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Sketch Hike with Heather L. Johnson

During her Artist in Residence, Heather L. Johnson conducted two guided sketch hikes along the rim of Grand Canyon National Park. Participants walked from Trailview Overlook to Powell Point on the Rim Trail, practicing careful observation along the way. Heather encouraged them to walk attentively, and select a subject to draw using all of their senses, paying special attention to how the drawing makes them feel. At the end of each sketch hike, Heather led a group discussion to reflect and exchange experiences and ideas. Explore photos from Heather's residency and sketch hikes on Flickr

Sketch of a plant on white pages of a notebook

Four individuals pose next to Heather Johnson showing their sketches.

Enhance your drawing skills or pick up new ones. Learn to notice the magical details surrounding us everywhere. With pencil and paper, there is no limit to what we can see, feel, and express. Sketch hikes are a great way to connect with your surrounding landscape and serve as an awesome souvenir of your adventure. It's something you made just from paying attention. It is entirely unique and entirely yours. It can be done either on your own or with friends and family. Head outside and try a sketch hike today.


Recommended supplies:

  • Small notebook, sketch pad, journal, or drawing paper
  • Pencils, pencil sharpener, and a bag to pack out your pencil shavings
  • Lightweight backpacking stool
  • Water and salty snacks
  • Sun protection, lightweight clothing, and comfortable shoes

About the Artist

Heather L. Johnson

Photo of Heather L. Johnson by Wei Hong
Residency: May 2, 2021, through June 14, 2021

Heather L. Johnson saw her time as Grand Canyon’s Artist in Residence as an opportunity to broaden her self-awareness by examining intimately how her presence affects parts of the park and how the qualities and features of these environments affect her.

Heather, based in Houston, Texas, has been focusing her recent work on the landscapes and the people she encounters through travel. She is interested in the traces of themselves people leave behind when moving through a given space—ranging from tales of personal experience that color a location’s cultural history to the physical transformations people make upon the landscape itself, be it through large architectural transformations or the subtler signs of human footprints.

Using an interdisciplinary approach that brings together photography and video, drawing, hand-stitched embroidery, written prose, and more, she responds to the memories and experiences that accumulate throughout life. Her work has been seen in galleries, museums, and in the public realm internationally.

Heather conducted two guided sketch hikes during her residency in which she shared her practice of careful observation and spontaneous drawing. Participants were invited to walk attentively and select a subject to draw using all of their senses, paying attention to how the drawing makes them feel. 

Heather L. Johnson sketches near the rim of Grand Canyon

Heather L. Johnson sketches near the rim of Grand Canyon.

Sketches by Heather L. Johnson of various sights during her residency

Sketches by Heather L. Johnson from her residency at Grand Canyon.