Field Sketching in the Range of Light

General Description:

Join us for a week of sketching, art instruction and nature study to jump start you in keeping your own nature/travel journal or re-inspire you to pick up your sketchbook again. We will examine different ways of keeping journals and develop habits to keep you actively sketching. The week will also include mini workshops on illustrating landscapes, plants, (including wildflowers!) and using watercolor or colored pencils in the field. Jack will also give technique lectures and demonstrations on drawing birds and mammals. Learn how to paint a five minute landscape and an animal on the move! You will hike and explore throughout the Sierra Buttes drawing rocks, water and wildflowers and discover make fast field sketches of birds in the Sierra Valley, the Serengeti of the Sierra. You will come away with a journal full of recorded experiences and inspiration and motivation to continue on your own.

This class is open to all experience levels.

Class Schedule

Plan to arrive at the Sierra Nevada Field Campus on Sunday. We will get acquainted that evening, but the class will begin at 7:30 AM on Monday. The week's activities will be flexible to take advantage of some of the best viewing opportunities but in general each day will be spent in the field, with time to relax at lunch, and returning to the field campus by dinner. Throughout the week we will learn tricks and techniques to help sketch birds, flowers and more both in the field and in evening workshops. Walks will be generally short but could range up to 3 miles over moderately rough terrain. The class will end in the afternoon of Friday.

Supplies and Other Useful Items

Drawing Equipment

To see a list of equipment go to Jack's web site by clicking suggested equipment.

Field gear

  • binoculars
  • spotting scope (optional)
  • hand lens
  • bug boxes or small jars (optional)
  • butterfly net and pond dip net (optional)
  • field guides
  • headlamp

Camping gear


Days are warm, even hot, while evenings are quite cold (close to freezing). Clothing that can be layered for variable weather conditions is best. T-shirts and shorts are often perfect during the day, with a wind jacket or raincoat as backup. Long pants, warmer shirts and sweaters with a coat are necessary in the evening. Comfortable shoes, sun hat, wool hat and gloves are important. Old sneakers or rubber boots and a swimsuit may come in handy while visiting marshes.


  • day pack
  • sunscreen
  • insect repellant
  • alarm clock
  • water bottles
  • plastic containers for lunch materials


  • The Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada. John Muir Laws. Heyday Books. A richly illustrated guide to a full range of Sierra plants, animals, fungi, and more.
    Order at HeyDay Books

For carpool or additional information, email

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