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Building an Autumn Nature Journal: A Workshop in Watercolor & Ink
October 21 @ 11:30 am - October 22 @ 4:00 pm
Presented in partnership with Laramie Aközbek of the Alabama Nature Journal Club
Have you ever wanted to document the natural world around you in a beautiful and memorable way? Keeping a nature journal is a time-honored tradition among naturalists and is an incredible way to sharpen your observation, improve your memory, and deepen your curiosity about nature. This multidisciplinary practice involves documenting and creatively exploring your local ecology through the visual arts, writing, and scientific observation.
We will explore the world of fall foliage during its peak season, and use watercolor and ink together to create dynamic illustrations to accompany our written observations.
Drawing and painting natural subjects may seem overwhelming, but this workshop includes instruction to teach you key techniques to jumpstart your journaling skills and give you greater confidence in the field.
After learning how to use watercolor and ink-sketching techniques to capture the beauty of fall foliage, we will move to the forest to explore the autumnal landscapes of the Land Trust of North Alabama and create a page of curiosities in our journal.
When & Where:
- Saturday, October 21st from 11:30 AM – 3:30 PM at All Saints Lutheran Church, 12100 Bailey Cove Rd, Huntsville, AL 35803. This portion of the program will take place indoors.
- Sunday, October 22nd from 1-4 PM at Chapman Mountain Nature Preserve (1263 U.S Hwy 72 East, Huntsville, AL 35811) – This portion of the workshop will take place outdoors. Access to restrooms will be available.
Cost: $90 for Non-members, $75 for Land Trust Members at Trailblazer level or above. If you’re not a member, join today!
Course fees will help pay for seven hours of instruction, snacks and drinks, some worksheets and handouts, and all of the supplies for needed to participate in the workshop, including:
- 12-color watercolor pan
- A round tip brush
- Waterproof ink pens
- 140lb watercolor paper
All skill levels are welcome. We have designed the workshop to especially benefit those who may not have previous experience drawing or using watercolors. However, even those with previous experience in these techniques will be able to take away novel approaches and ideas.
The first day will be instructional and include lessons on:
- The Mindset & Tools of the Nature Journaler – we will learn about the elements of keeping an artistic field notebook that balances information and pictures.
- How to Sketch Leaves, Landscapes, and Other Fall Subjects – we will focus on learning to block out complex shapes, perspective, pencils and pen strokes, and basic compositional tricks. The goal is the help you draw quickly and from a real life subject.
- Practical Watercolor Techniques for the Field – we will learn the core methods of applying watercolor that are most useful in the field and how to mix beautiful colors with a limited palette.
- The Shape & Biology of Leaves – we will learn about the basic structure of leaves so that you can label your drawings and explore questions like:
– Why do trees drop their leaves at all during the fall?
– Why do leaves change color in the fall?
– Why do some trees remain evergreen?
– What happens to the leaves once they’ve fallen to the ground?
During the second day, we will arrive at the designated location to explore and collect subjects for our journal page. Students will have the option of working independently or alongside the instructor to complete a journal page that describes their subject. The day will wrap up with a round-table discussion of our observations.
What to Bring/Wear:
On the field day, we will be hiking and sitting down. While fall weather in Alabama tends to be mild, please dress according to the weather conditions of that day. In the event of rain, we will be able to work under a lit pavilion. Although supplies are provided, you may bring additional supplies if desired.
Laramie (Smith) Aközbek is the President of the Alabama Nature Journal Club and is passionate about helping others build deep connections with the natural world. She enjoys scientific and botanical illustration, and loves to use art as a means of capturing and communicating complex topics. She is a plant biologist and conducts research at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology while working toward her PhD in Plant Genomics with Auburn University. Outside of the lab, she enjoys hiking throughout Alabama with her husband documenting the local flora and fauna.