Nature iPad Explorations: Recording Observations

During this second week of iPad explorations, I focused on the iPad as a tool for recording explorations and discoveries. Here are some of my favorite FREE apps from this week’s nature explorations:

Ink Flow

This was definitely one of my favorite apps for fomenting my questions and discoveries. I found that the pen control was much smoother than some other journal/sketchbook apps.

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Adobe Ideas

This was another great journal/sketchbook app. Pen control wasn’t quite as smooth, but I did like the ability to add photos into my notes.

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Shadow Pup

I saved the best for last! Shadow Pup is a great app for recording observations because it allows for voice explanations of pictures. I have used this app in my classroom as a way for students to talk about their work! Here’s a link to one of my recorded observations:

http://get-puppet.com/s/YlfyGcU7qOw?autoplay

There are many other wonderful apps for recording–some of which I will mention in weeks to come! If you have come across a great go-to app for recording observations, I’d love to hear about it! For next week, I will focus on the iPads ability to explore movement and change in nature! I’ll include some fun animation apps in my explorations!

‘Til later…happy explorations!

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Beauty in Life and Death

Today after finishing a nice, pre-sunset run, something caught my eye. The sun was hitting the leaves just right, causing them to glow as they shimmered on their branch.

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As I continued to walk towards my house, I happened to notice a beautiful leaf on the ground. It had begun to develop beautiful spots dark spots–no longer part of its life source, yet still holding onto some of its color. It was breathtaking.

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Walking through an alley way, I discovered the beauty of a leaf as it became one with the earth.

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Nature in all stages offers such beauty. Take the time to enjoy it this week!

‘Til later…happy explorations!

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!

Bark Rabbit

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!

 

Wonder Walks!

Happy 2013!

Ready to start tackling those resolutions?

Let’s talk Wonder Walk. As is the case with most resolutions, something always seems to get in the way between you and that goal. In my case, that “something” has taken the form of a wedding. Acting as a maid of honor in an out-of-town wedding RIGHT after new years is definitely a distraction from my creative goals–but also an opportunity to explore a different area and gather new inspiration. I am still out of town as we speak, but wanted to go ahead and get the ball rolling on the Wonder Walks (as one of my 2013 goals includes weekly wonder walks!).

A Wonder Walk is a time that you set aside (no specific time minimum or maximum) to enjoy and wonder at the beauty of the natural world around you–no camera or art supplies. Just use your five senses to explore the world around you. When taking a wonder walk, you should imagine that you are experiencing everything for the first time. Take interest in things that you would normally overlook–perhaps something will surprise you or inspire you! When you return from the walk, take some time to creatively digest the experience.

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I will take my first Wonder Walk this afternoon and report back!

‘Til later…happy explorations!