By Katie Benfield
Tonya Lee and her family moved to the High Country at the beginning of December, and ever since then, she has felt a push to pursue organizing a group centered on nature studies and sketching.
Because of Lee’s passion, a group called The High Country Nature Sketchers was created. It will have its first ever meeting on Tuesday, Mar. 14, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Appalachian Regional Library here in Boone.
“I’ve been doing this kind of thing for a long time,” Lee said. “It’s a fantastic way to get together in fellowship and nature and just explore our surroundings.”
The organization was designed to create a community of artists of any skill level and any age in the High Country. The overall purpose is to connect with one another and nature through sketching, exploration and journaling.
“We are just going to learn about nature together, and then we will break out and sketch independently,” Lee said. “It’s for all ages; it can be for families all the way up to retiree age.”
Although the group is expected to meet only once a month, Lee has some other ideas for it as well. Along with the official group meeting, where there will possibly be guest speakers and a variety of guest teachers, the group will also be able to meet for support for their sketches.
“During the month, I have an area set up where we can share and encourage each other,” Lee said.
Along with this, each month will have a different theme that the group learns about and focuses on. According to Lee, she already has April’s theme planned out – the study of trees.
“It’ll be tree studies because it’s just such a great time of year for that,” Lee said, “especially in this area.”
However, don’t feel discouraged from attending just because you feel as if you don’t have the skills or experience necessary. The High Country Nature Sketchers welcomes all artists or artists-to-be, as long as you are willing to learn and have a good time while you’re doing so. Nature sketching isn’t about skill and talent; instead, it is about science and observation.
“Nature study is not about art, it’s about learning,” Lee said. “You don’t have to be an artist or even experienced at all. This is for anyone who has an interest in nature study and would like to explore the world around them a little bit more.”
Lee encourages anyone in the area who may think they have an interest in something along the lines of nature study and sketching to come to the interest meeting and see what it’s all about.
“It’s just a great way to get out and explore and have fun,” Lee said. “Anyone and everyone is welcome.”
Please RSVP to this event by emailing [email protected] or calling 828-263-6505.
For more information about nature studies, sketching and Lee’s artwork, visit her website, Scratchmade Journal.
Photo by Tonya Lee, Scratchmade Journal: