While the pandemic may continue to impact our ability to travel far and wide, it has not stopped us from exploring where we live, taking in the beauty and mystery of nature and all that surrounds us. Even in the wintertime there is much to see as we explore our neighborhoods, noticing the subtle changes in nature as winter unfolds into the early signs of spring. We may find that as we pay more attention to the changes around us our curiosity grows, and we realize we want to learn more about the natural world and our environment. If so, this class (for artists and non-artists alike!) is for you.

Join Eleni for a class that combines a curiosity about nature with the joy of drawing and painting in a setting that is supportive and fun. Even when we can’t be outdoors we’ll find ways of looking outside to learn and depict nature and the natural habitats here in Central New Jersey. Each week we’ll focus on one aspect of our natural environment by keeping a Nature Journal where we’ll record our observations and drawings about what we’re seeing. The class can be repeated as topics and approaches will evolve over time in response to the changing seasons and environment as well as student interest.

Worth noting is that Nature Journaling is related to, but significantly different from Botanical or Scientific Illustration as such. The unique pedagogy of Nature Journaling focuses on close observation, choice-based learning, growing curiosity, and recording. Prior art experience is not expected or required!

The class is inspired by the work of John Muir Laws, https://johnmuirlaws.com/ a scientist and art educator whose work has led to the creation of hundreds of nature art journal clubs throughout the US and globally. His focus on “nature stewardship through science, education, and art” has led to a significant increase in environmental literacy along with the increased awareness of the important role of citizen-scientists to address the pressing environmental issues of our time. This class supports this larger mission as well.

As in all of Eleni’s classes, the purpose is to have fun making art in community. Our focus on nature (especially the unique flora and fauna of Central New Jersey) will not only increase our environmental literacy and love of nature, but likely increase our commitment to adopting sustainable practices in our daily lives.

Suggested Supplies:
Mixed media art journal (7 x 10 and/or 9 x 12), a small notebook (any size) to serve as a “Studio Log”, Optional: Loose paper or card stock of any size
Dry Media: Pencils, pens, markers of different colors, crayons and/or oil pastels, sharpener, eraser
Wet Media: Watercolor paint, Brushes (3-5 different shapes & sizes), 2 plastic containers for water, a plastic paint palette (paper plates will work as well), Optional: water-soluble crayons and/or water-soluble pencils
Collage (optional): “Elmer’s” white glue or glue stick, or transparent tape, Matte Medium, Scissors (even this is optional because you could tear with your fingers), Ephemera: magazines, newspaper, old maps etc. Miscellaneous – Rubber stamps, ink pads – Paper towels – Anything else you might want to use!

Nature Journaling for Everyone with Eleni Litt

Eleni Litt

About the Teaching Artist

Eleni Litt (EZL Studio) is a teaching artist in Central New Jersey and the Founding Artist-in-Residence at The Athena Advisors. She has Certificates in Fine Arts from Parsons School of Design, and Creative Arts Therapies from The New School, as well as a PhD in Social Anthropology from the London School of Economics. Her approach to teaching creates communities of creative practice for artists and non-artists alike that encourages inquiry, curiosity, and play.

This course is offered in collaboration and partnership with the Rutgers Environmental Stewards Program where Eleni is completing her internship as a Rutgers Environmental Steward. https://envirostewards.rutgers.edu/

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