Mindfulness through art-in-nature: Sketching the beautiful lotus

This workshop is one in a series that aims to build mindfulness through outdoor sketching of botanical art. In time, I will build this series to include overseas trips as well. For this workshop, we will be sketching the true lotus of the Nymphae family and not the waterlily which is in another workshop. Below is a video to help you get to the pond. There is nothing like studying a plant up close and personal in its natural environment and I hope the workshop opens the door to a whole new world of experience for you. 

How to get there

The lotus pond is located at Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1 opposite Blk 248 but you won’t see this block as it is demolished. Still it won’t be difficult to find if you are taking bus no. 165 or 169 from AMK Bus Interchange. Just look out for bus-stop no. 56269. The pond is like 10 metres away.

Bus stop at Bishan Park lotus pond

Alternatively, you can take bus 262 from the same interchange but get off opposite Blk 223 and walk a short distance down till you come to the lotus pond. If you are coming by car, the best bet is to park near the GRUB Cafe and walk down to the pond like 100 metres away.

Bus stop for 262

I have been sketching outdoors for the past 20 years and seldom have met any other Singaporeans except for the Urban Sketchers. This is partly due to our local weather which is humid and hot and seriously quite deterring unless you are a die-hard like me and others I know. So, the first important thing is to dress comfortably with sensible shoes. Next, is a cap or a wide-brimmed hat to shade your eyes as you sketch. Third, you might like a clipboard to support your sketch book while also holding the pages opened with an extra clip or two. That’s just an idea. You might do very well with a spiral bound sketchbook that opens flat. And fourth, you might have to get accustomed to standing for quite a bit as you sketch because sitting on a low stool doesn’t always give you the best views. But then, you might be so engrossed you won’t notice the time passing or any discomfort standing so take care in case you have a medical condition that precludes standing for long minutes.

What you will learn

the lotus in full bloom

1. how to observe a plant specimen in its natural environment and learning to make notes – this is the sole reason why we sketch outdoors where the real thing is as opposed to copying from an image on an iPad

2. what to look for and add to your drawing – sketching parts before the whole – again very important as you get up close to the real thing, noticing texture, colour and everything else that gives the plant its character

3. what you bring to the moment – feelings, thoughts, etc, as a form of response art – you will find yourself reacting and responding to the subject on many levels and it’s about tuning in that makes it a mindfulness exercise

4. lots of pre-drawing practice of the plant with templates and instructions which I will provide – this is an age-old practice, how apprentices learn from the masters, we copy them

5. composing your very own drawings of the flower, leaves, and pods on the spot – this will take you to the next level

6. lots of demonstrations to show you how it’s done – while you watch over my shoulder so to speak

What you need to bring

1. your favourite sketchbook

2. drawing implements of your own choice e.g. pen, marker, brush pen or pencil you are most comfortable with

3. hat or cap

4. camera

Check out my article: How to pack for outdoor sketching and a video. For more lotus pictures, click through to my Pinterest collection.

We will meet at the lotus pond from 1:45 p.m. onwards and the workshop will start promptly at 02:00 p.m. and end at 06:00 p.m. no matter rain or shine. Welcome to the world of outdoor sketching!


Date:  12 October 2018, Friday  (next outing 3 Nov 2018, Saturday)

Time: 02:00 p.m. to 06:00 p.m. (4 hours) Singapore Standard Time

Cost: SGD28.00 (all proceeds to charity)

Venue: Meet at the Bishan AMK lotus pond from 1:45 p.m. onwards


Please use the form below to register your participation. I will send you a reply email once I receive your form and will include payment details for inter-bank transfer. Once payment is processed, you will receive confirmation of registration and participation.

Workshop Registration

Additional notes on how I draw a lotus

In the video below, you will see me drawing a lotus from an image on my computer screen. This is not mere copying but a skill that comes after having sketched lots and lots of live lotuses, leaves and pods, bringing them home, opening up the petals, studying the leaf every inch, observing how they curl and furl in the pond, the pods, what a real one is like, how the seeds sit in their little holes…. only then can I dare say I can draw a lotus and its parts. Enjoy!

Related article: Drawing a lotus.

A drawing workshop: The beautiful lotus