Of storytelling and sketching….

Are you a storyteller?  I bet each of us would respond modestly, but we all have a lifetime of stories and memories made inside each one of us.

In my last post, I introduced my great-grandma Ma Doll Johnson, who came out to the Wallowa Valley in Eastern Oregon with her family to homestead and create a life  (check out the post here, and is part of my 52 faces project).

I thought it would be fun to show my journal pages from my latest trip to the same property my great-grandmother homesteaded, which is now is care for by my sister and I. My mom and I went out this past 4th of July, staying in the cabin my grandfather built ( the original farm house burned when my grandfather was a child) and it was a lovely adventure.

Lots of porch sitting, storytelling, and connection.

I hope you enjoy my visual storytelling of the Northwoods (scroll down for more story details!), and I encourage you to tell your own uniquely beautiful story!

Happy Saturday, and may it be an inspired one!

Northwoods Sketch #1: The A-Frame Cabin
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Northwoods sketch #2: Opening the Cabin


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Northwoods sketch #3: Simple Meal on the Porch


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Northwood Sketch #4: The Old Wood Stove
Northwoods Sketch #5: Aunt Roberta’s  Apple Tree


Northwoods Sketch #6: The Johnson Meadow

Northwoods Sketch #1: The A-Frame Cabin

One of my goals for this summer was to visit and document through sketch The Northwoods, my family’s original homestead in the magical eastern part of Oregon. Nestled in the foothills of the Wallow Mountain range, this landscape has painted volumes in my memory of amazing childhood adventures.

Northwoods Sketch #2: Opening the Cabin

Every summer, the cabin has to be “opened up”. As a child, I remember this task falling on mostly the adults . Now, with many of the Johnson family elders gone, the responsibility becomes that of my sister and I. What a nice way to honor and remember those who put so much love, laughter and sweat equity into this magical place.

Northwoods Sketch #3: Simple Meal on the Porch

A simple breakfast on the porch of the cabin with my mom was the perfect pairing. The green mug is part of a set of my grandmothers that hang on gold hooks from the ceiling rafters in the kitchen.

Northwoods Sketch #4: Old Woodstove

There is a wood stove in the cabin’s kitchen, having been witness to many delicious meals shared, running feet going past ( always quickly shuffled outside by Grandma!) and long, cold winters without a single visitor. When I have a place to call my own, no doubt it will require a wood stove.

Northwoods Sketch #5: Roberta’s Apple Tree

My Great Aunt Roberta’s apple tree.. .the stuff of legends. She was so proud of this tree, and the delicious fruit that came every year. The tree lives on there in the meadow, and so many stories continue to be told around it. It was gratifying to sit as an adult in the tall grass meadow and sketch Roberta’s tree.

Northwoods Sketch #6: The Johnson Meadow

Final sketch from the 4th of July trip with my mom, but an important one. Our cabin sits on a meadow that was owned by my great grandfather, and was split between about 8 children. Our 25 acres now belong to my sister and I. It is humbling and a great honor to care for this land, passed down through generations. Sitting in the meadow sketching this, I spent time with family members who are there watching over us newbie stewards from above.





8 Comments Add yours

  1. Georgia Johnson says:

    Aww Miss…….just beautiful !!!  Crying 😦  just a bit here.

    From: Inspiration in Focus To: richard16215@yahoo.com Sent: Saturday, July 30, 2016 1:13 PM Subject: [New post] Of storytelling and sketching…. #yiv0770369615 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv0770369615 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv0770369615 a.yiv0770369615primaryactionlink:link, #yiv0770369615 a.yiv0770369615primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv0770369615 a.yiv0770369615primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv0770369615 a.yiv0770369615primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv0770369615 WordPress.com | missyjean posted: “Are you a storyteller?  I bet each of us would respond modestly, but we all have a lifetime of stories and memories made inside each one of us.In my last post, I introduced my great-grandma Ma Doll Johnson, who came out to the Wallowa Valley in Eastern ” | |

    1. missyjean says:

      So glad you liked it, Ma! It was a great weekend, and lots of memories there. Notice I did not include the dry shampoo adventure on the porch sketch, but the story will undoubtedly come out in the future. 😀

  2. Very lovely post, Melissa!! 🙂 Beautiful sketches and stories 😀 xxxxx

    1. missyjean says:

      Thanks so much, Sarah! There is a fabulous sketchbook artist Dan Price from the same area our cabin is in, and he inspired me to start sketching in the first place as a way to document the everyday.

      I think I have mentioned him before, but you should check him out! His sketchbooks are incredible.


      1. You´re always very welcome!! 🙂 And thank you for that link – will look at it as soon as possible (always interested in other artsts and their wonderful creations 😉 ) Have a lovely day! xxx ❤

  3. Chez Shea says:

    So gorgeous- would make beautiful illustrations for a children’s story book.

    1. missyjean says:

      Ohhhh, I always loved illustrations in children’s storybooks….would love to be part of one someday!

      Thanks for your kind words, Chez Shea, and may you have a magical start to your week.

  4. I begin to feel a little jealous about your works 😉

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