Wild Journaling in the North Cascades

Drawing and Painting the Wild Journal at North Cascades Institute


Amidst the perfect weather of late summer our Wild Journaling workshop went out into the field to immerse ourselves in the grand mountains, meadows and valleys of the surrounding North Cascades.

The mornings were sweater-weather cool, and we hunkered down in our classrooms to practice our drawing and watercolor painting techniques.  These skills supported our primary purpose of immersing ourselves in nature and recording the experience in our journals.

Thursday afternoon, our first day, we journaled on the short Peninsula Trail on campus, to test out our resiliency. The next day we traveled by bus with our journals and art supplies 15 miles away to Canyon Creek, rich with mining history. We crossed several foot bridges along a rushing creek to find an old miners’ cabin and barn deep in the forest, and spent the whole afternoon out there. Click on any thumbnail picture below to expand, then follow the arrows:


Sunday was our longest day in the field. We packed into the vans again and drove to a large meadow just under Washington Pass. The day could not have been more beautiful.


My students saw me go nuts with the camera. Here are some of the results. Click on a thumbnail, then follow the arrows. When you get to the end of the first batch, go to the second!

We had spent the 4 days of the Creative Arts Retreat with basket makers and artful mapmakers, and at the end of our time together we laid out our work for others to see.Here’s what our art show looked like:

What a wonderful time! Thanks, everyone, for such a great workshop! Hope to see you next year.










Nature Journaling

Drawing and Painting the Wild Journal

Sept. 6-9, 2012, North Cascades Institute’s  Learning Ctr


Preparations for this 4-day workshop are getting me excited! September is my favorite month to be in the mountains here. The weather is cooler but more predictably sunny, the bugs are fewer, and every plant and animal is putting for a last burst of beauty and wholeness before the early mountain snows and cold winds push them back beneath the surface. High mountain summers are brief and beautiful.

© Kristen Gilje 2005 Holden Lake Trail, Watercolor 10x14

We”ll be brushing up on drawing and watercolor skills in the morning, and using those skills to record our high mountain excursions in the afternoon, the easy way: we’ll be shuttled by van to places our resident naturalists choose for us. When it’s time for dinner we’ll be driven back to the Learning Center for a good meal and a warm bed.

Click on this link for more info on the workshop


and click on this one to register:


North Cascade Institute Learning Center near Newhalem WA



Kristen Gilje wild-flowers-may19