Nature Sketch

NatureSketch is our flagship educational program, with a curriculum inspired by Robert Bateman’s artistic practices and personal philosophies. We encourage individual connection to nature taught through art and creativity. When you draw something, you truly look at it: by sketching what they see, Nature Sketch students learn to pay attention and understand the value of the natural world.

Every participant will have the opportunity to connect with nature in a variety of unique ecosystems through art and learn about local flora and fauna and their habitats, including species at risk and the rewilding of urban habitats. With the guidance of a local artist and a naturalist, Nature Sketch encourages participants to explore natural environments through art and eco-literacy.

FREE online family Nature Sketch class: Masters of Disguise: The Tree Frog. Watch the recording of this inspiring Nature Sketch workshop where artist & educator Val Lawton guides us to learn how to draw a tree frog. This is a preview for our February online Nature Sketch programming theme of Masters of Disguise.

Junior
NatureSketch

For children,
Ages 5 to 13


No previous drawing experience is required.

NatureSketch

For teens, adults, & seniors,
Ages 14 to 114


No previous drawing experience is required

Workshops &
Casual Cafe

For teens, adults, & seniors,
Ages 14 to 114


No previous drawing experience is required

Meet our Instructors

Bea Martin

Teaches in Greater Vancouver Area, BC

Bea Martin is a character animator as well as a certified medical illustrator (CMI) based in Richmond, BC. After earning a medical degree from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain), a Fulbright Scholarship allowed her to pursue a MA in Biological and Medical Illustration at The Johns Hopkins

University School of Medicine. After working as medical-legal illustrator, she lived in Sweden for 3 years, where she also got immersed in improvisation theatre and urban sketching. In 2015, she relocated to Canada to become a character animator. With curiosity and enthusiasm, Bea loves crafting entertaining,

inspiring, and educational stories, merging art with science in both digital and traditional media. She

loves sketching outdoors, learning and supporting creativity, curiosity and artistic development of people of all ages. And she also makes (and eats) her own bread!

Julie Lewis

Teaches in St John’s, NL

Julie is a trained animator and designer who spends most of her time drawing, teaching and studying. Having studied at top art and design colleges such as Grenfell, Sheridan and Algonquin, and MUN and Dalhousie as well, Julie brings enthusiasm and energy to all of her endeavours. She teaches traditional art and digital art to all ages.

Kathy Aldous-Schleindl

Teaches in Edmonton, AB

Kathy has a Design Degree from the Emily Carr University of Art & Design and started her career as a graphic designer for Penguin Books in Toronto. Volunteering to run art projects in her children’s schools kindled her love of sharing art and creativity with people and she began teaching art full time. For the past eleven years her experience as an art instructor has included working at Calgary’s city-run art and community centres, elementary schools and Afterschool programs. She has also facilitated several community art projects and volunteered for eight months at Inner City Arts in Los Angeles. Kathy is a member of the Canadian Network for Arts and Learning, and now calls Edmonton home. In her own practice, she enjoys being outside sketching and taking photos which inspires artwork of either acrylics, oils, watercolours or fabric.

Maggie Chow

Maggie teaches in Vancouver, BC.

Maggie has been serving the community with inspired programs and events

for artists of all ages for over 28 years. She studied Drawing and Painting in Vancouver and San Francisco; however, it was the Reggio Emilia philosophy in Early Childhood Education that has shaped her practice most as an art educator. She also has special interests in 

Place-Based Learning and Eco Awareness. She is now a full-time artist and teaches across B.C. Maggie is a member of the National Art Education Association and a founding member of Arts and Play Society, a non-profit organization that supports the Pedagogy of Play and using art and nature to create a space for social connection.



Melissa Bracken

Teaches in Duncan, BC.

Melissa decided at a very young age her purpose in life was to advocate for environmental connection and sustainability using art. Over the years this journey has taken her down many paths, leading to a large skill set. She has strong backgrounds and substantial certification in Environmental Education, Psychology, Music, Art, Biology and Geography. Currently, Melissa is pursuing a Master of Arts Degree in Environmental Education and Communication at Royal Roads University and has obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Vancouver Island University. She has taught all of the above subjects and has over 15 years of experience in recreational education. In her spare time, Melissa researches ways to care for her local environment and writes environmental music.

Trisha Nelson

Teaches in Calgary & Strathmore, AB

Trisha Nelson was raised in the foothills southwest of Calgary, Alberta at the foot of the Rockies.  Her parents fostered a deep appreciation for both wildlife and art by exposing their daughter to the art they loved themselves and providing abundant opportunity to study both art and wildlife.  Trish earned both her Bachelor of Fine Arts and Bachelor of Education degrees from the University of Lethbridge.  Since graduating, she has completed several private commissions of her artwork for individuals, local companies, and organizations.   

Trish’s primary occupation for the past 12 years has been as a Family Practitioner in Strathmore Alberta supplemented by turns in her roles as a substitute teacher, art instructor and artist. She has gained excellent training, substantial certification, and experience throughout her career as an Early Intervention Therapist, educator and Stepping Stones Triple P Practitioner working with children with diversity and their families.  Trish has also developed and implemented high quality art programs for children and adults both privately and through local non-profit arts organizations throughout the past 24 years.    She escapes to the outdoors as often as possible with a camera and sketch bag to observe and collect a variety of reference material to use in her artwork.  Trish considers herself very fortunate to live where she can explore the rich variety of the wetlands, prairies, badlands, foothills, and mountain terrains all within a short distance of her home with access to public information centers where she and her family can learn about local ecosystems and their inhabitants.  Sometimes she even gets to explore in her family’s “upcycled” trailer, canoe, or her sea kayak.  Trish enjoys learning from other professionals, teaching herself to use a variety of mediums and techniques and passing on what she learns as an instructor to her students.  Most of her professional art over the past 15 years has been done in oils and metal-point drawing; she is currently learning to paint in egg tempera as well. Regardless of her choice of medium, her artwork is always grounded in observing and sketching the world around her.  

Sue Macartney

Teaches in Victoria, BC.

Sue Macartney is a children’s book author-illustrator, with a professional background in graphic design and art education. She is passionate about the environment and has been exploring nature on Canada’s west coast and around the world since she was a small child.

Aankshika Bheem

Teaches in Mississauga

Aankshika is an artist and designer. She has a Bachelor of Design in Fashion Communications, specializing in graphic design. Through teaching at Visual Arts Mississauga, she reconnected with her love for nature. She explores natural environments through illustration and photography, supporting her work with research into environmental justice and regenerative futures. She is passionate about learning how the intersections of nature and art can be used to design alternative education models, fostering deeper environmental awareness.

Anica Latchman

Teaches in Mississauga

Aniça Latchman is a graduate from the University of Toronto with an HBA specializing in Art and Art History. She now works as an Art Instructor at Visual Arts Mississauga at Riverwood. Aniça enjoys all facets of art making and particularly loves Sculpting and Print Making. She is drawn to nature and has a passion for exploring and traveling to new places.

Minoya Magendrathajan

Teaches in Mississauga

Minoya insists that she has the best job in the world – using art education to peek into children’s imaginations where societal constraints and the laws of physics don’t exist. She finds herself inspired by growing brains and plans to become an Ontario Certified Teacher. She currently holds a Bachelor of Arts in anthropology and psychology from McMaster University. Some of her favourite things include colour, the human brain, and nature. She hopes to build her own treehouse one day – complete with a greenhouse and art studio. If she isn’t sketching somewhere along the Credit River, you can find Minoya at the bouldering gym, trying to forget her fear of heights.

Alethia Caraccioli

Teaches in Mississauga

Alethia is an artist, art instructor and art facilitator. She received her Bachelors of Fine Arts Visual Arts from York University and studied Art Therapy at The Toronto Art Therapy Institute. Alethia is interested in the creative process as a means for healing and self-care and views the artistic process as a supportive outlet for mental health and well-being. Much of Alethia’s artwork and photography is inspired by her connection to nature and utilizes nature to practice mindfulness.

Val Lawton

Teaches in Victoria, BC.

When artist-illustrator Val Lawton was a kid, her favourite books were the ones with the simple scratchy drawings, like Winnie The Pooh, or The Twits. Since then, she has gone on to illustrate over 30 children’s picture books for such clients as the Canadian Football League and the National Hockey League. In addition to being a best-selling, award-winning children’s book illustrator, Val loves being in nature and creating art with kids.


Wendy Quirt

Teaches in Ottawa, ON

Wendy has been a full-time wildlife painter for over 15 years. Dedicated to nature and committed to preserving wildlife and their habitats, her work has and continues to help raise funds for a variety of conservation organizations. She is an associate member of Artists for Conservation. When not in the studio she visits local classrooms and groups talking about wildlife and the creative process. An experienced art teacher, she enjoys sharing her knowledge with students of all ages. She hopes to share the beauty and value of nature through her art and discussions of the natural world.

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Check out the amazing works from Nature Sketch participants!

Discovering the creative force within is one of the most magical and empowering moments that can be seen in a Nature Sketch session. Seeing a child have that ‘A-Ha’ moment – the moment they understand their own creative potential to connect with nature using a pencil and know that this creativity will serve them for the rest of their lives, is truly one of the best sights you will ever see.

Leanne, Nature Sketch Instructor

“I cannot easily express how delighted I am with the national reach of Nature Sketch. As you likely know, I believe this is one of your most significant endeavors. It is essential for our next generation (the children of today) to grow up knowing humanity is a harmonious part of nature. As nature survives and blossoms so do we all. The model of humanity controlling or dominating nature is false and dangerous to all of us.” – Nature Sketch Participant

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