The Art of Peach-Picking!

I recently had the opportunity to visit my sister in the beautiful green state of South Carolina. As part of the visit, we decided to go peach-picking. Familiar with the typical grocery store peaches (no larger than a fist), I was surprised to find peaches twice that size–and twice as sweet and juicy! Unfortunately our peach-picking was cut short as a storm quickly rolled in. As we were walking through the orchard, heading back towards the car, I began to take in my surroundings. Since I had spent much of my time glancing upward towards the trees, I decided to direct my attention towards the overlooked vegetation and happenings on the ground.

That is when I found my next collectible…half of a peach pit. Not only was it visually stunning, but it also provided some interesting textural varieties. While the outside of the pit was rough, the center was incredibly smooth–definitely a worthy member of my summer nature art collection!

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‘Til later…happy collecting! 🙂

The First Collectibles!

Not wanting to waste any time after a great end of the school year, I headed out to the woods for a wonderful week of backpacking! Nothing recharges my batteries and clears my mind like spending some time in nature—taking in the fresh air, sights, and sounds around me! All the while, I had my summer’s art collection in my mind. Although I wasn’t exactly sure of what I was looking for, I knew the first piece of my collection would find me at the right moment.

I was right.

During the first night at our campsite, as we were walking around a nearby meadow, my husband picked up a triangular speckled rock (not pictured here) and handed it to me with nothing but a “here” for explanation. Although it was simple, the act of selecting that rock from all of the other rocks out there and then handing it to me gave that little rock an extra layer of meaning–beyond the interesting textures, layers, and patterns in its surface. I kept that rock in my pocket for the rest of the trip, deciding that one of the focuses of my collection would be the stories and layers of meaning contained within small, simple objects.

The second object for my collection was found while on a day hike in search of elk. For days, we had seen sign of elk, but had yet to actually see them. So, during our last full day, we decided to follow the elk trails and see where they would lead us. Although the only elk I saw were small dots on the top of a mountain, the trails that we followed led to a series of beautiful meadows and springs–a paradise few have the opportunity to see! While I was exploring, I stumbled across a very interesting piece of wood. I was actually initially drawn to it because it reminded me of a rhinoceros horn. Upon closer look, I was in awe at the incredible swirls and marks on every surface. As I turned it over in my hands, I found that I was mesmerized by the way the patterns and views changed.

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Having found the first two pieces for my collection, I am very excited to find more works of “nature art!” Since I wasn’t able to post about it earlier, I have also designated a small shelf to be the location for my art collection. Each piece that I find for my collection needs to be no larger than my hand (preferably smaller) in order to fit on the shelf. I also found a small plastic container to hold my “story objects,” such as the triangular rock.

I will be heading on another summer adventure at the end of the week, so will post again as my collection continues to develop.

‘Til later…happy explorations!

The Art of Collecting!

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about collections and the act of collecting. What is it that drives someone to collect one particular type of object (horse figurines, stamps, books, teddy bears, baseball cards)? Why are some things more “collection-worthy” than others? Does collecting something somehow give it more significance–more value?

Last weekend I had the opportunity to spend a few days at my husband’s side of the family’s beautiful cabin. Surrounded by trees, mountains, and gorgeous wildflowers, I enjoyed one, if not two or three Wonder Walks every day. On my last day, for reasons unknown to me, I began to notice tiny treasures hidden amidst the dirt, tree trunks, and plants. It began with the discovery of a rock. It was a very small piece of quartz with one smooth side and one bumpy, irregular side. After studying it for some time, I continued my walk, alternating between rubbing the smooth and bumpy side. This discovery soon led to many more–culminating in the discovery of a small bark rabbit! Please excuse the quality of the photo below… I wish I could capture this incredible natural sculpture–complete with two separate floppy ears!

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So, since returning from my fun “nature art” hunt, I have been thinking about collecting…and what that means for artful explorations in nature. Though we have collected natural materials for nature art challenges (Nature Mosaic Challenge), we have not explored the act of collecting as a form of art making in-and-of-itself.

So, for the summer, I plan to build a collection of “nature art.” Each week or so, I will post an idea to inspire a new addition to the collection. As always, I welcome any fellow explorers!

Tomorrow I will post more specific “nature art” collection details. In the meantime, start thinking about what type of collection you’d like to have. Are you wanting to collect certain shapes/textures/materials? How might this “collection” relate to you?

Cheers to summer artful explorations! 🙂

Wonder Walk-inspired Mixed Media Art!

What a busy last month this has been! Finally spring break has come–giving me the time I needed to finish my wonder walk-inspired artwork promised so many weeks ago! Below is my finished work, inspired by the chirping, lively bush that I happened by during one of my wonder walks (see previous post). 

To begin, I prepared my canvas. I had already decided on a mixed media interpretation of my explorations, so decided to create a very busy surface to reflect my observations. 

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I then began adding some of those talented singers that seemed to breath warmth and vitality into the chilled winter air.

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Drawing from my observations of both the sparse, skeletal bush and the tumbleweeds filling the sidewalk, I began adding complexity to the composition:

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Last of all, I added one more chickadee to the composition (collaged to add contrast). Here is the resulting work:

ImageWell, I hope this post leaves you inspired to take some of your own artful explorations this week! This being my spring break (one of the perks of teaching), I plan to take advantage of my time to its fullest! I will report back, should I discover something particularly inspiring over the course of the coming week!

‘Til then…happy explorations!

From Wonder Walk to Art Work!

Happy Tuesday!

Now that I’ve been enjoying the creative breath of fresh air that IS Wonder Walks for a little less than 2 months, I decided it was time to start talking about how to transfer your multi-sensory experiences to works of art! Let me start by saying, WRITING in-and-of-itself can be more beautiful than any visual image. I realize that visual artists may take offense at this statement (I myself AM a visual artist), but what I mean to say is that the written word has the ability to paint an open-ended picture, free of visual prompts–left completely up to the interpretation of the reader.  That being said, let’s talk Wonder Walk inspiration!

In order to fully illustrate my thought process, I allowed myself to bring along a camera for a lovely winter Wonder Walk in the snow! Here is a visual documentation of my observations and experiences:

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My favorite moment from the walk is illustrated in the first photo shown. I happened by this gnarled, dry, skeletal bush, creating a wall between the sidewalk and a backyard. This bush was so alive with the movement and sounds of dozens of little birds. It was such a beautiful reminder of the life and pure JOY that can be found even in the coldest winter days! 

This story, along with the above images, will provide inspiration for my artwork–to come over the next couple of posts!

‘Til then…happy explorations!

 

Camouflage Explorations!

What a beautiful snowy Saturday afternoon! Although I much prefer warmer weather for my artful explorations, I must say nothing can quite compare to the peaceful silence experienced during snowfall. As I sit on my couch, watching the exquisite white powder fall, I can’t help but feel blessed to have found myself in such a beautiful world (despite our attempts as humans to “improve” everything). 

Today I’d like to share a project idea for artful explorations of camouflage–through painting! Although my sixth graders are still finishing up their work, I couldn’t help but share a few results. I was so impressed! 🙂

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To introduce this project, we talked about camouflage in the natural environment. Although this particular project did not involve any outdoor explorations, we did spend some time looking at examples of camouflage. I also connected this project to “Op Art,” or optical illusion art. My kids found this video, in particular, to be quite inspiring!

After creating their own design (either inspired by natural patterns or optical illusions), students painted their hands to blend into their designs!

As soon as I get the pictures, I will share a lesson my third graders did, exploring animal tracks!

‘Til later…happy explorations!

New Work!

I forgot to include this in my earlier post, but below are a couple of new pieces that I’ve been working on in my studio! Although they are not technically examples of “artful explorations in nature,” the work is most definitely fueled by the clarity of mind and flow of creativity that has stemmed from my lovely Wonder Walks! To check out more of my mixed media works, click on the new “Mixed Media Art” tab in the top menu of this blog! Cheers!

"Sunny Day Ride" (2013)

"Two Sides" (2013)