“In a way, nobody sees a flower really, it is so small, we haven’t time – and to see takes time, like to have a friend takes time.” – Georgia O’Keefe
My children notice things before I do. They see the red-winged blackbird long before its call signals its presence. They see the beauty of the wildflowers that grow out of the cracks in the cement. They see the patterns in the sand the wind makes as I rush ahead.
Drawing from observation makes you see things in a novel way, things that you normally take for granted. You start noticing the straight line of a single blade of grass or the smooth curve of a pebble.
Start your exploration by drawing lines and curves. Play with the vertical, the horizontal, the diagonal. Make them intersect to create shapes. Draw shapes. Make circles all over the page. Draw wavy lines and looping
Find 4-10 items in nature. Photograph and draw. Pay close attention to the patterns and the form of the natural object – the straight line and the curve. Step back and notice the geometric shape. Do a mini nature study.
For some inspiration, look at Julia Rothman’s book, Nature Anatomy.
Take it a step further and create art with a collection of natural objects. Andy Goldsworthy’s art is a beautiful example of exploring the natural beauty of the straight line and the curve.
Another idea is to read Mary Oliver’s poem, Wild Geese (found below) and draw some of the imagery in the poem using very basic straight line and curve shapes. You can copy the poem into your art journal and draw around it or beside it.
You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.
– Mary Oliver
Look at each object and ask the questions that Rachel Carson asked:
What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?
You can leave a comment below or join my top secret life explorers group on Facebook if you want to share any discoveries or explorations. Friend me and I will send you an invite! You can share your thoughts or your creative expressions there. You can also post on Instagram using #may_BE2015