Watercolors in the Wild: Sierra Flora
Painting in wild places is powerfully transforming, yet often overwhelming. Wild flora will inspire field studies designed to jump start your ability to work with ease in the wild and reveal the magic of summer in your painting. During gentle forays outdoors, we’ll collect materials and ideas, and experiment with drawing and painting techniques using watercolor, gouache, ink and pencil. Projects and demonstrations focusing on native flora will include field-friendly approaches for mixing accurate color; using thumbnails to generate effective compositions; seeing and capturing gesture, form and detail; and working in layers with both care and wild abandon to conjure up a sense of complexity found outdoors. You’ll head home with a collection of new ways to happily get to work with speed and freedom to create images in the field as well as strategies to get enough down on paper to enable completion later on. Color mixing experience is helpful, though not required.
Andie Thrams is a painter and book artist with a lifelong devotion to creative work in wilderness locations. Her work is widely exhibited and is held in both private and public collections including those at Yale University and the University of Washington. She earned a BA in art practice from the University of California at Berkeley and, in addition to Field Camp, she teaches for San Francisco Center for the Book, Sitka Center for Art Ecology and many more. She is currently creating a series of unique artist's books called In Forests. The In Forests books, which record her experiences during treks on foot and by kayak into wild forests from California to Alaska, are a contemporary hybrid of the illuminated manuscript and the field journal. More may be seen on her website: www.andiethrams.com
Please plan to arrive at Field Camp on Sunday. We will meet briefly right after dinner Sunday evening to get acquainted, answer questions and discuss our plans for the week. Class will begin at 9:00 AM Monday morning. Each day we'll spend a varying combination of time indoors, in the field, and around Camp, with optional informal sunset painting each evening after dinner. Our walks will range from 1/4 mile up to 3 miles over moderately steep terrain. Class will end Friday afternoon around 3:00 PM.
Supplies and Other Useful Items
Art Supply List
- 140 lb. hot and/or cold press watercolor paper, cut or torn into 18 sheets, each measuring ~10 x 11 inches. If you purchase three full-size sheets of watercolor paper (usually 22 x 30 inches), you will get six 10 x 11-inch sheets out of each large sheet. Please do this before coming to class.
- In addition to your paper above, bring one full-size watercolor sheet, uncut. (Fine to bring it rolled up.)
- Small tube of white gouache (Winsor & Newton permanent white is best)
- Plastic folding mixing palette with ample mixing space
- Ruler at least 12 inches long
- No. 2 or HB pencil
- Pencil sharpener with attachment or baggie to catch shavings
- Kneaded eraser
- Fine or extra fine black felt tip pen (Pigma micron in size .01 is good)
- Any kind of black or sepia ink
- Any kind of pointed dip pen for drawing
- Prismacolor “cream” pencil and any other colored pencils and/or pastel pencils you may have
- #4 and #8 round watercolor brushes
- Script, rigger or liner brush
- One large flat brush, at least 2 inches wide. Cheap craft or house painting brushes are fine.
- Container for paint water (such as a yogurt container or jar)
- Rags or paper towels
- Small spray water bottle
- Small eye dropper, if you have one
- Two large bull dog clips
- One piece foam core or other stiff board cut to 12 x 12 inches
- Hand wipes (useful for working outdoors)
- A materials fee of $20 will be due to the instructor during class to cover additional supplies and handouts. Thank you!
- Day pack for comfortably carrying art supplies, water, lunch, and extra clothing (you will really want everything to fit into one day pack, so that you'll have your hands free for sketching along the trail!)
- Insect repellant & sunscreen
- Camera (optional)
- Water bottles, enough for drinking and for paint water
- Warm hat and sun hat or visor, clothing layers for warm or cool weather, sunglasses, sunscreen, rain gear, etc. Please note that it is very important to be prepared for mountain weather conditions, as we may be outdoors all day
- Field guides (optional)
- Watch (important!)
- Sitting pad, fold-up stool or Crazy Creek chair, for sitting comfortably on the ground (and that can be carried with ease.)
- Lunch fixings will be set out each morning for us, so it is nice to have a sturdy plastic container for your sandwich.
- Warm sleeping bag
- Foam pad
- Flashlight or headlamp
- Alarm clock
- Bring your own tent or use tents with beds provided at the field campus
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 or lightweight pants 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. Sturdy hiking shoes/boots and comfortable shoes for around camp, sun hat, wool hat and gloves are all important. A swimsuit may come in handy.
- John Muir Laws, The Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada, Heyday Books
- David Bales and Ted Orland, Art and Fear, Consortium Book
- Michael Wilcox, Blue and Yellow Don’t Make Green, School of Color Publishing