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Nature Sketching and Journaling Workshops with Irene Brady

Find workshops that interest you below ~ dates are beneath each description.
NOTE: Some of these workshops have changed in content from those presented in 2008.
Register here for courses offered at The Grove (1195 E. Main Street) or Ashland Senior Center (1699 Homes Avenue, in Hunter Park), Ashland, Oregon.

Click on images for a larger view.

Nature & Landscape Drawing
for Beginners ~ 2 days

First leaf sketches...       Overcome your inner voice that says you can't draw, in only two days. In this right-brain-oriented drawing class, Irene Brady will help you find your buried drawing capabilties and begin to create realistic drawings in the first morning. This is also a good warm-up class for those who can already draw but haven't done any art recently, and artists who paint but need to brush up on their drawing basics.

      You'll learn how to see your subject in ways that let you draw it true-to-life, and you'll learn how to use tools, tips and techniques to let you relax and enjoy the creative process as you increase your drawing skills. Landscapes are fun...

      You'll sketch small natural items, and learn how to get your pencil to do what you ask of it, including basic shading and textures.

      Then you'll learn how to capture and draw landscapes with lakes, rivers, and mountains. You'll practice creating grasses, textured rocks, trees and shrubs for your landscape foregrounds. You'll be amazed at what you can do!

      Encouraging critiques and sharing with other students will help improve your art. Take home a lavishly illustrated workbook full of exercises and techniques. Bring a lunch ~ all other supplies are provided.

an ordinary stick is extraordinary on close examination ...       We won't be going outdoors during this class, but you'll learn everything you need to know to create successful landscapes when you go out later to use what you have learned.

      Bring only your lunch, a cup for tea or coffee, and an adventuresome attitude. All supplies you'll need for this workshop are provided. (If you want to purchase your own tools for working at home, here's what we'll be using: a .5 mechanical pencil, kneaded eraser, black ballpoint pen, small tortillon. If you don't know what these are, just ask at the art store.)

      You can see what other students have done in the class here.

January 10-11 ~ 9 to 2:30 at The Grove,
March 7-8 ~ 9 to 2:30 at The Grove
July 11-12 ~ 9 to 2:30 at The Grove
October 10-11 ~ 9 to 2:30 at The Ashland Senior Center


Intermediate Nature Sketching
Nature Drawing Details ~
Shading and Texture ~ 2 days

      This two-day class is perfect for artists with some experience and a desire to improve. It is also the next step for students from the Nature & Landscape Drawing for Beginners workshop (although attending that workshop is NOT required before attending this one). Helen worked out textures on this buckeye...

      First you'll brush up on right-brain techniques; then you'll learn how to improve your ability to transfer what you see to your paper. You'll gain practice on techniques for shading spherical and cylindrical shapes and experience in applying these techniques to natural objects.

      Irene will demonstrate special effects achieved with kneaded erasers and other special tools, then you'll try your hand at these techniques plus shading and texturing items found in nature with 3-dimensional effects. Perhaps you'll draw a wild turkey feather...

      You'll learn techniques to show fur, draw realistic eyes, draw and shade convoluted seashells, leaves and other textured natural objects. Although we won't leave the classroom you'll also learn techniques for drawing outdoors, tools to take and use, how to draw moving subjects, etc.

which one is Chris's cone drawing...?       You'll receive an illustrated workbook full tips and pointers covered in the class, a valuable resource later when you'll want to refresh your memory about a technique or artistic approach.

      Bring only your lunch, a cup for tea or coffee, and an adventuresome attitude. All supplies you'll need for this workshop are provided. We'll use the same tools as in the basic drawing class.

      You can see what other students have done in the class here, on Day 1. This has been expanded to two days so students can fully delve into the details of shading and other important techniques (by request from students).

January 24-25 ~ 9 to 2:30 at The Grove
March 21-22 ~ 9 to 2:30 at The Grove
May 23-24 ~ 9 to 2:30 at The Grove



Nature Sketching With Color
Using Watercolor Pencils ~ 2 days

      Both beginning and experienced artists will love this class on watercolor pencils.


      You'll warm up with some right-brain sketching to give you something to color, then we'll break out the watercolor pencils and waterbrushes (paintbrushes with a water supply in the barrel) and start right to work.

      After some playful experimenting with a color wheel, you'll study a step-by-step tutorial for painting a seashell in your workbook ~ then try your hand at duplicating the steps. Color makes even humdrum items beautiful - learn how to use reflected color to make a white item beautiful. Compare pencil, ballpoint, and ink pen for making drawings to color. Follow simple steps to add convincing colorful light and shadow to foliage and bark.

      Over the course of the two days, you'll explore how to use this versatile technique to get glowing results ~ first by painting a step-by-step orchid, trying out other techniques as we proceed, then by coloring your own drawing of a colorful natural item (provided by the instructor).

Student tries a pepper portrait... This was Lita's gourd...       Bring only your lunch, a cup for tea or coffee, and an adventuresome attitude. All supplies you'll need for this workshop are provided. We'll use the same tools as in the basic drawing class, plus a micron pen and watercolor pencils. If you want to purchase your own tools for working at home, use the list at the end of the basic drawing class above, then add a micron pen and a basic set of 12 watercolor pencils (available in local art stores). We'll use a wide selection of colors during the class, but the basic twelve will get you started.

      You can see what other students have done in the class here, on day two, only expanded to take two days instead of just one by request from students who wanted it to last longer!

February 7-8 ~ 9-2:30 at The Grove
April 4 ~ 9-2:30 at Ashland Senior Center and April 5 ~ 9-2:30 at The Grove
August 1-2 ~ 9-2:30 at The Grove
September 26-27 ~ 9-2:30 at Deer Creek Center, Selma, OR
(Sign up here.)
December 5-6 ~ 9-2:30 at The Grove


Nature Sketch/Journaling ~ 2 days

Karen's Journal Page...

      Does your journal suffer from humdrum prose, One of Irene's journal pages... boring notes, and/or dull, lifeless pages? Wouldn't you like your journal to be well-designed and colorful, to dress up your observations with lively sketches and fun mementos ~ and express yourself eloquently with creative writing, poetry and haiku (short, Japanese tone poems)?

In this class you'll explore all manner of ideas for joining journal and sketchbook into a fascinating record of your life worth reading and re-reading far into the future. Suzanne's Journal Pages... We're not talking scrapbooking or a major journey into design elements ~ but a way for you, artistic or not, to create a journal that's absorbing to create ~ and which you can claim with pride.

      On Day 1 you'll learn some right-brain techniques for scribbling sketches that are quick, fun, and add a lot of pizzazz to your journal, plus some basic drawing pointers in case you want to expand your skills further Esther's Shell Page... (this will get you started, but if you haven't done much sketching before, you might want to take Irene's Basic Nature Sketching class either before or after this class).

You'll examine and try techniques for attaching ephemera to your journal pages, Lynn Tries the Fun Font... then add captivating captions and tasteful titles to your pages with a "fun font" invented by the instructor.

If there's time, you can add touches of color to your sketches with watercolor pencils, but we'll only have a few moments to spend on it here (this is covered in Irene's watercolor pencil workshop if you want to take it further).

      On Day 2, you'll learn how to dress up a sketchbook or journal pages with expressive writing, short evocative poems and haiku that complement your sketches.

      You'll explore Initial Caps and borders... ways to combine your creative writing with your drawings, photos, and colorful column dividers. You'll create illuminated initial caps and simple, colorful starting letters and titles for your journal pages. You'll finish this workshop with a head full of ideas and possibilities, and with your right brain primed with new experiences and skills.

       Bring only your lunch, a cup for tea or coffee, and your journal with heavy UNLINED pages. Along with your class journaling, you'll also take home an illustrated workbook full of tips and pointers covered in class.

      You can see what other students have done in the class here and here.
February 21-22 ~ 9-2:30 at The Grove
May 9-10 ~ at Jefferson Nature Center, 2931 S.Pacific Hwy,
      between Phoenix and Medford, OR (call 541-282-8577 to register)
July 25-26 ~ 9-2:30 at The Grove
November 7-8 ~ 9-2:30 at The Grove


Sketching Wildlife ~ 2-days

Sketching a Spotted Owl...       Look closely at the wrinkles on a bear's forehead, at the lay of an owl's wing feathers - then live-sketch them!

      Saturday you'll hone your observation and sketching skills at the Deer Creek Center, learning how to draw fur and feathers, and sketch moving targets. On Sunday, experience close encounters with raptors and other wildlife at Wildlife Images, capturing your subjects on paper.

      Bring a camera on Sunday to get reference photos of wolves, badgers, eagles, and other winged and four-footed beings so you can continue to sketch on your own later on!

      This brand new workshop should be a very rewarding experience, since you'll be sketching animals close-up and personal. We'll break occasionally for gentle critiques, and as you draw you will get plenty of coaching from the instructor if you want it.

      If you are working on your Naturalist Certificate through Siskiyou Field Institute, this class qualifies toward the certificate. While students with a little sketching experience will get the most out of this class, all levels are invited to attend.

      Sign up for the class (when it opens for registration) here.

May 2 ~ 9-2:30 at Deer Creek Center, Selma OR
May 3 ~ 9-2:30 at Wildlife Images, Grants Pass, OR


An Oregon Trail Sketching Adventure ~
a 4-day workshop in two parts
(sponsored by The National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, Baker City, OR)

The Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, Baker City, Oregon...       This unique 4-day workshop has been split into two parts, on consecute weekends, to better meet the needs of travelers, vacationers, and local artists. Attend all four days if you wish, but if you only have two free days you can take your pick of either the first weekend, which features Small Subjects and Landscape Drawing for Beginners (with a focus on Oregon Trail nature, objects and landscapes) or the second weekend of Oregon Trail Journaling (with a focus on sketching and journaling as the emigrants may have experienced the Oregon Trail).

Interpretive Center displays are terrific...       In the first workshop session, we'll draw items from the Interpretive Center archives used by emigrants (or at least from that historical period), and focus on landscapes traveled by Oregon Trail travelers. (The view hasn't changed all that much in the intervening 150 years!). If participants prefer, we may be able to sketch sagebrush, wildflowers and other natural items from the area.

      In the second workshop session, we will focus on sketching journal entries and designing good journal pages on the first day. Our sketching subjects will be free choice, but the covered wagons outside the Interpretive Center would make terrific sketches. This day, we'll concentrate on the writing part of travel journaling. We will draw actual covered wagons... The emigrants faced incredible obstacles which we can only imagine. We will have access to that aspect with plenty of background material from the Interpretive Center, but you may choose to focus on either current times or the historical viewpoint in your personal journaling.

       Take advantage of this unique workshop, the experience of a lifetime, and join us to investigate The Long Trek as the emigrants must have lived it.

      The Baker area has many fine overnight accommodations and is near the Blue Mountains, offering excellent camping opportunities at this time of year. The Interpretive Center will be presenting a full roster of happenings during that period, which will appeal to all ages.

June 20-21 and 27-28 ~ 9-2:30 at The Oregon Trail Interpretice Center, Baker, OR.
Registration will open in early spring. Call 541-523-1843 for information and to register.


"Observing Nature" Teachers Workshop ~
for people interested in teaching kids how to observe nature at the local Nature Center exploring

This workshop is a half day (3 hr) class in which participants will take the course and do the exercises in the student guide "Nature Observation at (YOUR) Nature Center " created on request for Nature Centers by Irene Brady.

This guide was designed to encourage young people (and the young at heart!) to concentration notice, observe, record and enjoy the natural world of the Nature Center environment. The activities done in the workshop will be keyed to the activities presented in the guide, to teach the participants how to present the materials most effectively in their intended environment.

Teachers will experience the session from the viewpoint of their students, gaining insight into effective approaches and teaching tools. Discussion about teaching techniques will follow each project in the guide. journaling is fun! A class plan and handout covering teaching techniques and sketching subjects will be provided (an introduction to right-brain drawing is included in this workshop and in the guide).

Participants will be encouraged to share with the other participants any additional techniques, visuals and sketching subjects they feel might be useful for teaching the course. Adults only, please.

a journal entry
August 12 at North Mountain Park Nature Center, Ashland, OR.
For more information and to register, contact Sherrill Deckelman at North Mountain Park Nature Center or telephone 541-488-6606.

observing is essential August 22 at Jefferson Nature Center at 2931 S. Pacific Highway, near Medford.
For more information and to register, contact Susan Cross at Jefferson Nature Center, or telephone 541-282-8577.

To request a targeted Nature Observation Guide (and/or a workshop) for your Nature Center, contact Irene.


More dates will be added as workshops are confirmed. Return often to check for new listings.

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