At the beginning of the year, I created a vision board. I’ve been creating one or two a year for about five years. This one was all about what inspired me. There were things I thought I’d like to make and colors I was drawn to. It didn’t stay that way for long. In March, my vision board did not reflect how I was feeling, but most of the colors stayed the same. Now, nature inspires me. Going on little walks and wandering in my own backyard made me feel that all I needed was to be in nature and experience all its beauty. I made a small vision board that reflected this renew love of the outdoors.
I love flowers, trees, and mountains with creeks and streams in and around rocks, covered by mossy slime in the most vibrant greens. After I created my nature vision board that I call “The Dirt”, I had dreams of making art with dirt and mud, rocks, and brick dust in a muddy stream that made me want to cry with joy. I hung these works on a clothesline under a freeway overpass. I’m not sure why there was a freeway in this dream. I have had this dream a few times and think that I need to explore its contents.
I explored different styles by taking nature inspired online classes. I followed the class lesson as close as I could and pushed myself into using colors that had not excited me before. The styles did not grow on me but the colors did. They all seemed to be the colors of nature experiences that underscored my entire life. I found new surfaces to try. Raw canvas and Ampersand’s aquabord™ really got my creative juices flowing. I stumbled on to other artist that were exploring some of these same things and that helped me in my direction.
The forest floor, what happens in nature, and what makes things grow makes me think of the rich colors of the forest and what feeds that system. These elements are some of the things that feed me. What happens when seasons come and go? Things change at the end of summer. Leaves, and flowers fade, die, or go dormant, resting for the next year. Temperatures cool and rain comes to add to the resting, creating a pot of things: branches, leaves, dead things but new growth of moss, mushrooms, and lichens. A new life comes as one recedes. The decay and growth of the autumn and winter life add to the earth.Those things lie back and breath in the damp. Sticks crack under foot — moving that decomposition of pine cones, leaves, needles and bugs that have finished their life but add to the ecosystem of the forest.
I see my art life like this. I do not think I’m stuck or that ideas have dried up. There is no block. The only block is what I place on myself. This is the time of resting, falling back and studying and observing my art as I think and plan for the rebirth of the art I want to make. The art that brings me joy and conveys the feeling of this nature to others. Do I move forward by creating something? What if I change? What does that say about me? I’m not lost just bringing my passions forward. I have many and you might also. Think of it like rolling over a rock. The earth below the rock is sometimes hard and cracked. My art has sometimes seemed that way. The rains come, temperatures cool, and the earth gets wet and soft and earthworms come up to bathe in the dampness. I introduce a different medium to create with and explore its possibilities. I am the rock in the forest, set in a space for awhile making a dent in the earth, sinking in until something turns it over. Moving out of that rut can be painful. But we stay in that place so long, we don’t realize what else we could do and how we can be refreshed. If you want to refer to that as “stuck,” I guess that would be your idea. I’d rather say I’m growing like the earth beneath the rock. I’m becoming someone, something else. I’m letting the rain of a new medium or subject sink into me, creating a place for new art to grow and evolve. I’m still me. I’ve only added new ideas, supplies, and my attitudes to this art-making.
I study nature and the different natural elements. On walks, I pick up rocks, twigs, pine cones and at the beach I bring home all the sea shells my pockets will hold. They overflow with dirty rocks and all the other things.
These have become my inspiration. Along with new paints, papers and other surfaces, I will create paintings about nature, our environment and what happens when we don’t take care of it. I’ll create from what has been a deep love for me, and now I have found a way to communicate that in my art.