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Wilderness Sketchbook

  • Boston Outdoor School 131 Walnut St Saugus United States (map)
Wilderness Sketchbook
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In this workshop, students will be introduced to using mindful focus to observe and record what they see in the outdoors. For centuries, naturalists have kept sketchbooks containing their observations. These sketchbooks help the scientific fields understand what is in the world but they also will help us forget the cares of life for a few hours and really focus on what is happening in nature. There will be a brief introduction with examples for students to use for inspiration. Then, the class will take a walk into the woods. Instructor will stop at a suitable spot for students to find their own spot to focus upon and draw/paint/write. Class will then regroup and share their work in a guided group critique session. Former drawing experience is helpful but not necessary. This class is more about focusing on the world around you rather than achieving artistic skill. This is an indoor/outdoor class. Students should bring their own sketchbook and drawing tools of choice (pencils, pens, traveling watercolor set) and dress appropriately for the weather. Bring water and snacks. Class won’t be held in rain or snow.

future tree by Johanna Finnegan-Topitzer.jpg

Expected Take Away:

Students will improve their observational skills while being in the outdoors. With heightened focus on details, they will hopefully come away with more appreciation of the natural world. This workshop will also allow people to draw or write about nature as a way to focus on something other than daily life and potentially finish the workshop more relaxed than when they began.

Instructor: Johanna Finnegan-Topitzer

J. FinneganTopitzer - Johanna Finnegan-Topitzer.jpg

Instructor is an artist and hiker and is on the Board of Somerville Open Studios. She has been the Artist in Residence at Grand Canyon and Acadia National Parks and has received Massachusetts Cultural Council grants. She shows her work in many regional and national exhibits and has taught in various art and fine craft schools. She is an avid hiker and camper and appreciator of nature. Her own artwork focuses on wildlife and the effects of climate change. Learn more Johanna’s work here:


  • Age: 14+


What to bring:

  • sketchbook

  • pencils

  • erasers

  • other media you enjoy using (watercolors, pens, colored pencils, etc.)

Wilderness Sketchbook
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Earlier Event: September 7
Forest Bathing
Later Event: September 28
Wilderness First Aid