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It wasn’t supposed to rain. But the first drops freckled the paved pathway as we skirted the Great Lawn, heading for an afternoon of botanical drawing deep within Bellingrath Gardens’ 63-acre horticultural wonderland. By the time we reached the serenity of the Oriental Garden, it was a full-fledged downpour.

So the field sketching trip to Bellingrath didn’t go exactly as planned, but it was a lovely experience anyway: instead of unlimited sketch time, a chance to chat with my wonderful students while we waited out the shower; instead of easy access to Bellingrath’s profusion of botanical specimens, this lovely grasshopper carapace. Okay, so it’s not a delicate bloom… but it really is an impressive insect. And lots of fun to draw, even in the rain.

And we managed to get in a little sketching, after the sun came out again: