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Open daily from 10AM – 5PM: Advanced tickets required for non-members.
Members enjoy exclusive early admission from 9:00am to 10:00am daily.


Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, 47 acres of botanical bliss fronting the Pacific Ocean

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Intro to Nature Journaling

Saturday, May 22, 2021
from 10AM to 3PM with Mary-Ellen Campbell
in the MCBG Education Center

CLICK HERE to Register for this Workshop

Nature Journaling will help improve your observational skills, drawing skills, and add to your knowledge about your subject. The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens is the perfect setting to begin this journey. You have a variety of subjects to observe in their natural environment at a specific time of day and season. Some of the skills you will learn are drawing the structures of plants, observing and drawing small, quick landscape environments, page layout and lettering, capturing information in a variety of formats, and color techniques to enhance your pages. There will be many handouts and models, samples of different journals and journaling styles, and nature journal kits.

Workshop Registration:

No experience necessary. Class size is limited! Registration for this workshop may be completed online. You must complete a separate registration form for each participant. This workshop is limited to 8 participants, a waitlist will be kept in the event that we add another session or have cancellations. Class cost is $90 per participant and includes Gardens admission for the day ($50 – discounted rate for MCBG Members and Master Gardeners). Payment is due upon sign-up. Please note, all workshop fees are non-refundable unless the workshop has been canceled or rescheduled by the Gardens.

Workshop Schedule: 

  • 10AM - 12PM Start indoors to: Look at Nature Journal kits, instructor’s journals, artist pages, books Go over materials, papers, tools, types of sketchbooks, media (pencil, pen, colored pencils, watercolors, markers), other important implements (rulers, magnifier, binoculars, stencils, cheat sheets, carriers, stencils). What to include metadata, shapes, question marks, prompts, parts and whole, numbers of, relationships, scene, direction marks, call-outs, text Go over handouts-parts of plants, shapes of flowers. Lessons on how to begin drawings, what to observe, how to use different media 2 exercises in journaling including laying out pages, typography, metadata. Instructions for working outdoors, comfortable seat, water, sunhat.
  • 12PM - 12:30PM — Lunch break
  • 12:30PM - 2:30PM – Outdoor drawing, buddy challenge
  • 2:30PM - 3PM – Share work and wrap-up 

Supply Lits:

Since this is a beginner journaling class, I encourage you to use materials you already have and like your own paints, pens, brushes, and pencils. Select one medium to work in for the day, either color or watercolor pencils or watercolors or gouache or pen and ink. I will be showing kits of different sizes and materials as part of the class.

  • Pencils: Photo or light blue pencil, white pencil, #2 graphite pencil, eraser.
  • Pens: Sakura waterproof Pigma Micron Graphic .03-.05, or Pentel or Sharpie fine point marker pens, white gel pen.
  • Paper or sketchbook I prefer 8.5x5.5” mixed media spiral-bound book so I don’t get too fussy. If you like hardbound or a larger size, use it. It’s your personal choice. I recommend Strathmore 300 series Mixed Media-the cover is soft but you can add cardboard to strengthen, Strathmore Visual Journal is another good choice or you can make your own journal.
  • Water cup with water. Since I always carry drinking water I use that to fill a small plastic cup. You can buy some small containers at the dollar store.
  • Rag-You can use old sock on your wrist to wipe your brush.
  • Sunhat

If you want to buy new materials below are a few suggestions.

  • Pencils: If you want to work with watercolor pencils I like Derwent 12 Watercolor. A refillable water brush works well with these.
  • Journal-I’ve used small looseleaf binders and cut, punched, and placed different kinds of papers inside including lined paper for text, watercolor paper, and paper that takes pencil or ink
  • Paints-Pre-made sets like Koi Water Colors Field box with 24 colors, water brush, and palette-I’ve used for years. also available at Racines in Fort Bragg Another pan set is Windsor Newton Field plus set that gives you 12 colors, water container, and palette.
  • Brushes -#3,6,10 rounds watercolor brushes-I like Da Vinci travel brushes but they are pricey, a beginner set of these three full-size watercolor brushes like Windsor Newton Cotman would be around $20 from Blicks. You would buy individual brushes. You might also want to try a refillable water brush.

About the Instructor:

Mary-Ellen Campbell is a local artist who moved from New York to Caspar six years ago after a two-year residency at the Mendocino Art Center. She is Professor Emerita from New Jersey City University where she taught for thirty-four years. She has taught workshops locally, nationally, and internationally. Mary-Ellen is a world traveler using her journals to capture scenes and peoples in exotic locales. Book arts is one of her specialties and she has made most of her journals and other books while on twelve artist residencies and many trips to over seventy-five countries. She is still learning the flora and fauna of the Mendocino Coast while nature journaling, bird watching, and volunteering at the Noyo Marine Center and the Botanical Gardens. Her work can be seen at


Date: Saturday, May 22, 2021

Location: MCBG Education Center — If you have already paid and signed up, you may park directly at the Education Center located at 18050 Ocean Drive, Fort Bragg (turn right on Ocean Drive about 1/2 mile, the entrance for the MCBG Education Center will be on the right-hand side of the road).

Instructor: Mary-Ellen Campbell