I hope everyone was able to spend some time either drawing, documenting, or at least taking note of the types of clouds they were seeing over the past week. It was quite a display! We had rain, snow and sunshine in the short seven days, classic New England. Here is an example of some of the weather observations I was able over that past week, which I will admit, are not extremely detailed. They will at least help me to see patterns when I look back at some of my other observations from this time.
Now that we have taken the time to observe cloud coverage and investigate what that means for the weather, and we’ve gotten familiar with drawing different types of nature found around us, let’s move on to landscapes! Landscape observations are another great tool to help set the scene for some of our more detailed observations and they can be great indicators of season and time of year. There are many different ways to observe a landscape, and remember in true nature journaling fashion, there is no wrong or right way to do it. I’m just going to go through some techniques that will help you figure out how you would like to approach capturing the scene.
The first thing to think about is the season in which you are making your observations. This can be helpful because it lets you know what to expect. Of course, things in nature can always change and it is always exciting to find something new and interesting, but knowing what to expect can help you prepare as far as what you are going to wear, what you will bring with you, the colors you will choose to bring outside with you, and guide you as far as what to be looking for and why things look the way that they do.
You can also think about other animals that may be living in the landscape you are observing and consider whether it would be a suitable home for birds, mammals, insects, reptiles, or even fish! Knowing what kinds of animals to find in your landscape will help you to interpret the meaning of the overall picture as you are taking it in.
A general observation to keep in mind when taking in landscape is the moisture around you. That can either be what the air feels like, or if it is raining, snowing, sleeting, etc. Also be sure to note any changes in warm in cool weather, especially here in New England, where every day seems to be a surprise.
Knowing what to expect when taking in a scene can be a really helpful guide and it will allow you to notice the unexpected much more easily. Once you know what to look for when drawing a landscape – noting any animal behavior, what the trees and plants look like, and what the weather looks like – drawing the landscape is easy!
It helps to start with simple shapes and to draw the more obvious landmarks first. Once you have some landmark points, you can start to fill in the details. This drawing is taken from another one of Clare Walker-Leslie’s books, The Nature Connection. You can see that the actual drawings aren’t super detailed, but that there are lots of great notes to enhance the observations. Clare has even noted what part of the scene is the background, middleground and foreground.
Like most nature journaling, there is no wrong or right way to draw a landscape and the point isn’t to get everything perfect. You just want to take a moment to take in the landscape with a little more detail than you have in the past and make connections with what you are seeing. This week, challenge yourself by finding somewhere new or familiar that you can really spend some time drawing the landscape. Be aware of the plants and animals you are hearing and seeing and use those nature clues to enhance your observations! Your landscape can be a big outdoor space, but it can also be your street or your backyard. Remember, there is nature everywhere!
As usual, if you want to share your observations and sketches, or if you have any questions, feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Until next week!
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