Capture the Essence of California Oak Savanna

In the month of October the north coast nature journal club will be exploring the rolling hills and oak savanna of Helen Putnam Regional Park near Petaluma. We will practice several techniques for doing small watercolor landscapes to capture the essence and atmosphere of the place. We will also practice drawing three-dimensional trees with several tricks that will make your branches look like they’re coming off the page.

We will be hiking short distances up and down hill on this trip with mostly even terrain. Bring all your normal nature journaling supplies and binoculars. Be prepared for sun and warm conditions. A small folding stool could be useful for the longer landscape drawing. This location has a bathroom and seven dollar parking unless you are a member of the Sonoma County Regional Parks. Bring a potluck item that is not too hard to carry onto the trail because we will not want to go back to the parking lot for lunch.

$20 recommended donation

For more information about this park: Helen-Putnam-Regional-Park

In case of heavy rain, unlikely, we will head to California Carnivores in Sebastopol where we can journal and draw incredible carnivorous plants while being protected from the rain..  Directions

A Peak at My Latest Journal

Come with me as I peruse the pages of my last journal, sharing drawings and peppering the video with rants about the benefits of journaling. One journal usually spans three to five months of my life.

Come Draw Piles of Gorgeous Vegetables with Me!

Come practice drawing and nature journaling in an information dense setting at the wonderful Heirloom Expo in Santa Rosa. This is a wonderful opportunity for anyone interested in nature, diversity, gardening, plants, and art. It is also a very affordable event. I will be going there with the focus of honing my drawing skills and practicing my nature journaling technique in a setting that is rich in information!

Send me an email if you want to draw with me! Marley339@gmail.com

 

For more info about the event: http://theheirloomexpo.com/

Setback or Opportunity?

Follow me in this video as I explain some of the ideas that have emerged while I’m dealing with recent surgery to my wrist. As an artist, writer, and nature journaler, any setback to my dominant hand is a big deal.
On my website I  share what I’m going through right now, my learning process, and my own personal challenges. As usual, email me if you have any interesting experiences or ideas around this subject matter. If you find this video helpful or valuable please share it with a friend.

Learn Faster:

Here is a practical technique that you can apply to learning almost any new skill but is especially useful for nature artists and nature journalers!

I have been unintentionally doing this for a while and have only recently recognized the value and started to conceptualize it.

Do you have information dense places that you seek out to accelerate your learning?

Do you have trouble drawing, painting, or journaling in public places? If so, my next post is for you!

Explore Sunset at the Laguna!

In December we will meet at the Laguna de Santa Rosa trail during the most exciting and most beautiful time of day! The crepuscular hours are when many raptors can be seen hunting and many mammals are out in the open. Every time I walk this trail near sunset I’m surprised by how many birds I see and by the incredibly lit landscapes. Last time, I saw a family of owls!

We will focus on techniques for drawing and painting quick landscapes and how to crop and choose a good composition. We will also work a lot on colors and light as the sun drops. While we are working on these, there will probably be cool bird sightings mixed in.

This trail is a very easy hike on flat and mostly paved paths. It is wheelchair accessible. We won’t cover much distance and we will probably have long stationary moments. The weather is unpredictable and can get cool as the sun drops. Bring a packable snack item to share because we will eat on the trail. A foldable lightweight stool and binoculars will be very handy on this trip.

For this trip we will meet later than usual at 1:30pm until 5:00pm to allow us to be out in nature at a special time of day. Our potluck will therefore be more of a “Linner” than a lunch. Meet at the Laguna de Santa Rosa trail parking lot off of Hwy 12 just before the entrance to Sebastopol. There is no address or street name but it is the next turnout after this  Saddle Shop: and before the Chevron.

If it is raining hard the morning of the event we will meet at our backup location, California Carnivores, and draw the incredible plants inside their wonderful greenhouses!The address is:

California Carnivores 2833 Old Gravenstein Hwy Sebastopol, CA 95472

For more information about this incredible carnivorous plant resource in South Sebastopol check out their page: https://www.californiacarnivores.com/

$20 recommended donation

Second Chance Elk at Tomales Point!

In November we will hike back out to Tomales Point for a second chance or a double dose of the Tule Elk! We went once in September and it was awesome! There should still be some of the mating season behavior at this time of year and we will get an opportunity to document it in our journals. We will focus on learning how to draw ungulates, how to draw antlers, and how to creatively depict action sequences in your journal. There will also be plenty of opportunity for painting landscapitos.

The weather is variable at this coastal location so be prepared for everything. The hiking will be moderately strenuous due to the distances we will try to cover but the terrain will not be too technical. Wear comfortable hiking shoes, bring a folding stool, binoculars, and a potluck item to share on the trail.

We will meet at 10 am at the Tomales Point trailhead parking lot at the very end of Pierce Point road near the old white barns. Look for people standing around with sketchbooks. This excursion will go longer than our usual meetup to take advantage of this special opportunity. 10am-4pm, potluck lunch at 12:30.

RAINY DAY BACKUP PLAN: If lots of rain is in the forecast, check this site the morning of the event. We will go to the Bear Valley Visitor center in Point Reyes where we can sketch birds and landscapitos from the covered porch or sketch any of the fine collection of taxidermied animals inside. Last time I was there during a rain I saw and journaled a sharp shinned hawk hunting a song bird in the bushes just yards away! The address is

Be prepared for Nature Journaling goosebumps and a good dose of charismatic mammalian megafauna!

$20 suggested donation

Sketch at the Reptile Expo!

On October 22nd I will be geeking out with my nature journal at the reptile expo in Santa Rosa at the fairgrounds!! It will be a great opportunity to see a diversity of willing models from around the world. As you might know I am passionate about sketching snakes and really look forward to drawing some of the endlessly fascinating color patterns on their skins.

Look for parking at the Veterans hall across the street. . There will be paid parking available also closer to the entrance to the fairgrounds. To get into the expo costs 10$. Journalers and sketchers will meet inside the Hall of Flowers. Just come inside and look for people with sketchbooks. Bring your small nature journaling shoulder bags if you have them. I will bring my kit that I use when I sketch at zoos and museums. Also bring snacks for yourself and a potluck item to share. We will probably have a chance to return to our cars for the potluck at 12:30.

More info about the expo: north bay herpetological society

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Spoken Reflections from Tanzania: Day 2

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During my trip to Tanzania, I used my nature journal and my pocket notebook for drawing and writing and I used my phone for photos, short videos, and audio recordings. With this diverse toolbox I tried to document my observations, feeling, and impressions.

The following is a recording where I review my second day:

It was the first day of the Nature Journal Safari and contains many of my first landscape scale impressions from the hours of cross-country driving.

One correction from the audio regarding the hanging beehives. I think they are not actually managed hives but traps for enticing homeless swarms.

IMG_5278I was not expecting so many agaves.

IMG_5279While we were waiting for our permits to enter Tarangire national park I sketched the elephant skull then posed in front of it. Thanks to Dana Vallarino for the photo.

tanzania scans 6-6A page of sketches from that morning.

IMG_5285I took this photo when Impalas were so fresh and novel. By the time we left the Serengeti, Impalas and Gazelle by the hundreds were commonplace.