Friday, August 25, 2006

Four Days Of Bliss (and really good food!)

I had the amazing opportunity to attend a four-day nature retreat called "Drawing the Details" at the North Cascades Learning Center in the upper Skagit Valley. What a remarkable place. If any of you are even close to local, you should take a look at this place on the web and see if any of their classes and/or other opportunities appeal to you.

The institute has been around for over 20 years, but only recently opened this marvelous facility. It's all sustainably designed, from the use of Forest Sustainable Wood, to the native plants, and the locally grown, organic food provided by a truly talented chef. The staff is warm and welcoming, and our instructer was so skilled and knowledgable. The class was four days long and focused on drawing nature as each individual saw it. Our group was made up of such interesting people with a wide variety of backgrounds, from a science teacher who wanted to use drawing in her biology classes, to substance abuse counselors, musicians, artists, and "just regular folks" like me, who only wanted to improve their skills enough to make their sketches recognizable!

Here are a couple sketches from my notebook. This is a little Rue plant I did along the North Cascades highway.

This is a b/w sketch of a leaf (unidentified due to its dried nature!)

We had a wonderful time, and I learned a lot. Obviously, it's going to take many more hours for me to become as proficient as I'd like to be, but it was fun to get started and to see how much all of us improved in four short days.

Here's a photo of the building where I stayed. This doesn't due it justice, because it was evening and the light was bad. It truly was a beautiful building.

This was our "common room" where a lot of books were read, wine was enjoyed, and lots of great conversation took place.

Isn't this view great? This was at their dock, where some of the group left each evening for one of their canoe rides around Diablo Lake.


Blogger Wildside Musing said...

Yes, great view -- and your sketches are nice too!

7:33 PM  
Blogger PJ said...

..and where is this again? is it WA? I'm in love!!!! Such wonderful place to be...and to sketch! AH...what a nice time!

3:06 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...


Yes, it's in Western Washington state. If you are close or get an opportunity to visit this area do consider a trip here. The natural beauty is astounding!

1:57 PM  

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