of the breathing element you brought - contraction and then loosening. We came to a place that felt so open, carefully and sensitively orchestrated. A phenomenal observation of the plantsWeleda UK, Pilot event Drawing Plants for Wellbeing, Sept 2021

Any further information, please contact Andrew Flower on