To join me on a virtual sketching trip, download a travel sketch-journal here.
I add tutorials to them so you can learn the techniques and details you see in the sketchbooks.

My former workshop students asked me to upload my workshop workbooks to make them available to everyone. So you can also download a workbook and give yourself a workshop! Enjoy!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Nature Sketching Workshop - 6-21&22&28-08

Time is scudding past! I finished my final June Nature Sketching class last weekend, and it couldn't have been more fun or rewarding. Here are my students, working on a critique.

As I mentioned last entry, it was one of my more age-varied classes, from Gene, who is twelve, to us older folk, in our 60s, with teenagers added in for good measure -- and it was a good measure. All of my students were hard workers and emerged magically at the end as artists, (although some already had some expertise when they arrived).

I got so involved with the process I forgot to take pictures until nearly the end of the first day when everyone was involved in drawing their turkey feathers and I had a chance to stop and breathe.

The second day was all about landscapes, and one of the projects was drawing sticks. This seems like such a ridiculous project until you start to draw, then the most marvelous things happen -- such as "a stick" becomes a particular individual stick, with fascinating curves, protruberances, cracks, and swirls. The students became well acquainted with their sticks, and their results were remarkably lifelike. They also practiced textures used for leaves, grasses, rocks, and other things that make up a landscape.

And, moving on to how to interpret a scene, everyone chose a photo (from a large assortment) to try to translate what they had been studying and practicing into a drawing. This was also their homework (although optional), and while a lot of the drawing was done in class, a number of the students worked on it during the week and here are their results:

I was impressed with their progress. We didn't spend a lot of time on shading in class, so their efforts in that direction were quite entrepreneurial (did I spell that right?)
After the critique, I demonstrated for each student (on request) how to get the results they wanted for various areas of their individual drawings.

This third day the focus was on watercolor pencils, so we worked awhile on the color wheel, then did a "coloring book" exercise on an orchid outline. This is a useful exercise for a beginning watercolor pencil student because they won't be afraid of messing up their own drawing with color if they're using a predrawn outline.

Then it was on to the final project of the day, drawing an apple and coloring it. In this workshop I didn't sit down much, and I didn't draw and color my own apple as I did in the last class with only three students. I needed that time to coach and help my eight (well, seven, since one of my younger students could only attend the first two classes) students. So here are most of them with their apples, then the apples close-

up in the same order. The second one from the right is Kate's, who isn't in a photo. Chris wasn't at the third session:

and here are their extremely edible-looking results! Yum, huh? Be sure to click for a close-up look.

At the end of the workshop, as always, I handed around an evaluation sheet. This one was special because in addition to their opinions and experiences of the class I asked the students questions about how they would feel about this 3-day workshop being split into two separate 2-day workshops: Beginning Nature and Landscape Sketching, and Advanced Nature Sketching and Watercolor Pencil.

The response was overwhelmingly enthusiastic. I'm still scheduled to do this version of the class a couple more times, but as it happens, both workshops have been stretched into 4-day workshops, so the effect will be the same. The split-up two-day format will fit weekend attendees better than a 4-day combined workshop would, so it should work okay. I'll keep you updated on how that goes.

This week was pretty crazy, because in addition to the class, I received my 25 Advance Reading Copies (also called Advance Review Copies or ARCs) from the printer, wrote up the incredibly detailed information sheet that has to go with it, stuffed them into padded envelopes, and shipped them off to reviewers and important people that have offered to write blurbs for the back cover. It was a lengthier process by a magnitude of ten than it sounds, and I am really frazzled.

In addition, I have been working on my brand-new garden, planted in tree pots in a clearing in the manzanita on the hillside south of my house. Wanna see? Here's what it looked like on the 20th of June.

I got to eat that reddest strawberry in the photo, the first one I ever grew, but a wild turkey got the other two just as they ripened (DANG!), having flown in over the fence. However, I gave it quite a fright and it may not come back (HA! you say?)

That picture was taken June 20. However, you may have noticed that it's three days into July already, so by now my garden is WAY junglier, and I don't have a picture of it yet because, speaking of jungles, I have been preparing to go to Costa Rica (leaving noon tomorrow!), too.

Alas, I had to cancel the workshop I had scheduled there for July 7-10. I got a few queries, and one student was even about to sign up, but on reflection she decided she couldn't afford the air fare. I'm wondering how much the sky-high ticket prices deterred would-be workshop attendees. I got my ticket way back in March, when it was $700+, but I think now they are MUCH higher than that.

Daniel and I are going anyway, workshop or not. I will take my sketchbook, as usual, and sketch what I see on my journey. I'll be back on the 17th or so, and I'll require a couple of days to decompress, then I'll try to start getting some of the journal/sketchbook page up on this blog.

Thanks for sticking around! When I return, after I put up my journal and sketches, I will start working on the History and Nature Sketching workshop for the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, trying to keep a running account of what's transpiring. I've already ordered about 6 books of pioneer diaries and accounts from Amazon to research what the travelers on the Trail experienced. I've already received some of the books, so maybe I'll take a couple to read in my hammock in C.R. Sure.....

In the meantime, you have a lovely summer, don't inhale too much smoke from forest fires if you're on the west coast (like me), and stay cool.

Big hugs,

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