Field Guide: A Nature Inspired Sketchbook {The Next Live Workshop At Our Studio}

***This event can be purchased as a one or two day workshop***

To purchase Field Guide for Saturday, September 17th, 2016 as a ONE DAY EVENT.

To purchase Field Guide for September 16 & 17th, 2016 as a TWO DAY EVENT.


Today I had five children and three adults exploring our land. We were gathering flowers, branches and leaves.  The kids were finding the perfect walking sticks.  Every place we turned we found something new.  We then came back to the studio and the kids made maps of the land and also painted or sketched some of the treasures they found out on the land.  Inside I was beaming. It was the whole reason I wanted this land. I wanted a place to gather!  A place to explore, make art and be present.  Just simply connecting with what is around us is an honor and dream for me. It is something that we can do anywhere but on this new land of ours if feels so much easier and natural.




After our exploring on our land today I am even more excited to announce the next live workshop in our studio!  I would love for you to come join me on our land for a two day workshop this fall as we explore and paint with Michelle Wooderson.



To purchase Field Guide for Saturday, September 17th, 2016 as a ONE DAY EVENT.

To purchase Field Guide for September 16 & 17th, 2016 as a TWO DAY EVENT.


Field Guide: A Nature Inspired Sketchbook


John Muir said, “The mountains are calling and I must go.” I feel that same calling to the mountains and am so thankful to be able to visit them every year. If you have a calling to get back to nature then this class is for you. We will venture to Jeanne’s beautiful home in Colorado to study the mountains and nature while creating beautiful artwork. It sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it?


In this two day class, we will learn to improve our drawing skills by sketching pieces of nature. We’ll begin inside and sketch beautiful nature inspired centerpieces. Becoming better at drawing helps every other aspect of our art. We’ll study simple line and contour sketches and learn how to compose a scene quickly. Capturing the essence of the scene in a timely manner lends us more time to add paint and move on to the next sketch.


We’ll then dive into studying watercolor landscape sketches. We’ll touch on atmospheric perspective and how to make our sketches look realistic with foreground, middle ground and background objects. To prepare for outdoor sketching, we’ll develop a color palette, using nature’s beauty as our guide. Value is so important in our art so we’ll work with composition and value sketches. We’ll develop brush strokes and marking suitable for painting nature. We all probably have some other art supplies in our stash too, so we’ll visit some mixed media techniques that meld beautifully with watercolor. We’ll work with gesso, charcoal, vintage papers, inks, pastels and more.


To prepare for en plein air painting, or painting outside, we’ll learn how to set up a travel watercolor palette and outdoor sketching kit. We’ll discuss the supplies needed and packing it all up with ease. I’ll show you some of my watercolor palettes and travel sketching kits and some of my favorite bags I use.


While in beautiful Colorado, this will be the perfect time to develop an artist’s mentality that puts us in a wonderful mindset of needing to paint daily, practice often and to make creating art a habit. We’ll learn that each sketch is practice for the next sketch and that practice is art. Gathering with a community of like minded people can be so uplifting and inspiring. We’ll share where we are in our journey and where we plan to be one year from now. This might just be our favorite part…sharing in the journey with others.


All of our practice lessons will prepare us to take out sketchbooks outside to Jeanne’s beautiful, wooded property full of trees and mountain views. We’ll create a simple, no sew watercolor field journal that will house all of our beautiful sketches. It will become a wonderful resource and beautiful piece of art that you will take home to treasure forever. Each student will receive a fun goody bag filled with items to inspire your art.


If you’ve wanted to travel and create art at the same time, this class is calling your name. Getting back to nature, creating art inspired by our beautiful Earth and being surrounded with artistic souls sounds like a little piece of heaven to me. I hope you will join me in this exciting journey to beautiful Colorado.


If you are curious, you do not have to take my Close To Home: A Watercolor Landscape Journey class to sign up for this class. However, the lessons studied in that class could help you jump start the Field Guide: A Nature Inspired Sketchbook class. Watching the videos will help you with practicing some before class starts and you can learn more about supplies and setting up your travel kit.


The Details:

*Two day workshop with Michelle Wooderson in the Jeanne Oliver Studios in Castle Rock, Colorado

When: September 16-17, 2016

Where: Jeanne Oliver Studios in Castle Rock, Colorado 80109

Cost: $395

Food: Lunch, drinks and light snacks provided



*The classroom with open each day at 9:30 and class will begin at 10:00

*Teaching with Michelle Wooderson each day from 10-12:00

*Lunch will be provided each day 12-1:00

*Teaching with Michelle Wooderson each day from 1-4:30

*Clean up at 4:30



(Revised)Class Supply List for Field Guide: A Nature Inspired Sketchbook 

Watercolor Palette suitable and already prepared for taking outdoors to paint. Folding metal or plastic palettes are a good choice.  12-24 paint colors of professional artist tubes are suggested.  You can view my 24 palette colors and how to set up a palette in the supply list of my Close To Home: A Watercolor Landscape Journey. You will need to prepare your palette and allow 24-48 hours for the paints to dry.  For a less expensive choice, the craft stores offer ready to go palettes for around $20 or less.

Small Spray Bottle-to rewet your paint palette. I get mine from the travel section at Walmart or Target.

Watercolor Brushes-I suggest good quality brushes in a size 8 or 10 round, a ½” flat brush and a size 0-2 rigger brush. If you’re just experimenting with this class, then an inexpensive size 8 round brush will work just fine.

Travel Water Cup-You can bring an old butter tub or look for collapsible water cups at art stores or online.  There are several styles to choose from.

Pencils for sketching-Suggested are a mechanical pencil with refill leads, .05 or.07 lead.  Regular lead pencils with an assortment of leads would be nice for value sketches.  You can purchase a small set online at places like Blick Art Materials. Lead ranges from H’s, HB and B’s are nice.  A regular school pencil will work too for all the lessons.

Charcoal Pencil-I like the kind where you can peel off the paper to reveal the charcoal. This is optional as a regular school pencil will work also.

Eraser-Kneaded or white

Watercolor Pad-This will be for practice lessons.  Select a size you can travel with easily, like 8 x 10 or smaller.   300 gsm, 140 lb, cold press spiral pads can be found inexpensively at craft stores, online or Walmart. Use your coupon.

Ink Pens-Optional, but if you like to work with ink for sketching then bring one along.  I like my Carbon Platinum Fountain Pen.  Search online and get some waterproof refill cartridges.  You want to use waterproof ink because we’ll be adding watercolor washes.  Lamy Fountain Pens and disposable Micron ink pens with various pen tips are other options.

Sketching Bag-You will need a bag that you can take outdoors and will be packed with sketching supplies.  Messenger bags have long straps that you can use to work hands free.  Also look for hiking backpacks or purses with pockets and dividers.  Camera bags have divided sections and lots of room.  Select something light weight and that you don’t mind setting down in the dirt. An old school backpack will work.

Pen and Paper Pad-Just in case you are a note taker.  Or want Jeanne’s autograph.

Attire for being outdoors-Prepare to spend some time outdoors, weather permitting. Dress casually and be prepared for Colorado weather the week of our trip.  Jeans and tennis shoes are fine.  Other items include jacket and clothing in layers like vests, hat/visor, sunscreen. We can inquire with Jeanne about what the weather will be like the week of our travel.  I am totally casual so don’t get dressed up for me.  J

Camera-A small camera or phone camera is not necessary but might be nice for capturing photos you can work on when you get back home.  Having photos is nice because you can use them as references for future paintings or print them off to work inside when the weather isn’t cooperating.

Other supplies needed for our lessons will be provided for you . Please keep your supplies simple and use what you have.  We want to focus on the lessons and learning, so any additional supplies are not necessary.  If you are taking the class with a buddy, feel free to share supplies where possible.



If you have any questions please contact us at

To register click on the image below

To purchase Field Guide for Saturday, September 17th, 2016 as a ONE DAY EVENT.

To purchase Field Guide for September 16 & 17th, 2016 as a TWO DAY EVENT.






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leave me a comment.

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Close to Home | A Watercolor Landscape Journey {registration just opened}

The more I practice my art and the more comfortable I become with my chosen tools…the more I have a deep desire to take them everywhere.

I remember around the time I came up with the idea for The Living Studio retreats that I was missing creative opportunities because I was not prepared.

I had left my sketchbook and pencil at home.

I had wished I had stuffed a small watercolor set in my bag.

I was seeing other people connect with nature or a museum and I deeply longed to change my day to day planning so I never felt like I couldn’t create if I wanted to.

Fast forward a few years and I don’t leave the house without at least a small journal and pencil.

More often than not you will find a traveling “studio” stuffed in my car so when I want to practice I have no excuses.

It has changed my creative heart, my creative practice and impacted the quality of my art greatly.


I am so thrilled to tell you about a beautiful artist that I have been drawn to because she lives the life of practicing her art.

Meet watercolor artist Michelle Wooderson.

My name is Michelle Wooderson and I reside in very rural Kansas with my husband, two daughters and yellow lab Charlie.  I have been around art all my life, starting with helping my mom put together art projects for Bible School when I was very little.  I grew up watching her tole paint and make crafts and from there I have loved art ever since.  I took every art class up through high school and continued my college education with a degree in Interior Design. I worked jobs drawing floor plans and designing office spaces up until my girls were born.  My desire to stay at home was so strong that I became a full time mom.  The creative urge was always tugging at me so for almost 20 years I’ve been involved in the paper crafting industry.  I also have an online shop which has slowed down some but was always bursting with creative kits I designed.  Now that my girls are almost both in college, I have felt the need to find where my next creative journey will lead me.  Art was calling me back.  The desire to play with paints and pencils again really pulled at my heart strings.  So here I am today, creating sketchbooks filled with watercolors and mixed media paintings.  I have always loved teaching and was thrilled when Jeanne contacted me about hosting a class.  I believe in sharing our journeys with each other.  We are all at different seasons of life but belonging to a community and sharing what you love is very special to me.  You just never know who might need some encouragement or where you’ll find inspiration along the way.  Pablo Picasso said, “The meaning of life is to find your gift.  The purpose of life is to give it away.” So true.


Go grab your sketchbook, pencils and watercolors because Michelle is about to take you on a watercolor journey that WILL change your day to day creating and how you interact with the world around you!

Registration has just opened for Close to Home | A Watercolor Landscape Journey.

Robert Henri said, “The object isn’t to make art, it’s to be in that wonderful state which makes art inevitable.” I believe there is an artist and a desire to create inside all of us.  It’s that little push and a little guidance that might be just what you need to get you started or back on your art journey.  It’s all as close as your back door.  There is plenty of inspiration to be found right around us and for me it’s beautiful landscapes close to where I live.  In this class we will evaluate where we are in our creative journey and set some goals for what we want to achieve in this class.

We’ll explore sketching and watercolor supplies and set up a custom watercolor palette and travel sketch kit. We’ll review the elements and principles of art and revisit the color theory and create a beautiful color wheel using your choice of paint colors.

Digging into your supplies and exploring what they can do is the best practice for getting to know your tools.  We’ll test out our brushes and tools to see what kinds of brush strokes and mark making we can make. Then we’ll play with the watercolors to see how colors mix and washes and textures are made.

Sketching is key for setting up your landscape scenes.  We’ll learn why pencil sketches that show value and composition are so important to create before we ever pick up a paintbrush.    We’ll create a value scale that can be kept with your supplies and learn how to select the best scene for our paintings using a viewfinder.

Eventually all the techniques we learned will be put to the test.  We’ll start with simple shapes and work our way up to painting detailed but simple landscapes in our sketchbooks, learning tips and tricks along the way for creating skies, clouds, trees, grass and small details that make landscapes pop.

We’ll create watercolor landscapes that are just for fun and experimenting.

We’ll learn how to create a travel sketch kit, pack it all up and head outside.  Sketching and painting from real live nature scenes is the best practice we can get.

Lastly, I want to us to learn that practice is art (#practiceisart is my favorite hashtag).  We’ll talk about daily practice (or practicing often) and how it will help us grow as artists.


The early registration price for Close To Home | A Watercolor Landscape Journey is $28, will have 4+ hours of content, all videos will be pre-recorded for your convenience and has lifetime* access.

If you are new to our creative network here are easy steps to get you started…

1. Register at (this is free).

2. Once your account is active you are able to take advantage of our free courses, series and even pay for courses.

3. Go to and along the top header click on “COURSES” and you will be able to view all three pages of online courses and free series.

4. To purchase a course please choose your course, click on the +join in the upper right hand corner, pay and you will be INSTANTLY in the classroom.

5. All videos can be found along the right hand side of the page under “COURSE CONTENT”.

*as long as we manage the creative network

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