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Artist in Residence: Wednesday, June 14 – Workshop Day!

The neighbors in Cabin 7 knocked on my door just as I was having coffee, wondering if I would like to share their breakfast of eggs, orange juice, sausage, toast and chorizo. Wow, teachers know how to cook! I had plenty of food to share myself, so insisted on contributing my supply of eggs. We had a lovely meal and chat, then I had to excuse myself to get ready for the workshop and a visit from a DePaul University Environmental Studies graduate, who also had an interest in scientific illustration and visual communications.

A staffer knocked on the door of the cabin. It was Brian, who was running the Camping 101 workshop in Pavilion 2. He graciously introduced himself and explained a little bit about their program, which sounded like lots of fun!

In the meantime, I was keeping an eye on the sky trying to decide whether to host the workshop in the pavilion or set everyone up in the cabin. I voted for the pavilion, since twelve had signed up and the sky didn’t look too ominous. Maybe the storm would pass around us? One by one, folks arrived, and supplies were gathered buffet line style by the students. But shortly after the last one sat down, we heard a boom, saw a flash of lighting, and then the heavens opened up!

Fortunately, I had brought gallon plastic bags for each person, and a large one for the rest of the supplies, just in case something like this happened. Everyone put their handouts and supplies in the bags, then we brought the picnic tables into the center of the pavilion to wait out the monsoon. A few minutes later, there was a break in the rain. We made a run for it to the cabin.

I left one of the windows open! It took just a minute to mop up the floor. Then everyone made themselves comfortable and we settled back into our lessons, which covered the advantages of watercolor pencil, basic color theory, greyscale values, perspective, and color mixing. I think the handmade watercolor journals were especially appreciated, and several people asked when we would do this again.

Perhaps we’ll reconvene this fall for a day to sketch the beautiful foliage at Camp Bullfrog Lake? I sure hope so! It’s going to be so hard to leave in the morning. I couldn’t bear to think about it, so instead I got busy getting organized to go home. Checkout is at noon, and I hope to visit at least one other campground before the week is over, so I’ll have to get home and get unpacked quickly before the next adventure.

Artist in Residence daily blog posts are written by Kathleen Garness. The views and opinions expressed here are those of the writer and not necessarily those of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. Photo courtesy of Maryanne Rusinak.