Saturday, April 28, 2018

Nature Journal: The Rest of April

Our four weeks of spring nature journaling classes are over! It was a very interesting month since spring has come so late. I think we had snow for three of the Mondays in April? 

The Bloodroot captured my fancy this season. I'd never noticed it before. I love it's large white flower and its single leaf and the blood-red root which drips red juice.

 One week we practiced painting the forest (not so much green yet).

My nature journal pages:

Here's our classroom with all my posters on the wall and plant samples down the middle of the table.

I guess the Yellow Trout Lily could vie for first place in my spring flower affections. It's just stunning with its mottled green and brown leaves and bright yellow flower with red/orange stamens. I want to pretend God sends fairies out each night to paint the leaves in wet-on-wet technique with watercolor. :)

Here are more Bloodroots on a sunny day:

One day we stumbled upon these gorgeous red mushrooms which have several names. My two favorite names are Scarlet Elf Cup and Fairies' Baths. If the fairies come out at night to paint the trout lilies no doubt they stop here for their bath afterward.

Here are the mushrooms hugging the Dutchman's Breeches plant.

The kids were inspired by the mushrooms too....and the trout lily.

Here's how our walk looked on the last day of class -- such a huge change from the first week, and even a change from the third week!

Trilliums are everywhere -- I also love these with their distinct three leaves and three petals.

Mayapples cover the hillsides in great swathes and add quite a bit of green to the trail.

The kids all really liked the May Apples.

Some children chose to make a summary page for the month.

The Yellow Wood Poppies bloomed overnight.

The Large-Flowered Bellwort was another new-to-me flower.

We focused on leaf identification on our last day and matched the leaf shapes to the actual plants we found in the woods.

And look at this! The coveted Morel mushroom! This is from my friend's house, a few miles away. One of these years I intend to taste one of the special treats!!

And now art classes are over for the summer! My mom and I are planning day-long workshops for adults in June, July, and August and then I'll start teaching kids again in September. I'm already missing the woods.....(I need to go back).

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Nature Journal: Spring Wildflowers Week One

Despite spring being several weeks late, our woods is beginning to come alive with beauty and life! I went out last week to collect photos and samples for this week's first spring nature journaling class and was delighted to find six different varieties of flowers in bloom.

Here is the Bloodroot:

And the Cutleaf Toothwort:

And the Spring Beauty with its delicate pink petals and stamens:

After a two week break it was great to get back into classes with the children who attend. I had many first-timers this class and its fun to break out the supplies and the brand new paint kits!

Our first exercise was creating a personal "spring palette" of colors we thought we would use for painting spring. Our paint boxes have only six colors, but the options for mixing and creating are endless. Here was my palette:

Sample journal page:

 We talked about positive and negative painting this week -- negative painting is one way to deal with white or pale flowers. The kids really caught onto this idea.

I challenged the older kids and adults to come up with at least five different greens, preferably more. This student was brilliant!

The Bloodroot was by far the most popular flower on the table for painting! It really is a striking specimen with a single, large leaf and a beautiful, symmetrical bloom. The best part is the blood red root which is large and "bleeds" rust-colored juice. The Native Americans used the juice as a dye or paint.

The root definitely intrigued the boys!

It always makes me extra happy to see any work students have done throughout the week!!! One of the adults had this gorgeous page in their book!

Look at the colors here! Red roots, green leaf, and that wonderful negative painting which makes the white bloom just pop right off of the page!

Another version of the Bloodroot.

I walked over to see this student (our youngest) having drawn such a good interpretation of the Harbinger of Spring complete with negative painting! This was her first day in this type of class and I was so impressed!

It was too cold for us to attempt a nature hike this past week -- hoping the weather predictions hold out and we can try again this week!