Drawing on Nature: Art in the Woods—Spring class for ages 9-12

Director’s note: A recent visit to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (which contains work thousands of years old from myriad cultures) confirms the idea that our perception of beauty in nature is innate and universally shared.

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For many of us, our first attraction to nature arose from a good feeling of perceiving beauty in flowers, or waves, or the sky.

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This good feeling—of biophilia—is one of the key elements of environmental philosophy because it inspires a yearning to perceive, and understand, nature more deeply.

Biophilia is also a key element of environmental conservation, because it inspires love of nature; humans value beauty, and the most beautiful places are loved, and get cared for.

For these reasons, we are very pleased to announce Drawing on Nature: Art in the Woods: a class fully devoted to nurturing biophilia and the skills of transporting nature’s beauty to the sketchbook with pencils and paints—

that includes hikes and plein aire activities tracking and capturing Nonotuck’s emergences through high Spring.

Winslow Homer Artists Sketching in the White Mountains, 1868, oil on panel (Portland Museum of Art, Portland, Maine)
Winslow Homer Artists Sketching in the White Mountains, 1868, oil on panel (Portland Museum of Art, Portland, Maine)

Course Description

This 6-week art class for ages 9–12 is designed to immerse children in nature while they learn fundamental art skills.

The goal of “Drawing on Nature” is exactly that. By looking closely at nature we will encourage students to develop an awareness of basic shapes and forms within it.Screen Shot 2015-02-24 at 5.45.33 PM

Introductory concepts of composition, line, form, value, texture, color and pattern will be used to inspire our students’ imagination and expression.

We will balance the rigor of botanical illustration with the fun of loose gesture drawings and experiments in clay.

Lessons will all be taught out-of-doors in a new location each week unless it is raining. On those days we will visit museums.


Classes are Sundays, 10am–2pm, from May 3-June 7, 2015

Drop off (10am) and pick up (2pm) will be at Sheldon Field, Northampton, MA

Students should come prepared wearing outdoor clothing, hiking shoes, backpacks, lunch, water, and snacks.

$250.00 for 24 hours instruction & all materials. Students are provided with a notebook and a travel watercolor set that they get to take home.


To Register:

Please send a note via the comment box below, and you’ll be contacted shortly.


Robbie Heidinger (RISD MFA) is a ceramic artist, and instructor with experience teaching at The Univ. of Ct., The Worcester Center for Crafts, and The Rhode Island School of Design. Robbie received an Artists Fellowship in the Arts from the Massachusetts Cultural Council in 2009 and has work in permanent museum collections around the country. She has been actively involved in the development of Biocitizen since its inception and is happy to extend its offerings to include the visual arts.

Martha Ebner (BU BFA) is a printmaker with experience teaching art to children and adults.  She has exhibited locally and nationally since 1991 and her work is in New England museums and collections. Martha has been a Biocitizen parent since 2012. She is excited to teach and support the Biocitizen “Our Place” philosophy of increasing children’s perceptual skills by nurturing their natural ability to see and to create.

*We are seeking a volunteer interested in nature, art and teaching to assist the instructors. Please send a note via the comment box below if you are interested.

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