Earth Day

It is no surprise the earth…..mother nature…..the great outdoors, or whatever you want to call it, supplies the majority of my inspiration in art making. Even seemingly unrelated paintings receive the benefit of a little time spent outdoors. 

Albert Einstein wrote: “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.”

No truer words were spoken. When I am feeling lost, be it in art or life, I simply need to spend a little time outdoors to find my way again. Today I woke up feeling frustrated by yesterday’s studio time. Because I know we have bad weather on the way again and it will be a few days until Spring-like weather returns, and because it’s Earth Day, I decided to head outside for a walk in the woods with my Poodle, Rosie. I don’t even need to be outside 5 minutes before the heaviness of mind and spirit vanishes. 

It helps to live in the country and have the wonders of nature at my fingertips. In the forest was a small flock of starlings. I laughed as I listened to their attempts to mimic the other birds, especially their fairly accurate depiction of a Red-tail Hawk. Off in the distance beyond the duck pond was a Red-winged Blackbird calling. My favourite sound of spring, right next to the call of our Sandhill Cranes couple who return year after year to nest in the bog hummocks behind our property.

Two crane mates in a spring meadow. Rocky Mountain House, Alberta

After coming out from the forest, I spotted the pair in the horse pasture behind the house, so went to say hello. It’s my own annual festival of the cranes. A tradition that has gone on for nearly 10 years. Each year when the cranes return they feed in the pasture, and I go out – not too far mind you – and we spend time together. Me watching, them trusting and going about their business. They squawk if I move too quickly or come too close. We each know our boundaries and limits. 

An hour or more can be spent in virtual silence together. The cranes trust has grown each year. Last year I was privileged to witness their mating. This year they came so close I could hear their footsteps crunching on the still frozen grasses. The photographer in me grabbed my camera first when I went out, but after I’d fired off several shots, I found myself wishing I would have brought my sketchbook. 

Could there be any more perfect way to spend time on Earth Day than outdoors sketching or painting? 

Feeling inspired, I am now eager to return to my studio. When I work out the problems from yesterdays painting session I think I’ll head back outside with my sketchbook and see what inspires me. 

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