Erin and I attended a journal making class in La Crosse on Saturday, October 18. This is designed to integreate art into science instruction. We made one journal out of a cereal box and practiced taking field notes in that one. We drew leaves we found outside and we drew a pigeon feather. Next we made a nicer quality journal with book board and fine paper. It was a great class and the overlap of drawing, and other forms of art, to seeing fit right in what we want to do.
see photo album
We observed that nature and humanity are very much in a partnership along the parkway. It is hard to say which predominates. If we quit mowing and trimming, Nature would predominate along the Yahara River parkway. Yet the very existence of a river instead of a wetland shows human engineering and care. The river as we see it between the lakes came about from dredging and a locks placed in 1905.
The scene I chose to paint illustrates this.
cultivated natural area
Sunset at the Locks
Morning on Lake Monona
E Washington Bridge
Iron Bridge at Tenney Park
Other side view of Rail Bridge
You may have been asking, how is this class different than last years? Nancy Macgregor and I walked the river a couple of weeks ago and we set the locations for this year’s class sessions. We will mostly be at new locations, including the Locks area on the North end and where the Yahara enters Lake Monona on the South end. If you like water you will like these locations.
I have revised the spiritual part of the class. These reflections will show you how to use the skills of artistic observation for spiritual reflection. We will develop our eyes to see what we often only glance at. We will consider the elements of the environment and what they reveal.
- How abundant is life in our world?
- How is each life suited to its place?
- How do elements such as water and light change, and what do they reveal to our eyes?
We will consider the nature of human interaction with nature –
- In what ways is this interaction mutual?
- Which has the greater impact?
Finally we will tie each of these observations to a scriptural link. That is, how do the two books of revelation complement each other?
At the first class you will be provided with single folio book to record your reflections and observations as we travel along the river for the six weeks of the class.
Join us this June and July along the river.
My wife and I spend most of the month of July on a road trip to see family by way of lots of the West. We traveled west through Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Arizona to San Diego, CA. We spent a week in Napa, California before returning by way of Sequoia and Grand Canyon National Parks as well as Santa Fe and Taos. I have lots of pictures and notes to inspire some art work and journaling. Here is a little sample.
Creating a place for reflection and renewal.
The events we offer will relate to one or more of these three areas.
- Nature, by which we mean all of the natural world around us including human interaction, both good and bad.
- Scripture, by which we mean the Christian Scriptures which include the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament.)
- Art, which we define broadly so as to include the disciplines of seeing and expressing in a multitude of styles, materials and levels of ability.
This is a pen and watercolor sketch of the Yahara River between Lake Monona and Lake Mendota. I went for a walk one day to count all the bridges. In fact I missed on in the lagoon at Tenney Park, which is on the North end of the stretch. Lots of human and natrue interaction. There is a tradition in some art forms to put in a mistake to reflect human inperfection. That seems to come naturally to this author!
Bridges over the Yahara
We are glad to say that the first Two Book Retreat event will have a class of at least 7, which is a great size. We do have room for a couple more in case you are siting on the fence.
Nancy Macgregor is an excellent teacher and she is bringing with her a number of her return students, including me! She will help us to see and paint what we see along the river.
I’ll be providing a booklet of selected “Two Book” texts. These texts help us to see in a different sense, the world around us.
Proverbs 3:19-20 (NRSV)
19 The Lord by wisdom founded the earth;
by understanding he established the heavens;
20 by his knowledge the deeps broke open,
and the clouds drop down the dew.
We have a back up plan for shelter if the “dew” ever turns out to be more intense. So far we are optimistic.