Words from the Woods – Trying Something New...

Sep 20, 2015 by

Wednesday, September 16, 2015 This morning drove down to the library to finish and post blogs. I am trying hard to update the blog every few days, though sometimes I don’t want to leave camp. I do enjoy writing about this wonderful experience and want to make sure I capture it with words and pictures. I identified a few more tree species today and then gathered supplies for this afternoon’s project. When I put together the plan for my stay at Catoctin, it included goals, three of which involved trying new art processes. I set aside time this afternoon for the first. Working in my outdoor studio (picnic table): In this project I used bleach solution and dark brown paper. The book I saw this method in called for black paper, but I wanted...

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Words from the Woods – Journaling with the Scouts...

Sep 19, 2015 by

Tuesday, September 15, 2015 – Part Two I had a wonderful time visiting the Junior Scouts in Williamsport, Maryland last night.  We talked about nature and recording our thoughts in words and pictures.  Seventeen girls took a closer look at nature just outside their church meeting place.  Their work is lovely. Here are some photos.  My thanks to Peggie Gaul, Park Ranger from Catoctin Mountain Park, who graciously invited me to her troop and also to her...

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Words from the Woods – On Visiting, Hiking, and Messing with the Food Web...

Sep 19, 2015 by

Tuesday, September 15, 2015 My husband Clay visited today. We hiked to Chimney Rock, a steady uphill and very rocky trail. I added a couple of trees to my tree ID list – Sweet Birch and Loblolly Pine. More outdoor artwork late afternoon. Now, because I feel this Artist-in-Residence experience in the mountains has been a very enlightening one, I will now come clean about something, a confession of sorts. As an environment educator, I have explained the intricacies and importance of food chains and food webs to hundreds of students. I always stress the significance of each species and that when one is taken out the entire system suffers. This often takes the form of yarn strung between students, the collapsing species dropping his yarn and sitting down. After writing earlier about identifying...

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Words from the Woods – Meet My Neighbors...

Sep 19, 2015 by

Monday, September 14, 2015 Absolutely glorious morning as the woods come to life. I have much I want to accomplish today. Worked at the picnic table – relaxing and wonderful, inspiring. Did a leaf painting for the Catoctin Forest Alliance journal (See photo of Alliance/Catoctin Mountain Park Journal), using one of my favorite mediums – Derwent watercolor pencils. I use these in every journaling program that I do. These provide an easy way to learn about laying down and blending color. (I will have an upcoming blog on these) ***I am a person easily distracted, but here in the woods the distractions become part of my art – sounds, movements in the grass, and my reactions to them land on my journal pages with a mention, a sketch, or identification. So far I have...

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Words from the Woods – Weather or Not...

Sep 16, 2015 by

Saturday, September 12, 2015 The woodpeckers have been joined by a few other species for the morning wake up call.  The forest appears even greener under the overcast skies. I dress for a hike, but as I finish breakfast, the rain begins.  Extraordinary – I could hear the drops hitting the tree canopy high above but it took awhile for it to reach below here in the understory.  This, I tell myself, is the real “trickle down” effect. So far no leaks in the cabin.  With the cabin windows open, I have wonderful background music to work by. Slow steady rhythm Mother Earth sighs audibly, Rain caresses land. Later the rain comes down harder and my campground nature journaling program may be rained out.  As I work, I hear the sound of gravel crunching...

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Words from the Woods – Autumn Arrives...

Sep 16, 2015 by

Friday, September 11, 2015 Autumn has arrived here in Catoctin Mountain Park.  Yesterday’s rains have cooled the forest down and that might have been the topic of conversation as the Pileated Woodpeckers got going this morning. Last evening’s program at the Thurmont Regional Library found twelve of us on the wonderful outdoor terrace discussing and working on nature journals.  The terrace is built over a wetlands and includes interpretative signs about wetland habitats.  It made a perfect setting for reflecting in words and sketches. Thank you to Erin Dingle, Branch Administrator, for helping set this evening up. This is the second of four programs I will do as part of my Artist-in-Residence experience.   After yogurt and granola breakfast, I taped a sign up on the log wall to show the maintenance person where...

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Words from the Woods – My First Few Days...

Sep 11, 2015 by

  Sunday September 6 I arrived this afternoon, greeted by a resident woodchuck, and settled into cabin 16 (former camp infirmary) in Misty Mount Campground. The chestnut log cabins, beautifully hewn and chinked were originally built by the Works Progress Administration in 1937, using local materials and providing jobs. During World War II, Misty Mount offered a peaceful refuge for soldiers on R&R. What a wonderful legacy. The cabins still look much the same, but Cabin 16 now has electricity and running water, thanks to a refurbishment in 2014 by local Amish craftsmen. Quite pleased with myself after settling in, I thought of some of the pioneers in my book and their letters home after setting up their new homesteads. I went on a short hike after dinner to the area where workers used...

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Words from the Woods: My Artist-in-Residence Program Begins...

Sep 6, 2015 by

  The Adventure Begins Today I begin my Artist-in-Residence program at Catoctin Mountain Park in Thurmont, Maryland. I am hoping to blog about the experience – the people I meet, the natural world I encounter, and what I create while I am there.  Here is the information from the National Park press release: Join Artist in Residence, Linda Johnston as she guides participants through the process of creating a journal with personal reflections – in words and art – on the natural world. You will learn that a nature journal is a place for growing thoughts, feelings, observations and ideas; for connecting to the natural world, and observing the many surrounding life forms. Once you have begun nature journaling, you will find you have a better appreciation for even the smallest living things. Your...

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