Hazel Ridge Workshop & Gallery
Programs Offered by Hazel Ridge Farm

Programs offered to libraries, community and group events. Programs average about
ninety minutes. Please inquire about prices and availability. Contact Robbyn Smith
at robbyn@myfrontiermail.com or call 517-641-6690. Thank you.

Anyone Can Draw

     Program Overview       Programs with Gijsbert        Programs with Robbyn

  1. Painting on Isle Royale - A slide presentation on Gijsbert's three-week stay as Artist-In-Residence on this wild Lake Superior island.

  2. An African Safari - A culmination of the artist's expeditions to Kenya. This presentation richly depicts Kenya's exotic wildlife and diminishing habitat.

  3. Habitat Improvement - How Gijsbert and Robbyn turned their forty acres into a natural habitat - from creating butterfly and bluebird habitat to establishing
    natural Michigan prairies, as well as creating and saving wetlands.

  4. The Great Horned Owl - For thirteen years the farms resident Great Horned Owl, Jackson, lived around the house. This program documents the natural history and human interaction throughout the seasons. The true story of their friendship is the subject of their children’s picture book,Adopted by an Owl, illustrated by Gijsbert and written by his wife Robbyn.

  5. Meet the Artist Enjoy a behind the scenes look at Gijsbert’s studio, his farm and his family. See for yourself how his forty acres of paradise inspires him to create beautiful paintings.

  6. The Stories Behind the Books – From start to finish, see the unique way Gijsbert creates a picture book. Hear first hand how Gijsbert works with real people and animals as his models for his books…and the many challenges that entails. Enjoy many "behind the scene" stories that add love and humor to his final creations.

  7. Drawing Made Easy – Geared towards children (but adults may join in) Gijsbert takes the group through a step by step process using circles, squares and triangles showing how easy it is to draw. Everyone goes home with 3 – 4 drawings and a real sense of accomplishment in their artist skills.

  8. Drawing and Storytelling – Robbyn and Gijsbert blend both their programs into one. Natural science, journaling, storytelling and drawing. This hour of pure fun and learning is one of everyone’s favorite!

  9. The Hazel Ridge Farm Series – In depth look at how the Hazel Ridge Farm Series was created. The van Frankenhuyzen’s have made it their life’s work to become stewards of the land; from planting trees, digging ponds and creating wetlands to establishing natural prairies. Visit the land, meet the family and see some of the animals they rehabilitated in their twenty-five years of wildlife "foster parents".

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Simple Shapes

Drawing With "Mr. Nick"

School, library and group presentations

Art in Your School

Gijsbert, known as "Mr. Nick" to the children, works with grades K-6, taking them through a step by step drawing process using simple shapes such as circles, squares and triangles. He explains to the kids how he himself begins each painting using these basic shapes. Children will go home with a completed drawing, feeling quite surprised and proud of their accomplishments. His motivation is to give them confidence and show every child (and adult) that drawing does not have to be complicated. The drawings are often characters taken directly from one of the Legend books. During the drawing program he discusses how he became an artist, how he became a book illustrator and what it takes to get a book published. His main philosophy in life is one he encourages all students to take as their own. " Make your hobby your work". He says," We all have to work when we grow up, we might as well be doing something we like to do".

Each drawing session can range between 45 and 60 minutes, with 45 minutes being the average. His sessions can begin 8:30 a.m. so most school days will fit in 5 –6 drawing sessions. No more than 6 sessions in one day, please. Smaller classes (less than 35) allow more opportunity for student/artist interaction but he can accommodate up to 100 students per session. Nick can travel from class to class or stay in one location. He does request sessions not be held in gymnasium or cafeteria. These rooms invariably have challenging acoustics and often lead to noisier and harder to manage drawing sessions (not to mention a strain on Nick’s vocal chords). Schools have found the media center/library usually fits the bill nicely. Materials students will need for the program are pencils and 3 – 4 sheets of paper. Nick will need an easel with large chart paper and 3 – 4 big black markers. All of Nick’s drawings will stay right in your school for everyone to enjoy. He has found that for large groups a lapel microphone saves on his vocal chords.

As Artist-in-Residence Gijsbert’s visits can range from a daylong program, to as much as a week in your school district.
Curtis Library Curtis Library

Proud Artist

Drawing is Exciting! We can do it!

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A Day with Robbyn Smith-van Frankenhuyzen

Author – Wildlife Journalist & Rehabilitator – Storyteller

Robbyn and her husband Gijsbert have spent the last 20 years of their lives rehabilitating orphaned or injured animals. Her training as an animal technician enabled them to raise and release a wide assortment of critters.from foxes, fawns and raccoons to skunks, opossums and owls. She kept journals of their experiences with the menagerie of creatures and tapped those journals to write Adopted by an Owl, Saving Samantha, Kelly of Hazel Ridge and Itsy Bitsy & Teeny Weeny.

Program Description

Robbyn shares with students, K – 6, the unique way her books were written and suggests that there is no one way to write a story. Before her visit she sends to the school a seven-minute video with unbelievable footage of Jackson, the Great Horned Owl. During her school visit, she will share many stories about her family’s extraordinary relationship with Jackson. She presents a slide show of all the animals they have cared for over the years, blending lessons in natural science, writing, and interactive storytelling. Her motivation is to give children confidence in reading and writing …with an important emphasis on journaling. Her main philosophy in life, just like her husbands, is one she encourages all students to take as their own. "Make your hobby your career." She says, "We all have to work when we grow up, we might as well be doing something we like to do". Each session must be 60 minutes long. Class size can range from 30 to 100 students. No more than 6 sessions in one day, please. If the sessions are held in cafeteria or gymnasium a lapel microphone is required…but the media center is a much preferred gathering place. The school should supply a carousel projector with screen.

As Artist-in-Residence Robbyn’s visits can range from a day-long program, to as much as a week in your school district.

Signing at Barnes & Noble

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Robbyn and Gijsbert van Frankenhuyzen
7409 Clark Rd.
Bath, Mi. 48808
Phone 517-641-6690

© 2011, Hazel Ridge Farm & Marsi Parker Darwin, All Rights Reserved