Thursday, December 10, 2015
Nature Sketching On A Golden Afternoon
I spent a warm, golden afternoon sketching tree fungus and watching a whole family of American anoles frolicking along the length of a fallen beech tree. One particularly bold one who was missing part of its tail I christened "Stumpy". Very imaginative, I know. It was such a perfect day, I captured the moment with a selfie - something I rarely do. But, I kind of like this one. It really captures the feeling of the moment - warm, peaceful, and happy. I discovered so much more than is evident in my sketch. There is a whole micro ecosystem living on and around that fallen tree. There is such a story to tell there, and I think I will spend a bit more time trying to capture it.
I am trying hard not to be too critical of my drawing, but I really wish I could learn how to draw the fungus at the right angles - foreshortening in essence. See how the brackets I've drawn look as if they are perpendicular to the ground? Well, they don't grow that way. They grow parallel to the ground, but I haven't worked out how to achieve that yet. I watched a fantastic YouTube video by John Muir Laws on drawing wildflowers in which he addresses the issue of foreshortening, but it just hasn't clicked with me yet. I will keep trying.
But, the good news is, I have discovered that nature journaling is about a whole lot more than drawing. It's an active form of meditation, sitting quietly and focusing intently on capturing some small element of the wonders unfolding before my eyes. I felt so calm, happy, and refreshed and also as if I had been allowed to peek into a secret world. Even if my drawing doesn't receive any benefit from the practice, my spirit definitely does, and so I am inspired to continue.