Monday, April 12, 2010

Alabama Sojourn

Last week I taught an "Illustrated Journaling" class to a wonderful group of students at the Alabama Folk School. An hour northwest of Birmingham, the Folk School is part of Camp McDowell, an Episcopal camp and conference center nestled in 1100 acres of forests, canyons and waterfalls. Our weekend there took place under sunshiny skies of unfolding spring -- everything was in bloom!

As soon as the students had learned the basics of watercolor sketching -- drawing in pencil, ink ing the drawing, adding watercolor -- we headed outdoors, down a nearby trail to the creek. While the students busied themselves with small studies, I crept off to a shady spot to sketch the cliff face above the creek. Just as I finished, a gaggle of middle-schoolers set off in a flotilla of canoes. Here was a challenge! a dozen boats floating quickly past while turning in every direction imaginable as the children worked to get them under control. I had to draw fast to capture just one pair of them.

When the students were ready to paint landscape I presented a sketching lesson using photographs, (the scene above is Wyoming, not Alabama....), so they could learn how to simplify before confronting the real thing.

Once we were outdoors, I demonstrated again, sketching the woods outside our classroom. By summer, when I will return to the Folk School to teach drawing, these woods will be bursting with green. I can't wait to go back there and sketch!

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