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Colors of the West: Free online workshop with painter Molly Hashimoto

October 19th, 2017 | Posted by in Odds & Ends

“Putting a brush in the hands of new artists, young and old, heightens their awareness of the power and beauty of nature.” – Molly Hashimoto

Join North Cascades Institute and The Mountaineers Books October 24, at 7pm for the next Mountaineers Books Web Series event with Molly Hashimoto, author of the new book Colors of the West: An Artist’s Guide to Nature’s Palette. Molly is an award-winning artist and art teacher. In her book, Molly explains techniques for creating successful watercolor paintings en plein air, a French term meaning literally “in the open air.”

In this presentation, Molly will:

Discuss outdoor paint palettes and how to “see” color depending on time of day, season, atmosphere, and more
Offer tips to improve your nature painting skills or begin this as a fun new hobby—whether you regularly go into the backcountry or just want to sketch and paint the natural beauty in a park down the street
Steeped in the natural world, Molly has sketched in the outdoors and worked as a plein air artist and teacher for more than 20 years. In that time she has filled more than 40 sketchbooks with landscapes, vignettes, studies of flora and fauna, and natural history notes—all created while visiting some of the West’s most stunning landscapes.

Click here to register >>

You can attend from any web-connected computer or device. Register even if you can’t attend the evening and we will email you a recording of the webinar to listen to whenever it’s convenient!

steph map

The Artful Map

July 12th, 2013 | Posted by in Odds & Ends

After a week in San Francisco, I returned to North Cascades Institute just in time for Jocelyn Curry’s Artful Map class. I had no idea what to expect, but I thought it might be interesting to produce a map focused on my home of Washington, DC, with an emphasis on all the outdoor activities possible in the city, including biking and soccer, two of my favorites. When most people think of DC, they think of museums and cranky old white guys arguing with each other all day, but the city’s cycling and jogging paths are packed on weekends, and the international nature of its residents means you never have to go far to find a soccer game.

Jocelyn started off by showing us all some popular books and some of her own work, for inspiration. Then she shared some watercolor basics for those of us who hadn’t touched a brush since we were seven years old. Next, some simple calligraphy instruction using one of those old-fashioned nib pens and a bottle of India ink. Jocelyn also provided us with some templates we could use to copy banners, compasses, sea-monsters, and other artful icons that cartographers have loved for centuries.

colored pencil mapA map of the Learning Center created by one of the participants

» Continue reading The Artful Map

Spring Printmaking Workshop at the Learning Center

May 15th, 2012 | Posted by in Institute News

During the last weekend in April, Seattle artist and North Cascades Institute friend and instructor Molly Hashimoto led a wonderful and inspiring 3-day Adult Seminar on Printmaking with Ink and Watercolor at the Environmental Learning Center. Each day, Molly shared basic printmaking techniques that helped to build tangible skills and deepen each artist’s unique and creative talents. Molly and her students spent time in and around the Environmental Learning Center, finding inspiration in the newly emergent spring growth, towering peaks, blue waters, and rich colors of the North Cascades. After learning the basic elements of black and white contrast, participants spent time designing, carving, and proofing their block prints, later developing color palettes to enhance their work. So engrossed in their art were the 15 dedicated participants and staff of this workshop that they had to be reminded to take breaks in order to taste the delicious meals prepared by the chefs, or to enjoy a quick walk along the sunny shores of Diablo Lake! Below is a painted story highlighting the beautiful prints of the workshop’s participants. A big thank you to Molly and to all who attended!

Check out Molly Hashimoto’s blog for a full recounting of her experience while teaching printmaking at the Environmental Learning Center.

» Continue reading Spring Printmaking Workshop at the Learning Center

Watercolors in the North Cascades

October 21st, 2011 | Posted by in Institute News

Earlier this October, Seattle artist and North Cascades Institute friend Molly Hashimoto led a wonderful and successful workshop on watercolor painting in nature at the Environmental Learning Center. Each day, Molly led students through exercises that developed tangible skills and techniques with the aim of guiding individuals towards their own unique artistic expressions. Molly and her students spent time in and around the Environmental Learning Center and along Washington Pass, finding inspiration in the many angles, elevations, and dramatic hues of the North Cascades. Below is a painted story highlighting the beautiful work of many of the workshop’s participants. A big thank you to Molly and to all who attended!

Check out Molly Hashimoto’s blog for a full recounting of her experience while teaching watercolors at the Environmental Learning Center.

» Continue reading Watercolors in the North Cascades

25th Anniversary posters for sale

July 28th, 2011 | Posted by in Institute News

We are pleased to offer a special limited-edition poster commemorating North Cascades Institute’s 25th anniversary. This high-quality poster features a new painting by watercolor artist Molly Hashimoto, who also is the featured artist on our catalog this year and is teaching two workshops at the Learning Center. Her piece depicts an iconic view from the Learning Center of Pyramid Peak, Diablo Lake and a detail of Diablo Dam.

We’re selling these posters for $10 in all five of our bookstores, including the Learning Center, Stehekin, Newhalem and Marblemount. We’re also making them available to purchase by phone or email for $15 includes tax and shipping/handling).

To purchase one of these keepsake posters from afar, please email or call (360) 854-2599. All of the proceeds from the sale of these posters will help us to fund outdoor education opportunities for local youth!

Here’s Molly sharing some thoughts on her painting and this particular view:

» Continue reading 25th Anniversary posters for sale

AP: Mountains Inspire in North Cascades Art Courses

July 9th, 2010 | Posted by in Institute News

Watercolors and wildlife: North Cascades Institute courses offer arts and outdoors


The Associated Press


For their 10th wedding anniversary, Kori Crane’s husband handed her a check and told her she could only spend it on an art class.

Not just any art class.

Crane designed and painted silk scarves in the remote wilderness of North Cascades National Park, drawing on the majestic mountains and towering pines for inspiration.

Nestled at the foot of Sourdough Mountain and on the shore of Diablo Lake, the North Cascades Environmental Learning Center is home to fine arts, writing, cultural and natural history courses, as well as family weekends that include kayaking, hiking, boating and fun.

Front and center, though, is the wilderness. One of the most remote national parks in the U.S., North Cascades offers miles of hiking trails, abundant wildlife and panoramic views of rugged peaks and glacier-fed lakes far from an urban center.

Crane, 39, of Mount Vernon, Wash., had visited the lodge once before for a hiking day. Already an active quilter and fiber artist but recovering from a recent shoulder injury, she made the trip to the North Cascades last year aiming to try something new.

“I enjoy color a lot, so really being able to play with color on a grand scale is wonderful,” she said. “The atmosphere is inspiring for art.”

Seattle City Light built the five-acre facility as part of its Skagit River dam license for hydropower. The nonprofit North Cascades Institute manages the 16-building campus, which opened in 2005, and its adult course offerings help finance youth education programs.

Molly Hashimoto has traveled to the lodge for six years to teach watercolor classes, and the getaway hasn’t lost its magic.

“For me, it’s the ease of getting outdoors, and the beauty is unparalleled. The scale — it’s awesome,” she said. “You wouldn’t find that many places in the country where you can see from sea level to a mountain peak, almost a vertical mile. It’s awe-inspiring.”

The center’s wood floors and cedar walls are warm, earthy and inviting, with buildings named after trees found in the nearby woods: pine, maple, cedar, fir. The dining room overlooks the lake, where boat tours glide by. Meals are included and feature local, often organic, ingredients.

It’s already drawn visitors from across the country.

Donna Woodland, 49, of Montoursville, Pa., traveled with a friend from Oregon to work on watercolor landscapes, a progression from her nature journals and sketches at home.

“If I don’t draw for a few days or weeks, I find it affects my mood,” she said. “This forces me to draw around other people. Otherwise this is a solitary thing, and everyone sees things differently. You get feedback.”

Gazing across Diablo Lake at Colonial and Pyramid peaks, Hashimoto said she’d like to see more young people sign up for art courses. People with young families tend toward the family getaway weekends, she said, and people without families “are just working too hard.”

“Art is one of those things people should splurge on for themselves,” she said.

One of her regular students, Len Eisenhood of Seattle, also made the trip with his wife for their 40th wedding anniversary. She took a journaling course, while he focused on his watercolors.

“We love the Northwest, and to have this time dedicated to being in this gorgeous setting dawn to dusk was something to say yes to,” he said. “It’s a privilege to be here and have this time.”

Molly Hashimoto’s sketchbook

» Continue reading AP: Mountains Inspire in North Cascades Art Courses