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!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Can You See Me Now?

Well! That was An Experience! I haven't had such a great time in years! As soon as I had gotten my latest journal uploaded (Kauai ~ A Beachcomber's Sketchbook Tutorial) I left for camp.

For a whole week the Raccoons (that was our group of adult nature bootcampers) tented in a mountain meadow, crept through the woods in camouflaging mud, rotten log debris and ashes; followed the beat of a drum blindfolded at night; learned how to make fire with a bow drill; made cordage (string); learned to walk (relatively) silently in the forest, and lowered our stress levels several notches. And now we are Fox Trail graduates, still merely on the lowest rung of the woods lore ladder!

We slept in tents; ate in the dining hall; circled the campfires for breakfast and dinner (all campfires were started by bow drill); learned forest lore; shared secrets; and experienced a remarkable sweat lodge. One of our most valuable experiences happened every morning before breakfast when we each went to our own special Sit Spot to sit silently contemplating a beautiful mountain meadow and the surrounding forest as the sun came up.

I really enjoyed the fact that we never knew what was going to happen next. For instance, before going out to camouflage ourselves with mud, and to creep silently on hands and knees, toes and bellies through the forest, we were told only to wear something it was okay to get dirty. And HOW! Above is what I looked like all camouflaged (it is actually a photo of me Photoshopped to get me dirty). Alas, no one took pictures of us when we had mudded up, but the photo above is what the others looked like to me, so I probably looked about like this to them. Wow, huh? Kinda disappear into the landscape, don't I?

Did I mention that we then had to get clean by first plunging into a cold pond, then soaping AND rinsing in only 2½ gallons of sun-warmed water? It IS possible. Honest!

Learning how to make cordage from whatever fibers are lying around, including grass and bark, was fascinating. Here's some cordage I made ~ there is more than a yard of it there ~ and below is my journal page about Step 1 of making cordage ~ preparing the fibers.

A great deal more happened, but to tell it all would reveal secrets essential to the enjoyment and appreciation of future camp-goers to Coyote Trails courses. You'll just have to sign up for a class and experience it yourself!

Now I have established a Sit Spot in my madrone-black oak-ponderosa forest behind my house. I've set up a little sand chair between a dead snag and a tall stump (to soften my silhouette), and I've been journaling as I sit and observe. Here's the view down the hill and to the sides of my Sit Spot. The view in the photo is a full 180 degrees, forward and to the sides of where I sit. I'll show you a page or two from my Sit Spot Journal next time..


nanke's stuff said...

Well, this was certainly an interesting post! I have to say, I would have gone crazy with that stuff all over my face - I can just imagine how itchy it felt. But, I can also see how enjoyable and fun such an experience could be! nancy

Connie said...

Wow! You look like the veritable Wild Woman of the Woods. Quite the disguise! Did you actually see more creatures, camouflaged like that?

I like the cordage lesson, too. Now I want to learn the rest of the process and try it myself! Your page is just wonderful.

Cathy Holtom said...

What a great experience, I like the idea of having a 'sit spot' and journal pages.

Here's a grab-bag of other entries...

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