Create a Sense of Place in Your Watercolor Nature Journal


General Description:

There’s nothing quite as stunning as the landscape of the Lakes Basin area. Sketching and painting the land gives a sense of place to your journal pages. Learn to quickly render miniature landscapes as well as close-ups of flowers, rocks and water using a handy and comprehensive kit. We will begin the workshop with color mixing a full range of vibrant colors from a limited palette of pigments. Each day we will take a 1-3 mile hike to different locations. The evening before we will work with small photos to gain comfort with sketching and painting the setting of the following day, and each morning Kristin will give demonstrations on-site before you get started. There will also be an emphasis on page layout and adding notes and prose to your pages. $55 kit fee required. Poetry included.


Date of Period




July 15-20, 2018



Kristin Meuser


Kristin Meuser has been painting the land in various mediums for over 35 years. Several years ago her love of nature lead her to the Sierra Nevada Field Campus where she studied nature journaling with Jack Laws, watercolor with Andie Thrams and writing with Sarah Rabkin. Her career as a graphic designer gives her journal pages a sense of structured variety and a delightfully cohesive overall effect. She has been teaching watercolor nature journaling for the past 5 years privately and at art and retreat centers in California. Her work is found in private collections; it has been shown regionally, and has been represented by the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite. For more information, visit: On the Trail Nature Journaling

Class Schedule

Please plan to arrive at the Sierra Nevada Field Campus on Sunday afternoon by 4 p.m. when we'll meet informally on the dining hall deck to get acquainted. Class will formally begin at 9 a.m. on Monday morning. Demonstrations on how to render scenes characteristic of each day's destination will take place both on campus and in the field.

Supplies and Other Useful Items


A light and portable field art kit is key to keeping a nature journaling practice alive. I encourage students to purchase my Watercolor Field Kit so that we are all using similar materials. It includes a palette with eight Daniel Smith watercolors (specially chosen for their ability to mix together for a full range of colors), a brush that holds its own water, special pencils, a white gel pen and a hardbound 5-1/4” X 8-1/4” landscape journal. The kits will be available at the Field Campus when you arrive at my cost of $55. This saves you purchasing full tubes of paint and may also help you avoid individual shipping charges, since many materials may not be available in your local art supply store.

If you prefer to make up your own kit, here is a detailed list of materials:

1. Watercolors Daniel Smith - Please use these exact colors! Otherwise they won’t mix together properly. If using Windsor Newton see parenthesis.

  • Quinacridone Pink
  • Phthalo Blue GS (Winsor Blue –Green Shade)
  • Ultramarine Blue
  • Hansa Yellow (Winsor Lemon)
  • Burnt Umber
  • Perylene Green 
  • Quinacridone Gold
  • Shadow Violet (a grey/purple)

2. Small Plastic Palette with Cover or clamshell (approximate 4 X 8 closed)
3. Pentel Aquash Waterbrush 
Large/fine tip
(Make sure you don't order Medium/fine tip)
4. Mechanical Pencil .7 mm B lead
5. Colerase Non Photo Blue pencil with eraser
6. White gel pen
7. HandBook, Moleskine (or equivalent) Watercolor Journal 5.5 X 8.5 (landscape style - bound on short side).



  • messenger-style bag to hold art supplies (available through
  • close-focus binoculars (also available through
  • lightweight 3-legged stool (available at REI for about $20) – this type of stool creates less of a foot print and is lightweight and portable. You may also want to bring a small foam pad.
  • field guide (see Laws Field Guide below)
  • wide brimmed hat


  • warm sleeping bag
  • flashlight
  • camp chair
  • bring your own tent or use tents with beds provided at the field campus


Although days are generally warm, or even hot at lower elevations, be prepared for temperatures as low as freezing at night and the possibility of rain. Variable weather clothing that may be layered is best. Bring long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, warm sweater and jacket, t-shirt and shorts or skirt, tennis shoes or hiking boots, rain gear, and a warm hat and gloves for cold weather or night activities. And don't forget your swim suit for warm afternoon dips in the lakes.


  • day pack
  • sunscreen
  • insect repellant
  • alarm clock
  • water bottles
  • plastic containers for packed lunches