Friday, November 2, 2018

Rewilding: 12 Years of Connecting with Nature Part1

What I Learned from the Trees

I grew up on the edge of the woods and I am always drawn to the trees around me.
The past 12 years I have lived in Central Virginia on a 3 acre plot of land that borders the Blackwater Creek Natural Area. I have enjoyed working/wandering my own little plot but spent many hours walking the trails along the creek and biking on the bike path that crosses the James River.

Trees in the Yard

Almost all of the artwork I have created since coming to Lynchburg is a direct reflection of my engagement with this place. A huge magnolia tree graces my backyard. I frequently took branches from that tree for my students at Lynchburg College to draw during class. It didn't take me long to join in the fun and start my own series of magnolia drawings.


 Magnolia Branch One
52”x32”
mixed media on paper




The magnolia branches I left in the drawing studio dried into dramatically graceful poses, as I commemorated below. This was the beginning of a great appreciation for the beauty of trees and plants in their dried state.



 Magnolia Branch Two
50”x39”
mixed media on paper


Trees in the Woods

The woods on my winter walks were festooned with many small beech trees that kept their leaves all winter. The leaves would flutter and capture the light on sunny days. They grabbed my attention in the woods devoid of all other leaves....except the millions on the ground.



Magnolia Branch One
52”x32”
mixed media on paper


It is the oak trees that I have bonded with most intensely these last few years. The trees I remember most from my youth are maples, tulip poplars and walnuts. A two hundred year old pin oak is the first thing I see from my front door. Two large oaks stand beside our house.  The drawing below is from a branch I carried back from the woods. This is the dance of the oak leaves.



Oak Leaves
42”x50”
mixed media on paper


Many sycamore trees line the banks of the Blackwater Creek and populate the surrounding woods. Their mottled bark and majestic gesture endeared them to me when I first saw them lining the Potomac River. In this drawing I combine sycamore leaves with the dried grasses that captured my fancy. 


Sycamore Leaves Falling
30" x 22"
mixed media on paper


Maple leaves getting ready to fall.....



Maple Leaves
30" x 54"
mixed media on paper

Stone Circle Series

The leaves made their way into the later series of drawings combining sacred geometry and what I was experiencing in the world around me. These white oak leaves are from my neighborhood.


Stone Circle 1
48" x 54
mixed media on paper

In Virginia, dogwood holds a special place in our hearts. The ferns are also local, as are the dried iris stalks.

 Dogwood Stone Circle 
48" x 54
mixed media on paper


Most Grateful

I am most grateful for the inspiration, space and time I have had these last 12 years in Lynchburg that have facilitated the creation of this artwork and much more. 

Stay tuned for Part 2

Here I am only discussing fine art work on paper. Check out the Anim8Nature series of animations all created in the last few years, also inspired by the natural world around me.


Animating Nature & Science

I see a world where the transformative power of art and the creative problem solving of science blossom together. This is possible when we encourage our children to explore science with art and allow them time to imagine and create. Anim8Nature is dedicated to promoting environmental stewardship by exploring science with art and encouraging careful observation of the natural world.

Learn more about Anim8Nature.com on this blog and our website. I have assembled a team of experts to create media and workshops to help students and families explore science with art. We want to spark curiosity and get kids outside as environmental stewards. Join us.

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Rewilding: 12 Years of Connecting with Nature Part1

What I Learned from the Trees I grew up on the edge of the woods and I am always drawn to the trees around me. The past 12 years ...