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Natural Encounters

Week 1: August 4-10, 2024 
Instructor: Sondra Holtzman
Class Material Fee: $55

About the Workshop

In this unique experience, discover ways to ‘see’ into the natural world through sketches, observation, memory and word. We will begin by making a simple but elegant hand crafted journal which will serve as a touchstone or safe place to explore what we experience when working with natural objects. Next, we will venture out into the field, sustainably gathering a small collection of pieces that appeal to our individual senses and aesthetic. Back in the studio (or on location in the field) students employ various sketching and painting techniques using different tools to capture the essence of the objects we have in our own individual collections. If desired, add a simple poem or collection of descriptive words to your sketch, including the location in which they were found. All are invited to share their collections with others. Students emerge from the workshop with new skills of ‘seeing’ instead of looking;  a collection of their own illustrated interpretations of the natural world and a heightened appreciation of our environment. 

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Sondra Holtzman Profile.jpg

About Sondra Holtzman

Sondra Holtzman is an artist, record keeper of an evolving life, and idea engineer living in Bend, Oregon. She studied fine art at Rhode Island School of Design and California College of the Arts and gleans the lion’s share of her inspiration from the natural world, inviting the viewer along on a journey of curiosity and exploration. Together with business partner and close friend Katie Wendel, Sondra conducts wine and watercolor excursions all over the world. A professional artist for over 30 years, she conducts painting workshops in the Pacific Northwest and works with students on a one-on-one basis. For Sondra, the true joy of being an artist lies not only in the joy of creating but in the sharing of her passion with others, helping them to discover their own artistic voice.

Learn more about Sondra on her website:

Instructor will provide:

  • Zip lock bag (which can be used to gather objects in the field)

  • Printed out directions on the Anselm Binding

  • 12 sheets of Strathmore drawing paper, size 12” wide x 4.5” tall, folded into 3 signatures of 4 pieces of paper in each signature. All three signatures will be labeled with a “T”

  • 1 watercolor paper gift tag 1 piece of watercolor paper for practicing techniques

  • 1 small envelope and

  • 1 paper enclosure for that envelope

  • Feather (return to me)

  • Binding: Two strips of the Strathmore Drawing Paper

  • Needle (this needs to be returned to me)

  • Piece of thick cardboard for cutting on (this needs to be returned to me)

  • 1 Awl (this needs to be returned to me)

  • Cotton twine and tan waxed twine (students can choose which one to use)

  • Small black binder clip that holds the finished journal together

  • Paper guide for punching holes

  • 3 pieces of typing paper in cream and brown and book text

  • Viewfinder

What students should bring:

  • Any natural objects you love, as well as a small container/basket for collecting others

  • A small watercolor sketchbook or notebook. The paper should be 140lb. cold press watercolor paper.

  • One or two GESSOBOARDS or AQUABOARDS by Ampersand; 8”x 10” or  9 x 12”

  • Scotch tape

  • A small set (6 watercolors) of artist-grade paints in the colors of your choice. We will be using a LIMITED PALETTE of no more than six colors in this class, which should be included in your palette. My favorite limited color choices are: Indigo, Raw Umber, Quinacridone Gold, Quinacridone Deep Gold, Lunar Black and Lunar Violet. Note: If you are uncomfortable using a limited palette, please feel free to expand your color choices. Note: The ink you choose for your fountain pen and the black ink from the ball point pen can count as two “bonus” color

Small round watercolor brush with a sharp point:
I recommend the Dynasty Black Gold Short Handle Brush - Quill, Size 3/0 (Order #06456-1030) $10.50 at Dick Blick or 2/0 (Order #06456-1020) $13.55 at Dick Blick
Otherwise, a #6 synthetic watercolor round brush will work just fine. 
A #8 or #10 synthetic watercolor brush

A fountain pen:
One option is fountain pen with a PISTON FILLER that has a FINE or EXTRA FINE nib:
I highly recommend the following from The Goulet Pen Company (
Fountain Pen: TWSBI ECO with a fine or extra fine nib (available in 9 colors!)
Ink: They carry an amazing range of beautiful inks worthy of close investigation!
Other options for fountain pens are:
Pilot disposable fountain pen or one of your choice.


  • Container for water

  • Small piece of terrycloth rag for blotting your brush

  • Two 1” binder clips to hold journal pages flat while painting

  • A small grinder of sea salt (not regular table salt)

  • Small 6” ruler. I recommend the rulers that have a cork back that don’t slip on the paper as you are using them.

  • Mechanical pencil

  • Small kneaded eraser

  • Small bottle of Elmer’s glue

  • Pair of scissors

  • Xacto knife 

  • Micron pen in any color you choose. I like 03 or 04. A micron pen is waterproof.

  • Ball point pen. I like the Pilot G-2, 0.38

  • Any poems or inspirations words/phrases you like (optional)

  • Optional: a small magnifying glass

  • Optional: a small, portable chair, sunscreen and a hat

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