Dropped Calls from Mother Nature
The word biophilia has been around for a long time, but has currently been made popular by naturalist Edward Wilson. It simply suggests that we humans have an instinctive bond with other living things, meaning nature. Along with this theory, books are popping up about "nature deficit disorder," a real problem in children as well as adults. This lack of interaction with the natural world is resulting in physical and mental health issues as well as a disregard for our fellow residents on this planet. Technology and heavier workloads in tough economic times are both contributors, resulting in a lack of time and interest in getting outside. I also believe a lack of parental encouragement is a component in preventing our kids from getting outdoors.
I grew up collecting leaves in the fall and pressing them between wax paper, looking for the Big Dipper and the North Star, hiking through patches of woods, catching fireflies, spending every possible minute outdoors till the dreaded call from my mother echoed through the darkness to come indoors. This created my passion for the natural world and in turn a desire to capture it with paint and paper.
This blog began with a reference to field sketching, so indulge me please while I talk a bit more on this subject. It is a great way to reconnect with nature. When you spend time outdoors drawing a tree or bird or flower, you begin to see what makes that life form so extraordinary. Seeing = learning = caring = protecting. Everyone wins.
It takes real courage to learn something new, and I am grateful to those willing to spend a couple of hours with a stranger in hot, humid weather. What I am seeing are transformations. Students are noticing things they hadn't seen before. And those who say they can't draw are realizing they can produce a meaningful sketch along with lasting memories of the beauty of this barrier island. Sketching in nature is also meditative, offering a break from life's obstacles. I always hope people will continue sketching when they return home and perhaps encourage family and friends to give it a try.
For anyone interested, I thought I'd share with you what I take into the field when I go sketching. But remember, all you really need is a pencil or pen and a piece of paper. It's not about the equipment, it's about using your eyes.
Pitt Artist pens
watersoluble graphite pencils
Prang watercolor set and brushes
cup to hold water
bag to pick up any trash I see
(all tucked into my Ameribag backpack)
and my Walkstool
PS : My oldest son was born during the peak of the Perseid Meteor Showers. As the heavens rejoice in his birth, I will be watching the celebration wondering how I got so lucky.
"Note on a page with a hole burned through it : I saved this star for you but it got away." - Dave Masons