Botanical Watercolor Workshop Series

A year-round online workshop series that follows the seasons.

A series of Botanical Watercolor Workshops that take place online and follow the changing of the seasons. Join at any point in the year for one or all four modules. 

Learn botanical watercolor techniques from your home. While instruction will take place through an interactive livestreaming format (Zoom), care will be taken to emphasize the individual sensual experience of drawing from living specimens and working with watercolors.

Specimen Collection: Each class includes instructions for specimen collection, so that we can all work from direct observation. Simple instructions provided days in advance direct you to pick up a green leaf from the sidewalk, grab a weed sprouting out from a crevice, purchase a piece of seasonal produce, and other actions intended to call attention to oft overlooked instances of nature. For anyone who is not able to go outside at all, photographic references are available.

Watercolor Painting: The livestreaming classes introduce watercolor techniques through live demos and interactive instruction. Techniques include line drawing with watercolor tea wash, building up layers with washes, adding detail with special watercolor effects, mixing colors and more. All levels are welcome.

The paintings made in this workshop are inspired by the figure of the Naturalist, who was both artist and scientist. These recordings are just as much about the subjective process of observation as they are about the recording of scientific data.

Online Workshop Modules for 2021​

Join at the start of any workshop, no matter what level you are at. 

  • Each workshop includes 6 livestreaming classes.
  • Also includes: recordings of every class, individual feedback on finished work, supplemental material.
  • 6 – 8 pm Tuesdays
  • Starting at 6pm in Berlin, 12pm in New York, 9am in San Francisco, 5pm in London…

Mira O’Brien’s artistic research into topics such as the figure of the Naturalist and the conceptions of landscape and nature find expression not only through her paintings and installations but also through her teaching practice.  

Mira is an internationally exhibited artist and the founder of the Berlin Drawing Room. She studied art and philosophy at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and went on to received an MFA in Painting from Yale University School of Art.  

Her work has been exhibited internationally, notably in New York, Los Angeles, Spain, Berlin, and Kassel as an auxiliary project of Documenta (13). Solo-exhibitions have taken place at DD55 Galerie (Köln), General Public (Berlin), Vierter Stock Galerie supported by a grant from the US Embassy (Berlin), and as a solo-project at the historic Volksbühne am Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz (Berlin), to name a few.

More Naturalist Themed Workshops

Colors from Nature

Learn to create and use paints and inks made from plants, fruits and soil.


Wunderkammer Watercolor

“Mira’s Botanical Drawing Workshop made me enjoy spring so much. It was wonderful to sit in the Prinzessinnengarten, to learn about the plants from the gardener, to focus on their beautiful colors and forms, and to put them down on paper. I also enjoyed the classes in the studio that were a good mix of Mira’s teaching (on various watercolor techniques and art history) and own drawing sessions with calm music in the background. I can highly recommend the workshop – and just signed up for the next one!”

Isabel H. (Botanical Watercolor Workshop, 2016)

“I learned far more in the short time of the Botanical Drawing Workshop than I ever expected. The course combines watercolor and drawing technique with art history and the botanical history of local plant life, which provided a new way of looking at the city of Berlin. It was a really relaxing environment to work in both in the studio and at the Prinzessinengarten. Mira is a wonderful and creative teacher and I can highly recommend her and the course to anyone with interest regardless of skill level.”

Erin R. (Botanical Watercolor Workshop, 2016)

“The main reason I joined this workshop was because I haven’t drawn and painted for a long time and wanted to start again . Illustration is one of my interest and I find nature very inspiring so it made sense to sign up for the Botanical Drawing Workshop. I ended up with far more that just getting back to drawing and painting. I feel now more confident using the watercolors medium that I used to find intimidating and I now keep on painting regularly.”

Nassima C. (Botanical Watercolor Workshop, 2017)

"In Mira’s botanical watercolor class I gained a new way to observe the natural world. The paintings I created were inspired by materials I found in my own garden and neighborhood. Mira shared a shared a history of botanical painting, which I found inspiring. She cares about each participant's progress and makes suggestions when asked. Every class was recorded so that I was able to review each class. It was fun to be able to work in my own studio and meet people from all over. On drop box I was able to exchange messages and ideas with other students. I signed up for another class this fall."

Norma B. (Botanical Watercolor, 2020)

"I took the Summer Botanical Watercolor Workshop with Mira O'Brien. It was a such a marvelous experience; clear, precise, informative and wonderful. Although initially slightly hesitant about taking an online class, I was especially impressed! The online nature of the class gave us up close access to watching Mira do demos which was a huge highlight! I would recommend this class to anyone who is either interested in learning about watercolor techniques as a beginner or as someone who has watercolor experience. Mira's enthusiasm for botanical watercolors comes through in so many ways! For each class she prepared wonderful slide shows about plants and techniques - always giving us a context with which to understand that day's class! Take this class! It's marvelous!"

April G. (Botanical Watercolor, 2020)