Jean Mackay – Collecting Nature in Your Sketchbook in Ink and Watercolor (Online); Thursdays, October 19, November 2, 9 & 30, 2023

This class is no longer available for registration. Please view our Online Course Catalog for current class listings.

Date: Thursdays, October 19, November 2, 9 & 30
Time: 3:00-5:00 PM Pacific Time, 6:00-8:00 PM Eastern Time, 11:00 PM-1:00 AM London Time
Level:  Some experience with ink and watercolor helpful.
Medium: Ink and Watercolor

Supply List

In the 17th century, Roman patron and collector Cassiano dal Pozzo and his younger brother Carlo Antonio assembled a ‘Paper Museum’ of nearly 10,000 watercolors, drawings and prints, covering botany, zoology, ornithology, geology, architecture, and more. Their aim was to capture human knowledge in visual form. While photographs now dominate the 21st century record, a sketchbook can provide the perfect place to showcase your discoveries and to create a visual record of what’s important to you.

Create your own Paper Museum with a variety of nature collections and subjects. From fall fruits and flowers to insects to birds, there’s no shortage of subjects that you can capture. Taking inspiration from the original Paper Museum, this series explores ways to record a variety of subjects with intention, beauty, and cohesion in your sketchbook.

Sign up for one or more classes in the series. However, each class will draw upon some elements of the previous class to build your collection.


Thursday, October 19 (Session 1) Introduction to the Paper Museum with Fall Seeds, Fruit, and Flowers

Begin your paper museum with a fall collection and create a label and personal mark for your paper museum. We’ll also cover layout and design approaches when working with multiple subjects on a page.


Thursday, November 2 (Session 2) Birds in Different Poses

The common yellowthroat will be our subject as we go beyond the typical horizontal view and practice recording a single bird species in different poses on the same page.




Thursday, November 9 (Session 3) Moths, Dragonflies, and Other Insects

Learn to draw insects accurately and layer watercolors to capture wing patterns. We’ll use a classic natural history style layout for this collection of your paper museum.



Thursday, November 30 (Session 4) Botanical Study

Make a botanical study using an herbarium specimen to capture the whole plant, as well as various parts of it. We’ll also incorporate a decorative ribbon element in the style of 17th century Italian print makers.



Jean Mackay is an artist, educator, and naturalist. She has been keeping an artist journal for more than nearly 20 years a way to study and share the beauty and diversity of nature, as well as to record the art of everyday living. Working in all kinds of settings, from tide pools to farm fields to her own backyard, Jean’s journals reflect a keen eye for detail and profound sense of wonder. Jean teaches at the Hog Island Audubon Camp in Maine and at the Art School of Columbia County in New York. Her blog, Drawn In, shares the ordinary, yet extraordinary things that she encounters close to home and farther afield.

This class is no longer available for registration because it was held in the past.  Please view our Online Course Catalog to see current classes.