When I was younger I used to draw and paint a fair amount. Somewhere along the way that petered off and though I’ve always regretted it, I’ve never actually managed to pick it up again.
However, this semester I decided to take a class on herbaceous plant identification. There are eleven quizes where the teacher will put up slides of plants on a projector and you have to come up with the family, species and a common name for it. The quizes are comprehensive and each week we’re assigned ~15 more plants to learn so by the end of the year we’re going to be tested on over 150.
I started out studying using index cards… before swiftly coming to the realization that that didn’t work for me at all. So I dug up an unused field sketchbook, an art pen and some watercolor pencils that I’ve never touched and started keeping my notes that way. Each page has the plant’s information (names, foliage and floral traits, preferred planting conditions, medicinal uses, etc) as well as a sketch of the plant from a distance as well as closeups of it’s more distinctive traits, such as the inflorescences.
They’re fast little things, but it’s the most art I’ve done in quite some time and I’m going to be doing it regularly for the next few weeks.
And hey, I think there’s going to be a class on tree identification in the autumn… 22 months ago