Join me on a nature journal adventure with my friend and fellow nature journaler JP! It was Superbowl Sunday but we decided to nature journal instead. We saw a dead whale, we saw mergansers, and we even saw a crawdad and cliff-growing succulents.
Just Start Somewhere
Nature journaling in a new element is not easy. I made a whole video about how to nature journal from a kayak and I am still not totally comfortable. You will see how I struggle even getting started when you watch the video. I paddle around looking for a better angle. What should I draw? Where should I park my kayak? Should I nature journal from the shore?
“Start before you’re ready.”
The most important thing is to just get your journal out and start getting something down on the page. Getting started can be especially hard under the following nature journal adventure circumstances:
You are not physically comfortable
The environment is distracting
There are too many options to nature journal
You are worried about your materials getting lost or damaged
The art supplies you usually use are not conducive to the adventure
The best solution to all these problems is to clarify your intentions before you go, simplify your materials, and start making marks on your page as soon as possible.
Do you want to explore the majesty of giant redwoods and discover the botanical and biological treasures that grow nestled beneath them? Now is your chance to experience this calming environment while capturing it in your nature journal because on March 8th I will be leading a field trip to Landpath’s Grove of Old Trees in Occidental! This preserve is a a secret gem in West Sonoma County and has a calming effect on all who visit.
RSVP is required for this special class limited to 15 people. Please contact me directly at marley339 at gmail.com
In this class I will teach art topics including: how to accurately draw trees that have depth, how to incorporate bold stylistic motifs into your pages, and how to drop into a meditative flow in your journaling. I will also talk about Natural history topics: the ecology and reproduction of redwood trees and their evolutionary history.
The weather is likely to be buffered by the trees but will mostly be shady, humid and cool. Wear layers. We will not be walking much but the the trails are wide, easy, and many of them are wheelchair or scooter accessible. Wear comfortable shoes, bring a folding stool if you have one that you like, a potluck item to share, utensils for yourself and water to drink. There is no bathroom on site.
We will meet at 10 am in the parking lot. Look for people standing around with sketchbooks. Potluck lunch around 12:30.
Be prepared for the calming effect of the old growth forest shared with like-minded people in a beautiful setting. If rain is in the forecast I will contact you about backup plans.
RSVP is required for this special class limited to 15 people. Please contact me directly at marley339 at gmail.com. If you have not communicated with me directly you are not registered for this class.
$20 suggested donation. No one turned away for lack of funds.
The last few country roads are very small and narrow, you may feel lost but just drive slow and trust the directions. Maybe give yourself more time for the drive than your navigation app suggests. We will be waiting for you in the parking lot.
People who live in the North Bay are in luck! Because the San Francisco Bay Area is the epicenter of the Nature Journaling movement! If you live in Sonoma, Napa, Solano, or Marin you also know we have tons of beautiful parks and natural areas to explore. As a result, I consider the North Bay a Nature Journaling paradise!
Nature Journaling classes and clubs in our area:
As you probably know, I lead the Monthly Nature Journaling fieldtrips with the North Bay Nature Journal Club, usually in Sonoma and Marin. See the calendar here.
There is also the newly formed Napa Valley Nature Journal Club. Check out their Facebook page here. If you live and nature journal in the Napa Valley you can help this club grow.
Short Monthly Classes with John Muir Laws where he goes over specific techniques. See his calendar here. And he also leads a field trip near the end of every month sometimes in the north bay but also in the East and South Bay.
Here are my top three North Bay nature journaling spots for 2020!
Abbot’s Lagoon in the Point Reyes National Seashore. This incredible location has it all: sand dunes, biodiversity, seabirds, otters, and beautiful vistas. It is a little bit of a drive if you are coming from Santa Rosa or Vallejo or Napa but it is definitely worth it for a half day or more nature journaling adventure.
Sonoma Baylands Trail on San Pablo Bay. This central location is gonna be a relatively short drive from most towns. It is a wonderful place to marvel at the marshlands that used to surround the entire Bay Area. There are many seabirds and weird plants here too. Even though it is a short drive from the city you will feel peaceful here.
Helen Putnam Regional Park. I have led the North Bay Nature Journal Club to this location several times. It is easy to get to but has beautiful oak savanna landscapes and wonderful old trees. It can get very hot so plan accordingly.
The North Bay Nature Journal Club is a way for you to share your passion for sketching, observation, and learning with other people in nature. Sonoma and Marin counties in Northern California are full of diverse and rich ecosystems and there are many people interested in connecting with nature. On the second Sunday of every month we explore a different location, from sand dunes to mixed oak savanna. We use our sketchbooks as a substrate for our interaction with the natural world. I’m passionate about facilitating learning in a group and we constantly bounce ideas off each other and otherwise benefit from nature journaling as a group.
(due to Coronavirus we are taking a break from our normal outings but stay tuned for safe socially distance offerings coming soon)