Rock, Wood, Water, Sky

Start Date: 
Sunday, July 24, 2022
Laurie Wigham
Course Type: 
UCorp Workshop
Summer 2022


The waiting list for this workshop also is full.


General Description 


In this workshop we’ll forget about painting sweeping landscapes and focus on individual elements. We’ll mostly use watercolor but will play around with different mark-making tools, like sticks and odd brushes, ink and charcoal, to develop a visual vocabulary that you can use to take your painting in new directions. There will be lessons on technique, but always about how to show what you love

 about this place. How can you make a soft edge to show how that cloud is glowing? What tool will catch the way that dead branch twists towards the sky? We’ll explore the properties of

 watercolor pigments—how earth pigments can give you granite textures, but you’ll need synthetic paints to show the sun shining through a Leopard Lily. We’ll do lots of small experiments, moving from close up to distant and back, but go big at the end.

Date of Period







Laurie Wigham


After nearly three decades doing graphic design and illustration in the tech industry, Laurie fell out of love with the computer and decided to get back to making art without an undo button and getting ink stains on her fingers. She set up the SF Sketchers Meetup group ten years ago and found that lots of other people wanted to get off their screens and look at the world with their own eyes again. She paints in the wilderness and on city streets, and her watercolors have been shown at galleries around the Bay Area. Laurie has taught at the Academy of Art University, the Cal Naturalist program, John Muir Laws’ Nature Journal Club and during her artist residencies in national parks. Learn more at or contact her:

Class Schedule

Plan to arrive at the Sierra Nevada Field Campus on Sunday by 6 pm for dinner. We’ll do some warm-up exercises that first night and get serious the next morning. Each day we’ll work around campus or out in the field until mid-afternoon, then take a break before dinner. After dinner we’ll head out for sunset painting until it’s too dark to see what we’re doing.



Download this PDF file with more a more-detailed packing checklist, maps, and art supplies

Brushes: Bring a varied selection, including a wide flat brush, a round or mop brush, a dagger or liner brush and a waterbrush. Synthetic fibers are fine.

Paper: At least 3 full-size sheets (22x30) of 140 lb, 100% cotton watercolor paper, with a rigid lightweight support at least 12x16” (foamcore, plywood or plastic)

Watercolor paint: Bring a plastic palette with wells pre-filled with from tubes (give them time to dry) or with ready-made pans or cakes. Get artist-quality paint. 

Other: Water containers, small spray bottle, ziplock baggies, paper towels or rags, mechanical pencil, fineline waterproof marker pens, a dark watersoluble/aquarelle pencil, eyedropper, black or brown waterproof ink plus one empty ink bottle, portable stool or pad to sit on, sketchbook. Comfortable daypack to carry all that gear.

Optional Extras: A tube of white gouache, dip pens, Pentel waterproof brush pen, fountain pen, bamboo pen, white gel pen, artist tape or masking tape, any charcoal or conte crayons you have lying around.



  • Tent and sleeping pad (unless you are staying in our tent with a cot provided)
  • warm sleeping bag
  • pillow, toiletries, and towel
  • flashlight and lantern
  • camp chair
  • bring your own tent or use tents with beds provided at the field campus
  • day pack
  • sunscreen
  • insect repellant
  • alarm clock
  • water bottles
  • plastic containers for packed lunches
  • sense of humor


Although days are generally warm, or even hot at lower elevations, early June offers unpredictable weather. Be prepared for temperatures as low as freezing at night and possibly rain. Variable weather clothing that may be layered is best. Long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, warm sweater and jacket, t-shirt and shorts or skirt, tennis shoes or hiking boots, sun hat, rain gear, and a warm hat or gloves for cold weather or night activities. Binoculars and camera may come in handy.  And don't forget your swimsuit for warm afternoon dips in the lakes!