On your next nature walk or backyard exploration, bring along a stash of your child's Play-Doh, or some modeling or hardening clay--non-staining & non-toxic--to experiment with different textures and patterns in nature (or other man-made objects). Collect patterns by placing a flattened piece of clay over a portion of textured surface, gently peeling back. Try several. An afternoon of making clay impressions in my backyard is shared in the images at the bottom of this post. The crisp, contrasting grooves from a palm frond impression was one of my favorites.
I like the shadowing of this impression
from this rock's weathered and etched
sides. The shadowing would make a
great reference for creating realistic
shadows in paintings and drawings.
Adding to your creativity toolbox. This creativity exercise is a great way to inspire sense of touch and enhance your awareness in the subtle ways nature utilizes texture and pattern. Impressions can be a great source of inspiration in a variety of ways like experimenting with new surfaces or textures for sculpting, for creating molds, embossing hand-made paper, as a shading reference for painting, for stamping, etc. What are your ideas?
Applying this to your creative work. How important is texture and patterning in your creative expression? Think about taking your creative expression to another level by incorporating this focus of texture, directly or indirectly, into your work.
I was drawn to the insect burrow marks and holes in this old tree
trunk in our tortoise yard.
I love the look & resulting impression
of this woody skeleton from a cholla
The weathered and cracked pattern of this old citrus
trunk, definitely inspired the desire to doodle something
Let nature be your muse!