Sunday, September 23, 2012

Nature Journaling

When the older kids were younger we went on nature walks and kept journals. Through the years we have gotten away from it, but I wanted to get back to it. When I was planning for classes I came across a mom who did classes on nature journaling. I thought borrowing someone elses enthusiasm would be a great way to kick off our nature journaling. When I called Dana I knew I would not be disappointed. Her love of introducing children to nature journaling and of art and nature itself was infectious even over the phone. I would be asking her to drive an hour and a quarter once a week for an hour and a half class. I wanted to make it worth her time, so I opened the class and got fourteen other students, so our class was up to 19. I also told one of the moms I work with and so her group started holding classes on the same day too.
The first day she brought specimens that she had collected over this last summer, discussed them in her sweet gentle voice and then gave each child the exoskeleton of an cicada to draw and notice details about it.
The second class she brought a stuffed pheasant and let the children draw it.
In addition to our class we have gone on a few nature walks and have been reading "The Burgess Animal Book for Children," and sometimes drawing or modeling the animals.
I got a few sets of good watercolor paints and Aubrey has started exploring with them, usually by using the micron pen first.
We each drew birds from a book one day. This is Brennen's-he still usually uses pencil with little color.
This is mine, so far I am loving the watercolor pencils. I can get a lot of control and the blending. I want to try the watercolors Aubrey is using soon, because the colors are so brilliant, but I love the pencils.
Logan did a pond-top view. This is not from observation as you can probably guess.
Kamron drew a nice pheasant, then he painted and felt it really did not turn out how he wanted it. I was worried he wouldn't try painting again, but he did and it was pretty good, but he likes the control of pencils better. He told me he was glad to take the class though, because he doesn't usually do art but it was helping him to use a different part of his brain and be more balanced and he felt that was important. -Love that kid.
After almost every drawing time, Seth says, I need to practice drawing a tree. He has lots of trees in his nature journal. During the second class when they were drawing the pheasant Seth drew Japanese symbols with the micron and permanent markers. (She recommends these as they make painting over it easy without the smudging of line that happens with pencils sometimes). The teacher was so sweet and took several minutes to talk to me about how good Seth's lines were and that she felt it was important for a child to draw what they felt they needed to even if it was not a nature observation. I love how she only has positive things to say and there is little comparison.
This is another of Aubrey's from last week. They studied an ostrich's egg concentrating on observing the actual color and trying to make it.
This is also Aubrey's before the good watercolors came in, you can tell the difference.

No comments: