This blog has moved to my new art/creativity site (Mouse House BLOG). The new blog is also about getting you connected with nature for creative expression, along with my art, workshops, and my personal journey.

Please feel free to explore past posts here, some of which will re-appear for encore showings in Mouse House. Let nature be your muse...

Thank you for visiting Your Nature, and if you like what you read here, be sure to follow my blog at its new home, to continue to receive creative fun and inspiration in your mailbox!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Nature Time: Making Impressions

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!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Creativity Hike

A couple of days ago I spent the morning with a group of creatives on a La Quinta preserve, exploring sources of inspiration as found in nature. I guided the group through a sampling of creativity exercises designed to get the creative process flowing. The group shared in the experience so openly, and I found their creative expressions and spirit so inspiring!

At the end of the hike, we gathered once more as "non-writers" to create a folding poem--a favorite exercise I like to include in any creativity outing and a great way to end a morning spent in such a profoundly beautiful environment.

Here are the two amazing group poems participants created on the spot--nature truly inspires:

A fresh breeze brushing the winter desert.
A palette of natural color.
Calming colors –
desert seems still, but signs of motion everywhere
footprints, erosion, growth.

I saw life from all the holes in the ground.
Hundreds, maybe thousands of animals are burrowed there.
I enjoyed different perspectives of the palo verde tree –
up close it is large and grand,
from a distance, small and solitary.

I wonder about the many forms of life has passed where we are –
Going into Nature today is going into the best art gallery in the world.
Nature is so glorious, I can’t describe it well.
Lizard watching me watching him. Peace.
Sun moving, revealing new crevices, homes to local residents.
And then rubble piles that look like ancient ruins that completes the cycle.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Nature Coach as Featured in Insights Magazine!

I'm thrilled to be a part of the January 2011 issue of Insights magazine. The magazine features my interview with BlogTalkRadio host, Stacey Chadwell, discussing my two favorite topics: nature + creativity! Find out how I believe nature can help keep us on track, what I think is the most empowering thing nature does for us, and in what ways nature fuels our creative drive. Click for interview!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Nature Time: Creating A Word List

Come along for a little nature time. Your task is to generate a word list to keep as a source of nature-inspired word prompts to engage your creative spirit. Bring along a sketch pad and a pencil, find an area where you can take in the pace of nature and let the flow of words begin. Notice which words are common in your daily vocabulary and how your response to them might change once they're associated with a natural environment. For example the word surface. What images come to mind during your morning commute with the word "surface?" How about if you scuba dive? Or take a walk in the desert? What about reading a topographic map? Think about the many "identities" of words as you do this exercise, you'll greatly expand your word-list and your opportunity for creative interpretations. Watch the video below to get started.

In this short video, my 45-word list was compiled during a 20-minute desert walk. I can refer to this list as a source of ongoing prompts for a variety of creative outlets. For starters, I decided to choose the 2nd, 4th, 8th, 16th, and 32nd words off my list as random prompts for a poetry exercise (shared at the end of the video): velvety, patina, gravel, sky, surface.

How will nature inspire you today?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Happy Creative New Year

Realize that every time you make space in your life for creativity—even if it’s just a sliver of space—you’re making yourself a better person and the world a better place. ~Sandy Ackers "10 Resolutions For A Creative Year"

It's that time of year when we dig deep and shift focus toward new ways to fulfill the desires of our inner creative. Make this year the year of creativity! Resolve to honor your gift of expression through unique and inspired creative outlets. Explore, dig, excavate, unearth, rediscover, dust off your creative impulses and give them light and life!
In numerology circles, "11" is the most intuitive of all numbers, representing illumination and deep insight as well as being very sensitive and inspirational. Sounds like '11 is an opportune year to follow your creative intuition, and let your expression run wild to gain deep insight.  As I am always saying, make your creative time a priority. If you take the numerology fun a step further and add up 2011 (2+0+1+1), you're good to go! As the number "4" typically signifies the grounded nature of all things...think the four seasons, four directions, four elements--very powerful natural elements providing a balanced, stable home-base for your creative exploration! Protect and keep your creative time a priority as a way to get back to your creative roots, to maintain balance and center yourself--again each of these representing the symbolic meaning of "4."
It's all intriguing fun, but even if you're not into the numbers game, the point is to recognize the conditions are always primed for your creative journey. Start by making mistakes (release your perfectionist tendencies), try techniques or materials you've never worked before, make messes. Read Sandy's link at the top of this post for motivating ideas that will get your creative juices flowing. Then lose control, creatively speaking, be wreckless and wild and raw. Transform.  Always remember to be kind to and love your creative self. Exhale magical poetry, brush strokes, images...
When you're ready to grow creatively, then your moment has arrived to begin a new journey. Seek and you shall find inspiration everywhere. It will even begin to find you.
Image/artwork: M. Hedgecock, "Seastar Grow" mandala
Numerology source: spiritual-numerology.com

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