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Desert sketches by artist Lisa Spangler.

Explore the Desert

Come join Lisa as we explore the desert—with paints! 

Online Workshop

Come join Lisa as we explore the desert—with pretzels, pocketknives, and paints! Put on your sun hats and pack your salty snacks as we head out on a virtual field trip to Joshua Tree, Saguaro, and Big Bend National Parks. We’ll stop along the way to talk about mixing colors for these unique places as we build a desert palette and explore techniques for creating texture as we paint a cactus and a mini landscape.

All levels welcome.

Not currently scheduled

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Recommended Supplies

  • Watercolor paper

    Lisa will be using Arches cold press paper torn down to a 5x5” square. She’ll also be using 9x12” Canson Montval paper for quick demos. Use what you feel comfortable with!
    • Brushes

      A round and a wash brush, large flat or hake brush if you have one.
      • Pencil and eraser

        • Paper Towel or cloth

          • Cup for water

            • Spray bottle filled with water

              • Watercolors

                Bring what you have. Lisa will be using her everyday Folio Palette, filled with:

                Other colors she loves for the desert:

                • Winsor & Newton Smalt
                • Naples Yellow
                • Holbein Shell Pink
                • Sedona Genuine
                • Schminke Transparent Orange
                • Lunar Earth
                • Piemontite Genuine

                Don’t feel obligated to have any of these colors! Lisa will also discuss alternative colors; once again, use what you have!

                • Gouache

                  White gouache or Dr. Ph Martin’s bleed-proof white ink, gold gouache for sparkle. White chalk pencil if you have one.
                  • Sepia pastel pencil or dark brown or blue watercolor pencil

                    • Pocket knife

                      Pocket knife if you have one or something like an Xacto knife to scratch the paper to create texture.

                      What to expect

                      Art Toolkit workshops are live events that take place on Zoom. During the workshop, you will have a chance to ask the instructor questions. After the workshop, we’ll provide you with a link to a recording to review on your own time (viewable for at least six months).

                      We’ll be in touch a week before the workshop with instructions for connecting and additional information. Please remember to adjust for your time zone. Tickets are non-refundable, but we may be able to transfer your ticket to another student if there is a waitlist.

                      We present our workshops with automated captions. If you wish to request additional accommodations, please let us know in advance.

                      Curious about tickets, technical details, gifting workshops, or anything else? Please see our frequently asked questions page for more details, and please don’t hesitate to contact us for help.

                      An artist in a straw hat and a blue and white plaid shirt smiles at the camera with a rocky wall in the background.

                      About Lisa

                      Lisa first started watercoloring a few years ago while she was recovering from 6 (!) surgeries for a torn ACL. During rehab she would walk to a pond in her neighborhood and use her Art Toolkit Pocket Palette to do a little sketch as a reward -- and to let her leg recover before making the trek back home. Now she sketches while hiking and backpacking. Lisa is on a mission to share the joy of sketching outdoors with everyone she meets!

                      She works for a nonprofit land trust dedicated to preserving Texas prairies. You may have spotted Lisa’s work for the paper craft industry at Target, JoAnn Fabrics and Michaels.

                      Lisa is an Art Toolkit Ambassador, and has joined us for two live demos:

                      You can learn more about Lisa on her website and on Instagram.