Deep in the woods of northern Woodinville, local artist Nicole Monahan utilizes nature to teach various mediums of art over four days of summer camp.
Similar to last year, in line with COVID-19 guidelines, Monahan Studio camps will be held entirely outside. Her camps continue to focus on animals, landscapes and observations from nature through various art mediums and techniques. To minimize touching and sharing, she plans to continue handing out individualized packs of materials at the beginning of each week.
“There was a lot of adapting that went on, but it still went really well,” Monahan said, referring to last year’s summer camps.
Designed for 8 to 14-year-olds, the structure of her camps will remain the same as previous years. Monahan said the mornings are spent working on drawing skills, exploring science with art and team building. Most days, she will bring one or two pets to use as live models during sketching projects. Options include dogs, cats, lizards, a turtle, frogs, a snake, goats, chicken and fish.
“We have a lot of animals here on the property, so every day I bring one,” she said. “Every day we'll do a different animal.”
Monahan said the kids participate in a STEM-based (science, technology, engineering and math) group project ahead of lunch. At her camps, she will provide children with criteria for something to build, whether it’s a bridge or tower, and allow them to compete in teams using only nature materials.
Afternoons at Monahan Studio camps are dedicated to painting, sculpture and sketchbook nature journaling. Two days of camp are spent practicing sculpture after lunch, whereas two days are devoted to painting. With several tables out in the woods, the kids are able to spread out and work quietly in nature.
“It's a little bit more challenging with COVID,” she said, “just because of not being able to share materials.”
On rainier days, the woods provide a tree canopy for the young artists. Occasionally, she noted, they will enjoy a bonfire on colder days.
She said the camp setup really helps children to hone in on their own skills and passions. Above all, she thinks the kids get the most joy out of team projects. Especially after the last year, she added, some kids are shier and more insecure being around other people.
Monahan is offering three camps this summer.
• Camp 1 - June 28 – July 1, 9:30a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
• Camp 2 - July 12 – 15, 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
• Camp 3 (for ages 10 and up) - August 23 – 27, 9:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.