Sketching, Product Testing, and Piloting

By: Elaina Johann, administrative manager on May 26th, 2021

Inspired by my overgrown lawn of flowering weeds and seeding grasses as I participate in Wausau’s No Mow May, last Monday, I invited my coworkers Catie Anderson, Dave Jones, and Shannon Pueschner for a Woodson Art Museum Sculpture Garden nature sketch session.

Anticipating quality sketch time, I put together a little makeshift sketchbook out of different office papers by folding them in half and stapling the middle. With a clipboard and pencils, I was ready to convert a bit of administrative time into art time.

When I went to the workshop before heading out to the Sculpture Garden, Catie and Shannon showed that they are always ready for art on a whim. They filled up a caddy, a new product which had just come in, with watercolor pencils, papers and paper pads, and water brushes.


With the caddy in hand, Catie, Dave, Shannon, and I selected our mediums and surfaces. We found seats throughout the gardens and grounds in the grass, on the stone ledge, and beside the sidewalk, all next to budding flowers and green foliage. The sun provided warmth on the spring day while the birds chirped along providing a little music.

While sketching, I discovered that crabapple flower petals can provide a nice mauve pigment when rubbed onto the paper or combined with water. I also found that sometimes it’s nice to trace fallen plant debris rather than sketch. Many approaches are possible when observing and putting pigment to paper.


Our product testing of the caddies outside showed that they’re ideal for transporting art materials. The caddies are intended for a new drop-in program the Museum is piloting called Art à la Carte to fuel art observation, conversation, and making. Art projects inspired by artwork on view comprise pop-up art experiences in the galleries and on the grounds this summer.

Whether you choose to walk through the Sculpture Garden with a sketchbook, happen upon Art à la Carte in the Museum’s galleries, or pick up an Art Kit from the main entrance or anytime from the Museum’s Stop-by Studio, there are always opportunities to make art.

Visit soon for inspiration to continue art making at home, too. Your lawn, like mine, might have weeds begging for you to sketch them.

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