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Create by The Creek Week: June 13 - 21

Create by the Creek: A Socially-Distant Celebration of Art and Community in Rock Creek Park

From Saturday, June 13, 2020 to Sunday, June 21, 2020

Washington Studio School is pleased to partner with the Friends of Peirce Mill, National Park Service, and the Rock Creek Conservancy for Create by the Creek, a celebration of art and community in Rock Creek Park.

Washington, DC—Washington Studio School (WSS), the National Park Service, Friends of Peirce Mill and Rock Creek Conservancy invite D.C. and area residents for a socially-distant celebration of community, art and Rock Creek Park (RCP). Residents of all ages and artistic sensibilities are invited to use RCP to make art during Create by the Creek from June 13 to 21, 2020. Find a safe, quiet spot to consider what Rock Creek Park and community means to you by drawing, painting, writing a poem or a rap, taking a photograph, recording a TikTok, or making a collage. Follow @createbythecreek on Instagram and share your artwork using the hashtags #createbythecreek #rockcreekpark #loverockcreek #summerintheparks. No special art supplies are required. For suggestions on how to draw, paint or collage using materials you already have visit, For more information on the history of artmaking in Rock Creek Park, visit If you're unable to visit RCP, download a printable Peirce Mill Diorama: Visitors are urged to practice social distancing, avoid crowded areas, and to ensure no art supplies or related trash is left in the park. For more information on socially distant stewardship, visit the Rock Creek Conservancy website: Remember to follow park rules and recreate responsibly. For updates, visit the Rock Creek Park alerts and conditions page. For more information on visiting hours, park rules and regulations, road closures, parking, restrooms etc., visit the National Park Service website. For more information, contact: Dana Dierkes, National Park Service, Rock Creek Park,

Angela Kramer, Friends of Peirce Mill, Laila Abdul-Hadi Jadallah, Tish King, Rock Creek Conservancy,



Creating art in the natural world can be a soothing, meditative process – one that helps us to slow down and pay close attention to our surroundings. We notice the varied contours of individual leaves, flowers, rocks, as well as the overall shapes of entire trees or buildings. We see color relationships and notice how they change with the time of day and weather conditions. Shadows change, leading to new shapes – edges are lost or revealed. In addition to the visual, we notice sounds, smells, temperature changes in the air, and the sensations of wind or stillness. Nature is in constant flux –nothing is what we think it is when we allow ourselves to discover what is really there. And just when you think you’ve got it, it changes! It’s a wonderful and challenging process to deeply explore the natural world through drawing, painting, or collage.

Here are some useful tips for working in the landscape:

  1. Pack light! Limitations are liberating and just a few paint colors can mix to a huge range of unified new colors. Just a few brushes will do. Working small is more practical.

  2. A portable easel or pochade box is useful for painters to carry all materials in and then out of the park.

  3. If you like to sit while you work a small lightweight camping stool is great to have.

  4. Watercolor is great for painting in the park. There are even brushes with water reservoirs attached that make things extremely portable.

  5. Gorgeous work can be done with just a pencil or ballpoint pen and paper, although colored pencils are great as well. Some are water-soluble, expanding their use.

  6. Pastel or oil pastels are wonderful to use outdoors. They also work well in combination with watercolor, graphite, and pen.

  7. Collage is fun but tricky to do outdoors if it is windy. Keep your papers in a ziplock bag or container with a lid to keep them from blowing all over the park. White glue or glue sticks will work.

  8. Keep your forms simple as you explore shape, value, and color. Start with big general shapes before moving to detail. The landscape can be overwhelming in its detail. Specificity can come from large relationships and is a different kind of detail.

  9. Make sure you have a good hat with a brim, sunscreen, bug repellant, and drinking water.

  10. Ideally, you want to be with one or two other people for safety’s sake – while at the same time socially distancing at the recommended number of feet from each other.

  11. Bring everything out of the park that you bring in with you. DO NOT dump any solvents or dirty water into the environment.

  12. Enjoy!!


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