Sunday, November 6, 2016

(KNJ) Keeping a Natural Journal - Week 1: Workshop Preparations


Welcome to the Keeping a Nature Journal Workshop!
Click thumbnail to download PDF.
This week is mainly reading, prep work, and getting accustomed to using the SmugMug gallery.  Please take the time out this week to work with the site.  I will be on the lookout so that I can help you with any problems or questions you may have.  I am also available for Skype chat, upon request, to give you a helping hand.  Will be more than happy!

Here are a few photo examples to help you with the assignment. (Upload results to your personal photo gallery.)

1)  Upload a photo(s) of your Nature Journal equipment
 2)  Collect nature walk goodies such as leaves, nuts, and twigs.

3)  Photograph or choose magazine and online pictures.  Pick one particular kind of animal in different poses such as various bird poses, bears, etc.  I will be working on bird poses.  Though, only a few are picture above, I will be adding a lot more to my collection.  The more you draw, the better you become.  The poster I picked up from B&N for Teachers Appreciation week.  Will use it in volunteer work of offering nature journaling to homeschoolers. The books pictured are supplemental to my study of the KNJ book.

The fourth assignment is to draw a nature wheel for the purpose of sketching and writing about observations from your chosen area or "sit spot" each week.  Were there any changes in the area or something new that you observed?

For my nature wheel, I used 12x12 scrapbook paper.  Dishes and bowls were used to create the circles.  Feel free to make your nature wheel any size that you like.
4)  Nature wheel
When I study a book, I like to know a lot about the author. If you feel the same, I would like to encourage you to meet Claire Walker Leslie, the wonderful author of "Keeping A Nature Journal", via her Youtube recordings.

Her loving and warm nature is refreshing, and I admire the passion that she has for what she does.  I had the opportunity to chat with her the past weekend by phone, and she is a remarkably giving person!!!  I learned so much from her, and the valuable advice she shared will stay close to heart as I continue my research.  I took a lot of notes while talking with her, and will soon be sharing it with participants of the workshop.  Hopefully I can read through my quickly written chicken scratch. *laughs!*

Be sure to visit her website!

Claire stated that she hopes all of you enjoy reading her book, and her desire for you is to "learn to see better" the nature that surrounds you.  She would like to keep in touch to learn how everyone is progressing.  The beautiful work that you share in the group gallery will be an outstanding testament.

Wish you lots of love and learning!


Saturday, November 5, 2016

KNJ - Week 2: Beginning Drawing Exercises

By now, you have done all of the prep work for the workshop and are set to go, so let the Nature Journaling and learning adventure begin!!!

-Please read Pages 17-26
-Assignment uploaded here:  KNJ Week 2

Nature Journal entry:  Beginning Exercises

During the first week of our workshop, you were asked to collect items such as twigs, leaves, and acorns while nature walking in preparation for upcoming assignments.  Here is your opportunity to use one of those items!  On pages 27-28 and 173-175 of the KNJ book, there are exercises to help us heighten our drawing/sketching skills.   Pick one  of the items you gathered to practice the following brief exercises.  


1.  Blind contour

*Additional video to encourage you to have fun with drawing blind contours!

2.  Modified contour

3.  Quick gestures
-Fun Gesture Drawing Activity.  (Use this video as a guide in doing "nature" gesture sketches.

 **Want to give yourself an extra challenge with this assignments?  Use a timer and do quick gestures in 4 different positions.  (Can use the colored box backgrounds as shown in the "Fun Gesture Drawing Activity")   Do your first sketch in 3 seconds.  Don't worry if you only did a few strokes.  Change the position of your object and do another sketch in 5 seconds.   Repeat the process, pretending that the object is alive and moving - 30 seconds.  Fourth position:   1 minute.

4. Diagrammatic drawing  (Spend no more than 5 minutes or less)

5.  Finished drawing

Nature Wheel:  Observation of Changes

Last week, your assignment was to create a nature wheel and draw dividing lines for 8 sections.  Though, this workshop focuses more on field sketching, for your nature wheel, feel free to include mixed media art.  

 This wheel can be a combination of sketching, nature printing from small leaves in the area, small photo print-outs, gluing or taping nature specimens, etc.  Pick a special "observation spot" in your yard, somewhere in your neighborhood, or at a park.  In the center circle you can letter art a title, draw a quick sketch or adhere a photo print-out of you in your “zen” observing the area, write a poem, submit a quote, or map of the area  These are just a few ideas for your center circle.  Use your creative imagination.

Choose a day each week to record any changes in the area for 8 weeks. (ex. changes of leaves during the fall season from trees in your local park, recording if littering has occurred in the area and your thoughts on the importance of protecting the habitat and keeping the area clean, animal tracks, etc).....or changes in your own perspective of the location each week. (Your appreciation of trees in the neighborhood one week, a mushroom growing the next week, people walking since the weather is not as hot)  This week, you will sketch and write your thoughts in one section of the wheel.  Be sure to write the date between the space of the outer rim of the section you are drawing in.

Nature Journal entry:  Field Sketching

This assignment will be dependent upon your interest or direction in nature journaling.  Will this be an occasional therapeutic journal?  An active, ongoing artistic and/or scientific study of nature?  The list goes on in terms of our journaling direction and intent.  At any rate, schedule how many days per week that you would like to journal during the course of this workshop. (15-30min. or more per day) 
Doing a nature journal entry each day would help tremendously towards developing your drawing and journaling skills.  If your plate is full and you can't commit to journaling each day, at least try to journal 2 to 3 days a week.

On the days that you journal, upload your work to your gallery. Your work in “Assignment 1” and “Assignment 2” counts towards your daily journaling.

Remember that your journal doesn't always have to be about drawing.  You can also work with your writing skills.  Include quotes and poetry.  This is your journal, so do as your artistic and naturalist soul leads you.


Friday, November 4, 2016

KNJ - Week 3: Journaling Styles

-Read pages 37-62

Optional Challenge:  "Setting Up a Nature Study" (pg 41)
Go on a nature expedition around your yard or neighborhood collecting seeds, leaves, seepods, fruits, wildflowers, feather pine needles and more! Add these with some of the things you collect during week 1.  At home make a lovely nature arrangement and photograph.

Upload to your gallery. In your comment, identify some of the things collected in your area.  If there is anything you are unsure of, maybe members of the group can identify them in their comments. *If you draw a collection of the nature objects that you have collected, that counts as a journal page assignment.

Create 2 or 3 Journal pages that reflect journal styles featured in KNJ.


                  Create a  page with small, daily journal passages highlighting what you
                  see and appreciate in your environment. Appreciating the Fits of Each Day (Pg. 59)

Here are videos and websites shared to supplement the info taught in KNJ.  You do not have to go through all of the links.  Just check out the ones of interest to you in the type of journaling that you would like to do for your assignment.

Field Journaling
Making, Maintaining, and Using Serious Field Notes

Travel Journaling 

Cathy JohnsonCathy Johnson: Mixed Media Travel Sketching
Cathy Johnson:  Travel Sketchbook

Irene's Nature & Travel Sketchbook

 Danny Gregory Dan Gregory:  Rome Sketchbook
Josiah HanchettJosiah Hanchett:  My Personal Travel Sketchbook
Leslie Herger Leslie Herger:  Recent Travel Journal
designoriginals123Susan McNeil:  Traveling With A Sketchbook

Involving Children

-Nature Study for toddlers and Preschoolers
(Has a cool paper bag journal, informative links and nature study printables) 

-DIY Watercolor travel set Altoids Case
(As a fun project for kids, create watercolor traveling kits using Altoid tins or a small Whitman's candy Sampler box.  Adhere small bottle caps inside of the tin to store reasonably priced watercolor paints from tubes.  I plan to try this the next time that I volunteer teaching a journaling class with homeschoolers!)

Journaling While Hiking

Christine CSketchbook Hiking:  McClaughrey 1 of 3
(Journaling on the premesis)
Sketchbook Hiking:  Spears Woods part 1 of 3
 (Taking photograph and journaling at home)

For more of Christine's nature journal artwork videos, visit here:  Let's Paint Nature

Meditative Journaling

Cathy JohnsonCathy Johnson:  Journaling, Contemplation, and Meditation