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Event Series Event Series: Bird Drawing Workshop (5 part series)

Bird Drawing Workshop (5 part series)

May 9, 2022 @ 5:00 pm 7:00 pm PDT

Lahontan Audubon Society is pleased to offer a series of free, online bird drawing workshops with science illustrator, Christine Elder, and nature journal educator, John Muir Laws. Christine was the featured artist for the recent Winter Wings Festival in Klamath, Oregon. John Muir Laws (aka Jack) is the champion of the nature journaling movement and author/illustrator of the Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada. These amazing artists will integrate science, learning, and art to teach us some of the tips and tricks for drawing birds in the field. The drawing workshops are open to all ages and skill levels and aim to not only develop drawing skills, but enhance observation and birding skills too. Young students as well as adults are encouraged to attend. These classes offer an introduction to Nevada birds and Lahontan Audubon Society projects that you may participate in. Various drawing techniques or media will be demonstrated throughout the workshop series.

As a bonus, Christine is offering her Drawing Backyard Birds for Beginners online course, a $125 value, for free if you register for her workshops!

Workshops will be held Monday evenings from 5:00-7:00 pm on April 11, April 18, April 25, May 2, and May 9, 2022. No special drawing supplies are needed. A sketchbook or paper and a pencil are all that are required. For workshops using color, watercolor paint, colored pencils, toned paper (non-white paper), and a white pencil or white gel pen are recommended.

These workshops are made possible thanks to a grant by the Nevada Arts Council and National Endowment for the Arts.

Class 1 – Introduction to Drawing Birds
Teacher: Christine Elder
Drawing Supplies: Pencil, Paper
Date/Time: 4/11/2022 5:00-7:00 pm

Birds are not an easy subject to draw. They move a lot, can be skulky or flighty, and come in many shapes and sizes. In this class, Christine will teach us some of the knowledge needed for drawing a passerine bird. Christine will first give an introduction to the parts of a bird, so that we may understand general bird structure and body morphology. She will give us tips on how to approach drawing in a way that is easy to understand; breaking drawing strategies down into smaller steps builds skills that can be applied to birds of many different shapes. To start off the workshop series, we will focus on a passerine bird and Nevada’s state bird, the Mountain Bluebird!

Class 2 – Field Gestures
Teacher: Christine Elder
Drawing Supplies: Pencil, Paper
Date/Time: 4/18/2022 5:00-7:00 pm

How do you draw a bird in the field? Lahontan Audubon Society will present the Online Birding Guide, a resource that provides birders with information on the local birding hotspots where they can practice their birding and sketching skills! Christine Elder returns to teach us the value of creating field gestures. Quick field gestures provide a way to record a posture, identification mark, behavior, or other interesting features that can build our own personal nature knowledge. Pretend that you are exploring an area for the first time and want to learn more about the local birds. Sketching helps build the memory more than a quick photograph and is an important learning tool used by many researchers in the field. Multiple native Nevada birds will be featured in this workshop.

Class 3 – Shorebirds and Waterbirds
Teacher: John Muir Laws
Drawing Supplies: Pencil, Paper.
Date/Time: 4/25/2022 5:00-7:00 pm

Up until now, we have been drawing mostly passerine birds, but this week we will explore our wetland habitats and their bird communities. The Lahontan Valley Wetlands in Fallon, Nevada, are part of the Western Hemispheric Shorebird Reserve Network of sites determined to be most important for shorebird conservation. These wetlands are the highlight of the Spring Wings Bird Festival (www.springwingsbirdfest.org) and the site for coordinated shorebird monitoring by Lahontan Audubon Society volunteers and land management agencies. Lahontan Audubon Society will give an introduction to this shorebird monitoring program. The approach to drawing shorebirds and waterbirds is a little different because they often have very different shapes and proportions as compared to a typical passerine bird. John Muir Laws will teach us how to draw these graceful and sometimes beautifully awkward birds, highlighting species found in Nevada wetlands.

Class 4 – Pinyon Jay – Introduction to Color
Teacher: John Muir Laws
Drawing Supplies: Pencil, Paper. Optional: Colored Pencils, Watercolor Paint
Date/Time: 5/2/2022 5:0-7:00 pm

Pinyon Jays – those iconic birds of the West often detected far in the distance by their nasal calls that sound like a corvid party. You may have seen them in the pinyon pine and juniper woodlands that dot many Nevada mountains, but did you know that Pinyon Jay populations have decreased by about 80% over the past century? Lahontan Audubon has teamed with the Great Basin Bird Observatory to monitor our local Pinyon Jay populations, and you can help! This class will feature an introduction to a community science project with a drawing demonstration of the Pinyon Jay by John Muir Laws (aka Jack). Jack will present his approach to drawing birds and give us an introduction to color application using either watercolor paint or colored pencils. Students may follow along with the color demonstration, or watch, learn, and apply color to their bird sketch later.

Class 5 – Drawing on Toned Paper
Teacher: John Muir Laws
Drawing Supplies: Toned (Gray or Brown) Paper, Pencil, Black and White Pens or Colored Pencils, Colored Pencils optional
Date/Time: 5/9/2022 5:00-7:00 pm

The Swan Lake Nature Study Area is a favorite local spot to walk, look for birds and enjoy nature. Lahontan Audubon Society recognized this site as an Important Bird Area because this historical wetland and open space provides important habitat for birds as Reno grows and develops. Tundra Swans winter on this lake and give the area its name. We will look at this birding oasis, some of the history, and the bird community. John Muir Laws will return for the final class in the series to teach us how to use toned paper in our drawings, featuring a couple of birds from Swan Lake – the Black-billed Magpie and Northern Harrier. Suggested paper/colored pencil combinations to use for this class: light brown/tan paper with dark brown and white colored pencils, or gray paper with black and white colored pencils.


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