Sunday, 16 April 2017

Beginning a Nature Journal.

Just before we left for Coral Bay, I enrolled in Jan Blencowe's online Nature Journaling course.

Jan says that Nature Journaling is -
".....designed for those who love the natural world and want to form a connection with nature through art."
That sounds just perfect doesn't it?

She also asks you to -
"Imagine learning ways to fine tune your listening and observational skills so that you can deeply engage with the natural world. Then imagine that you have a repertoire of creative skills that allows you to quickly and easily sketch the beauty in nature, beauty that takes your breath away and fills you with a sense of calm and well being."
Hmmmm.....filled with a sense of calm and well being?  Sounds like bliss to me.

The course actually started a couple of days after we left home (Murphy's Law) so I just took my journal, started by myself and made it up as I went along.

Here are some of my pages -

Mostly I was just learning about my new Daniel Smith colours and trying to observe the sea and sky.

There's only one blue and two greens in the recommended colour palette, so I have a bit of colour experimenting to do.

I always thought there was just 'grass' on the sand dunes.  Nope.  I just didn't look properly.  There are even flowers up there on the dunes.

Don't ask me where this 'insightful insight' came from.  Mother nature probably.

We seemed to cram so much into each day and I tried to sketch a little snapshot of all the activities for one of them.  I didn't end up liking this page much - it's a bit too colourful and 'busy'.

The image on the bottom right is of the dog cemetery situated high on a hill.  This is the view I get at sunrise from our camper.  It's absolutely beautiful with the rising sun behind the little crosses.

This is my favourite sketch.  Such an amazing creature.  We put this jellyfish into a lunchbox of sea water so that I could do a sketch and the poor thing just kept pulsing and blobbing along while it was waiting to be returned to the ocean.  It was soooo creepy, (said with an Alfred Hitchcock voice).

This little frangipani tree was growing in sandy soil right outside the ladies ablution block.  It only had the run off from the drinking water tap to survive on.  The flowers were just as perfect as a well nourished tree in a tropical garden.  Amazing really.

The paper in this journal is just ok.  I wasn't able to get the recommended 'Stillman and Birn' journal so bought what was available locally.  It's mixed media paper which is quite strong but not much chop for water colours as it soaks the paint up straight away.  I tried a little sample of paper from a cheap watercolour pad I found....but that was worse!   

Both my thumbs were out of action for the first part of our holiday.  One got jammed in the shade sail that comes off the side of the car and the other was bitten by a crab while I was investigating an 'uninhabited' (!) clam shell.  Nothing compares however to being bitten by a 100 year old renegade turtle!

Now that we're back home, I'm looking forward to getting stuck into the Nature Journaling course properly.  So that means lots more time outside in the garden.  Sitting down too.  Goody.


Home Is My Haven said...

Wow how interesting. I guess by sketching it really would make you notice so much more. We just don't see it rushing around and not reallly looking. Beautiful way to capture your experiences. Your sketches look amazing. It must be so therapeutic. Well done and enjoy every moment.


Fran Ponta said...

Yes sketching or journaling is a great way to slow down, be present and practice mindfulness. Spending time in nature certainly helps me appreciate each day and the life I have. Thanks so much for your lovely comments Kylie.

Nanna Chel said...

Wow you can draw well, Fran. I can't even draw a stick figure very well. I just love the journal you have made of your holiday and such a shame about not being able to find the 'right' paper but your paintings look gorgeous just the shame. What a lovely memento for your family later on.

RobynLouise said...

Your journal is wonderful. The design and the style of text are flowing and lovely to read and view.

Fran Ponta said...

Thanks so much Robyn. What a lovely thing to say and thank you for taking the time to comment.

Fran Ponta said...

Thanks Nanna Chel. I love being outside discovering things in nature.....and discovering new paper and journals too (!) so I'll keep practising. It's such a lovely way to have some quiet contemplative time.

Anonymous said...

You are sooo talented! I love the sketches especially the gradient watercolour one in the blue and reddish(?) shades.

Fran Ponta said...

Thank you mrsmeagre. I'm learning more each time I 'have a go' and it's just such a lovely way to absorb the environment.....until I make a mistake and then sparks fly! Lol.

Emmbee said...

Your journal is so creative and beautifully executed! A lady of many skills and talents. What a inspiration they must be for you.

Nil @ The Little House by the Lake said...

Wow, you are very talented. I love your sketches.

Fran Ponta said...

Emmbee, I must admit I'm learning to slow down and enjoy my time in nature. It's making me want to buy more floral fabric though!!

Nil, thank you so much. Fooling about with watercolour is kind of fun....when I don't make a mistake!

Anonymous said...

Fran, I'm just coming back to your blog to look for the DTE tutorial - it's time to do a bit more on my top. I thought I'd catch up on your blog posts first. Your sketching and watercolours are beautiful, you have a lot of talent. I really wish I could draw (I can't), but I love the idea of journaling and mindfulness. Melsa

Fran Ponta said...

Thanks so much Melsa. Just a simple thing like holding and doodling a leaf or bit of twig is a calming and peaceful way to connect with nature and appreciate our surroundings (without getting concerned about all the gardening jobs!) I hope your top progress is coming along.