Wildflowers Along the Trail in your Watercolor Nature Journal

Start Date: 
Sunday, July 31, 2022
Kristin Meuser
Course Type: 
UCorp Workshop
Summer 2022


If you wish to be on a waiting list contact J.R. Blair at snfc@sfsu.edu.

General Description



Each Sierra wildflower has a unique life of its own, and each year's bloom is a surprise. From the tiniest to the showiest flowers, the Lakes Basin area of the Sierra Nevada provides the habitat for huge diversity. You are invited to explore the wonder of wildflowers in your watercolor nature journal during your week at the Sierra Nevada Field Campus.

This workshop begins with an introduction to your compact kit including a description of the tools and their use, color mixing and matching, followed by basic flower anatomy that will help students understand how to sketch and paint flowers in the field.

Four full days of flower discovery, sketching, and painting will be yours as you are guided to peaceful and dramatic locations in the Sierra Buttes and Lakes Basin areas where you will hike 1-3 miles roundtrip each day allowing for plenty of time to sketch, paint and write about the flowers you encounter.

In the mornings Kristin will give a painting demonstration on the trail. The group will return to the Field Campus by mid-afternoon for relaxation by the river or a swim in nearby lakes. In late afternoon or early evening meetings, Kristin will offer slideshows and students will have an opportunity to sketch and paint specific flowers in preparation for the following day's location using Kristin's hands-on exercises. Students of ALL LEVELS are encouraged to join.

Date of Period







Kristin Meuser


Kristin Meuser has been painting the land in various mediums for over 35 years. Many 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 10 years privately and at art and retreat centers in California and Nevada. Over the past two years she has adapted her teaching to 3-hour zoom workshops. Her work is found in private collections; it has been shown regionally; and has been represented by the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite. 

Lori Bellis, biologist, botanist and long-time friend of the Sierra Nevada Field Campus, will be assisting Kristin in this workshop. Her knowledge of the flora of the Lakes Basin will add an abundance of depth to this workshop.



Materials List

The backbone of this workshop is Kristin's compact yet powerful watercolor nature journaling kit. All the tools have been carefully sourced to maximize your individual success as well as to encourage a deep and cohesive collective experience. To that end, the $60 kit is REQUIRED on the first day of the workshop with NO exceptions unless you bring one of Kristin's kits with you from one of her previous workshops


Camping gear

  • 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!


Suggested Reading

  • **Botany in a Day, Thomas J. Elpel, HOPS Press
  • **Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada, John Muir Laws, Heyday Press
  • Laws Guide to Drawing Birds, John Muir Laws, Heyday Press
  • The Laws Guide to Nature Drawing and Journaling, John Muir Laws, Heyday Press
  • Drawing a Tree, Bruno Munari, Edizioni Corraini, Italy
  • Discovering Sierra Trees, Stephen F Arno, Yosemite Natural History Association
  • How to Draw Animals, Jack Hamm, Perigree
  • Drawn to Nature, Clare Walker Leslie, Storey Publishing
  • A Trail Through Leaves: The Journal as a Path to Place, Hannah Hinchman, Norton
  • Local Color, Mimi Robinson, Princeton Architectural Press

    **Highly recommended