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The Metropolitan Museum of Art is now offering a free botanical drawing course

Celebrate spring by learning how to compose your own floral still life.

Written by
Howard Halle

If you’re feeling down and need a distraction, take a look outside: Spring has sprung and flowers are in full bloom, so what better time is there to learn how to draw them than during this season of renewal? As it happens, you can do just that with The Metropolitan Museum Of Art's popular Facebook feature, Drop-In Drawing. It’s latest installment offers a video guide to rendering a botanical study.

Led by Anastasiya Gutnik, Public Programs Coordinator for The Met, the online tutorial starts with teaching you the basics of composition and building shapes through simplified forms. That's a fancy way of describing the process by which you arrange visual elements on a page to make it as pleasing to the eye as possible, while also tackling your subject by first breaking it down into easy to draw shapes such as cones, circles and triangles.

Using a pot of artificial orchids as her model, Gutnik begins with what you'll need for the exercise (pencil, paper, eraser) before explaining her approach, which starts with quickly sketched thumbnail drawings to determine which composition looks best. From there, she plots out the orchids as a series of interlocking ovals, which she then refines with added detail and shading that she tests out on a piece of scratch paper. And then, voila!

While NYC museums are offering online activities from downloading art catalogs to lessons in art history, we think that what you need right is a soothing floral still life executed in your own hand. After all, flowers aren't just beautiful: They also point to a return to normalcy some day. So check out the video below.

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