Nature Meets Art

I have been gardening since I was a little girl. I have also always loved art. Education in 1980s Ontario required a certain number of art classes and the funneling into an academic or applied stream. That meant I had to choose between music and art in high school. I didn’t have time to do both. I chose music but always regretted not being able to continue with visual art.

Later, my art was limited to encouraging my toddlers to not eat the homemade play dough and crayons and being somewhat creative with small projects when it was my turn to design art for our church’s preschool drop-in.

getting ready to paint at a social painting night

A few years back, I was intrigued when photos of my friends at social painting events started popping up in my social media feeds. I bought a couple of passes online and convinced my daughter to join me thinking it was a one-time event. I didn’t have a lot of wall space for art. I was hooked.

Three years and about 50 paintings later, I still love social painting nights. I have managed the space issue in part by sometimes painting at home on acrylic-friendly paper sourced from the art store and repainting over “junk” canvases in white then trying new designs. I have now done enough paintings that I can listen to the instructor but still incorporate my own spin on each work.

I find painting deeply relaxing. It helps me escape from the day to day grind. One of the instructors mentioned an army vet who pops up at events periodically. He comes by himself and immerses himself into the work. He said that it was helpful for him in dealing with PTSD.

More people are recognizing the mental health benefits of art. Carly Berkeland posted this short video outlining some of them.

The Mental Health Benefits of Art, 2017

I love how people interpret different works their own way. I always try to point out something that I really like such as the Lawren Harris looking water in a new painter’s work or if someone is disappointed, I call it interpretive or modern. There is no wrong in art. It can be as individual as the person who is creating it.

lily pond, 2019

Nature inspires art. Mother Nature’s canvas is infinite and inspiration can be drawn from everywhere. While I love group painting, I am still trying to find my own unique way of interpreting what nature provides as a model. I am also looking for new ways to experience both nature and art.

Step 1: Make Art with Nature
I signed up to put together a succulent bowl in an art experience. I have booked a tour for Canada Blooms to see the latest in garden design for the coming seasons.

Step 2: Understand Nature in Art
I am registered for a gardening course to understand succulents that are often used in the arts experiences. I have a rooftop greenhouse tour booked at a research facility.

Stay tuned: I plan to review these experiences in March and April and share insights. I am hoping that these experiences will show that blooming art can succulent and still be fun and relaxing. Whether it be art, gardening or something completely different, may you always have a creative outlet to express yourself.

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