Jean Mackay – Collecting Nature in Your Sketchbook in Ink and Watercolor – Series II (Online); Thursdays, January 4, 18, February 1 & 15, 2024

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

Dates: Thursdays, January 4, 18, February 1 & 15, 2024
Time: 3:00 AM-5:00 PM Pacific Time, 6:00-8:00 PM Eastern Time, 11:00 PM-1:00 AM London Time
Medium: Ink and Watercolor
Level:  Some experience with ink and watercolor helpful.

Supply List

This series of classes focuses on collecting nature in your sketchbook and showcasing your own sense of wonder at nature’s variety and details. The theme draws inspiration from 17th century, Roman patron and collector Cassiano dal Pozzo’s Paper Museum, a collection of nearly 10,000 watercolors, drawings and prints, covering botany, zoology, ornithology, geology, architecture, and more. Exploring different subject matter in each session, this series offers ideas and techniques for drawing, painting, composition, and adding a personal mark as you create your own nature-inspired collection.

Each class includes demonstrations with the opportunity to work along. We’ll create part of each piece together covering color mixing and various watercolor techniques. You’ll then use the reference photos provided or your own specimens to finish your collection page. This method gives you the chance to create, practice, and ask questions while “live” with Jean, and to develop a collection page that is distinctly yours. The class group page provides opportunities for additional learning as you post your work and provide and receive feedback from Jean and other participants.

Sign up for one or more classes in the series. However, classes draw upon some elements of the previous class to build skills and cohesion.

January 4 – Session 1: Winter Collection

We’ll begin with a collection of dried flowers and plants with curling leaves, creating a composition that showcases nature in winter. We’ll also add large text to the page as a graphic element. Feel free to collect plants, seeds, vines, or fruit from your area that you want to paint or use the reference images provided.

January 18 – Session 2: Echoes from the Sea: Shells

Collectors and artists alike have long been fascinated by the colors, patterns and shapes of shells. In the 18th century, a shell collecting frenzy spawned the term “conchylomania” to describe the passionate collecting of seashells. Painting shells is an exercise in observation, precision, and subtle color mixing. Choose from a variety of beautiful shells to create a multi-specimen page.

February 1 – Session 3: Birds at the Feeder

Bird feeders are a good source of inspiration and observation for drawing and painting seed-eating songbirds during winter months. Create a collection that includes nuthatches, tufted titmice, and chickadees. We’ll also add some bird seed to give context and a bit of fun to the page.

February 15 – Session 4: Feathers

Bird feathers come in a stunning variety of colors, shapes, sizes, and patterns. We’ll look at the basic structure of feathers and render several, including white, simple colored, and barred feathers. You’ll then finish your collection with feathers of your choosing from the reference photos or other sources. Note: This class will cover some of the same content as the feather class in Jean’s The Art of the Bird class, offered previously.

Jean Mackay is an artist, educator, and naturalist. She has been keeping an artist journal for more than nearly 20 years as 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 in upstate New York, Jean’s watercolors reflect a keen eye for detail and profound sense of wonder. She is the author/illustrator of The Nature Explorer’s Sketchbook (2020). Jean teaches online and in-person classes and offers immersive workshops nationally and internationally. She has been an instructor with Winslow Art Center since 2020. Discover more at or on Instagram @jeanmackayart.

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.