From my studio I can see the bright pink stems of a powerful rhubarb plant. I can stand at my studio door and look at it catching rain drops. I have taken photos of it. But, there is nothing better than going outside and being with it, hearing what it hears, seeing what it sees and seeing the world from the vantage point of being rhubarb.
I expect you think I have gone a bit barmy when you read that! But I totally believe that art making is a full on sensory experience.
Are you guilty of grazing the world with your phone, stacking up photos that you are going to make artwork from once you get home?
Do you then get back home and life gets in the way? You've not got a creative space and the ideas get shelved?
I am a huge advocate of Nature's studio. Outside the door, a walk away from home and the nagging responsibilities of the washing, working, phone calls and emails, is a beautiful patch of nature, a playground for creativity and inspiration.
Pack yourself an art kit, a flask of tea and take a blanket with you. Sit and watch the clouds, listen to the birds and dream a little. If you wait five minutes a story will unfurl. Sounds, sights, smells will waft over you and give you a story to tell in your sketchbook.
When you draw outside you have to make many quick decisions about what to include, what has just happened? How will you capture it?
On my latest course, A Walk in The Woods I strongly recommend drawing outside to capture a sense of place. When I enter the forest, I feel magic, I love the light, the trunks of trees stretching towards the canopy. I know instantly what I want my art making to be about. I see colours that my phone never sees - indigo, copper, splashes of red.
I feel a sense of place that I capture in a few marks, there's no time to be timid, I draw with abandon. What I draw is what is important to me, the stripings of tree trunks, the blocks of intense colour that splash the woods - green leaves, red shoots, a bluebell carpet.
Closer to home I am blessed with a garden and an ever changing inspiration for my sketchbooks. Again, the difference between drawing from photos indoors to being sat amongst the foliage looking up, peering in, feeling the sun, or mizzle on me. This leads to a soulful connection, a reminder of our own place in nature.
If you would like to be guided through the process of connecting with nature, building techniques to produce a mixed media sketchbook it's not too late to join my Walk in the Woods course or my Garden Sketchbook 30 day project.
I will give you the ideas, techniques and confidence to talk to the rhubarb and create soulful, colourful, joyful mixed media sketchbooks!