starting our field journals

So, a friend pointed me in the direction of photographer Kristin Rogers. As I’ve gazed through her work, her field journals really captivated me. I have a small addiction to all things journal related and decided it was time to introduce the boys to good watercolors. I did a test run with them to see how they liked it…they ate it up. So, now I need to head back to the store to pick up a journal for each of them. We are going to start keeping field journals…but I don’t think we’ll limit it to nature. They are small enough the boys can take them to China and record the sights that captivate them there. Maybe a little sketch and painting of their baby sister’s birthplace!

Per Kristin’s instructions, we drew with pencil first, traced with sharpies, erased pencil marks and added our paint. I got the journal at Hobby Lobby. The paint I’ve had for probably 4 years and never used it…can’t remember where it came from though. It is a small travel size, so perfect for taking with us places.

It was 101+ outside, so I didn’t feel like sketching outside…I just used inspiration from magazines.

ISO 200, 1/80, f/2.8……………….ISO 200, 1/100, f/2.8

I love that my oldest picked a semi-dead flower to sketch. There are tons of beautiful ones, and he went for the dead one. I don’t think he even realized it was in rough shape. He saw beauty. I love that about him.

ISO 100, 1/2000, f/2.8……………….ISO 100, 1/2000, f/2.8

ISO 200, 1/1250, f/2.8

6.12fieldjournal-06ISO 100, 1/1250, f/2.8
6.12fieldjournal-07He decided to draw the whole flowerbed and then add some butterflies and bugs from his imagination.
ISO 100, 1/1250, f/2.8
6.12fieldjournal-08ISO 500, 1/80, f/2.8……………….ISO 800, 1/60, f/4.5
6.12fieldjournal-09ISO 500, 1/80, f/2.8
6.12fieldjournal-11ISO 500, 1/80, f/2.8
6.12fieldjournal-12ISO 320, 1/60, f/2.8
6.12fieldjournal-13ISO 800, 1/60, f/4.5
6.12fieldjournal-14ISO 200, 1/125, f/3.2……………….ISO 200, 1/125, f/3.2
6.12fieldjournal-15I just taped it to the wall. It makes me happy each time I see it.

6.12fieldjournal-17Shannon shared some “Behind The Scenes” photos of the kids during our anniversary session. You can click here to see her post – cracks me up, such is life.

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  • Kim Knight - I love journals! My boys have the same journal. One thing that we cannot live without is our water brushes. (the water is in the handle of the brush so it is great for travel) Thanks for sharing! I love your blog!

  • Jamie - Very cool idea, looks like your son has your talent!
    Thanks for sharing your camera settings.

  • mandi@herbanhomestead - Oh, we do this too! I try to keep their backpacks packed with their journals and travel art supplies. Part of our homeschool week is nature study on Fridays. They are of course able to draw in their journals whenever, but we really make time for it together on Friday. It is wonderful practice to train them to stop and truly see the creation before them. Love it! A great book that gives really creative ideas about nature journaling is, The Outdoor Connection: An Outdoor Workbook for Kids, Families and Classrooms.

  • Annie Page - LOVE journaling with my kids! When we go camping they bring their sketch books and just have at it. So fun to see through their eyes, especially as they grow. I’ve always been an acrylics girl, a hair scared of water colors. Ridiculous, I know. Might have to give them a try – I know the kids would love it. Thanks for sharing!

  • Genelle - beautiful paintings! Such a great idea. I might start one myself.
    Thank you again for sharing your camera settings.

  • Anna - I have sketchbooks everywhere…now I want a field journal too! πŸ˜‰ Found something new for me and my boy to do today!

  • Sara Dean - I love the idea of keeping field journals! As a science teacher, it is like pulling teeth to get kids to make observations…what a wonderful way to teach that skill early on!

  • Monique Willms - Fun! I just started doing journals with my 4 year old son as a way to teach him to recall and retell events and to communicate through drawing and writing. He calls it his “field journal” because of Diego. So cute πŸ™‚ Love the water colour idea.

  • Eva - I love the idea of a watercolor field journal. We have sketch books (that haven’t been used much- insert hanging head in shame.)

    I also love those behind the scene shots. Hilariously awesome!

  • Danielle - - SUPER cute πŸ˜€
    I love the ”dead” flower, too !
    I wish you’d put that lovely picture in a frame, though .. I won’t lie. It’s making my OCD itch! lol
    Your summer looks fun, so far ! <3

  • heather - I adore Kristin Rogers IG feed, too. It’s so inspiring!
    I need to check out her blog though, because I love the field journal idea! I love that you taped up his sunflower painting. The garland, the painting, and the cozy chair are perfection.

  • Emily - I use washi tape to tape Baz’s artwork up, too! It’s so happy and *way* better than the scotch/masking tape I used in high school.

  • Kristin Rogers - You are so cute! IT all looks so lovely!!!!

  • corrie anne - that’s a fun project. i love that sunflower!!!

  • Susannah - Those journals are so great! Your oldest son is already a better artist than me! πŸ™‚

  • Ingrid - Wow – that picture would make me smile too πŸ™‚

  • Jen Daily - I love this idea! I think I might have to get some cute washi tape and do an art wall with it. I’ve always resisted the permanence of hanging their art, as they are so prolific. But a little tape would be perfect.

    How old is your youngest that is keeping a journal? I’m wondering if my 5.5 year old would enjoy it.

  • Debbie C - I love this idea. I read an article in an old issue of Victoria magazine some years ago about an artist who does this, takes visual notes of her travels. I’m terrible at journaling regularly, but drawing into a sketchbook sounds like fun!

  • Emily - If anyone needs good watercolors, PRANG are the best, best, best! It’s the only ones we use in school, super vibrant colors!

  • ratna - Does ALL your kids want to do this journal thing? Can we exchange our kids? πŸ˜€

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh, those journals are amazing! Have a wonderful weekend, Ashley!

  • Amanda - Hi Ashley!
    I’ve been following your blog for a few months now and I am just so in love with your little family! I have a question for you. I use a Nikon D5000 and am looking to buy a new lens. I was thinking about getting the 50mm 1.8. Which lens do you tend to use the most, and do you think this is where I should go next with my photography? So far I own an 18-55 and 55-200. I love your photos. Thanks for an advice!

  • Abby - The summer before I graduated from college I traveled with a group of art students and professors to study watercolor and printmaking in Italy. Dream trip. We used those same watercolors in our sketchbooks. My journal/sketchbook from that trip is one of my most favorite things! So fun that you are journaling with your kids!

  • Anna@agoodhome - Ok, I’m DEFINITELY going to have to do this with my daughter!! How fun, and what pretty results!!

  • ashley gee - I just think that field journal idea is just great and so inspiring. You’re kids are wonderful artists!

  • Taralynn - Please keep sharing your journaling adventures! So inspirational! I will be doing this with my kiddos for sure! Thank you!